💜 Happy New Year! 💜

What better arc to begin a year of learning, exploring, and wondering together than the 💜 Heart Arc 💜?

Finding hearts wherever we go!

The Orange Band opened this year of Luminosity by sharing aspects of themselves. Even though many in our group have known each other for years, we still found ways to surprise one another. With new students joining our Brightworks family, we were also able to share those stories, tried and true, that have marked our times together.

Name Stories

Devlin and Arlo creating their Name Story pieces

A saying of  the Swampy Cree people is that “to say the name is to begin the story.” And, so, the Orange Band began our time together by  sharing the stories that our names carry: the ideas, family lore, hopes, and dreams of our names. Students created Name Story pieces that reflected those most important aspects of themselves and took time to share, ask questions, and find commonalities among us.

Lars shares his ideal home, complete with llama hanging around, with his name story piece

Nolan listens to Solin share the hows and whys of her name story

Reyahn takes Lars through the intricate designs that emerged from his name

Arlo’s love of “classic” movies from the ’80s featured heavily in his name story piece

Devlin colored his name story to reflect the present: member of the Orange Band (and proud!)

 

Circles of Me

Our work in sharing our Name Stories led us to begin to identify the many aspects that comprise each of us. Who are we, as we see ourselves? Who are we, as we think and know others see us? Orange Banders contemplated the Many Circles of ME – the most relevant and influential parts that make up our multitudinous selves. These circles sparked memories of moments in which a particular circle stood out vividly, sending kiddos to their journals to write about those recollections.

Animal Styles

Can you put your fingers near the animal styles that most reflect you??

Orange Banders also took to inspiration from animals in the wild to self identify their communication styles. Are you a wolf, a member of a collective, ready to strategize and plan out before making a move? Or, are you a turtle, an independent worker amongst a sea of others, needing both the protection of the group AND the ability to operate on your own? We asked ourselves if perhaps, the tiger was more our style: vocal, at times intimidating, and needing to be self-aware of body language and tone. Some of us resonated with the rabbit, full of boundless energy and ideas and ready to jump from one topic to another.

We also realized that we can change from one type of animal communicator to another, dependent upon time and place.

Sometimes you feel like a tiger…sometimes you feel like a turtle!

Knowing that we have such a wealth of communication styles will be crucial as we move forward in our year of learning, exploring, and making together. So, too, will Band Agreements that we feel we can live with and support each other in meeting.

Signed, Sealed, Delivered!

At the 💜 Heart 💜 of Our Journeys

Solin and Lola take in the view on our first field trip: to Bernal Heights Park!

What lies at the heart of our work together? Surely, to know one another and ourselves that much better is an important aim. As we meander through this first arc, we find what is most valuable–we find that heart. This coupling of journeys and introspection has long been represented by the ancient labyrinth.

The Orange Banders visited their first of many labyrinths this arc in our field trip to Bernal Heights Park’s labyrinth. With the words and images of Byrd Baylor and Peter Parnell’s beautiful story, The Other Way to Listen, in mind, kiddos walked the labyrinth and journaled the sounds and images that came to them in solo, circuitous ambles; each journey unique to the walker as they made their way to the heart of the labyrinth and back out again.

Orange Banders on high!

A City Built from Scratch

When a city is created where there was none before, what are the considerations of those building the city?


This arc, Orange Banders were introduced to the city of Kalu Yala, a city being built in the jungles of Panama by a group of individuals interested in building “the world’s most sustainable city.”

After an introduction to the project by Orange Band helper and friend, Jessica, who worked and lived in Kalu Yala as part of her college work, the kiddos brainstormed a number of questions they had for the group involved in the project.


