The Road to Red Explorations

The Red Band kicked off #bwxcity with our all-school Big Bus Tour back in February and have been exploring ever since.

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On the hunt for murals in our neighborhood- learning about commissioned work versus graffiti

Beginning with a neighborhood walk we learned that our neighborhood provides space for homes of all types (apartment buildings, duplexes, and single family homes), work spaces (art studios, coffee shops, and a big bakery- Hello Panorama Bread, we smell you), and our school. Beginning with Maybe Something Beautiful by F. Isabel Campoy, we have started a study on the public art available to our city. During our neighborhood walks we noticed that we have a good amount of public art within a two-block radius of our school; murals by local artist Sirron Norris are easily recognizable by their big blue bears, the work of Project Artaud is on display all down 17th street, and commissioned and permission-ed giant works of art all in our neighborhood. We’ve even made a few paper and chalk pieces of our own to share on Bryant Street. We continue to be on the look out for murals, graffiti, and statues during our field trips as we discuss, What is art?

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Painting rocks to brighten up the front of the Hive

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We have been out and about each week with each trip bringing us to some real gems in our city such as: the Bernal Heights Library Branch to start our City book collection, the Randall Museum to learn about some of the other inhabitants of San Francisco, and Niantic Labs to learn about augmented reality.

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After our presentation on augmented reality we met a giant Snorlax

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After a short rain storm we arrived at the Randall Museum to learn about mammals, amphibians, and reptiles found both in and out of San Francisco

Our enthusiasm to learn more about the shared spaces in our community and city has taken us to our local parks and playgrounds: Bernal Heights Park and rec center playground, a rained our Corona Heights Park, Transamerica Redwood Park, gardens of the Financial District, and the playground at Sue Bierman Park. With more trips on the horizon we will continue to explore the design and value of these communal spaces.

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A sunny day of hiking, meeting dogs, dancing, and digging at Bernal Heights Park

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A mini redwood forest in the middle of the Financial District- Transamerica Redwood Park

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“We saw this playground from the bus !” During our Big Bus tour

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Until next time…

 

Red Band Book Chats

In January the Red band added weekly book chats to our Writer’s Workshop schedule. Each session offers the kids an opportunity to share their opinions, feelings, and make connections with the books we read. As we work to build on and connect to the stories we read we have added entries to our journals and been inspired to create our own pieces of art to share with our community.

 

Find out who is keeping the old man on the top floor awake and what types of noises we hear in our own homes.

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by F. Isabel Campoy and Theresa Howell illustrated by Rafael López

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Based on the Urban Art Trail in San Diego, we learn how a splash of color can change a community. We made drawings to hang on Bryant Street, made chalk drawings, and painted rocks for the front of the Hive.

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I can’t wait to see what other types of connections these kids find and bring to our City studies!

Cloth Catch-up

Hello again from the Hive. We’ve been buzzing right along in the Hive moving from exploration into expression. While the Hive tried their hand at many different aspects of working with cloth we landed on the expression of stories using cloth with puppets. Along with puppeteering expert Daniel Gill, the kids have learned how to animate  a variety of puppets from pieces of cloth to mouth plates, hand puppets, marionettes, and stick puppets with the main idea being, anything can be a puppet. Each lesson has taught us a new skills to move, animate, and bring to life the characters we create.

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Lesson 1: Get Creative

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Lesson 2: Anything Can Be A Puppet

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Lesson 3: Bringing Your Puppet To Life

Our first iteration of our puppet theater evolved from a window to adding wings for waiting behind the scenes. Next a second panel was added to provide a place for backgrounds to hang as well as the possibility of using marionettes. Our first planning meeting of the second iteration of the puppet theater was about outlining the work the kids had done so far and labeling parts in order to create a cut list for our plywood. We then added the constraints that the puppet theater be able to close flat for storage. While we still have work to do with accessorizing the puppet theater, we had our first kid test on Friday. We even used our projector to play with shadows and add backgrounds.

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Stay tuned to see our final edits and additions for the puppet theater!

Story Plays and Cloth Beginnings

Hello everyone! Welcome back to the Red Band blog. Can you believe we are already at fall break? Last month we bid farewell to our friend Piper and welcomed Kimberly and Daniel into the Hive. We did so much baking to support relief efforts for our neighbors to the north in Sonoma County we were able to donate $100 to the Redwood Credit Union Community Fund. We spent two nights near the seashore at NatureBridge, some of us for the first time without our parents. We’ve kicked off Cloth by adding weaving, sewing, cutting, gluing, and knotting to our skill sets.

