Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Week 37!

June 19, 2012

Last Day

As it turns out, we did not "finish" our Village at Marlborough School.  We did not have time for appraisals or the auction.  My hope is that by keeping this blog I can look back through to determine where we might accelerate things for next year.  Having said that, it is quite amazing what this group of homesteaders accomplished in just 29 hours.  Participants in our summer program have about 125 hours just for Village (this excludes time for swimming, eating and other play) and a consistent supply of adult help .  We did exceptionally well!

The first half of our class was spent taking our homes out of the woods, knocking down fences, and returning the forest to its pre-Village condition.  Some valuable lessons were learned about home construction at this time.   Many houses were full of mud, ants, spiders and/or mouse droppings.  Next year we will try harder to build safer homes for our peeps.

The second half of class was spent doing "pluses and wishes", a daily favorite from our summer program.

Pluses (things we really enjoyed this year):
  We liked...

  • lots of kids played this year!
  • more kids than last year
  • liked making second peeps
  • we all got along
  • great location
  • made wooden houses, not cardboard
  • not overly structured- organized chaos
  • good land
  • one or two big problems to bring the village together 
  • being with friends
  • designing houses and peeps
Wishes (things to keep in mind for next time):
  We wish...
  • there wasn't the big murder trial
  • nobody would go murder crazy
  • there was no framing
  • more people were more involved
  • we had more time
  • there was less bickering
  • there was more working and building- less time spent on meetings
  • Village was more than once a week
  • we got more land
  • there were better walkways on the acre
  • no more meetings!
  • animal transportation
Other comments:

"It seemed that many people just wanted to be divided and make war all year.  More than half of the town was armed like an angry mob."
"It would be fun to do a themed village next year"
"The clans put us way behind"
"We need more jobs next year"
"Town meetings are essential for towns"

I can hardly wait to see what we come up with next!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Week 36, Marlborough School

June 5, 2012

Crime and Punishment!

We reconvened the trial from a couple weeks ago between Disco Dave and a few others this morning.  R?'s legal council was absent so we went ahead without him.  The proceeding went as follows:

Bob and Fred request a judge and jury.  Seeing no volunteers, they move on as best they can without.

Fred:  Dan and Gabe destroyed Roarie's house, we have new evidence!  Roarie ripped off Disco Dave's head and should be fined.
Gabe:  I've been framed!
Dan:  I was at my house when it happened.
Roarie:  I did not touch Disco Dave's house!
Disco Dave:  I did not touch Roarie's boat!
Fred:  What should we do?
Chuck:  Fine them and send them to Federal prison
Disco Dave:  We have no prisons
Fred:  We could de-value their land when we do appraisals next week
Rolph:  Place a lien on their properties?
Gabe:  My value is already low!
Disco Dave:  As punishment we could soak their heads in the river
Fred:  That will give the peeps cancer and make their hair fall out
Disco Dave:  They will also be shunned
Fred:  Do you have anything to say in your defense?
Dan:  I was working on my property at the time in question
Fred:  Do you have proof?
Dan:  I was there
Bob:  How have you been framed?
Morton:  Let's just fine them and call it a day
Fred:  Raise your hand if you told Cameron anything about this.  (Cameron is a student not participating in Village)
Collectively:  Who's Cameron?
Fred:  Do we have any witnesses?
Chuck:  I saw those two (points at Dan and Gabe) walking back from the woods grinning.  And I saw Disco Dave.  I was walking over and I saw them walking with sticks, I did not look at Disco Dave's house.
Fred:  Dan and Gabe most likely destroyed the boat.
Morton:  Any other witnesses?
Fred:  Does anyone have handcuffs?
Disco Dave:  As punishment they should be locked in a room with my vicious Wumpass
Fred:  Raise your hand if you think Dan and Gabe are guilty  (some hands go up in the air, not all)
Bob:  Wait a second
Fred:  They shall be punished!  Now for Roarie ripping Disco Dave's head off.  They shall be punished!
Bob:  Throw peeps in the river for a minute and a half as punishment (directed at Dan and Gabe)
Chuck:  No, two minutes!
Fred:  They shall be condemned to the waters of the river.  Say "I" if you are in favor of the same punishment for Roarie.
Random yelling:  I think Roarie should be fined.  I think he should have his head soaked in the river for two minutes for attempted murder!
Dan:  It was murder!
Bob:  Hand over your peeps!

