year four

In typical Brightworks fashion, iteration takes practice and comes first, even when you’re waving at the camera.

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Happy year four!

last days of school

The last week of school is always filled with adventure and togetherness. We are filled with feelings of success at projects well done, satisfaction at coming to the end, sadness at being apart for three months, and affection for each other!

Movie Arc Exposition:

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Playing around…

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Green Band sleepover…

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Adventures in the world…

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And a medley of strange leftover snacks in the kitchen!

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The annual tradition of Brightworks Beach Day:

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A last Community Lunch:

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And, of course, the celebratory dance party on the last day.

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students watching selma

Last week, the Green, Blue, and Indigo bands took advantage of #SelmaforStudents, which encouraged students in middle and high school to head to the movie theater to see Ava DuVernay’s film about Martin Luther King, Jr. and the passing of the Voting Rights Act of 1965. They got free tickets to see the new civil rights movie Selma, which fit perfectly around the MLK holiday.

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Each collaborator led one-on-one discussions with their band – Indigo, Blue, and Green all had different prompts with which to engage. From “What is sacrifice? Has anyone sacrificed for you? How do you sacrifice for others?” and “What was so important about MLK and his progression in Selma?” to “Do you think the current Black Lives Matter protests influenced the making or message in this film?”, each band was equipped with a selection of questions, thoughts, ideas to share.

And share they did. The day after the film, each band split up and spread across the dining room. Rich, Phillip, and Amanda curated their teams so that one member of each band joined together to form groups of three. Each group had copies of all the questions, and they delved into a deeply honest Q&A session. The Indigo band recorded their discussions.

Quinn and Josh and Lucie considered whether or not the president – Lyndon B. Johnson – was a “bad guy’” in the film. Lucie said, “His opinions were influenced by both sides, so he had trouble making a decision.”

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When Grace, Aidan, and Frances were talking about the copyright issue in the movie (since no quotes from Dr. King were used), Aidan said, “Wouldn’t it make a better impression on the racism and white supremacy of the time? There’s still a lot of racism in the U.S….” “– and sexism!” Frances interjected. “And sexism,” Aidan admitted.

Harry, Evan, Kaia, and Khalia talked about how to make the world a better place by treating everyone equally and removing hate from the world. They also discussed what they would sacrifice or even die for. As Kaia put it, “It was hard to say what I would die for. It’s a big thing, dying.”

Zada, Jack, and Audrey extended their civil rights talk to today’s atmosphere, agreeing that the movie was made to “remind us that even though MLK helped with racism, it’s still an issue today. Even though blacks technically have the same rights, we [our society] still don’t treat them right.”

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Isaac, Julian, and Amelia talked very deeply about the social exchange of sacrifice, and how even when someone “gives” something, they usually gain something in return. And so began our deep discussion on altruism – what does it mean? why did it happen, evolutionarily? how does it affect the human race?

Ian, Ally, and JP talked about who, if anyone, they would sacrifice or die for. Their answers included members of their family, people about whom they care deeply. Ally said that before she saw the movie, she didn’t really think of sacrificing. But it was important. And real.

Rich and Phillip and Amanda wrapped up the discussion with a whole group sharing – how do these things affect your life, or affect the future?

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During the whole group discussion, the Brightworks students focused less on the issue of racism and Dr. King, and more on the issues of sacrifice.  A few students shared that they felt that there was no such thing as sacrifice and altruism, and that all humans do for others so that others will do for them.  Isaac followed with the concept of self-fulfillment, and that many people sacrifice in order to attain self fulfillment.  Not all agreed, and thus an interesting discussion erupted about why one would do for others. As the end of the day rushed towards us, we ended the conversation with thoughts on kindness, sacrifice, and doing for others.  Is it all about us?  Or do we do for others, just for the sake of bettering the world?

Whatever the reason, we all had time to reflect on the notion of standing up and working for what one believes is right.  We all hope that our Brightworks students will apply some of the tenacity and perseverance that Dr. King had, and use it to better themselves and the whole human family.

A couple of thoughtful, deep afternoons.

#cometlanding

In the tradition of the school that says yes, when Brightworks heard about the Rosetta space mission coming to an end a couple weeks ago with the lander Philae being launched into space to land on a comet, we figured the best way to celebrate and witness this moment in history was to have a sleepover at the school. Of course!

We went to see the new movie Interstellar in the theater, then returned to the school to talk over oreos and milk about physics, plot and character, the representation of women in the movie, reproductive sciences, and fifth-dimensional beings. Even though it was fiction, the movie really helped contextualize the space of space – and gave us a better idea of the importance of the ten-year Rosetta mission to land on a comet.

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Then it was to the cork floor as the Rosetta released the Philae lander! We got in our pajamas and curled up in a heap with pillows, sleeping bags, and blankets, and watched excited European scientists see another milestone in their mission come to success. We fell asleep with fingers crossed that the lander would make it.

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In the morning – 6am in the morning, to be precise – we woke up to breakfast and a successful landing, despite the harpoons not firing successfully to the comet, and we cheered along with the scientists as witnesses to a moment of excitement and new discoveries about the universe.

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mendocino woodlands

Each year, the entire Brightworks community heads to the redwood forests in Mendocino to enjoy nature, each other’s company, and smell the clean air. We were so happy to be able to visit the trees and the beach last week. Here are some photo highlights from the week!

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community friday number 1

Today, a group of guest bloggers (Mackenzie, Kaia, Frances, and JP) took these photos during our Community Friday morning activities. We love Community Friday – it’s a morning of exploring different modes of expression, talking to people we don’t usually get to see during school, and a place to show passion and dedication to things you love, and share them with the community.

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DSC00739Anthony talked to a student about what a great day it is

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Amanda, Grace, Kaia, Ally, Lucy and Julian under took a sewing project to decorate the green bandspace!

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Sadie in Action

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  Lucy, Nolan, Ally and Shawna are in the art studio sewing fabric for pillows and forts.

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Amelia helping prepare lunch!

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Isaac, Sakira, Zada, Natasha, and Isaac joined Lili in the art room making collage creatures.

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Oscar and Travis played Magic the Gathering

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