Back to school after a short break! The Expression phase is coming to a quick close, but after a much-needed staff development day on Tuesday, we as the staff feel confident moving forward. The kids were thrilled to be coming back to school! Carhartts and ideas abound.
Testing out canvas for the hammock.
After searching for bugs in the park, some of the kids examined their findings under the extra-strength magnifying glass.
Boys tell strange jokes, but I guess they know what they’re talking about.
Beginning the interior design of Kid City homes with paint.
A new clean-up challenge: instead of spending a good twenty or twenty-five minutes on clean up, the kids must tidy the school in ten minutes, and we’ll only ever spend ten minutes on clean-up every day. Thirteen minutes was the number to beat today!
And a new writing challenge: buddy up and interview each other for the day’s writing time. Today’s questions? Something you liked, and something you thought was gross.
Just another day in the life!
This morning as I greeted students in their Carhartt coveralls coming into school with a “Happy Friday!”, I received a “What? It’s Friday?”, a “No! I don’t want it to be Friday!”, and a “I’m going to die without school!”
Band meetings in the morning. The Slightly Undead Goats visited Coffee Bar.
Then it was back to work!
Our first Expression phase is coming to a quick close with only three days of school next week, so there was a big rush to work on unfinished furniture and sectioning out spaces in Kid City.
Audrey wrote, “I played and made a counter.”
Other projects continued, too.
“Today I started building my house/store. I also crocheted,” Zada wrote.
A view from the second story.
A pre-preview of Kid City.
Quinn wrote about his day, “Today my band group went to a market and got some snacks. Two new kids came to visit for the day. Today I also learned how to use the jig saw, and got better and better.”
When the collaborators told everyone that there was a four-day weekend this weekend, the cries of “NOOOO!!!” vastly overruled the only halfhearted hoorays. What other kind of school gets that kind of response?
The rain pouring from the sky this morning rang crescendos through our school-warehouse as it pattered on the skylights and flooded the streets. It was dark and we were worried about the lighting as projects continue. But after morning circle and some staring out the window, the sky cleared and the sun came out.
Heights. Kid City is many, many inches taller than our smallest kids. How lucky is that.
Watching the radial saw closely.
Finger-knitting is the newest craze.
Strolling down Mission Street with some canvas for Kid City.
Major glue spillage!
Chane made a small space for kids interested in building furniture together or one-on-one. Lots of beds and chairs were constructed!
The view from the second floor of Kid City.
The kids add more walls, and this piece of redwood.
Some drew gravestones for Henry (no idea). Earlier there was lots of illustrating happening on the cork floor.
And so goes another beautiful day at Brightworks. We find that these days – where outwardly it doesn’t look like much is happening but inwardly the kids are bubbling with excitement and soaking up their days like a sponge – are thrill because we’re able to experiment with teaching, scaffolding, and building the kids’ relationships to their school, their peers, and their teachers. “I feel like I’m learning more here than I did at my old school,” one of the older kids told me today. I have a feeling that we’re on the right track.
The kids’ usual analysis of a day at Brightworks is that it’s awesome.
Sofia wrote today, “I finisht my book shellf.”
Audrey was thrilled by her awesome day and wrote, “I read in Book Club. We played in the rain and yelled!”
Rain shadows, captured in photographs.
Elizabeth’s Dia de los Muertos after-school workshop.
Yup. Pretty awesome.
The kids planned their own days again today! The bands wrote out their activities for their Tuesdays on white boards so everyone would know what the plan was. They were busy and focused as they worked on their projects, took breaks at the park, and read all day.
Clementine, Zada, and Kaia decided to try their hand at busking and became trobairitzes – the feminine version of a troubadour – performing poetry and songs for passersby.
Construction moved forward.
Designing utili-aprons with fabric and staples.
Our beautiful library! Thank you for the generous donations from our families, as well as a friend to the school who gave us a whole set of YA books.
A half an hour of quiet reading after lunch, a practice we’re beginning to structure into our days.
The Brightworks Book Club – Coke’s idea started today. We read the first two chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The preciseness of the chop saw.
Furniture for Kid City houses.
Writing at the end of the day.
I want to share a beautiful moment that could not be captured in photos today.
It is a secret mission of mine to find and make moments that really connect the kids to the natural world. Today the moment found us. Despite the menacing rain clouds, a group of kids and I went up to the park after lunch. We were infected with the energy and anticipation of an oncoming rainstorm. The air was warm and thick and wafted in delicious scents from the taco truck down the street.
As the rain began to fall, Coke noticed the sound it made as it hit the ground. We all took a moment to just listen. Kaia noticed how it was staining the pavement with dark dots. And here was the magical moment: five kids lay down on the pavement to make rain shadows.
If you are patient enough to lay in the rain and feel the water drops fall on your face, when you stand up you can see the light, dry outline of where you were against the dark wet pavement of where the rain fell. As we lay in the rain, we noticed different things about how the rain looked, felt, smelled and even tasted. The most important part of building a relationship with the natural world is to open your senses; the rest just follows. And when we stood up, the kids were delighted to see their silhouettes slowly fill with rain drops.
In the Brightworks space our senses are often assaulted. The vaulted ceiling amplifies sound and smells can become overpowering. But these moments of patience allow us to quietly and joyfully connect with the world through our senses – even in a downpour.
Monday brought clouds and rain, but also brought a hands-off approach to the kids choosing what they wanted to do with their school days. We sat down in bands and made plans for what each of the kids wanted to do for the day, and off they went to do and make and create. I hope you aren’t stunned when I say that the noise level was low and everyone was focused and engaged in their activities of choice.
Many kids continued to build the frame for Kid City.
Others made advertising posters for the play that they’re working on.
Or discussed the next moves.
Gever brought in two huge boxes of fabric scraps when he picked up the Juki (the super-powered industrial sewing machine that can sew through multiple layers of heavy canvas or take your finger off, whichever is more appropriate). The fabric came in handy today – the kids made costumes or draped themselves in material.
Working on Choose-Your-Own-Adventure and game coding.
Making and creating.