Dirt Under My Fingernails

We've moved to www.STEAMPoweredClassroom.com!

Announcing: The STEAM-Powered Classroom

on November 22, 2013

That’s right: Dirt Under My Fingernails will soon become The STEAM-Powered Classroom, with its own URL and everything. Thanks to everyone, both on this forum and in emails and conversation who helped brainstorm and give feedback for various name manifestations. In the end, inspired by all of your suggestions, my own husband helped me settle on a final name. So who are these delightful, creative people who helped me out? Let me introduce (I’m only including those whose web info I know):

Applause for Our Support Committee!

Tamara Swedberg, an expert in all things tech and solar. You can find her here (plus she made really cool digital birthday cakes that you can personalize and send to your friends!): http://www.tamaraswedberg.com/

DairyAirHead, a “sometimes hipster” who keeps a creative writing blog dedicated to poetry, fiction, music, and other forms of art that touches her life. Find her at www.dairyairhead.com.

Vanessa, who says “I am passionate about providing a rich, personalized education for my children (and when I am teaching, other children). My interests include home education, giftedness, alternative education systems and writing for children.” You can find her at http://chrysalisisland.blogspot.com

And my dear friend Horrible Ray, who sells Horrible History books as well as books from Life of Fred, Art of Problem Solving, Story of the World, and a couple of foreign language resources too. Find him at http://horriblebooks.com/. And tell him I sent you!

Many thanks to all of these folks, and the many others who participated in my earlier poll.

Why STEAM-Powered Classroom?

The emphasis on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) has been sweeping our country’s educational reform movement for some time now, as there is a general feeling that we are short-changing our students in these areas. However, there are many voices who also feel that the arts are also an area where we are woefully lacking, and its omission is stunting our kids’ development of creativity and out-of-the-box thinking. So we stick the “A” in and get STEAM. We’re huge proponents of STEAM in our home, and we are generous to the “A” and let it include the humanities as well. I mean, you could call it SHTEAM, but now you’re just getting silly.


A laptop with a Steampunk treatment. To see this and other creations by this artist, check out http://www.datamancer.com.

Steampunk, for the uninitiated, is an artistic movement and science fiction sub-genre that’s been gaining popularity over the last decade or so. Stay with me here: imagine being transported back into the Victorian era, but having a lot more technology and badassness. This is the essence of Steampunk. There are a lot of brass and leather workings, rivets, goggles, and dirigibles (AKA blimps), and of course everything is steam-powered. It’s an aesthetic that is showing up in music, books, movies, artwork, and clothing. It’s taking the old and re-imagining it with a little more funk, and a lot more tech. That’s kind of what we’re trying to do in our home. We’re honoring the parts of education that work, and tinkering with them, making them more funky, more relevant, and more beautiful. If you still don’t have a grasp of Steampunk, just give it a Google and click on “Images.” You’ll get the idea.

What Should I Expect Here in the Future?

Though I’m changing the name and theme and “growing up” the site, I hope to maintain the personal, intimate, and positive atmosphere I’ve worked to develop at Dirt Under My Fingernails. I will continue to share my kids’ stories as examples of what you can do when you’re not willing to simply accept the educational norm. I will continue to support individualized, child-centered education, and will be there for you to help you brainstorm ideas with your own children. I will also continue to offer support to parents and kids are are fully enrolled in public schools. You’ll find better organization of my posts, and easy access to resources for your kids. I’m working on a book project now that I hope to link up here in the future, and I have some curricula ideas that I hope to develop and share as well. Oh, and I’m finally going to create a Facebook professional page so we can connect more easily there as well.

I will still get dirt under my fingernails, and I will still celebrate the messy, organic, industrial, beautiful world that is our lives. I hope you’ll stick with me!

I hope to roll out all the changes in a month or two, so keep your eyes peeled.

PS: You’ll find that my post categories are already changing, as I begin this process. These are listed on the right side of this blog page. Take a look, and tell me what you think. Does the flow make sense to you? Can you find what you’re looking for? Do you see room for additional (or fewer) categories or sub-categories? Many thanks for your feedback!

12 responses to “Announcing: The STEAM-Powered Classroom

  1. stanleyandkatrina says:

    I love the name and love the categories on the right!
    ~Christine M.

  2. Cy says:

    I love steampunk! Fabulous name … and congratulations!!

  3. poprice says:

    Awesome! I missed this earlier, so I had to go back and add your name to the list of people going through “blog drift.” So excited for you and to see where this turn in the road takes you and your readers, Gwyn.

  4. Christie Ritter says:

    I liked the old name, but I think I will like the new one too, and people who don’t know you will find you more easily. Thanks for the recommendation for my horrible husband! Ha ha!

    • Thanks for the support Christie! I love sending folks his/your way. I hope you had a lovely Thanksgiving. I’m looking forward to seeing you again in person and chatting late into the night!:)

  5. Vanessa says:

    I thought I replied already, but must only have thought it. Oops, sorry. One day there’ll probably be an app for that.

    I love your new name! The categories are clear and logical. Can’t wait to see the new blog up and running!

  6. I like the new name but will miss the old name too:) A rose by any other name….:)

    Am off to e-mail Ray to see about international shipping, am in desperate need of both horrid histories and life of Fred after numerous suggestions for both and none locally available. Thanks for the suggestions:)

    • Thanks Lauryan! I will miss the old name too, I know. We’ve been pals for a while now.😉

      I don’t know if Ray ships internationally. But he’s one of the nicest guys I know. I’m sure he’ll help you out if he can.

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