splitting three ways

When you have three teachers and a bucketful of options for a day at Brightworks, what else can you do but split up three ways and do different things?

Chane took a bunch to San Rafael to visit world-renowned woodcarver Ian Agrell at his studio. A hand carver who not only was teaching that day but also does hours upon hours of beautiful carving, Ian took precious hours out of his day to spend time with the kids and was proud to show them his work.

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Ian’s sketch for a new design.

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What could be cooler than a parrot than a talking parrot?

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Hand-carved furniture.

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Back at school, the potato work continues.

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The Flying Fish made prints out of plaster of tracks that they found at Glen Canyon Park. When they got back to school, they studied the prints and tried to guess what kind of animals had made them.

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Ben guessed a coyote.

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Logan drew a wolf.

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Knitters!

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And some recollection about the day.

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No school for Veterans’ Day. Be back Monday!

starting portfolios

Before the day started, the kids took a moment to appreciate the hard work they have done in Kid City. And what better time for a school photo.

portfolios

Exposition.

portfolios

Unlike the first two phases of the arc, this one was a little bit of a mystery. What does Exposition look like? Is it different this time because it’s the first one? Can we convince the kids that reflecting and recording what they’ve done is not just a good idea but a great one?

portfolios

portfolios

So it turns out the answer is yes! Things came together like stone soup (as Mackenzie put it) and the day ended up to be a huge success. The prompt? Choose 10 pictures from the school’s Flickr account and use them to tell the story of your arc experience (quite a challenge when considering the 2,000+ photos from the last six weeks).

portfolios

We ended up with enough adults to work with the kids 2:1 and sometimes 1:1, enough computers for each duo to look at their individual journeys through Cities, and a hard-working but sometimes slow printer.

portfolios

It was astonishing to see that everyone focused and helped each other stir memories of the last six weeks of school in the Exploration and Expression phases.

portfolios

A few students took a moment to reflect by writing thank-you notes to the experts they’d seen during Exploration.

portfolios

While half the students was hard at work on their portfolios at the school, the other half went to the Potrero Community Garden with Mackenzie. In the afternoon, the groups switched.

portfolios

portfolios

portfolios

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The kids’ mild-mannered attitudes, no complaining about switching gears into reflecting, not building… who could ask for more in a first Exposition phase?

portfolios

portfolios

transportation

Wednesday was all about transportation. How do you get such a large population around a city to everyone’s particular, singular destination? The kids began their study by visiting the Cable Car Museum and Powerhouse. They learned about Andrew Hallidie, the inventor of the cable car, and Friedel Klussmann, who helped save the cable cars of San Francisco.

But first, the older kids debated whether every invention should be patented, or if all information and ideas should be free-access.

Transportation

The debate got a little heated.

Transportation

Then everyone hopped on one of the most accessible of transportation options, the Muni bus, to head down to the cable car museum.

Transportation

They met Joe Thompson, whose website is so packed in a wonderful way with ideas and history and stories about cable cars that we couldn’t resist asking him to join the kids as they explored.

Transportation

Questions for Joe included: How did people go to the bathroom? What’s the top speed of a cable car? Have there ever been cable car explosions?

Transportation

Why, yes, there has been a cable car explosion before: in New York, but only because they were carrying a wood stove in winter time.

Transportation

The kids were enthralled by the constant spinning of the gears that pull cables along and make the cars move.

Transportation

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Transportation

There was a clean-up crew down below the cables clearing up all the debris that the cable cars drag in during their days of service.

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The kids headed out to the park with Joe and asked more questions. They’re learning how to interact with experts by brainstorming questions before arriving at their destination and thinking about what they’d like to learn before they get there.

Transportation

And of course there was a break for play.

Transportation

Nothing’s better than sliding down the banister!

Transportation

Back at school there was a moment of reflection…

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…and illustrating…

Transportation

…before construction began on the maze-city.

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library, mayonnaise, worm bin

This morning we began by splitting the kids up into their new bands – not the musical ones, though that might happen eventually – but their miniature society, their extended family and direct support system. The word describes the simplest forms of society, where everyone relies on each other for help, support, and friendship. Though everyone will still work together and always support each other at Brightworks, the bands serve as a smaller support system to check in and travel with.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

The kids headed downtown to the Main Library’s 6th floor, which houses the San Francisco History Center, and is filled with thousands of pieces of history.

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Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Clementine said, “We looked at pictures of criminals, some of which are creepy, but some of which are cute.”

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Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

White gloves were a must and a plus.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

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Photo of the old Best Foods mayonnaise factory, housed in our warehouse. Sanborn Fire Insurance Map, Sheet 553, 1985. Photo courtesy of the San Francisco History Center, San Francisco Public Library.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

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When perusing old restaurant menus, someone exclaimed, “OMG! It’s a cheeseburger with ice cream on it!!!”

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

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The goats awaited everyone’s return.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

A moment of reflection with ink and paper. The kids wrote stories about historical figures they’d learned about at the library and read them aloud to each other.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

The rest of the afternoon was filled with caring for the goats, making mayonnaise, constructing a worm bin, and building a bench.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Mackenzie explains the care and keeping of worms and their usefulness in composting.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

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Chane led the kids in making mayonnaise. They were stunned that it was all edible, especially the raw eggs!

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Ben and Henry concentrate on the beginnings of a bench, the first kid construction project at Brightworks.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms

Instructions for goat care, deftly illustrated by Ben and Bruno.

Library, Mayonnaise, and Worms