Blue+Violet: Upper School Band Swap Week 1

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The Upper School did something revolutionary this week: 

  • The Blue Band went to Rich.
  • The Teal Band went to Phillip.
  • The Indigo Band went to Oberski.
  • And Violet Band went to Simons.

In the morning, each Collaborator taught a 5-day mini crash course in a particular subject related to the Human Arc. In the afternoon, the Bands got to work on reflections or projects or homework related to that crash course, as well as spend a little bit of quality time with their usual Collaborator. With that said, I can tell you this about Blue: they got to learn about the human anatomy and body systems and health and body maintenance. They ate it up. They were super excited each afternoon, and could tell me all sorts of weird and interesting facts and names for things that I have only surface knowledge of. What a great opportunity for these kids — each of the Upper School Collaborators are experts on divergent topics and this has been a chance for us to nerd out and really shine!

Here’s a really brief visual recap of what Rich and Blue nerded out about:

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Meanwhile, we started reading Lord of the Flies, and Blue has started to run with the idea of recreating the story with each of the Band members as characters in the narrative. Kaia polled the Band and asked about the story line. What would your role in the society be? Would you die in the story and if so, how? And then Clem started designing the island. And everyone, of course, started designing their individual sleeping quarters. We had a pretty productive conversation about the advantages of not separating the girls sleeping area from the boys sleeping area — especially if we are a society that is concerned about safety and protecting one another from predators at night. In the end, we decided we could handle sleeping in the same area.

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And then, Felix started to learn how to design video games using a program called Unreal Engine 4. As of the end of this week, we have a draft of Blue Band Lord of the Flies the Video Game: complete with a patch of grass, lots of rocks, and one sleeping area complete with fire. Whoa! I would have never predicted this.

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And then, in the mornings, I hung out with the Violet Band. (Equally whoa!)

They got to experience a crash course in civil rights from a social/critical, and not always historical perspective. In this really, really, quick introduction, we talked about:

  • How US law gets changed by politicians.
  • How US law gets changed by the people (through sometimes violent protest).
  • The intersections of how women gained rights, how African-American folks gained rights, and how gay folks gained rights.
  • And, I think most importantly, how law defines who we consider fully “human” and who we do not.

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All this chat was heavy, heavy, and sometimes hard. We had to acknowledge our power positions and also try to talk about the issues and not always the people.

The really quick week ended on two important notes:

  • The beginning of individual projects that involved researching laws, digesting them in their as-is state of a bill template, and then writing a law yourself using the template that US lawmakers use for bills on the Senate or House floor.
  • And, we got to visit the Kadist Foundation for a guided tour of a racially charged, really powerful, exhibition of art by Hank Willis Thomas.

Below, Sayuri is interacting with one of the pieces from the show. When the microphone picks up voices, the projected image (which is a South African Nazi symbol) explodes and dances and becomes unrecognizable.

Speaking up allows for change. Thanks for a great week, Violet!

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