deadline

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.

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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.

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The boat crew completed their final version of their boat.

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Nicole did some spoon bending and molding with the kids.

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The felters took a short break to play with a different kind of material to shape.

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…and Nicole finished making her gorgeous colored spoon lamp.

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Connor and Henry combined their pieces of the interactive puzzle and made the first page.

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Isaac combined different flavors of candy to make a type with all five flavors: sweet, sour, bitter, salty, umami.
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He ended up with a gooey mixture that looked like a vampire’s midday snack and it had mixed reviews on the taste test.

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End-of-day fun.

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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.

spoons, etc

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.

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Ben molded a coffee-flavored chocolate bar.

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This morning, the cooking crew made chocolate with lemon, bacon, salt, and coffee. It was surprisingly good!

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Boaters.

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Lego party.

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Adjusting the lighting for the stop motion movie.

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The felting crew continued work on their scene.

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…and working on the narrative that goes along with it.

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peter and the pig

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!

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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.

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Chane led her felting group in further study of what their nature scenes will include.

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Mark helped the stop motion crew set up their equipment.

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Josh started Connor and Henry on their work for the day.

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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.

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There were so many clever pig comments floating around today… I wish I could remember all of them.

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Logan informed us that Peter was “cutting his pagina.”

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Lola said, “They must have fed him healthy food so it tastes good.”

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The kidneys.

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Kaia said, “Ew, it’s looking at me!”

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Isaac, watching Peter use the bone saw: “How do zombies get to the brains?”
Coke: “Maybe they have bone crackers!”

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After a morning of butchering, the teams returned to work on their projects.

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Lunch: porchetta and polenta with sauteed kale.

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Peter ground the meat with the meat grinder for sausage.

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We spent the afternoon watching Peter fill sausage casings.

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Lola showed me a couple tricky math problems (as she described them): 13 + 10 = 23, and 13 + 13 = 26.

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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!

treasure island or velveteen rabbit

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.

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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.

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Treasure Island with Roland.

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Ready to paraglide.

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View from the top.

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a snippet

A small snippet of this day of Expression…

I was out on the floor much of today working with Natasha, Lola, Clementine and Norabelle on their quilting project. Jan Pingatore, our expert quilter (and my grandmother!) showed the members of the Flying Fish the story of Sunbonnet Sue, how to make a straight stitch, and how to sew a patchwork quilt.

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And project work continued with construction and cameras.

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testing projects

The prototyping continued today with experiments in water for boats, using embroidery thread for quilting, testing ingredients in the kitchen, using stop-motion software, and felting. The kids are making huge strides in learning how to work in groups where everyone has their own ideas about the project and they have to compromise to make an even stronger project.

This morning, Ree showed some of the kids how she makes her own yarn on the spinning wheel.

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Connor contemplated the joint on his design for a hand and worked with Henry to compromise on a project that combines their love of comics and gadgets.

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Isaac, Ben, and Zada made progress in their best and worst food recipes.

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Coke, Kaia, and Evan worked on the story for the stop motion animation movie.

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Clementine, Ben, and Aidan experimented with which kinds of material hold water best.

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Ben and Aidan played with soap boats.

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Theo worked on a popcorn experiment: he predicted that it would take 2 minutes to pop, but we found that the actual time was 2 minutes 23 seconds.

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Clementine, Norabelle, Lola, and Natasha Mei used paper and thread to make ornaments.

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Stop motion practice.

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Sofia, Audrey, and Bruno Kai worked on their felted nature scene.

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Roland continued to absorb the kids in his art throughout the day.

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At the end of the day, we all gathered together so we could see the short stop motion films that Evan, Kaia, and Coke prototyped.

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Everyone worked so hard today! It was another one of those amazing days where the buzz in the school was one of intense concentration and work. Doesn’t get better than that!

expression

Although Expression officially began last week, we only had two days of school last week and today marked the start of beginning Expression projects. The kids are working in groups of three (and sometimes four) on By Hand-related projects, from quilt-making to stop-motion videos.

Hard at work prepping for the prosthetic hand.

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Learning about the sewing machine.

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Our artist-in-residence for the week, Roland Blandy, explained his found object artwork and showed the kids his process.

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Exploring the principles of water in preparation for building a boat by hand.

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Aidan made a discovery today.

Prototypes.

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