The scratch of sandpaper on wood and students’ chatter filled Glenn Palmieri’s tech classroom at Henry H. Wells Middle School. Palmieri, or Mr. P, as students and staff affectionately call him, had his Life Skills students huddled around a big work table, sanding the edges of wooden shapes that the students were going to turn into clocks.
The wooden bases ranged in design from Peppa Pig and Sponge Bob to a house and a frog that Palmieri was making for the students’ teacher, Tom Solimine.
“Now that we have our bases set, what do you think our next step is for building our clocks?” Palmieri asked students before they began work. “If you remember, we drilled a couple of holes. So now we need to clean it up so we can get ready to paint.”
His statement was met with cheers before students helped collect goggles and sandpaper to hand out to their classmates.
“We want to make sure that we get all of the edges so that they’re not sharp anymore,” Palmieri instructed.
Students rubbed away at their edges with some help from their aides, while Palmieri called out encouragingly.
“Dom, Sponge Bob is looking awesome,” he said to one student.
“I appreciate your attention to detail,” he said to another. “Detail makes a big difference.”
Once there were no sharp edges left, the class was ready to paint their creations. As they spread brightly colored paint across the wood, they talked about some of their favorite projects they have done together: from coat holders and stools to a bird feeder for the courtyard.
“We have fun in tech class, don’t we?” Palmieri asked the students.