Archive for October, 2011


Last Monday I played a very, very long game of Mao with Maddy, Lucas, Jacy, and Alise. Mao is a card game, more or less like Uno, complicated by a few unspoken rules which players must learn solely by observation and deduction; by watching others keep the rules, or by figuring out why someone penalized them. At the end of a round (when a player successfully discards her or his last card), the

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Art Corp. goes to Seattle Art Museum

Four members of Art Corporation planned a trip to Seattle Art Museum.  We had a great time!

What we saw inspired us, challenged us, and gave us new ideas for techniques and forms.

This ancient Kwan Yin is in an art museum, rather than the sacred space for which she was sculpted.  Discuss.

Simplicity.  Form.

Viewing a video of a performance piece in which a car is destroyed in a ritual manner.  Or…?

We spent a while at this one.  ”It’s about weight.  And balance.”  ”Or…education?”  (Later, I read a bit about it.  The artist, Heide Hinrichs, says ”It is much more a pedestal disguised as an idea of a shelf.”)

On the train home, I noticed myself seeing things with new eyes, with art eyes.

Pattern, form, and color are everywhere, food for the part of us that yearns to express what we see/feel/know in visual terms.  Thank you art, for being a place for ideas of ideas, for inviting our stories to interact with your objects, and for helping us see through and into ordinary life in a whole new way.

posted by Abbe

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DIYU, Edupunks, and the Changing Face of Higher Education

Two summers ago I read Anya Kamenetz's eye-opening book DIY U: Edupunks, Edupreneurs, and the Coming Transformation of Higher Education and intended to write a summary to publish here, but never got beyond the research point. The book is incredibly content-heavy, and I'd already summarized Shop Class as Soulcraft: An Inquiry into the Value of Work. Fortunately, much of the content of this book

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Summer School Theme Song

This video is being posted by popular demand. The footage is from last year and includes; parts of a documentary by Leo, rough footage from the making of an unfinished short film, a game of Mafia, and some other random shots (there was limited footage available at the time of editing). The song is "Victory Dance" by My Morning Jacket and was played loudly on the bus during the many summer school field trips. The video is kind of silly, the song absolutely rules!

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Why Young Children Protest Bedtime: A Story of Evolutionary Mismatch

A Darwinian, evolutionary perspective helps us understand why young children put up such a fuss about bedtime. Every parent should realize that their child is not just testing their will. The child, for good reasons, is experiencing fear, maybe even terror.

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Time Is On My Side

Last week in between cases in Fairhaven School’s JC (Judicial Committee), a student restated  Stephen Hawking’s theory that time stands still inside a black hole. “Although a watch would probably explode in there, if it didn’t, he thinks it would stop recording time.” The school year is back, and the best forum I know for conversations about ideas is also back.

This student, who’s also an elected JC Clerk, set me to thinking while we waited for the principals for the next case. Although it’s not a black hole, Fairhaven School does have a different relationship with time from other schools. Time does not stand still here, but it sure does soften. Take the student who spend untold hours last year chilling under the fairy tree. He was new, and we checked on him from time to time. “I’m fine,” he’d say. And so we he took his time, decompressing from former schools, regaining his sense of agency. This year he’s fully here, even serving as a JC alternate clerk. Or take the gaggle of young girls who reserve the Lounge every day for their complicated games of house or school or whatever the latest variation of imaginative role-playing is. They do check the time for their room reservation sheets, but otherwise they seem to lose track of time. Exemplars of this timelessness manifest all over campus, and seem to be one of the hallmarks of Sudbury education.

For what is freedom if not ownership of your time? This is the great gift we give our students, and perhaps the biggest challenge for our parents. We’ve heard the rejoinders, often a version of this: “but the ‘real world’ runs on time!” So does Fairhaven School. JC happens at noon every day. Classes start on time. School Meeting? Wednesdays at 1. Kitchen Corporation meets like clockwork Fridays at 11:30. And so on. When students weave themselves into the lattice of structured activities here on campus, they find it resembles the rest of the world, with deadlines, clocks, and, crucially, responsibility.

But how fast will a rose bush grow? Which gardener succeeds with force? Here, we wait. A little water, sunlight, and soil, then watch the growth and development. Thank goodness nobody pushed Mr. Hawking in his theorizing. Can you imagine, “Okay Mr. Hawking, we need that black hole theory by the end of the day today. Actually, we need it by the end of this class.”

The clerks called JC back to order soon. Time unfurled. Students came and went, their pace similar to the leaves turning, to the acorns falling to the metal roof: right on time.

At Fairhaven School we think all people have the right to dictate the pace of their lives. And for a fourteenth year, they are doing just that again.

Mark McCaig

September, 2011

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Cosmos: The Graphic Novel

Samadhi has been a student at Clearwater for 9 years--he enrolled when he was four and is now almost 14 years old. He has been drawing since he was six and began making comics two or three years ago.

This year he started writing and illustrating a science fiction graphic novel series titled Cosmos. He has completed 16 pages in the first of seven planned books in the series. Book one is subtitled "Sol System", and will be around 200 pages long. He is using Adobe Photoshop to color the comic.

Samadhi has another comic series in mind, also science fiction. He maintains he cannot make a comic series without outer space in it. He explained that the humor in his comic is inspired by Douglas Adams' The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, which combined sci-fi and comedy so well.

Many graphic novels fill Samadhi's shelves at home. Some of his favorites are Bone, Usagi Yojimbo, Amulet, Missile Mouse and Lackadaisy. He admires the last one because it is well drawn and combines comedy and drama.
Without further ado, here is Cosmos. Many pages are followed by Samadhi's comments. Click on each image to enlarge for reading.

Comic Prologue page 001

Comic Prologue page 002

Page 003 Shipslicer!
(click to embiggen)

Page 004 The Vanishing...
(click to embiggen)
And, now The Title Page!

(Click to embiggen and discover the name of this Opus)
And The first page of the actual comic!

(Click to check out those awesome night time effects close up)

Page 007 (Sodalicious!)

Page 008 (Suddenly, better shading! Wow!)

Page 009 (Lamps with eyes are the best kind of lamps. I’d totally buy that lamp.) 

Page 010 (Oh wait no that’s no lamp. Shocking twist. What is even this guy’s deal with these lamps.)

Page 011 (PLOT!! That’s a sound effect that needs to be used in comics more often.)

Page 012 (Shocking twist #2. Man Lekku what is even up with your mane in that last panel. Brush strokes eternal.)

Page 013 (Motion blur always. I have to draw those couches so many times i will just drop a spaceship on one, which just actually happened. Oh wait now it’s harder to draw. Dang)

Page 014 (See, when you cut something with a sword that looks like a peeled banana it clearly can’t be fixed. This is what happens in my world.)
How many couches CAN I destroy???????? Next on Cosmos!

Samadhi's comic was first published on his mother Roseanne's blog, Breaking Sod, in three installments: one, two and three. 

End of post.

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First weeks of school

Here’s a little taste of what students have been doing in the first weeks of school.  We’ve had field trips, outdoor play, student-led hip-hop class, under-the-table picnics, a one-actor play entitled “All About Aliens,” people have been helping each other to read and spell, and lots more!  We’re looking forward to sharing more about our school with you this year.  You can subscribe to this blog so that you don’t miss any updates–just scroll to the bottom of this page and enter your email address.  Enjoy!

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