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More Reflections Of A 4-H Leader

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joet

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At last, there is some improvement in my 4-H kids and their work. Sat down with them last night for about half an hour just fine tuning certain areas that they were having trouble in. Even though I had shown them the proper way of holding the mallet, none of them used it properly; so, I went through step by step how to pick it up and then using the wrist action, strike the tool of choice. They weren't happy about it at first, but as they used it more, then it started to come natural to them. The swivel knife came next. At the last class I noticed that all of the kids were using the knife at a very steep angle. I tried it that way myself to see if there would be any harm in using it that way and found that there was a lot of drag to the knife. So, the next thing last night was to bring the knife up to a straighter angle and after several attempts they were able to see the difference in their work. The angle of the knife is not all that important, at least to me, as I've seen the masters at work and some of them held their knife at about the same angle and were doing excellent work. But I felt that in the case of the kids, the proper angle would help them get a deeper cut. We next worked on the proper depth of some of the tools. The pear shader was first as all of the kids were trying to drive the tool through the leather. With the proper use of the mallet, they were able to get the right depth. Tapping the tool, not smacking it was the rule last night and it paid off. The beveler came next. I pointed out to them the different names of the tool, such as the toe and heel and the proper position of the heal when it came to placing the tool on the line. Many of the kids were beveling the line with the tool facing the wrong direction and later finding out that the background was no longer the background, but the foreground. I think the lesson given, will help many of them.The first three practice projects for Unit 2 were completed and we worked on another project that was not related to the unit. I had brought in a craftaid I had that was for a rounder. What is interesting is that that same pattern is the one I learned on 35 years ago and it hadn't changed any. I had tooled up a sample of what it was to look like and the kids used that to see what tools went where. They are slowly learning. One of the boys is picking up the use of the tools and will improve a lot this year. He is very interested in doing the work and will, in my opinion, turn into a good craftsman. One of the other boys, younger than the one just talked about has come a long ways and what is interesting is that he doesn't get frustrated easily. I feel that in time, he will also become a good craftsman.I had to put the younger girl back into Unit 1, but not because she couldn't handle the work. The powers that be decided that she was too young for the work she was doing and had to start all over again. Time is running out as the county fair will be here before we know it, and she still has a long ways to go to be able to finsh. I have a feeling that I'll be expanding my classes to two meetings a month instead of one. Time will tell.

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Sounds like you've got a solid bunch of 4-H er's. It would be nice to have a scrap piece of leather for each of them to start each month with and just practice the basics before delving into their projects but I understand the time constraints. Good going, Joe! Can you post pics of their projects on the blog? How about some shots of them as they are working on their projects. Keep up the good work!

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I know what you are up against. Time is a real issue. I have had a group of 4-H'ers for the past 6 years. This year I was not able to. I was never sucessful in getting them to practice at home. We always had practice leather thanks

to Tandy Leather in Tempe, Az. and a fine group of guys who meet there! We don't have a structured curriculum here. I just suggested something small. I always had an issue getting parents to invest in some basic entry level tools

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Hi Joe. I am a new member to this site and it is encouraging to see so many out there are involved with the 4H kids; as I. We do not have a set corriculum and I am interested in seeing what you are teaching. I am the only 4H leather leader in our county. Do you have a link to where you get your material from? Regarding your article, I have classes for 12 weeks starting in Jan. We have two classes a week. Everyone learns the basic tools and I put them in their hands. We go over how to hold and use each of them. Everyone is on the same page with the same tools and I work with each of them; not moving on until everyone gets it - to a point. One thing I stumbled on was to make sure the kids' elbows were level with the top of the tool. I think that with the kids thinking about where their elbow is keeps them from whacking the tools. Not to mention the surface of the mallot in flat with the tool; using more wrist action. Just a thought. My favorite projects are the ones that the kids come up with on their own. I try and explain to them that our projects have to serve some kind of purpose otherwise it is junk. Art is a purpose too. We don't make any junk, but make a good bit of art! :o) This year I had a young man make a miniViseGrip holder for his dad. We fashioned the holster in the shape of a blue jean back pocket. The ViseGrip slips into the form fitted pocket. His dad does not wear a belt, but he runs holes in the bottom of his back pocket by sitting on the ViseGrips. Really cool ORIGINAL idea. I'll be posting some pictures of the projects soon. Please send me a link to your corriculum and BTW what state are you in? Thanks for your post. At least I know I am not the only one out there facing similar issues.

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Hi Joe. I am a new member to this site and it is encouraging to see so many out there are involved with the 4H kids; as I. We do not have a set corriculum and I am interested in seeing what you are teaching. I am the only 4H leather leader in our county. Do you have a link to where you get your material from? Regarding your article, I have classes for 12 weeks starting in Jan. We have two classes a week. Everyone learns the basic tools and I put them in their hands. We go over how to hold and use each of them. Everyone is on the same page with the same tools and I work with each of them; not moving on until everyone gets it - to a point. One thing I stumbled on was to make sure the kids' elbows were level with the top of the tool. I think that with the kids thinking about where their elbow is keeps them from whacking the tools. Not to mention the surface of the mallot in flat with the tool; using more wrist action. Just a thought. My favorite projects are the ones that the kids come up with on their own. I try and explain to them that our projects have to serve some kind of purpose otherwise it is junk. Art is a purpose too. We don't make any junk, but make a good bit of art! :o) This year I had a young man make a miniViseGrip holder for his dad. We fashioned the holster in the shape of a blue jean back pocket. The ViseGrip slips into the form fitted pocket. His dad does not wear a belt, but he runs holes in the bottom of his back pocket by sitting on the ViseGrips. Really cool ORIGINAL idea. I'll be posting some pictures of the projects soon. Please send me a link to your corriculum and BTW what state are you in? Thanks for your post. At least I know I am not the only one out there facing similar issues.

In answer to your question Hids2Art, I live in Colorado. I really don't have a corriculum that I use at this time, but basically go with the project book. I go through in my mind what I'm going to cover at each meeting, and usually keep to that. If there is something I need to cover I usually will write down the sequence of events for whatever the problem may be. Like you I let the kids pick the projects. One of the kids in the class is a brain and quickly picks up anything and everything I say or do. This kid has some great ideas, and they are usually 10 steps ahead of where he is in actual learning. I'll try to get pictures this year. I didn't have time last year as I was too busy either teaching or chatting with a parent.

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