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Author Topic: Interesting observation in casual teaching  (Read 1236 times)

studio42

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Interesting observation in casual teaching
« on: April 29, 2017, 04:03:01 AM »

Among the many things I do, I'm also working IT for a barber college, where they also have me doing other admin stuff and working the register.

Many of the students have taken quite an interest in skill toys, mostly since I'm using them while killing time. I also "have" to use them to distract kids so they'll be more cooperative while in the barber chair getting their hair cut. Not to sound "crude", but we also have a number of regular walk-in clients with mental disabilities, many of whom are recurring. The same tactics work well in many of them.

Before I dive in, I need to step back. I first saw "modern spintop" play in one of Andre Boulay's Dark Magic promo videos. I later ended up buying a Bearing King and a Gulia. It was very frustrating trying to learn tops. A friend of mine, who is also on this forum, was also trying to get into tops, so we were both trying to figure this out, without much success. It wasn't exactly the "blind leading the blind", but it wasn't far off. Well, we sort of take breaks from each other and come back to share whatever we learned. Our spintop progress was NOT impressive. After 2 years of just frustrating failure, I had a situation present itself. First, I cut my finger pretty bad playing yoyo, so I had to take a break so it would heal. With my kids being on an "off-track" break from their year-round school schedule, I had plenty of free time to re-direct my focus. It as time to finally "master" spin tops. During that month, I was finally able to throw properly, thanks largely in part to this forum. Spinner, scoop, sky rocket and finally boomerang. For me, quite excellent progress considering all the problems before.

OK, we'll jump back to "current". As I said, many of the students are interested in skill toys. Today, two of them grabbed tops and I was able to get them throwing them down and doing spinners.

I think at this rate, since Saturday will be busy, by the end of next week, I'll definitely have them doing not only spinners but also scooping and balancing it in their hands. If they take to that faster than I did, I might be able to get them to boomerang those tops! If not by the end of this week, then surely by the end of next week. What this does show to me is that if I had had someone really be able to show me what to do, I think I'd have had a lot better earlier results and I'd be much further along than I am now. Even so, I'm rather pleased with where I am, even though I'm not far along.

I have a feeling that I'll be having some online store move a lot of Electrick and Short Circuit tops. I know I'm buying more for myself fairly soon, along with a Spin Gear koma top and going go Spin Gear direct to get one of the Soft Chonkakegoma tops. With a lot of quality sub $20 yoyos on the market that can be ugpraded from stock responsive to unresponsive, I have plenty of options for students to get in on the cheap and yet still come out with quality gear.

One of the things I've been saying to the students is that it's helpful to not only have an external hobby, but also have some sort of thing you can do to entertain and engage kids because it will be a good skill to have. I've been bringing in "magic" stuff and all sorts of different skill toys, including metal disentanglement puzzles. Sometimes just handing a kid something like one of those metal puzzles or something like a fidget cube or spinner, a Rubik's cube or similar toys is just having a toy to manipulate is a great time occupier. Having radio and/or TV in a barber shop is all well and good, but having some extra "resources" and skills provide a more rounded set of options. I bet the other barber schools don't teach this stuff!
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Jeremy McCreary

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Re: Interesting observation in casual teaching
« Reply #1 on: April 29, 2017, 07:51:54 PM »

I've made similar observations (though at a much lower skill level ) of kids trying to twirl the finger tops I put out for the public to try at LEGO shows. Few kids these days know how to twirl a top -- especially the under-10 crowd. Way too mechanical for their modern taste.

First, they'll go straight for the biggest top on the table -- one they have no prayer of twirling -- and then fail and fail and fail as their parents look on without offering a lick of coaching. Or just as often, the parents have their noses so deeply buried in their smartphones that they have no idea the kid's even struggling. But if and when they do look up, they often still do nothing! Don't get me started on distracted parenting!  >:(

I usually step in at that point, giving the kid an age-appropriate (usually much smaller) top and showing him or her that during spin-up, a vertical stem is much more important than a hard crank. That mostly involves taking the top back, demonstrating the finger motions a few times with and without the top, and proving to them that easy-does-it really works. Then I give them back the top and let them have at it. Coaching from there is usually a matter of reminding them to concentrate on staying vertical until they let go.

For many kids, that's the only leg-up needed.  Indeed, they often progress quickly from there as I feed them bigger and bigger tops, or tops with less and less ground clearance, or both -- building on successes rather than failures at every step. After a few rounds of escalation, they're beaming confidently and totally hooked.

When the parent finally looks up and says, "Come on, Sarah! We have to move on to the next display", Sarah not infrequently asks to be taken home so that she can start making LEGO tops of her own.

