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.


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.


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



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


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


Ben and Aidan played with soap boats.


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.


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



Stop motion practice.


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


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


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.


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!

looking for the kids

In the last few days, sometimes I’ve wondered where the kids have gone. It’s quiet in the school. I can hear people moving around and talking… but the sound levels are down, manageable, not the sounds of twenty-two kids moving around and doing things. I wander out of the office and around the school to look for them.

Some can be found learning to knit and making their own knitting needles with Melanie.

Others are struggling through weaving coil baskets with Elizabeth.

A bunch make paper houses and art for a piece of lint named Bad Bug.

Others use the laser cutter to make grabbing prosthetic hands.

And while sometimes there are occasional trips to Safeway…

…they always return laden with potatoes (or other things), ready to focus and explore.

Each time I wonder where the kids have gone, it turns out that all twenty-two kids are in the building. They’re just focused. Exploring.

hands and hand-tools

There were so many incredible things that happened today at school. Everyone was engaged in the simple yet elegant projects that the collaborators led for the day.

Mackenzie rocked the ojo de dios making all day.

Finagling yarn and dowels.

Ben contemplates the beginnings of his ojo de dios.

The Flying Fish watch carefully for the next instruction.

Soon almost everyone was engrossed in making ojos de dios.

The kids did crayon rubbings with different textured objects and surfaces.

Some bookmaking and illustrating.

Making play dough by hand. Sofia’s face says, “Gross!”

The handmade play dough resulted in moments of imagination and negotiation for some of the boys. They made up a series of rules and names for themselves during doughy battle.

Carving potatoes into shapes…

Ben found that a second go at making the alphabet carvings resulted in better letters. It just the kind of discovery we want the kids to start making!

…and then making french fries at the end of the day.

Josh taught the kids finger binary counting.

Debbie came in and did some gardening by hand with the kids.

The collaborators have picked up on three different main threads of interest for the kids – fiber arts, paper arts, and drawing comics – and have started shaping the day toward including those interests in the everyday exploration during By Hand. The more days like this, the better!