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!

starting san francisco

Today was a learning experience for everyone as the kids took to the streets again and learned about the beginnings of San Francisco as a major, bustling, crowded city. Yes, that’s right: it was Gold Rush day.

They took a tour of the Old Mint.

The tour guide’s beard was pretty impressive.

The rocks painted gold were less so, but the kids were still interested in the idea of gold.

Bustling downtown proved to be a fascinating place in the present in a much different way in than in the past, of course.

A comic interpretation of a Barbary Coast purse thief, an act that was also played out during the day.

Sutter Creek and mining towns were the basis of the Gold Rush game that the kids played when they got back from their field trip: using poker chips and dice to simulate moving west with only a few dollars in your pocket, mining or panning for gold and not always striking it rich, running out of food, and getting supplies for a trek up some mountains to make your fortune.

Zada and Logan try to determine how succulents absorb water best – their own self-guided experiment.