Yarn and knitting needles tiptoed into the room last week. Some girls brought in some knitting and then some other girls wanted to learn. Then some boys wanted to learn. And then I wanted to learn. Knitting has formed some unlikely partnerships in our classroom: a boy, who can be tough and rough, tries and tries again while a soft-spoken girl shows him how to get it right. Another boy, known for his size and strength and gentleness, works the yarn deftly in his large hands. Everyday new knitting needles come in with a novice knitter, and the newly taught become teachers to whoever moves forward to learn.
There are not enough knitting needles. A boy has the idea of chopsticks and brings them in. Another thinks to knit with pencils. I have raided abandoned craft closets for yarn. It is good to do something with our hands after a morning of state testing.
No one knew how to cast on the stitches. Two girls took responsibility for finding out how — then they cast on for others. They weren’t getting enough time to work on their own knitting. That’s when I knew it was time for me to learn.
I went to Ben Franklin and got my own knitting needles and yarn. I came home and searched You Tube for a demo on how to knit and I hit replay over and over while I fumbled with the yarn. It is good for a teacher to remember how hard it is to learn something new that does not come easily.
I watch children knit and can’t help but think of Maria Montessori. She wrote often about the child’s capacity for concentration and love of silence, order, work, and beauty. The knitter’s silence sings with these truths.
There is something perfect about our class learning to knit at the end of the year. At the beginning of the year we explored our hopes and dreams for third grade. We learned the Room 204 routines. We “cast on” well as we created life and learning together. As the year is ending we are learning to finish well. There are no dropped stitches. Each person is honored as part of the pattern. In knitting, if you don’t take the time to finish your work, it unravels. We have worked too hard together to unravel. We will take the time to finish beautifully.