Friday, September 17, 2010

Issue Two

Rio's text reads: WE WR PANTING
Yoli's text reads: We're at Ann and Scott house. They had chickes, two goats, and Mr. Friend
This Just In! Late Breaking News!
The schoolhouse kids had a visitor, looked forward to all day in fact, who helped us make these beautiful toolboxes for our school tools. Allen and Yoli put these beautiful, sturdy cedar boxes together at their house, and the kids got to use screwdrivers to put in the screws. Eight of 'em all together, and it was very satisfying. Allen was thanked profusely and rewarded with a juice popsicle. They applied their practiced screwdrivers to the puppet theater next, and were much more successful than yesterday. Allen promised to come back and see what we'd made with our art supplies, organized so well in new toolboxes.
The Prototype: Willard's grandad's shoeshine box

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Our Place

Today we read "Another Way To Listen" by Bird Baylor, to inspire our exploration of and attention to our neighborhood. In Bird's poetic prose, a girl learns to listen to earth and creatures from her grandfather, who can hear seeds burst open and corn singing. We each made a picture map of what we saw or felt on our way to the school park at 11th and Salina. (We also had a blast with fantasy play: took Ghost Train rides to Mexico, ran a currency exchange / bank, and bought or sold milkshakes and burgers and snow cones and pancakes from the walk-up window run by yours truly.)
Next we returned to the schoolhouse for lunch and reading time. We enjoyed some more of Peter Pan, and also acted out a nonfiction book about storms.

Puppet Theater / TV Reclamation Project Begins!

Real tools!

To spruce up the dramatic play offerings around here, we began deconstruction of an old TV set. Can't think of a better use for one of those things! Put kids' imagination behind the screen!
Rio and Eli tackle the circuit board with Rio's Very Sharp Very Good scissors.
Eli and Bruno work on using a socket wrench to remove the busted tube.
Rio snaps one through the TV screen.

Posin' for photographer Rio.
Next steps for this project: finish cleaning it up; paint it; make curtains; and make puppets! Then, of course, On With The Show...

*Safety Note: This TV was found at least six months ago on the curb in the neighborhood. The TV tube had already been broken, so there was no risk of electric shock, and the harmful vapors were long since dissipated. The kids wore protective eye wear and close-toed shoes and washed hands thoroughly after working with the TV. As part of our project, we will research and discuss proper handling and recycling of the components, as they contain toxic chemicals that can leach into groundwater or the air if taken to a landfill or incinerated. We will also locate a recycling facility  to  which we can deliver the parts, and try to get a tour so we can see what happens to electronic waste. We may be inspired to write our legislators or the EPA after that... who knows what direction our research will take us!*
**Don't try to take apart a TV without taking proper precautions first!!
For starters, read about it here.**

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Glimpse of Farm Day

We spent our morning hours in the Neighborhood Garden today, starting out with weeding our plots, quickly moving to mulching the paths from the mountain of mulch, and then built the beginnings of a fort. Although at times it was a plane and a rocket too. Here's what the kids said about it:

Rio: Today I built a seat, a bench with a foot board at the bottom. And I found some treasures. [I put them] under a board. There was a trap door. There are some more treasures... [you'll have to get the juicy details from him!]

Bruno: Today I played batman in the garden. I used the white batman watch that [Caitlin] painted. And a stick for the batman sword and I'm wearing a batman sock. I didn't build anything today.

Eli: I built part of the plane. A thin log that was straight, and a fat one. It was round, but not as round as a ball.

Then we discussed what makes "real" building. Bruno and Eli were of the opinion that it takes using hammer and nails, but Rio and I brought up the fact that we created a new structure just by putting logs together. So we'll be doing some "real" building soon, to compare. Our hypothesis was that if you use hammer and nails it will last longer, but we agreed that we still built things today.

We also mixed playdough from flour, salt, and warm water, and had a sensory experience kneading, pounding, rolling, poking, and shaping our dough. 

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

First Day at the Schoolhouse!

And we're off!
Whoooo Are You?
Today we took a try at some of the materials in the Study; went on a rainy Wander and checked out the Neighborhood Garden; created collage posters sharing a bit about Whoooo We Are (because the owl keeps asking us questions...); made black beans and rice for lunch; and ready so many stories we were at it for a whole hour. All in all it was a wonderful beginning!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Orientation Day: Friday 9/3

We were so glad to welcome enrolled students and families to tour the schoolhouse today and get an idea of what our time together will be like! Nathan and I have been hard at work transforming the space. Here he is creating some shelves from reclaimed wood for our art supplies.
It was so satisfying to see the kids checking it out in its new incarnation; that's what we've been working towards. Hopefully some anxieties were soothed and some curiosity sparked. I'm thrilled for Tuesday, to begin this learning adventure and see where these kids want to go.