Today was the last day of Expression for our By Hand arc. The kids raced against (and to) the deadline of 3:30pm this afternoon and ended the day with relief, joy, frustration, and eagerness to show off their hard work.
The stop motion crew were focused and dedicated to their work all day and did their absolute best to finish on time. Although they didn’t quite finish shooting everything today, they’re eager to negotiate a time to finish next week and share their work.
Lola, Natasha Mei, Norabelle, and Clementine finished their quilt today! They put on the border for the squares they added together yesterday, and sewed on the batting and backing for a gorgeous quilt today.
The boat crew completed their final version of their boat.
Nicole did some spoon bending and molding with the kids.
The felters took a short break to play with a different kind of material to shape.
…and Nicole finished making her gorgeous colored spoon lamp.
Connor and Henry combined their pieces of the interactive puzzle and made the first page.
Isaac combined different flavors of candy to make a type with all five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami.
He ended up with a gooey mixture that looked like a vampire’s midday snack and it had mixed reviews on the taste test.
This Expression phase – which we all agree was far better than the last – the kids struggled to find their groove in working together in groups, developed stronger relationships with each other, and were able to assemble their projects collaboratively. The work they did during the last two weeks tested their resolve, but they kept to their ideas and learned to help each other along the way.
The whole staff ended the day singing accompanied by ukulele and washing dishes, elated by the success of the week.
Our artist-in-residence for the week, Nicole Catrett, is making a chandelier of spoons during her time at Brightworks! She showed the kids her work today and helped them use the heat gun to melt and shape the handles of plastic spoons, and use the vise and hammer to bend metal rods.
Ben molded a coffee-flavored chocolate bar.
This morning, the cooking crew made chocolate with lemon, bacon, salt, and coffee. It was surprisingly good!
Adjusting the lighting for the stop motion movie.
The felting crew continued work on their scene.
…and working on the narrative that goes along with it.
The lull of focused work returned to the school today after the excitement of pig butchering and everyone split up into their groups of three and four to continue making progress on their declaration projects.
Clementine showed her group the coat that her great-great (great?) grandmother made from an old salt sack and scraps of fabric left over from other sewing projects.
Logan helped Aidan put the finishing touches on the boat that he was building with Ninja Ben (who was out sick today). They named it the SS Ben until Ninja Ben returns to give it a proper name. This video is of the SS Ben’s maiden voyage in a tub of water covered in pond liner.
Aidan explained weight distribution in the SS Ben.
The boat boys and their audience experimented with weight distribution and water displacement.
Back to the drawing board to record their findings and continue building.
Ben tested how long it would take to melt chocolate on a makeshift double boiler without touching it.
This morning, he tried out his steak with chocolate lemon sauce recipe on the Undead Goats. It sounded like the reviews were positive.
The stop motion kids checked out their progress.
…and went back to shooting.
The felting group came out from the fiber arts lab and relaxed in the welcome area.
The quilting girls have been hard at work on their squares.
A new construction project.
And we ended the day with a Toy Lab game: making a sinister story out of extra keyboard letters.
The most unusual greeting I’ve received coming into school in the morning was, “Now, I want you to know that behind those doors is a pig ready for butchering.”
Peter promised that he’d bring in a pig to butcher when we did the By Hand arc – and he followed through on that promise today!
Before the butchering, the teams continued work on their Expression projects. Mackenzie set up the Art Lab and the Boat Lab for her groups during the weekend so they could work in spaces with all the materials they needed in one spot.
Chane led her felting group in further study of what their nature scenes will include.
Mark helped the stop motion crew set up their equipment.
Josh started Connor and Henry on their work for the day.
Peter presented the pig to the majority of the kids at school. I was really surprised at how many of them stayed for the whole butchering process and barely batted an eye.
There were so many clever pig comments floating around today… I wish I could remember all of them.
Logan informed us that Peter was “cutting his pagina.”
Lola said, “They must have fed him healthy food so it tastes good.”
Kaia said, “Ew, it’s looking at me!”
Isaac, watching Peter use the bone saw: “How do zombies get to the brains?”
Coke: “Maybe they have bone crackers!”
After a morning of butchering, the teams returned to work on their projects.