Our first attempt at measuring and cutting fabric

Exploring our first Cloth question, How can you connect two materials?

Costumer designer Tiff came to visit and share some of her work

The kids worked on circle bags during morning centers

And we’ve introduced project time in the Hive, these are one hour guided experiences led by Kimberly or me. So far we have made stuffies, skirts, dog shirts, and pillows. We’re hand-stitching, sewing machine-powering people now!

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Also new to the Hive has been the introduction of Story Plays with Liz. Each child will have the opportunity to share a story straight from their imagination to share with the entire Hive. After the story has been dictated to Liz, the child identifies the characters of the story who will later be played by their Hivemates. During our closing circle the children will hear the story read aloud and can then choose to become an actor!

Stayed tuned for more Cloth adventures with the #brightworksbeehive!

Author’s, Illustrators, and Coins, Oh My!

My favorite reasons for why I work with young children are their endless imaginations and their innate courage. The last two weeks in the Hive have been filled with brave moments: saying hello to someone new, asking for a name when you’ve forgotten, trying a new game, eating lunch at the Orchard, and sharing the stories of your life. We have started our adventures in writing with Lucy Calkins’ Writer’s Workshop. The Hive’s Writer’s Workshop is a time for everyone to become an author and illustrator. Our first few lessons have included: How do you get ready for school? along with a morning of sharing their work. What did you do over the weekend?

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Bo and Hayes work on their first entires for The Story of My Stuff

And our latest adventure The Story of My Stuff was inspired by a gallery visit I had about a year ago. I learned about a project related to consumption by Kate Bingaman-Burt called Obsessive Consumption which documented everything she purchased over the course of three years. I was fortunate enough to catch her show at Mule Gallery and picked up her zine “Belongings: Stories that Belong to the Stuff that Belongs to Us”. Here you get a glimpse of  Zachary Schomburg and Bingaman-Burt’s stuff and the stories of each treasured item as illustrated by Bingaman-Burt.

We had a conversation around what it means own something and I shared the story of the owl keychain that lives in the Hive, a left-behind gift of our friend Octavia who used to go to Brightworks. Our writer’s set off to show their own valuables: teddy bears, houses, and pet quails. Each item accompanied by a lovely story of how it became theirs. We will continue to dive into the story of our stuff this week as we prepare our final coin explorations.

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Christian chose his Gengar Pokemon card as one valuable object. He even taught us about its strength and powers

Also did you know we’re studying coins around here? What is a coin? What are the parts of a coin? And how do they work? These questions have been examined in order to have us reach the goal of designing our own coins. We identified the parts of the coins as: location where it was made, year it was made, its value, a VIP, and a valuable item of our country. For the purposes of our coins, we chose S for the San Francisco mint, our birth years: 1985, 1986, 2011, and 2012 respectively, our faces- because we’re VIPs, and from our identified items from our Story of My Stuff writing we added an item that was valuable to us to the back of our coins.

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Kit adds to her heads-side of her Kit-coin; first her portrait then an S for San Francisco

What a wild ride, five weeks have come and gone. Up next we are gearing up to head out on our first field trip of the year which happens to be our overnight stay at Nature Bridge just across the Golden Gate Bridge. Stay tuned!

Beehive Beginnings

Hello Everyone and welcome to the first Red Band blog of the year! You did it, you’re here. We’ve made it through our first two weeks of school and are chugging right along. We have welcomed a new set of collaborators to the #brightworksbeehive, the Red Band! Other characters include, the Yellow Band (last year’s Red minus Quinn *side note* we all miss you), Piper, Nathan, and me, Nicole. Before we dive into our year of connections, beginning with coin, I thought I’d share a bit about how we ended up here and what’s going on.

#brightworksbeehive crew

This summer I became a certified yoga and wellness teacher and am over the moon to share these practices with our community. One of my favorite moments was watching my team, The Shining Conquerors, help each other do a head stand, it was amazing! I also attended the elementary training of Responsive Classroom with Nathan, Mary Catherine, Melissa, and Rachel. My favorite moment here was our last day when we all shared what we thought Responsive Classroom was before we came and what we think it is now that we’ve completed our week. I was happy to hear that I was not the only one who really just wasn’t sure what kind of magic it held and again, am pumped to bring a new set of tools to the Brightworks family.