Resources (Water/Food)

Safety + Health

Education

Impact + Effects

Social + Population


To say that their questions were insightful and reflective of a deep understanding of the intricacies of how a city comes into being – and, perhaps, why and if it should come into being – would be a gross understatement…

Orange Band’s Questions About/For Kalu Yala

  1. What is the relationship between the city and the indigenous people?
  2. Do they have a stable plumbing system?
  3. How was it funded? Where did money for materials come from?
  4. How do they filter water? What is the water source?
  5. Is this a good idea for the indigenous people?
  6. What would they do if there was a natural disaster?
  7. Would you call this colonization? Why or why not?
  8. What inspired this project? Why Panama?
  9. How was the group allowed to build in Panama?
  10. How will this affect the animals/nature of the area?
  11. What will they do about medical emergencies/outbreaks?
  12. How will Kalu Yala affect the world?
  13. What are buildings made from?
  14. Who was living there before? Is it the same population of Kalu Yala now?
  15. Is Kalu Yala in a high-risk zone? What are emergency procedures/protocols?
  16. Who gets to live there?
  17. What does a completely sustainable city mean?
  18. Do they vaccinate?
  19. Where do the teachers for the school and teacher prep program come from?
  20. How do they respond to animal threats?
  21. Is there a cap on the number of people that the city can sustain? How will they decide how many people get to live there? How will they decide who gets to stay and who has to leave?

Get Lost! Hike Through Golden Gate Park

 

Rain was firmly forecasted, but Blue and Orange brought the sun and blue skies to their trek through Golden Gate Park!

The first few weeks of the City Arc have been map-filled, to say the least. Both Blue and Orange Bands have dug into maps of all kinds, studying perspectives, purposes, and the quirks and idiosyncrasies of maps. We have drawn maps, collected data to add to maps, and thought about how maps reflect the spaces and places they represent.

We decided we need to test out maps in the field. And, to do that, we needed to get lost-in the wild!

The task: Find your group’s way through Golden Gate Park from one distinct departure to the final destination: the Chinese Pavilion at Stow Lake.

 

The bands met in groups of four and planned out their routes from Lindley Meadow, Metson Lake, Kezar Stadium, and the Conservatory of Flowers.

The Gamers began at the Conservatory of Flowers

One of the first tasks was to find both the starting and ending locations on the map

The Lightning Puppies debated the best route, trying to take into account foot traffic

The Dancing Sushis plotted a trek from Metson Lake to Stow Lake

The next day, we aimed to GET LOST! Rain greeted us as we made our way across town to Golden Gate Park (although we truly lucked out in the weather department by the time we arrived!).

Lightning Puppies: Intrepid explorers of urban green spaces!

Challenge #1 upon landing: Where ARE we??

 

Ah! There we are!!

Using landmarks such as other meadows and lakes was super helpful

But orienting ourselves with the map proved to be the biggest challenge when we were en route

Thankfully, the city provided some clear cut signs we were on the right track!

Even so, some signs were almost TOO big to be noticed! The Lightning Puppies debated for quite a while about whether they had arrived, while standing right in front of this sign! They figured out they were arrived pretty quickly

Scouting ahead was a strategy some groups took full advantage of

This looks familiar!!

Geese were our first greeters as groups made their way around the lake

The Dancing Sushis were the FIRST group to make their way to the Chinese Pavilion (not pictured)

More groups arrived and made for great rock hopping fun

Reunited, at last!

Success at getting found DEFINITELY calls for fro-yo!

 

All in all, it was an amazing adventure in the City! Blue and Orange got to test out their map skills in the wilds of the Sunset and Richmond Districts, and hone their collaboration and compromise skills (aka, YES! to Teamwork!).

Power to the Orange Band!

How is change made in society? Who should make change–and for whom?

The Orange Band is certainly up to the task of answering these questions!

Orange Band’s Cloth Brainstorm at the beginning of the arc

Throughout the Cloth Arc, the Orange Band has explored the many stories that cloth tells. We have examined the implications of gender conformity in clothing choices and options; we have looked at the history embedded in cloth arts such as sewing, knitting, weaving, and quilting. Dress codes, beauty standards – or the lack thereof – came up often in our discussions, readings, and research. We also began to touch on the symbolisms of power and politics that cloth can carry, dependent upon the symbols worn, choices made, and the individuals wearing them.

