Wowee, what a first week! We hit the ground running here in the Orange Band (though we try really hard to walk inside), and touched on a little bit of everything the past few days.
On Wednesday, we got started by introducing ourselves and sharing skills–things we really like to do, or that we’ve been practicing and would feel comfortable teaching to another person. Here in the Orange Band, we have pianists, dancers, story tellers, zoologists, readers, mathematicians; we took these talents, and created a chain to show our skills and talents will connect us together throughout the year. Then, we all took a few minutes to explore the bandspace, noticing the tools and materials we have in our space, the types of workspaces, and thought about what our bandspace might be missing (more on this later!).
On Thursday morning, we got quite a treat–we got to spend the morning in the shop with Sean! Sean, our resident zen master/carpenter, talked to us about teamwork, and what it looks like to help one another. First, a helper must observe. Then, they should ask, “What are you working on?” in order to discern if the helpee does, in fact, need help. Next, a helper can ask, “What can I do to help?” or offer suggestions if they think they know what the problem is. It is SUPER important to listen! Then, it’s the helper’s chance to help. Make sure to give the helpee the chance to learn from their mistake!
Then, we returned to our list of tools, materials, and attributes of our space–this time, thinking about what our space is missing. Answer: STORAGE! In our bandspace, we don’t have a cubby system or hooks (yet!) to store our backpacks, jackets, journals and other supplies. We spent a few minutes thinking about what we would like in a storage unit, then spent the rest of the time until park visiting the other bands to see how they are storing their personal and shared belongings.
In the afternoon, we broke out our sketchbooks and went for a walk to check out some serpentine poking out at the corner of Mariposa and San Bruno. We feel so lucky to have such great rocks to look at so close to Brightworks! Kiddos took a seat, and drew what they saw, noticing layers in the rock, and big protruding boulders haphazardly stacked.
Friday morning, we returned to our discussion of storage. We took a look at some notes we took about the storage in other bandspaces, and pointed out things that many or most other bands have in common and that we think are important. Then, each kiddo made a drawing of a storage unit for our space. After snack time, we carefully examined these drawings, and made a list of what we all had included in our drawings:
- Shelves for books, journals
- Hooks for backpacks or jackets
- Nametags and individual spots
- Cubby-style shelves for bigger items like backpacks
On Thursday and Friday, we had a couple of lively discussions about group agreements: making suggestions, noticing similarities between some of our suggested agreements, discussing the purpose of spending time on group agreements, and thinking about what a learning environment could be like without group agreements. In moments like these, I find it so helpful to have a building full of dedicated and thoughtful teachers and learners. We paid a visit to the Indigo Band to learn about some agreements they made with each other and why they chose these agreements. The older kids explained that they wanted to prevent future conflict, value each other’s contributions, and wanted to guarantee a safe space where everyone would feel comfortable to contribute.