This Friday, our school experienced its first real excursion hiccup. We spent the afternoon in the library reading, picking books, and doing a bit of scary story research for our upcoming Halloween party.
After two hours wandering the halls of the Teen and Children sections at the library, it was time to head home. Our timing, it seemed, was perfect: a roughly 20 minute journey home starting at 3:05pm. We’d even have time for a quick end of day circle.
Clipper cards ready, we all hopped on the bus. Confident we where looking for our standard 18th street stop, we embraced the usual shenanigans of the bus ride – story telling, day sharing, brotherly rough housing, and backpack ruffling. A bell ding alerted us that we were coming up on the 17th street stop and the warning to students went out: “The next stop, at 18th street, is ours.”
With bags closed and students ready, we flew by the 18th Street stop. 19th Street went whizzing by. 20th, 21st, 22nd and 23rd follow suit. Turns out that the 9 and the 9L are very different buses.
We got off the bus and shared with the kids the fantastic nature of our bus stop failure. Taking the opportunity to model calm and reasonable problem-solving, Mackenzie and I plotted a new path home and called Justine so she could keep parents in the loop. We were to walk over to Bryant and take the trusty 27. Looking back, I now realize we missed an opportunity to ask our kids to participate in generating a solution.
The 27 seemed like it was going to take far too long, so we opted to try and beat it by walking back to school. We split into two groups: the runners (hell-bent on beating the bus home) and the walkers (less-bent but still hoping to beat the bus home). Some parents met us along the way to keep after-school appointments but most others waited as we and the kids added an additional 20 minutes to our journey home. Our day came to an end with varying levels of sweatiness and similar levels of accomplishment and adventure.
Everyone was kind of beat after finishing up the arc yesterday so we pressed pause for a moment. The kids headed off to the park for a morning of the outdoors, then came back to school for lunch and headed out again to the downtown library for the afternoon. Next week we start an experiment week where they’ll be preparing the space for Halloween. Check back on Monday for more exciting stuff happening at Brightworks.
The kids planned their own days again today! The bands wrote out their activities for their Tuesdays on white boards so everyone would know what the plan was. They were busy and focused as they worked on their projects, took breaks at the park, and read all day.
Clementine, Zada, and Kaia decided to try their hand at busking and became trobairitzes – the feminine version of a troubadour – performing poetry and songs for passersby.
Construction moved forward.
Designing utili-aprons with fabric and staples.
Our beautiful library! Thank you for the generous donations from our families, as well as a friend to the school who gave us a whole set of YA books.
A half an hour of quiet reading after lunch, a practice we’re beginning to structure into our days.
The Brightworks Book Club – Coke’s idea started today. We read the first two chapters of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe.
The preciseness of the chop saw.
Furniture for Kid City houses.
Writing at the end of the day.
Construction in forms large and small framed this day. The older kids spent the morning constructing the frames of the two-story Kid City while the the younger kids headed to San Francisco General Hospital’s construction site just a few blocks away from our little school. Mix in a little paint and you have a day.
The foundation at the hospital went down three stories! Aidan assured me that this “isn’t too deep,” but they saw the crane moving things around so fast!
Setting out 2x4s back at the school.
Zada helped align the wood for strong joints and a steady Kid City frame.
Connor concentrated on the task at hand.
Theo helped Audrey with her play and assured me he would soon know the secrets of time travel (right, Theo?)
A quick break at the park before the younger kids came hurrying back to school.
After lunch, Kaia prepared her feet for a record in strides.
Coke took a break to read in the library – now located in the office area, thanks to Melanie and Kristie’s hard moving work.
Gever worked with Henry on some gaming code and Isaac wrote more in his tale of zombie mayhem, while Stewart and Theo continued to explore the world.
What can you discover from the footsteps of the kids at Brightworks?
Jennie – our friend and carpentry and kids’ tool education extraordinaire – showed Audrey how to use the chop saw.
Kai helped Mei stabilize her sawing so she could start building a table for her flower shop.
Logan started to construct submarine that will never sink.
Ben had plans of his own…
Clementine and Jennie work on sturdy joints on a shelf for Clementine’s Kid City shop.
Connor and Ben measure on the diagonal to square the frames for stability.
Setting the frames upright.
An experiment in tracing footsteps gone to the extreme – paint everywhere!
Quinn composed a poem for Sofia after she fell in the paint slide:
We’re painting a painting for painting the painting.
A painting was painting a painting.
She was a painting that was painting a painting.
She was painting who was painting a painting of painting that a painting can painting so well.
“Brightworks,” Josh said, “is where clean clothes go to die.”
Norabelle, Zada, Kaia: you’ve proven this correct. It will not be the last time.
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.
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.
Clementine said, “We looked at pictures of criminals, some of which are creepy, but some of which are cute.”
White gloves were a must and a plus.
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.
When perusing old restaurant menus, someone exclaimed, “OMG! It’s a cheeseburger with ice cream on it!!!”
The goats awaited everyone’s return.
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.
The rest of the afternoon was filled with caring for the goats, making mayonnaise, constructing a worm bin, and building a bench.
Mackenzie explains the care and keeping of worms and their usefulness in composting.
Chane led the kids in making mayonnaise. They were stunned that it was all edible, especially the raw eggs!
Ben and Henry concentrate on the beginnings of a bench, the first kid construction project at Brightworks.
Instructions for goat care, deftly illustrated by Ben and Bruno.