The Orange Band’s current shared novel, One Crazy Summer, by Rita Williams-Garcia, takes place in Oakland, California, in the year 1968. The three sisters who travel across country from Brooklyn to the Bay Area encounter diversity, social justice movements, fashion as political statement, and, of course, the Black Panther Party.

Before we began the book, kiddos had an opportunity to learn about the historical context of the post-Civil Rights Era in the United States. We watched the Power! (1966-1968) episode from the award-winning documentary Eyes on the Prize. It was fascinating to discuss the differences — and similarities — between how race, systems of power and oppression, and community protest and response were handled sixty years ago, and today. We learned of the formation of the Black Panther Party in Oakland, and the country’s response to the Party’s imagery, community programs, and messages for social and economic change.

 

Orange Banders used the Black Panther Party’s Ten Point Program, reflecting the needs of the communities the Black Panther Party advocated for and worked to support with free breakfast programs for children, health services, adult education, free clothing programs, to name a few.

And what did the Orange Band kiddos see as changes that need to happen – that must happen – in our communities? Their ten point programs quickly became multi-point programs, reflecting the depth and sensitivity that make this group of students so very special. At the least (and most), these Multi-Point Programs reflect the urgency for change, equity, and love that lives deeply in each member of the Orange Band.

Romero’s Ten Point Program

 

Sadie’s Initial Eleven Point Program

Sadie’s Twelve Point Program:

  1. We want all children to have a say in their education.
  2. We want all poachers to stop hunting endangered animals.
  3. We want all animal testing to stop.
  4. Everyone has good health care.
  5. We want people to have good food and clean water.
  6. Everyone gets a good job with good payment.
  7. People have good housing and nice shelter.
  8. Women have the right to take birth control.
  9. Kids need to have one hour of exercise.
  10. Everyone gets the tools they need to fill their curiosity.
  11. All is welcome in the world.
  12. We want everyone to get off their phones.

    Sadie’s Display Program Poster

     

Ramses captured his perfect society in his Fourteen Point Program

Tam’s Ten Point Program – Short, sweet, and goes straight to the Heart of everything.

  1. We want freedom.
  2. We want life.
  3. We want food.
  4. We want shelter.
  5. We want respect.
  6. We want love!
  7. We want peace!
  8. No more littering.
  9. Give to the homeless.
  10. More change!

My Ten Point Program, by Soleil Warner:

  1. I want animal justice, freedom for animals to be respected and taken care of.
  2. I want rights for people of color.
  3. I want free health care for all in need.
  4. I want all to have a roof over their head.
  5. I want all animals to stop being hurt by poachers.
  6. I want all animals to live freely in their correct habitat.
  7. I want rights for nature and the environment and for there to be less global warming and littering.
  8. I want women’s rights. All women should be treated the same as everyone else.
  9. Cops should be more nice to people of color.
  10. I want all families to get free…health care, food, water, for the families that need it.
  11. I want more money to get paid to the teachers.

Lily’s Seven Point Plan delivers her calls for change just as eloquently with words as it does with her illustrations:

In the Cloth Percolators

The Orange Band has had the luxury of many Cloth experiences during Exploration. While there are still a few adventures and outings left in the weeks after Winter Break, we took some time in the week before our hiatus to read about the cloth related topics that the kiddos found interesting and intriguing. Their research revealed stories about gender bias in the shoe industry, a brief history of pant in ancient Rome, and fiber advances inspired by spider silk.  Then, kiddos practiced their summary writing skills, necessary tools in their upcoming Expression Projects. Enjoy the Orange Band’s recent research!


The Clarks Shoe Company

By Soleil

The problem began when The Clark’s Shoe Company in the United Kingdom, started selling “The Dolly Babe” and the “Leader” shoes. The “Dolly Babe” (the version for girls) was made with black leather as well as the “Leader,” but the “Dolly Babe” had detail of a pink insole printed with hearts while the “Leader” (the version for boys) had a design of a football, which stays on sale. Also, the “Dolly Babe” was so uncomfortable and not sturdy. Jemma Moonie-Dalton is a parent who didn’t want her daughter to have the “Dolly Babe” shoes. The article states that, “she does not want her daughter to avoid puddles. Her daughter should play games. She does not want her daughter to worry about getting her shoes dirty.” The boys shoes were built for running and climbing and playing. That shows a stereotype for boys and girls.  Then, there were so many complaints from the parents of the students about how the shoes were so unfair, that the Clark’s Company took their shoes off the shelves. The point the author was trying to make is that there are still stereotypes around boys and girls right this second and that we should stay aware of that.


