Tag Archives: Networked Learning Project

My Red Bookshelf

Building a bookshelf seemed easy when I first came up with the idea. I am good at building things, I like to build and put things together. My friends call me when they buy something from Target or Ikea and have me come over to build it for them.

But this was a different story. Starting with a 4ft by 8ft piece of wood was not something familiar to me. My bookshelf came out just the way I envisioned it, but I did have some hiccups along the way.

Here’s what happened. I first started to put the pieces together only to realize the wood wasn’t cut right. I think the template I used called for 1” plywood and I had ¾”. Oops. I remixed and was pleased to realize that Khalid, my new friend at Home Depot, had cut extra wood for me. These extra pieces saved my bookshelf. I was able to use those to create the shelves and the top. It ended up working perfectly.

I also learned how to use a power drill more efficiently and change a drill bit. That was tedious. Who knew you couldn’t just drill a screw into a piece of wood? You have to drill a pilot hole first. Each time I needed to use a screw, I had to use the pilot hole drill bit first, then switch to use the one for the screw. This was what frustrated me the most; if I didn’t have to continuously switch the drill bit, I could have gotten it done in half the time.

By using my network of resources, it allowed me to realize how many great tools are out there to utilize. You might have to sort through the bad ones to find a good one, but there are so many people who are doing the same thing as you.  

After reflecting on this project, I am really proud of myself. Working through problems is what makes you better. Learn from mistakes and from splitting wood because each time you get better and better.

Similar to A More Beautiful Question by Warren Berger, the more beautiful questions you ask the better outcome you will have. You will be more creative, innovative and be able to solve problems in a way that makes you think deeper about the answer (2014).

I feel like through this process, I was able to create and innovate. I had to remix many times to ensure my bookshelf would come out looking good and usable. In my head, I asked many questions about how to better improve my project.

As I learn from doing, just like kids do, I was able to make something out of nothing that shows evidence of perseverance, determination and creativity.

Berger, W. (2014). A more beautiful question: The power of inquiry to spark breakthrough ideas. New York, NY: Bloomsbury.

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I’m not in Nordstrom anymore…

I usually love department stores. The kind with clothes, shoes and accessories everywhere I turn. But take me out of that kind of department store and put me in the kind with doors, spray paint, nails, drywall and toilets; I’m lost.

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I hope the STOP sign wasn’t trying to tell me something…

That’s how I felt today when I went to Home Depot to get supplies to build my bookshelf. 

I had a list of what I needed and the dimensions of the wood I would need to buy from one of my resources, Ana White’s blog. This blog really helped me because it gave me a picture of what I was building and the dimensions in basic terms. She also listed other supplies I would need, so I knew what else I had to purchase if I didn’t already own it like wood glue, sandpaper and 2” screws.

From there, I could draw a sketch of my bookshelf.

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I walked to the ‘lumber’ aisle and was overwhelmed with the different types of wood there were. Thick, thin, dark, light; I really could go on. My biggest challenge was initially figuring out what type of wood I wanted. The website said one thing and I thought something else. I asked a Home Depot employee for help and asked him many questions about each type of wood.

Without Khalid’s help, I truly would not have known what to do. I explained to him what I was building and what I needed. He showed me a few types of wood and I decided to get a ¾” thick plywood that seemed perfect to build a bookshelf. He took the 4 ft by 8 ft piece off the stack and I gave him the dimensions of the pieces of wood I needed. He took the wood back to the vertical saw at the store and started cutting the wood for me. Honestly, there was no way I’d be able to fit that in my car!

I really wanted to learn how to use a table saw, but because I don’t have those resources available to me (or the $$), I used the resource at Home Depot to help me get closer to building my bookshelf.

Another challenge I faced was the plywood for the back of the bookshelf. The online blog I had been using said I should get plywood for the back of the bookshelf. Khalid explained to me the only piece he had was 4ft by 8ft which is way bigger than what I needed. Being a teacher on a budget, I also couldn’t afford to buy a huge piece of wood I would only use a quarter of. My solution on the spot was to just nix the back of the bookshelf. I figure I could make a bookshelf you can access from both sides instead of just one. I might change my mind later, but I can always go back and get the plywood I need.

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Who knew there were so many different types of screws?!

Before I get to the real building, I wanted to practice my gluing and sanding skills. I show these two new skills in the video below.  

I wanted to wait until my official building day to learn how to use a drill and hammer properly. I’ll be building the bookshelf at my dad’s store, Exercise Warehouse. He has a warehouse in the back with proper tools and a power drill. I’ve been researching how to use a power drill so I am familiar and comfortable enough with it before my dad shows me the real thing.

I’m excited to start building. It’s hard to visualize all of these planks of wood will be built into something substantial I can use in my house or in my classroom.

Maybe this will be my new Nordstrom? Maybe not… let’s see how it goes!


White, A. (n.d.). Willy Bookcase in Four Sizes [Web log post]. Retrieved from http://www.ana-white.com/2010/03/plans-simple-bookcases-in-4-sizes-the-willy-bookcase-that-you-can-build.html

 

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Networked Learning Project Plan

tom-wooden-bookcase-1I have decided to learn how to build a bookshelf for my networked learning project. Being a classroom teacher, there is never enough space to store my books, so why not learn how build a bookshelf to put in my classroom space?! I enjoy putting things together that start from nothing and using my toolbox. I am excited to begin the process of making something from just a few pieces of wood. 

After doing a quick search on Google, I have already discovered a ton of great resources that will assist me in accomplishing my goal.

The Family Handyman is a helpful ‘how to’ guide to building a bookshelf. They use photos to help make the directions come to life. This example is a fancier bookshelf than I had in mind, but it doesn’t hurt to set the standards high!

This YouTube video is also perfect for what my goal is. When I thought of this idea, I envisioned a very simple design. The woodworker in the video explains that this is a great design for beginners and it seems he goes through each step thoroughly. He also says right up front what tools I will need to begin building.

Ana White Blog‘s will also be a good tool for basic instructions on how to reach my goal. While briefly scrolling through this website, it is clear that Ana uses precise words and pictures to explain the directions. As a visual learner this really helps.

These are just three of the sources I have discovered to help me learn this new building skill. I am excited to get going on this project. Maybe after I’ll get to paint it too!

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