Mission accomplished!  :)
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 08:06:05 PM by Jeremy McCreary »
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Playing with the physical world through LEGO

Softspin

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Re: Interesting observation in casual teaching
« Reply #2 on: April 29, 2017, 09:39:28 PM »

Good post . I was having a frustrating day at our club meet( the college for the easily amused ) and my top flew in to another room at the coffee shop. I engaged in a conversation with a couple who were having coffee and they asked what was going on in the next room ,So I invited them to watch and was soon teaching them how to wrap and throw a spinner. And guess what frustration gone..I love showing the neighbor kid how to throw and he has a couple of my used sidewinders as do my daughters boy friend and nephew... Sharing I think gets me out of myself... And getting to share and pass on something is rewarding. Thank you all who share on this forum
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studio42

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Re: Interesting observation in casual teaching
« Reply #3 on: May 01, 2017, 04:36:31 AM »

I'll see if there will be an update this week.

The tops used were YYF Elecrick tops, mostly since that was what I had out at the moment. I had those and my Short Circuit tops out because I was seeing what to NOT order from YYE so I don't end up with duplicates. I also had several Spintastics with me but not out, as well as 5 Strummol8's. If I have to bring tops out, I still have some Spintastics at home as well as 10 BK's(4 set fixed, 4 set bearing and 2 set up bearing with Spintastics tips bu they do vibe a bit more than I would prefer). With I think only 15 students at the barber college, I am not concerned about having enough tops. I am slightly worried about having enough tops at the right time, which can be easily resolved.

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trav1121

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Re: Interesting observation in casual teaching
« Reply #4 on: May 05, 2017, 03:27:52 PM »

Among the many things I do, I'm also working IT for a barber college, where they also have me doing other admin stuff and working the register.

Many of the students have taken quite an interest in skill toys, mostly since I'm using them while killing time. I also "have" to use them to distract kids so they'll be more cooperative while in the barber chair getting their hair cut. Not to sound "crude", but we also have a number of regular walk-in clients with mental disabilities, many of whom are recurring. The same tactics work well in many of them.

Before I dive in, I need to step back. I first saw "modern spintop" play in one of Andre Boulay's Dark Magic promo videos. I later ended up buying a Bearing King and a Gulia. It was very frustrating trying to learn tops. A friend of mine, who is also on this forum, was also trying to get into tops, so we were both trying to figure this out, without much success. It wasn't exactly the "blind leading the blind", but it wasn't far off. Well, we sort of take breaks from each other and come back to share whatever we learned. Our spintop progress was NOT impressive. After 2 years of just frustrating failure, I had a situation present itself. First, I cut my finger pretty bad playing yoyo, so I had to take a break so it would heal. With my kids being on an "off-track" break from their year-round school schedule, I had plenty of free time to re-direct my focus. It as time to finally "master" spin tops. During that month, I was finally able to throw properly, thanks largely in part to this forum. Spinner, scoop, sky rocket and finally boomerang. For me, quite excellent progress considering all the problems before.

OK, we'll jump back to "current". As I said, many of the students are interested in skill toys. Today, two of them grabbed tops and I was able to get them throwing them down and doing spinners.

I think at this rate, since Saturday will be busy, by the end of next week, I'll definitely have them doing not only spinners but also scooping and balancing it in their hands. If they take to that faster than I did, I might be able to get them to boomerang those tops! If not by the end of this week, then surely by the end of next week. What this does show to me is that if I had had someone really be able to show me what to do, I think I'd have had a lot better earlier results and I'd be much further along than I am now. Even so, I'm rather pleased with where I am, even though I'm not far along.

I have a feeling that I'll be having some online store move a lot of Electrick and Short Circuit tops. I know I'm buying more for myself fairly soon, along with a Spin Gear koma top and going go Spin Gear direct to get one of the Soft Chonkakegoma tops. With a lot of quality sub $20 yoyos on the market that can be ugpraded from stock responsive to unresponsive, I have plenty of options for students to get in on the cheap and yet still come out with quality gear.

One of the things I've been saying to the students is that it's helpful to not only have an external hobby, but also have some sort of thing you can do to entertain and engage kids because it will be a good skill to have. I've been bringing in "magic" stuff and all sorts of different skill toys, including metal disentanglement puzzles. Sometimes just handing a kid something like one of those metal puzzles or something like a fidget cube or spinner, a Rubik's cube or similar toys is just having a toy to manipulate is a great time occupier. Having radio and/or TV in a barber shop is all well and good, but having some extra "resources" and skills provide a more rounded set of options. I bet the other barber schools don't teach this stuff!
Good to hear more people getting interested in tops/skilltoys. It took me a while to teach myself how to throw but thanks to Duncan's how to be a player vol 2, and the videos posted here I managed to learn quite a few tricks. People always seem to be so amazed by the simplest of tricks and I usually respond with something like "You should see this guy on the internet, he's waaaaay better". I guess it's kinda like how you can do 5A yo-yo tricks but people ask you to walk the dog or do around the world instead lol. I agree that it is good to have a hobby revolved around skill, it keeps your mind focused and allows you to think outside the box(at least for me anyhow). I remember playing with my yo-yo outside of my college(back when i yo-yo'd a lot) waiting for the next class to start and people always stopping to watch some pretty basic 5A/1A stuff and them looking amazed that someone could yo-yo without it being attached to my hand and get it to land on the string etc. It's cool how humans have been so intrigued by these toys for hundreds of years and still are til this day, it's timeless.
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