How pants in Ancient Rome went from banned to required

By Sadie

The problem began when the Romans banned pants. They wore tunics instead because it was extremely warm in that spot. They decided to  because winter was coming and they would freeze to death because the tunics were too short. Then, people wore pants all the time in Rome.

At the beginning people think that pants were always worn. Before that, the Romans banned pants because they were for “savages.” The Gauls group triggered that. Then, soon after Rome’s started wearing trousers because it was cold at the battlefield and soon became really popular. Next, the ban said that “who ever wore trousers would be exiled.” The reason why is that people couldn’t tell if you were a civilians and soldiers apart because it was confusing. The ban soon was lifted and people started to wear trousers again and soon were worn all around Rome and were starting to evolve into pants.


Spider Silk Summary

By Romero

Scientists from all around the world are trying to replicate spider silk because the substance is very strong and flexible. Two important ideas of the article are that: Spider silk, when large, is very strong and replicating it will make great advances in technology and safety. Spider silk is a very strong material, and it’s amazing because it’s 98% water! If we can replicate this, we can use them in many different ways such as to produce low-heat types of various fabrics, that don’t need any chemical solvents.

The main idea of this passage is that spider silk is very interesting. One fact or example that supports this main idea is if we could replicate it at a scale, we could change the future of safety. Another fact or example that supports this main point is that it is stronger than steel! In addition, it is 98% water! Finally, the fact that it’s made by only by spiders, a small life form, illustrates that spider silk is amazing!


The Shoe Problem

By Lillian Girarde

The problem began when Clark shoes called the girls shoes “Dolly Babe.” The boys shoes are called ”Leader.” This made parents very mad because this said that boys  were leaders and girls  were  Dolly babe’s,  and that is sexist because this says that boys are a higher power than girls. a bunch of people on Twitter   complained  that “Dolly Babe  shoes are sexist”. After that,  The Clark shoe company tried to say it was a mistake. The Clark shoes  couldn’t   take the complaints anymore. The problem was finally resolved when Clark discontinued “Dolly Babe” shoes.


Ram’s Cloth Summary

The main idea of this article is to create man-made spider silk that is good for the environment.  One way it’s good is you don’t have to pay too much money because it’s cheap.  And, it is made of water, rocks and plants.  And also if you throw it away, it decomposes. A really weird example of weirdness is that scientists at Utah State University are breading “spider goats” that will produce silk proteins in their milk.  The main idea of this article is that spider silk can be used for lots of things.  One example that supports this main idea is that the US Military is thinking about using this man-made silk for their bullet proof vests.   Another example is, this man-made spider silk is safe to use on the human body like in stitches. Finally, the materials needed to make spider silk make it like nylon. The end.


Bad Shoe Names for Girls

By Tamasen

The problem began when the girls shoes were named DOLLY BABES. And the boys were called the Leader. And some of the parents said the girls shoe had a bad  name because to call shoes for all the girl in the school Dolly Babes was sexist and rude.   The company is treating the girls differently than boys people say. The United Kingdom is in Europe and leaders there talked about the shoes. Nicola Sturgeon is the leader of Scotland. She said the  name was hard to believe.  Clarks said it will not sell the Dolly Babe shoes any more. It will keep selling the leader shoes for the boy’s though. So in  my perspective I think that the boys Shoe should not be called leaders! And boys and girls shoes should have the same name, because girls can be leaders and boys can’t always be leaders.


New artificial spider silk: stronger than steel and 98% water.