All of this summer excitement had me dreaming up big dreams and with the support of our wonderful Beehive and Shop crews (and my nieces too) the courtyard and library each got a bit of fairy dust for us all to enjoy. Now back to the beginning, a day in the life.

Teaching and learning to play Wild Craft

The bees of the Hive are getting to know each other, watching and talking to one another, asking for reminders of names, and help with what is happening, where to go, and how to do it. This is amazing because this is my job and Nathan’s job, and Piper’s job. Our days begin with a morning meeting: a greeting- a hello by saying your name or someone else’s, a share- like your favorite lunch, an activity: we’ve been learning different ways to breathe, and a message: “Happy Friday Red! It’s breakfast for lunch in the Orchard today and Orange will be stopping by before park.”

snack time, the second most important meal of the day

Snack is next and so important, we get to eat together and talk about our food, our interests, and what’s on our minds. After we have center time and using Responsive Classroom practices we are interactive modeling each material: how to use it and how to put it away. The kids rotate through three activities each morning then head out for park with Nathan, Daniel, Kimberly, and the Blue Band. We’re all eating lunch together in the Hive this year too.

Piper reads, One, before our group agreements meeting

We ease into our afternoons with some quiet time, AKA I just ate and need to lie down for a moment while I listen to a story. Then we’ve had choice time. Here you’re likely to see past centers pop up allowing the kids to really dig in to their morning explorations or flutter from place to place. The most dramatic and grande reveal so far has been the library and while we are still learning how to pace ourselves at school we spent our last four afternoons cuddled up in the pillows, couches, and chairs. Then it’s time to say goodbye for the day and get ready to do it again.

Friday afternoon Elephant and Piggie time

Our first two weeks also helped us discover our group agreements for the year based on our hopes and dreams, the steps we need to reach those goals, and ways to support each other until we reached: 1) stick together, 2) make a plan, 3) listen and take turns, and 4) be safe. These all-encompassing agreements will help guide us throughout the year

Be sure to follow along with our adventures here on the blog and on Instagram with @bwpma, @bwx_nathan, and bwx_nicole for all things #brightworksbeehive and #sfbrightworks.

Smooth sailing from here on out

Our intrepid sailors have forged on in the unfamiliar seas of the Atlantic Ocean. After avoiding the tsunami outside of Haiti, we set a course towards Puerto Rico, lucky us. During this time the Red band started an investigation on whales. Beginning with the largest species, the blue whale, we studied its statistics then looked to Jeff Corwin to help us understand the human relationship being forged with these animals to better understand them and protect them. While reading about Humphrey the Lost Whale we learned about the migratory patterns of whales and the human impact of noise pollution that can interfere with their journey, or in Humphrey’s case help save them. Our quest to conquer the seas continued as we set sail through the Bermuda triangle, everyone can go ahead and exhale, we made it through unscathed all the way to Georgia.

Calvin guides us through the Bermuda Triangle

During this time, our projects were being fueled by our collective desires to pretend we were at sea with our tugboat and crow’s nest builds. I do not want to spoil the surprise too much for you so I will share that the crow’s nest has been tested and is being reinforced and there is at least one skipper on the tugboat each day. Our hard work got a midway boost when we took a trip over the bridge to Spaulding Boatworks. On this misty morning we made our way over to the marina for a tour of the facilities, tools, and Freda, the oldest wooden sailing boat on the west coast.

All hands on deck aboard Freda at Spaulding Boatworks

 

Following last year’s sex-ed success, the whole school geared up for another round this year. Humans happen to be my most favorite creatures and the topics covered in the Red Band are essential to all humans. We reached from the parts of the body to how bodies are made, feelings and emotions, senses, and relationships.

Red watches Just Breathe

One of the most wonderful abilities bestowed a collaborator is magic-maker. During one of our last goal setting sessions, the Red Band shared they wanted to return to the aquarium so ta-da with some parent-magic off we went to the Cal Academy to visit all of our favorite friends: the penguins, the octopus, seahorses, all the Nemos and Dorys, and urchins and starfish.

Nemo, Dory, Nemo, Dory

All of this excitement carried us through the completion of our tugboat, crow’s nest, finishing touches to the constellation, and the Hive flag. This was a wild ride. We marked the Hive’s first year in the books and was celebrated with the beginnings of tradition as we headed to Stow Lake for the second year to celebrate our hard work. Thank you to everyone and anyone who stopped by to see what we were up to, who came to work with the kids, who said a hello, and made new friends.

Kindness and love hugs.

See you next year!