Thursday, September 14, 2017

Fall overnight to Tillers International

On Monday, September 11, we left SK for parts unknown. Well, actually, thankfully, we knew exactly where we were going. We were headed to Scotts, Michigan, to visit Tillers International.
But still, we didn't exactly know what to expect. We'd been talking about the history of agriculture in the United States since the first day of school and we'd been thinking about the ways in which people shape technology and technology shapes people. All of this this thinking and reading prepared us for our two days at Tillers.

On Monday, we spent time learning how to plow a field with draft horses, forge metal in the blacksmith shop, and prepare wood for barrels in the wood shop. We also made our own rope, which we brought back to SK and are happy to show off. On Tuesday, we visited the farm museum (containing over 4,000 historic farm implements!) and cleaned out some barns. Kids were delightfully enthusiastic about the cleaning (and the animals we met in the barns, including a very friendly cat and some marginally friendly turkeys). On Tuesday afternoon, we returned to SK.

In addition to all of the hands-on learning and philosophical discussions about the ways in which we use tools, we made time for a considerable amount of fun. We LOVED the Cook's Mill Guest House because it was a) beautiful, b) had secret passageways, and c) had secret passageways (!!!). We also enjoyed cooking and eating all of our meals together.

In short, the fall overnight was a tremendous success. Huge thanks to our friends at Tillers International for being such awesome hosts.




























Friday, September 8, 2017

Weekly overview - week of 9/5/17


We started off the year with a new space, new friends, and an all-around wonderful week. One of the lenses through which we are approaching our learning this year is that of technology as a tool for social, political, and cultural change. As such, next week, we are headed to the Cook’s Mill Guest House at Tillers International farm in Scotts, Michigan to take classes on traditional skills (such as woodworking, blacksmithing, and ploughing with draft animals). In preparation for our trip, we looked at a very brief overview of agricultural history in America and examined the relationship between world events and technological innovations. Based on our observations and questions, we dove into a fishbowl discussion on the merits of technology and how different tools or “advancements” have improved lives (or not) throughout history. This thought exercise will set us up to get working with the new tools in the Innovation Lab later this year.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year

Dear readers,

Welcome to what is sure to be a banner year for SK 7-8s.

Eighth grade girls (how did that happen?)

Observations on a very brief overview of American agriculture

Kaz leads an important discussion on pizza toppings (seriously, we were voting on what type of pizzas to make on our overnight next week)

Fishbowl discussion on the merits of technology

More fish(bowl)ing

Inside the fishbowl is for debating and active listening; outside the fishbowl is for note taking and active listening

Fishbowls for the win

What does your ideal classroom look, sound, and feel like?

Discovery: our ideal learning environments have a lot in common (but also many differences)

What's going on in the world and how do you know? (an introduction to our weekly study of current events)

To a wonderful year ahead,

Rachel