I would never design a lesson with a project that required the use of an
exacto knife with my middle school students. I have let individuals use
them provided I felt they were mature and responsible enough to handle them.
First of all I couldn't monitor 25-30 knives in that many students hands
-having unpredictable actions and emotions during this stage of their life.
I remember a middle school student using my (pointed) scissors as a knife as
he flung it towards another student who mentioned "something" about his
"mamma". No - in middle school I would stick to traditional materials- just
from experience and save those few exceptions for those whom I could trust.
There was also a girl who sliced off her thumb on the table saw during Tech
Ed at the MS. It was the Tech Ed teacherwho was brought up on charges from
the parents. The kids no longer are responsible for their actions -we are
so...no, those kids get nothing that they could hurt themselves with. I
toyed with the option of going back to rounded pointed scissors after that
incident- but I opted to keep the pointed ones as that child was removed from
I also remember an incident during my student teaching where a first grade
boy stabbed a girl in his classroom with a scissors -in the mouth (17
stitches) 1/2 hour after I left the room (art on a cart). The classroom
teacher kept a bin in the middle of a group of desks that held scissors, glue
sticks, crayons, pencils and erasers. I "trust" very few students from k-8
without knowing a lot about their background, family etc...
Now that I am at the HS, I find myself still going through this "evaluating"
process as I take out hazardous materials (exactos, Turps, Fixative, rubber
cement etc...). I still watch my 36 " paper cutter like a hawk as I let my
advanced art students cut their own paper. But thats me...maybe over time
I'll loosen up but for now I want to control these materials and predict the
Kathy in Kalamazoo
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