Monday, January 26, 2015

Shaping Heads

Monica Wilson set us up with a fantastic trip to the studio of Tad McKillop, a local sculptor. Our beloved 7-8s will be building heads from clay in art class over the coming weeks, and heads are Tad's specialty. Tad took a little time to show us around his studio and explain his process. Then, as we watched, transfixed, he spent an hour building a head from scratch. Monica took a few photos:



The head came with us back to Summers-Knoll, where the kids worked in pairs to build heads of their own. Next, they will spend a special art session this week with the 5-6s, teaching them. After that both classes will dive in, until SK is a forest of ceramic student-created craniums.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Matthew's Exhibition

Jianmarco wrote this account of his experience at Matthew's Exhibition.

Matthew’s Exhibition was centered around his Utopia Card Game. The first half consisted of an explanation and a slideshow presentation with rules. The presentation was easy to understand and the game rules were easy and well thought out. Although the exhibition was a bit shaky as it began, it quickly picked up speed and soon swept us along on a journey full of ‘rebellion’ (2) and ‘speeches’ (1). The second half was jam packed as we actually played his game.
As the game goes, it worked well and the professionalism of the real cards and rule sheets on hand was a pleasant surprise. The game mostly consisted of each of us playing cards on each other to raise or lower our or an opponent's utopia score. There were many other cards, representing boons, disasters, and everything in between; however, the overall goal was to reach utopia with 20 utopia points. As the Exhibition ended, we were having so much fun that we didn’t stop the game for several more minutes!
I came away from the Exhibition feeling that I had learned a fantastic new game, and realizing how much utopia and dystopia can be changed by one little thing.

Friday, January 23, 2015

Midsummer in January

Joanna has begun rehearsing A Midsummer Night's Dream with the 7-8s, and, predictably, everyone is having a good time. It doesn't take a genius to recognize that Shakespeare is meant to be learnt by performing it, not just by looking at text on a page. 'One thing your kids do not lack,' Joanna remarked to me earlier today, 'is ideas'. Indeed not. That's what SK is about. The crux of the matter is realizing those ideas rather than simply tossing them out into the ether and feeling that you've done your job. Performances require you to figure out the practicalities.

Rehearsals mostly take place from 3:30 to 5:00, though the kids are doing a little work during the school day. Generally speaking, the Faeries rehearse on Tuesdays, the Mechanicals on Thursdays, and the Lovers and Courtiers on Fridays. Many kids are in two of these groupings. Please check the relevant Google Calendar for details, and make sure your kids are dong the same.

Performances will occur on Friday, March 27, and Saturday, March 28, likely at an off-campus location. plan accordingly--not just for the shows, but for the madness of production week.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015


Last week, I told the kids I wasn't feeling well--at about 72% capacity--and that every time they interrupted or irritated me, my condition would deteriorate, just a little. Later that day, I was asking for their attention, and I heard Isobel mutter, 'fifty-nine.....fifty-eight.....fifty-seven.....'

Science Work

Science Projects are well and truly underway. Today will be our second gathering with the seven Science Advisors who have joined us from the Summers-Knoll community. These are the questions our 7-8s are exploring:

How does attention span differ between two- and four-year-olds?
What explains the vulnerability of the ACL?
What factors contribute to extinction, and what is the probability of discovering a Lazarus species?
How does collective grief behavior compare between elephants and humans?
What is the difference between recognizing colors and numbers?
Is there a correlation between aggressive-sounding music and aggressive behavior?
What are the effects of REM behavior disorder on waking life?
What is the effect of depth on the pigmentation of algae?
How did the Big Bang create our solar system's planets, gravity, and orbits?
What are the causes of savant syndrome, and what accounts for its variety of symptoms?
Are there gender differences in the frustration threshhold for five- and six-year-olds?
How does Alzheimer's disease affect the brain?
How might the human brain will evolve over the next hundred generations?
How does the brain communicate with neurologically wired prosthetics?

Their projects and experiments will be conducted over the remaining days of January and into early February. Science Exhibitions will take place during the week of February 9-13.

In addition, the kids have been busy mapping the brain, connecting its parts to nerve functions, and examining abnormalities.
An abnormal brain.