Mentoring and Support for Family and Consumer Sciences Teachers
I am having the same problem in my Textiles and Apparel Design class — 16 machines and 21 students. Any suggestions on successful machine “sharing” without loosing the purpose of the class?
I have 16 sewing machines and normally my class size is limited to 16 students. This year, however, we are following a modified block for the first time and it has resulted in larger classes for me. My PFD class usually finishes the sewing portion by making boxer shorts. My administrators will not lower my class size and want my students to “share” sewing machines. I know that this will not allow us the time for boxer shorts. Does anyone have ideas of successful sewing projects that take less time? Besides written work, what could the students do on days they don’t have access to a machine?
I would like to reinforce Patti Rambo’s post regarding “Classroom sewing and crocheting” (also Bonnie Brown’s “PFD Thoughts.” PFD TEKS 13B refers to “principles of quality clothing construction in clothing selection, maintenance, repair, and alteration.” Having worked with the team who wrote the TEKS, I know that clothing construction projects were neither intended nor considered appropriate in PFD. There is simply not time for a “nice to know” sewing project in light of all the “need to know” TEKS to be covered in the course. I really encourage everyone to limit class work to those essential skills required for “simple clothing repair and alteration techniques.” Creating or learning to use a pattern, and even learning basic machine skills (given that so few students have access to a home sewing machine) are really not essential for this course. And again, the problem is not that they are not useful activities, but simply that they (1) take valuable time away from teaching other critical PFD TEKS and (2) run a high risk of building a misconception that the course and curriculum are “non-essential” with the CTE (Career & Technical Education) focus on college and career preparation, and the ongoing FCS focus on critical/essential life skills.
In my PFD classes, I also have the students sew on a button and do a small sample of hemming. After looking at the TEKS for PFD and through the years I have come to the conclusion that taking time to sew in class has become expensive for the student and sometimes a waste of their time. The reasons for this are 1. they buy all the supplies and don’t always finish the project, 2. the majority will never sit at a sewing machine again once they leave the classroom, 3. they need to learn how to make wise consumer choices in their selection and care of clothing.
Thank you to everyone who answered my call. I am into the unit now and I have not started to actually sew yet. I am teaching them how to put on a button (by hand) this week. I will show them the parts of a machine soon and then we will construct something… I feel that shorts would be AWESOME but out of my league at teh current time. I am not a seamstress in the slightest and I am a little uncomfortable about the whole sewing thing so I am going to maybe have them make pillows first. Do you think they could create their own pattern? Okay, Thanks again. I would like to try to make shorts maybe next year when I can play with the machines more over the summer.
Just a comment about sewing and crocheting in the classroom. In the PFD TEKS it states to “utilize principles of quality clothing construction” which does not necessarily mean that actual clothing construction must take place in the classroom. In fact, the only course where construction is a given is in the Textile & Apparel Design course where it is suggested for those individuals who are going into the design career and of course in the Textile & Apparel Production Co-op Course. Please be aware that an administrator might see things such as crocheting in the classroom as a “craft” and not an essential skill that all students should learn. Many administrators have a problem with crafts in the classroom, and see that course and curriculum as “non-essential” to a student’s learning. When the TEKS were written, every effort was made to upgrade our curriculum to make it meaningful for all students. For instance, in the apparel area, how many students actually have sewing machines at home which will be utilized if they learn that skill? However, they might utilize repair skills, alteration skills, embellishment skills, etc. Just some thoughts . . . .
Blog Directions As most of you know, using a blog for mentoring purposes is a new use of technology for The Curriculum Center for Family and Consumer Sciences. We want it to be user friendly and provide an avenue for mentor teachers to share their knowledge to those who are new or returning to the classroom. I have uploaded a PowerPoint presentation on the basics of using the blog to hopefully answer any technical questions you may have.
Just for your information, Moody Gardens gives great educational discounts. I am taking my students on the way to regional meeting and we are seeing 3 attractions, the aquarium, the rainforest and IMAX for $12.95. I spoke with Carla Welder to get this rate and I did not have the 20 people the internet said you needed for a group.
I usually do a small sewing project in PFD. My favorite is to create a block using crazy quilting technique and then they make it into a pillow. This allows them to use the sewing machine, and with crazy quilting, it turns out even if you do not sew straight. I encourage them to use decorative stitches on the machine and I require them to sew some buttons on their pillow so they get the experience of sewing on buttons. Once they get the pillow together, they hand sew it closed so they get some blind stitch experience. If you have never done crazy quilting it is very easy. I cut 15 inch squares of muslin for the base. It works best to start with a 5 sided square in the middle. Then you sew 2 inch strips (right sides together and flip and press) and continue in a clockwise motion. At the end, you trim to the base size. It is fun to see how creative the kids can be.
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