At our first meeting I always try to impress on the everyone WHY we are here. We have a lot of fun, but sometimes it's nice to remind ourselves that we are a community service group and our whole purpose it to help and make others feel better through the skills of our hands. Having been a NICU parent, I feel this deeply and shared my thoughts with the kids. It doesn't matter if their little preemie hat is slightly misshapen or has one or two (or three) dropped stitches. Someone will receive it and know that someone else was thinking of them and wishing them well. That's why we do this.
After my sermon, we split up and the people that could already knit, got working on some scarves for Bearcat Carnival. I tried something new this year with my beginners.
I bought a DVD called The Complete Beginner's Guide to Knitting. I gave all my beginners a light colored ball of yarn and some knitting needles and sat them down in front of the SmartBoard to watch the lesson on Casting On. Several experienced students were scattered with them, to one of whom I gave the remote control. I told the group that we were going to try this and that I thought the instruction of the DVD was very clear and the nice thing was that it could be paused and replayed as many times as necessary.
It worked o.k., but I may need to tweak things a little. The group was a little big and I probably need to assign more kids as helpers. Overall, it was good and I am glad we have an extra teaching tool. The DVD covers knitting, purling, increases, decreases, binding off, and finishing too, so I think the kids will have lots to learn this year!