Teaching Expertise (A Grade Project)

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Ladd Kocinski

Teaching My Expertise

For the major projects for the year on the grade contract I taught the cohort my area of expertise at two sessions in April.

We met at the construction trades house on eleventh street in International Falls. Tools and safety equipment were furnished and cohort members got a chance to do real hands on learning. We started out with the transit, which is used to establish grade and keep things level in the excavating and footing processes. Everyone looked through the transit and took some shots and figured the slope from to the building to the street.

Our next experience was to operate a piece of heavy equipment. I had them each operate a 350C John Deere traxcavator and scoop up a bucketful of fill, backup, turn and dump it out, and return to the starting position. It was very interesting for me to see their movements and reactions to the machine. Some were very bold and some were very timid, but everyone participated and got the job done.

We then moved on to layout, material, sizes, and carpentry skills. We discussed the parts of a wall frame and their purpose. We talked about why walls are the size they are, and we also demonstrated how to check to be sure the components built are straight and square.

Lunch was served at break time from the weber kettle. Hamburgers, cheeseburgers, hot dogs, and polish sausage and all necessary condiments were on hand.

After lunch the actual construction began. A short lesson on the tape measure, skill saw, and square and the sawdust began to fly. Each member was able to square up and cut a board to length. They used hammers and nails to erect three walls and frame in a door. They were squared up, erected and fastened together as the rafters began to take shape. 9:00 P.M. came around and the project was halted until next week.

At the second session the cohort was eager to finish their project. Mary Jean operated the traxcavator and did a great job! the group finished the fourth wall with a window framed in it and the lookouts, rafters, and drop gables were applied. Next sheeting was installed on the rafters and Karen Rigdon applied a few shingles. They forgot to figure the thickness of the sill and had to adjust the rough opening and the window was installed, shimmed, plumbed, and leveled. We had a twenty pound turkey on the weber with baked potatoes, cranberry sauce, bread, and pumpkin bars. A short pre and post assessment test showed everyone felt they had gained a lot of information and feel for construction occupations. I enjoyed teaching, cooking, and facilitating these sessions very much and would be glad to go over plumbing, heating, and electrical work next year if anyone is interested. Tim Ringhoffer was able to put his new skills to work right away. He helped his sister put up a screen porch and knew how to frame and tie the plates together at the top. Great Tim!

-- Anonymous, May 18, 1999

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