Clear Workspace, Full Hearts, Can’t Lose.


It might not look it, but this is wildly more organized than it once was.

This past week has filled me with energy and excitement. Not because of some awesome project being completed, or students being wildly engaged in our projects, or the prospect of two weeks off just a few short weeks away, but because my space is starting to feel organized.

I adopted a shop classroom that was built in the 60’s just last year. It is massive, well outfitted and perfectly functional. Its greatest fault however is that it is filled with junk. After nearly 60 years, junk accumulates…lots of junk. And the previous 2 teachers have made a dent in even more junk according to my colleagues. But it is still far too much junk.

On Wednesday I went out shopping while students were busy testing. I went to the big box store and picked up new shop vac filters, new big shop brooms, a giant bottle of concentrated all purpose cleaner, along with some replacement drill bits and other sundries. And then I started cleaning, and cleaning and cleaning. I got obsessed, and it was wonderful. Now, the shop is nearly usable.

Most excitingly, I have a crew of students who have signed up to help me with redesigning and re-configuring the woodshop for student use, and this little cleaning session has jump started that project so the students can focus on how they want the shop laid out. I want them to steer the ship on how to practically lay out the space and the tools so that it works for them and the work they want to do. I want to make sure ytools are usable by mt 3’11” 6th graders, and my 7’2″ 8th graders. I want everything in the shop to be visible and accessible. I want clean and organized lumber storage. I want a safe, and inspiring woodshop to encourage students to jump in and make something. But, at the end of the day, what the final product that meets those objectives is firmly in the hands of the students who will use it.


Outside of the classroom, the long neglected woodshop at the neighborhood makerspace, Splatspace got the same makeover treatment. With power in numbers, in a single day, the space went from absolute unusable disaster zone to a space that people are now excited to get into and use. Over the next few weeks and months, I’m going to be looking to improve this space for use by adults and creatives…including the possibility of a Maslow CNC.

At the end of the day, I think the mess and the clutter had been keeping my brain a bit messy and cluttered. Now, with two clean and ready to run workspaces, my head feels cleared up and excited, and more importantly inspired.

Cue the goofy wood turning projects, and silly gift projects for the lovely month of December.



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