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Profile: swillner
User Name: swillner
Forum Rank: Newbie
Real Name:
Location Galt, CA
Gender: None Specified
Joined: Tuesday, August 21, 2007
Last Visit: Thursday, September 1, 2016 11:04:40 PM
Number of Posts: 0
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Last 10 Posts
Topic: MakerSpace?
Posted: Wednesday, April 22, 2015 8:38:37 AM
I have been teaching wood shop for a long time. A few years ago when another teacher retired I was assigned his program called "Hands On Technology" which was a title without much curriculum but the intent was to have students use computers for activities other than learning keyboarding skills or basic word processing. I have spent a lot of time and energy developing curriculum but the title of the class was confusing to students and parents. This year the district added robotics to the mix. In order to accommodate these changes several wood shop classes were dropped, leaving me only two wood shop classes.

What I have observed is students are great at playing games with computers, phones or PSP's but their hands-on skills haven't developed. Their interest in hands on activities haven't developed yet either. So this year during a professional development day I connected with the teacher that teaches computer programming and video and we came up with the idea of creating what we call "Maker Academy". Since we are located in the San Francisco Bay Area we are near "Maker Faire" an annual event which draws in excess of a 150,000 attendees. There are also several Mini Maker Faires in the area as well. So our students are well aware of the term Maker, so using the term "Maker Academy" provides the students with a familiar term even though they may not be certain what they may be involved in.

We created the class with just a shell of a curriculum and added it to the school's course catalog to gauge student interest in enrolling in this elective. Enrollment for electives was recently completed and we had 190 students sign up for the class out of a student body of 900 students.

So now our work is cut out. Much of the content is already in place: woodworking, metal working, plastics, robotics, CAD, photography, arduino, raspberry pi, sewing, weaving, movie making, electronics, 3d printing, coding, laser cutting & engraving and CNC routing are just some of the units we will have the students exposed to. Our intent is to have the class set up in modules with the class divided in modules with no more than 6 students in each group and 10 modules going on concurrently with myself the other teacher team teaching the class in two rooms. Students will rotate through the modules every 30 days, allowing them 9 modules during the school year.

We are currently in development and right now it is just a concept until next fall, so we will see.

Stephan Willner
Topic: Radial arm saws?
Posted: Sunday, March 16, 2014 3:05:43 PM
I used to use a radial saw in my middle school classroom. It was difficult to clamp material to the table (I only allow students to use one hand, the other must go behind their back) and the blade freewheeled for some time after the power was turned off. Plus the radial arm saw tool up a lot of floor space (a precious commodity in my room. Last year I purchased a sliding miter saw- Ryobi brand. It has nearly the same capacity, I don't have to worry with students climb cutting (students would frequently jam the blade into the material they were cutting) it has a built in clamp for securing material to the saw for cutting and there is a built in brake that stops the saw as soon as power is turned off. There are a couple of minor conveniences that I gave up (like being able to use a dado blade) when I retired the radial arm saw, but I increased safety with students and the miter saw sits on top of a bench
Topic: Roll Call
Posted: Thursday, January 9, 2014 10:45:55 PM
I look at this forum everyday but don't usually post unless I have something to contribute

Stephan Willner
Topic: Common Core for Middle School Woodshop
Posted: Tuesday, June 11, 2013 1:37:32 AM
I spent the last year looking at implementing common core with the other woodshop teacher in the district and I am concerned. As an example my principal was thrilled with reading the students were doing in my class, yet they were reading from a textbook that had a 1973 copyright she said this was a classic example of the use of reading for common core.
Even though common core doesn't become fully implemented until the 2014-2015 school year they are going to go ahead with it next year as their own beta test. We have been asked to look at implementing math, reading and writing within our own curriculum. The students in my class have all three of these content areas within my curriculum in my classes and have for several years and yet they have asked me to do more without any specific parameters. The state CTE framework doesn't offer any framework (especially for middle school)for common core.
I have asked for support from our instructional coach (new position created to support common core implementation)and was told they weren't sure how common core would be integrated into electives and to wait until the fall after the coaches went through their training and could figure a way to make it work.
I would be happy to share any lessons I develop as we go through this process. It's only fair since you have provided me a wealth of information from your website that I have used in my woodshop classes

Stephan Willner
Sequoia Middle School
Pleasant Hill CA
Topic: Quetico Chris
Posted: Monday, May 6, 2013 8:23:34 PM
You can also use RealPlayer. You can download the basic version for free(I use the upgraded version, but I use a lot of video in my classroom). This program allows you to download and then convert into whatever format you use to show video (.wmv, mp4, etc)

Topic: Australian teacher visiting California
Posted: Thursday, October 18, 2012 10:17:12 AM
I teach middle school woodshop and try to incorporate technology in my program as much as my budget allows. I am in Northern California in the San Joaquin Valley. You are more than welcome to visit my program. I would be happy to introduce you to officers and members of CITEA (California Industrial Technology Education Assocation) who are running the programs you are looking to visit. Please feel free to contact me if you are interested.

Stephan Willner
Ustach Middle School
Modesto, California
Topic: Literacy night
Posted: Thursday, December 8, 2011 2:22:36 PM
I have a tape measurement worksheet, with instructions and a worksheet. I have students measure various objects around the room (whiteboard L X W, drill press table L x W)etc. Some measurements students can work alone, others they need to work with their locker partner (L x W classroom, etc.)If the weather is nice, I have them complete measurement outside the room for the back side of the worksheet. Students are engaged and they have to read the worksheet to complete the assignment. Hope this helps

Stephan Willner
Topic: Checking member usage
Posted: Saturday, August 20, 2011 10:54:53 PM
I'm here as well. Many days I just jump in to see if there are any new posts, but don't log in unless I want to contribute.

Stephan Willner
Topic: Letters to parents
Posted: Friday, October 22, 2010 12:08:34 PM
We have post cards that all teachers use to recognize student effort especially those who are not normally in the spotlight or make honor roll. On the front on the post card it is printed in a bold graphics headline "Good News from School". Each teacher is requested to send at least two home every month. It has really helped with kids in my program who may not be doing well in other subject, but are doing well in my class.

Topic: Gumball Dispenser
Posted: Wednesday, April 14, 2010 10:03:16 AM
We make gumball/candy machines as a mass production unit in my 6th/7th/8th grade classes. The 8th graders set up and manage production and "hire" 6th and 7th grade classes as their labor force. At a teacher inservice last year my students taught the teachers how to run production during a two hour session. I set up the assembly line and made fixtures and jigs to build the machines with good accuracy. We are getting to run the same assembly line again this year. We are doing it as a collaborative project with the art classes and running the project as a fundraiser for art (I don't seem to have a problem with fundraiser, while they are struggling). The arts classes are designing the logo for packaging (we put labels on the machine and shrink wrap them), they are also going to be doing marketing and advertising. We are also having the media class produce commercials to broadcast on the school closed circuit TV station. When we get production set up I will take photos and post them.

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