Lunch: porchetta and polenta with sauteed kale.
Peter ground the meat with the meat grinder for sausage.
We spent the afternoon watching Peter fill sausage casings.
Lola showed me a couple tricky math problems (as she described them): 13 + 10 = 23, and 13 + 13 = 26.
And sausage for all. Thanks to Peter and Kristie for (always!) volunteering their time and giving us such amazing culinary experiences. Check out the Flikr for more pictures of the pig butchering!
Some work time in the morning brought some phenomenal collaboration in all the groups, particularly the stop motion team. Mark reported that the kids were incorporating each other’s ideas and jokes into the overall story, and let the narrative flow out by taking moments of storytelling and scenes and finding links to bring separate ideas together to create a collaborative story.
The entire student population left the building today to see Sofia in The Velveteen Rabbit play or visit Treasure Island (named after Stevenson’s book, we learned) to find Roland’s favorite place for collecting driftwood.
Greeting Sofia after the play, and hanging out at the Yerba Buena Center.
Another fantastic day of Expression, filled with collaboration and helping each other work through project roadblocks and sharing knowledge in areas of strength.
Audrey’s great-great-great grandmother created a lace pattern book 120 years ago when she was a teenager, and Audrey brought it in to share with the Ssalson Raptors. She explained the history in this video:
The boat builders spent the morning working with clay to see what kind of design would best float on water. They worked on several different designs, and Logan was particularly tenacious in pursuing the idea of an air sac flotation device.
Despite many failed attempts, he kept at it, and this interest sparked a conversation about the occurrences of air sac design in the natural world. Aidan was quick to point out that fish control their buoyancy with these same kinds of air bladders. Ben was the first to discover that making tall sides – or “gates,” as he called them – around the side of the “boat” kept it afloat.
The first prototypes sank quickly, so the boys started timing the buoyancy of their boat constructions.
After the designs became more sophisticated, they dubbed their most buoyant design a “forever boat” and tested it to see how many pennies versus how many ounces of volume it could hold.
They practiced reporting their findings on a chart in the space.
Theo and I continued work on his self-inspired muffin making project. Yesterday, we talked about the recipe that he remembered and determined the differences between baking soda and baking powder. We talked about what buttermilk tasted like and what kinds of proportions bakers used to create the right consistencies in baked goods. Today, we honed in on making prototype muffins from the recipe we worked on and scaled down the amount of ingredients.
Tomorrow, we’ll figure out the science of why the center of Theo’s prototype muffins exploded through the middle after they baked!
We thanked our volunteer electrician Tim Falconer for wiring the kitchen today by inviting him to Kristie’s hot lunch, a fitting thanks for the one who made it possible for hot lunch to be made in the space in the first place! The collaborators set some new traditions around the community hot lunch: waiting to eat until everyone has sat down, setting the table and cleaning up after, and sitting together during the whole meal to enjoy the community building that happens over food.
Natasha Mei used the quilt-making skills she learned yesterday from our quilting expert to do a quick explanation for the Flying Fish about what a quilt is and how you make one. Check out this video:
The Flying Fish worked together and took turns using the sewing machine and cutting out squares for their patterned quilt.
The stop-motion crew continued to work out the software for their animation project and created a more formalized storyboard for their mini-movie. Mark came in to help guide their process, and Anthony was back (hooray!) from getting surgery and was able to jump in with them for a time too.
Connor and Henry worked on their interactive comic project, with the concept of prototyping a high priority for their work process.
A sweet moment from the park.
Roland explained the origins of his found objects and showed off some of his work.
As a last note after a long Thursday, I just want to thank everyone who reads this blog and supports this school, these ideas, the families, our staff, and the students at Brightworks. Your readership and encouragement for us as a community is overwhelming. Sometimes it’s hard for me to get to the blog after a busy day and a commute, but knowing that there are people out in the world – including our own Audrey, who, according to her mom, won’t go to bed before reading the day’s post (meaning I should try harder to get them done before her bedtime!) – who read with dedication and joy keeps me dedicated to ending my days with this review in pictures of the learning and growing that the kids do each day inside and outside the walls of the school. Goodnight!