15 & 16 Days 'Til 40 ("It's Just Like Driving A Go Cart")

So how do you get ten year old boys on the cusp of solidifying their gender stereotypes to use a sewing machine?

You lie.

Yesterday was my second classroom visit and I brought along Kenmore. In the previous visit, I mentioned that Kenmore, my powder blue sewing machine, was a boy. And not only was he a boy, Kenmore was a tough-talking piece of machinery that could pierce through chip board and cork. So when I actually pulled Kenmore out of my bag and set him up on a table, there were more than a handful of boys that gravitated toward us.

"What's that?" asked a bushy-haired kid dressed from head to toe in NY Giants colors, pointing to the pedal attached to Kenmore.

I immediately responded,"that's the gas pedal." And as the words tumbled out of my mouth, I realized that using a sewing machine was sort of like driving. So I looked at this kid in the eye and leaned in as if I were revealing a secret. "Ever drive a go cart?" I asked. The boy nodded furiously. "Well," I continued, "using Kenmore is just like driving a go cart. You have your gas pedal and you need two hands to steer."

And with those words, I had almost every boy in that class clamoring to sew their paper square. Ah, success!

The paper quilt project is almost done. I go back on Tuesday for my final classroom visit and we'll sew the squares together. Here is a sneak peak of the paper quilt.

When I assembled the squares this morning to assess the work that still needed to be done, I started to cry. Silly, I know. It's not that I doubted the abilities of these wonderful fourth grade kids. But to see what they've done with a few brown grocery bags and a stack of magazines is simply amazing. This is what art and craft is about, and I couldn't be more proud of these kids.