paint. bugs.

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.

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

Testing out canvas for the hammock.

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

After searching for bugs in the park, some of the kids examined their findings under the extra-strength magnifying glass.

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

Boys tell strange jokes, but I guess they know what they’re talking about.

signs, bugs, paint

Play.

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

Beginning the interior design of Kid City homes with paint.

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, paint

signs, bugs, 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!

signs, bugs, paint

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.

signs, bugs, paint

Just another day in the life!

practicing with tools

We’re all really excited over here at Brightworks because the first day of the Expression phase has come! The kids are so ready to break out the screws and wood and start building their city and working on their very first projects for what we know will be a huge portfolio of work someday. But we start small, with one project at a time: it’s all in the doing.

Anthony and Camille worked all day Sunday to lay down the foundation for Kid City in the corner of the school.

practice with tools

When the Brightworks students arrived Monday morning, it was all tools, all the time. Everyone grabbed eye and ear protection and traveled between three different stations to practice using the tools that will soon become their extra limbs during Expression and beyond.

practice with tools

Inside, they drilled holes and drove screws with Chane and Sean.

practice with tools

practice with tools

practice with tools

practice with tools

With Mackenzie, they sawed pieces of scrap lumber with handsaws.

practice with tools

practice with tools

practice with tools

Outside on the sidewalk, they practiced hammering nails with Josh. While nails aren’t the joiner of choice at Brightworks – they’re too hard to remove – it was an excellent exercise. We calculated that the 20 Brightworks kids used more screws in a matter of hours than 150 kids used at Maker Faire earlier this year.

practice with tools

practice with tools

practice with tools

practice with tools

More drilling…

practice with tools

practice with tools

More sawing…

practice with tools

practice with tools

More hammering.

practice with tools

practice with tools

Every day the space that Brightworks lives in changes – some days more dramatically, others more subtly. It’s always exciting to see what new piece of artwork will go up on the walls, how the room dividers will be arranged, what kind of lunch table we’ll be sitting at… now we’re excited to see the changes in the buildings that go up and the changes in how our students treat tools and start to learn their secrets as they discover their abilities to build big!

practice with tools

Remember to check out more photos on Flickr!

staying in on friday

It seemed like everyone was a little relieved when the staff announced we were staying in the school today – who knew kids could have too many field trips in a week! Gever read the beginning of Alfred Noyes’ “The Highwayman” during morning circle and Chane led an activity to begin the conversation about having respectful, deep discussions. There was plenty to think and talk about from the week, beginning with the Gold Rush game we started playing yesterday, which was the first thing on the students’ minds when they walked into school.

The Gold Rush game began, new rules were established…

A quick break in the park

And then back to the game.

San Francisco wasn’t just about gold mining in the 1870s…

What kinds of things can you sell in the General Store? There was talk of selling giant teleporting snails, but the consensus was that the game should stay as historically accurate as possible. It was great to see the rules and regulations of the game evolve and end up following the course that early San Francisco history took: a rush of emigrants, lawlessness, bad behavior, followed by a return to order and developing a system of living and working together.

The cleanup at the end of the first week of school. We’re all filled with elation at the success of this week. We’re already learning new things about how to conduct ourselves as educators and how to conduct the days – whether the kids are talking to an expert, heading out on a field trip, or doing amazing things in the school.

Thank you to the volunteers that helped get the school ready for this first week and to our supporters for cheering on the sidelines, thank you to my fellow staff for the support and incredible work, thank you to the kids for being so willing and ready to participate and learn with us, and thank you to the parents for letting their kids hang out with us every day, and for being some of our most dedicated supporters! See you next week!

the first day

The first day. The first year.

The space was miraculously clean overnight.

Happy birthday and happy first day, Gever!

The tables were ready for drawing and lunch.

We’re ready.

The first morning circle.

The kids lost no time and explored the neighborhood, including the MUNI bus depot just up the street…

…some weird things…

and the local fauna…

…before becoming sunscreen warriors and heading inside for lunch.

They made a human maze out of masking tape…

…with warnings of peril ahead.

They flew across Google Earth.

What an amazing first day.

And we get to do it again tomorrow!