THURSDAY, JUNE 24, 2010 AT 8:19PM

All too often we hear of high school wood shops closing down leaving our kids completely ignorant of woodworking and DIY skills. Imagine my surprise when my daughter Alex came home recently asking for ten dollars to make a cigar box guitar in class.

Turns out her fifth grade teacher Mr Chalmers is also a guitarist and song writer who also has music on iTunes. (Does that make him a real musician?) Clearly the make-a-guitar project was not in the fifth grade curriculum but Mr Chalmers took the extra time to not only teach the kids some simple woodworking but he taught them the fundamentals of building a guitar.

The guitar has three strings, tuning pegs, nut, bridge and even frets made from toothpicks. Much to my surprise, the guitar was tuneable and works pretty well. He also took the time to teach them some power guitar standards that included Smoke on the Water and Iron man ... two of my personal faves.

In my opinion, teaching young people about woodworking is one of the best ways to breathe new life into a hobby and profession that is starting to fade away. My daughter knows about woodworking because I'm a woodworker and now everyone else in her class knows about it too thanks to Mr Chalmers. Obviously this is a teacher who goes the extra mile to teach the children more than just the predefined curriculum ... good for you Mr Chalmers.