Based off a newsela article by Emily Matchar.
By Ronan

Spider silk has some pretty incredible properties. It’s stronger than steel, and tougher than kevlar. Yet it’s as  stretchy as an rubber band. For these reasons, spider silk has captured the interest of many scientists for decades.

Researchers have discovered a new material that mimics spider silk. It is extremely strong, stretchy, and has an incredible energy-absorbing capacity. But perhaps it’s  most incredible property: it’s 98% water.

Darshil Shah is one of the researchers working on this new material. He is a researcher at Cambridge’s Center for Natural Material Innovation. “Spiders are interesting models because they are able to produce the fiber at room temperature without a solvent.” says Shah

The fiber is made from a material called a hydrogel. It is 98% water and 2% silica and cellulose. The water evaporates, and the silica and cellulose fibers can be pulled from the hydrogel.

Although not as strong as all real spiderwebs, the fibers are extremely strong. They can be made without chemical solvents, giving them an advantage. They also do not need high temperatures for spinning, making them easier to produce then things like nylon.

The fibers could also be modified in a lot of interesting ways, says Shah. By replacing cellulose with certain polymers, you could more easily make different synthetic fabrics.

Although there are a few problems, artificial spiderwebs could become a real thing in the near future. A real important thing.


That cloth and clothing could hold such import is not lost on the Orange Band. In fact, recently, the Orange Banders took some time to participate in the BWX Museum of Everyday – inspired by the museum of the same name found in Ísafjörður, Iceland. Along with the Magenta Band, Orange Band kiddos selected items of clothing and told the story of that item. Their stories of family, passions, and themselves are wonderful. Enjoy!

Stay tuned for Expression and Cloth Project updates! WEAVE been busy! 😉

Getting to the Source of Cloth: A Day at Slide Ranch

Settled on cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean, Slide Ranch was a breath-taking site to explore the beginnings of cloth.

Exploring the many facets of cloth and its by-products to the Orange Band to one of our prettiest excursions yet: the always wonderful Slide Ranch in Marin. While our destination was new to some and familiar to others, the Orange Band got to participate in a pilot program with a focus on wool and yarn on the ranch, with the steady hand of Amelia leading our investigations.

Amelia, our fabulous naturalist, led the Orange Band through a search for food, clothing, and shelter at Slide Ranch – with an emphasis on clothing, of course!

 

You mean you can LIVE on the ranch and take care of the animals everyday?!?! Lily (aka Lillian Sheep Goat, her nature name) contemplates her future dream job.

 

The sheep at Slide Ranch were a bit skittish, staying at the back of their pen for most of our visit.

 

The Orange Band took this in stride and gave the sheep their space, in hopes of approaching a particularly friendly ewe for an up close look at her wool.

 

Slowly, but surely, kiddos got to get a closer look with Little Girl (actually a grandmother on the farm!).

 

Little Girl’s wool was so soft and dense! Also, multicolored: It was MUCH lighter closer to her skin.

In the beautiful yurt on Slide Ranch’s grounds, the Orange Band explored the different forms that cloth takes when shorn from the sheep that live here.

 

Amelia presented the Orange Band with wool in its various forms at the ranch: unwashed, combed, and spun.

 

Tasked with matching artifacts to the wool-to-yarn process, Orange Banders got to see the bigger picture lain out in front of them.

And then set out to recreate the wool-to-yarn steps: kiddos washed wool,

carded, or combed, the wool,

and hand spun their wool pieces!

Amelia demonstrated how to lengthen the wool before hooking it up to the spindle.

With help from her partner, Tamasen has a beautiful lock of hand-spun yarn!

Kiddos even had an opportunity to test out some natural dyes from fruit and veggies (that turned out to be less successful, though.)

No trip to Slide Ranch would be complete without a little goat milking and garden excursion!!

Dream, the goat, was most patient while Orange Banders took a hand at milking her.

Dreamy Dream

Soleil, Sadie, and Lily each took a turn milking Dream.

Soleil and Lily even tried some fresh goat milk — REALLY fresh!! (It was warm!!)

