Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The Gem Tree Class

I'll start this blog with the intention of finishing it next week with pictures.

I was contacted by a Girl Scout group about teaching gem trees in one of their sessions. What I didn't realize was the extent to which the group would want to learn. At last count we are up to 42 girls of ages from 5-11. What have I gotten myself into?

I was able to contact a couple of previous students that will be helping me out with questions during the class as well as my husband. Instead of letting the girls pick their gems and rocks, I have made packets to make it a little less chaotic. I really can not imagine how the class will turn out (it is on Saturday), but I plan on taking lots of pictures of the girls making the trees and of some of the finished trees. I'll post them here next week.

Since my written instructions are geared towards adults, I'm not sure how to provide them with something written to take home. Maybe I'll take some pictures of the beginning stages of making a tree and add that to the instructions. Sometimes kids can look at a picture and just figure it out, but this will be one for the book. Literally, I will be adding this to the BOOK, pictures and all. If adults know that making these little trees can be made by a 5 year old then they can do it to.

Since we are talking about classes, I taught a Stress Reduction Tree Class during a lunch break here at work. I taught one of my new tree designs that I haven't had anyone make yet. So far, feedback is good, but the length of the class was too short and the written instructions are still being reviewed by the participants. The one thing that did come out of this was learning how the students would take the "Stress Reduction" part of the class and apply it to everyday work life. Since we didn't get to finish the trees, the part of adding the gemstones to the branches was only covered briefly. I have noticed that during the day they will pick up their tree twist a few more wires and add a couple of stones and then go back to what they were doing. When asked about this, they told me that by adding a few stones here and there they were able to focus their attention on something different and get out of a mentally stressful situation even if just for a few minutes. So I guess the theme of "Stress Reduction" works even though I didn't realize how it would when I developed the class.