The other kiddos were content to gather treats for Dream to eat while she was being milked – Dream DEFINITELY expected the treats!

Gathering treats for Dream.

Dream demands more treats!

Even goats reach a treat limit, it seems.

Slide Ranch treats are not just for the livestock; Orange Banders got to wander and sample the MANY delicious offerings in the garden, collecting fragrant herb bundles to be tied up with their hand-spun yarn.

The beautiful lower garden

Fresh chives are truly scrumptious!

Flowers are edible sometimes, and chard leaves make great hats!

It was a truly magical day on the ranch – from sheep to wool to yarn, the Orange Band got the chance to see wool through its rudimentary steps of basic production, and get a little goat and gardens in, to boot!

 

 

Cloth + Stories

The Orange Band began our time together in the Cloth Arc with a wealth of ideas, questions, and commentary. Students are exploring cloth and the impact that cloth has on people – through art, the sharing of culture, and establishing/maintaining/subverting social expectations.

Orange Banders chose George as a shared novel to read and discuss throughout the Expression portion of Cloth

Our shared novel, George, by Alex Gino, provided a perfect platform to tease out the complexities of societal expectations tied to clothes and gender. When people look at George, they see a boy. But George knows she’s a girl. If she is to keep her secret, George will never be able to dress or BE her whole gendered self. The story of a transgender girl navigating upper elementary school, her family, and the world around her, has given the Orange Band another entry into the conversation about clothing and the way that it marks or identifies an individual’s gender for the rest of the world to see — whether we want to tell that story or not. As part of our celebratory kick-off to read George together, students took a blank slate – a plain white t-shirt – and created their own pieces of clothing that tell exactly the story each kiddo desired to share.

Sometimes you have to make the clothes work for YOU!

In addition to critiquing the finished product, marketed and packaged for mass marketing and mind-body control, Orange Banders also looked at the beginnings of cloth. With the help of Indigo buddies, kiddos created small cardboard looms to practice different weave stitches and techniques.

Khalia helps Romero comb down his weaving

Rhone and Sadie work on threading the yearn with a large “needle”

Tamasen and Dash get started on the loom

Soleil works on her strumming teachniques!

Sadie’s first iteration!

Lillian has the yarn in her total control

As a band, we also began to build a large loom in order to experiment with material and product on a grander scale. The shop practice is also a great opportunity to dip into the shop and begin thinking about Expression projects that “loom” just around the corner.

Romero is all concentration on the bandsaw, cutting out a precisely measured triangle support for the bottom of the loom

Many hands on deck for the loom frame

Using corner supports and clamps for stability and integrity

Lily deftly uses the bandsaw tools to cut her piece

With the intent to learn the stories that cloth may carry, Orange Band took a trip to the deYoung Museum to spend time with the gorgeous quilts of Gee’s Bend, a part of the Revelations: Art from the African-American South exhibit. The women of Gee’s Bend—a small, remote, black community in Alabama—have created hundreds of quilt masterpieces dating from the early twentieth century to the present. On a cool grey morning, we sat under and before quilts that held the stories of their makers and their makers families. It was such a special experience, with the museum nearly to ourselves, just us and the quilts of Gee’s Bend.

The notion of cloth and stories served as such a lovely example for the stories the students are writing for NaNoWriMo. We kicked off National Novel Writing Month with tea, pjs, soft music and pillows. The students’ stories range from dystopian cautionary tales, graphic novels, puzzles hidden in pages and chapters, the zombie apocalypse, to true-life narratives–perfect complements for the complexity and creativity that typify the Orange Band! Students are working on plot and character development, as well as the nuance of an author’s specific voice. Pencils and fingers fly across paper and keyboards everyday and our writing goals are always on the mind!

Character development for Sadie’s graphic novel

Soleil reads aloud to the band for feedback and support

Our Cloth explorations have brought up questions about the impact of cloth – historically and socially – and where we see ourselves in the stories the cloth carries.

Orange Band in the wild! (Can you account ALL of the legs in the shot?)

The many faces and shapes of the Orange Band