The formal trial ended here with the entire village all running into the woods to be first at the "river".  The TinyTownies lined up on either bank excitedly waiting for justice to be done.  Disco Dave set a timer on his watch and the peeps were submerged.  While this seems like it would be a terrible punishment, perhaps even torture, the peeps were really no worse for the wear just a bit wet!

Next week we shall do appraisals and begin clean up of the land.  A newspaper was published today, but due to technical difficulties it is unavailable!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Week 35 Marlborough School

May 29, 2012

Wrapping up

This morning we were joined by Nate Clark.  Again we wound up with a small group, only 17 homesteaders.  Again, everyone got right to work.  The goal today was to get everyone's land up to snuff (strings down, fences up, landscaping) and to get the houses out there, furnishings were also worked on.  There will be an open house at our school tomorrow night.  Homesteaders have been encouraged to bring their families out to the acre to show off their work.  This was the first week we have had in a long time where homesteaders were at a loss for things to do.  It means next week will be an excellent time for a meeting/trial and will possibly be our last week.

Bittersweet as we transition from away from this Village and begin full steam ahead on our summer program!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Week 34 Marlborough School


May 22, 2012

I should begin by saying that it is NOT raining!!!!  It would seem that this has been the only real obstacle since moving our program outside.  Such is not the case.  When I arrived this morning to unpack everything I noticed a major discrepancy:  All of the houses we had left in the pavilion were missing!  Obviously this would be a huge problem.  It is very late in the game to have kids start from scratch on their homes.  With a bit of investigating and chaos, it was determined that a family had a party at the pavilion over the weekend (it is owned by the town, not the school).  They moved all of the houses to a locked garage to protect them and forgot to put them back.  In the nick of time the houses we located and replaced!  Phew!!  Crisis averted!

This is the day that was designated as the cut off for the Tinytownies to get their act together and save their town from the "Great Flood".  We began with proclamations and big ideas.  The homesteaders were instructed to first fulfill the terms for their deeds, then to work on houses.  The seventh graders and a couple sixth graders agreed to various forms of responsibility and we set to work.  A large group of boys hightailed it into the woods to check on their properties.  I followed this group.  When I caught up to them Disco Dave's homesteader was distraught, something had happened to his house and his peep was missing.  Another homesteader was also distraught, his house boat had been badly damaged and he found Disco Dave in the muck near his boat.  He held Disco Dave over his head and proclaimed that if his homesteader did not come to claim Disco Dave, that he would behead Disco Dave.  And that is exactly what happened.  The two homesteaders were furious with each other.  Accusations were flying!  They did not seem interested in help... only retaliation.  With a bit of redirection the homesteaders called upon their elected officials to sort out their troubles.

This really needed structure so we turned it into a meeting.

Disco Dave, "R? is framing me for destroying his boat.  He beheaded me and destroyed the top floor of my house!"

Fred, "We need laws against vandalism and murder."  In the meantime the trading post was being robbed.  "And theft."

R?, "I beheaded Disco Dave" -said with a smile

Chuck, "We should have a law that you get put in the river for three days as punishment."

Fred, "Vandalizers should get the same destruction done back to them."

R?, "I didn't touch his house!"

Disco Dave, "R? destroyed my house, beheaded my peep, and accused me of destroying his boat!"

R?, "I have witnesses that I did not touch his house!"

Disco Dave calls  Gabe to stand ("up!")

Gabe, "Me and Dan saw R? with a metal tube destroy his own boat.  R? ripped off one end of the tube and stabbed it into his boat..."

Fred, "Fine R?"

Morton and Bob, "He's bankrupt!"

Gabe, "Can I continue?  He took the pipe and stabbed it through the top floor of Disco Dave's house and took Disco Dave.  The he saw me and Dan and ran."

R?, "I call a witness to the stand."

Chuck, "I saw those two (points to Gabe and Dan) with sticks on my land destroying the boat."

Bob, "Did the pipe have a bent end?  The pipe is mine."

Fred gives a character witness for Disco Dave..."he would never do that, I have known him since first grade..."

Jon (R?'s legal counsel), "I was told I could speak.  We plead innocent until proven guilty!"

R?, "Is that a good thing?"

Mean while, a toad is being trapped inside of an empty yogurt cup, the possibility of taping it in is being discussed.  "I'm calling PETA!  Animal cruelty!", Disco Dave.

The house, the boat, and the pipe are brought in as evidence.

Carmen, "Has anyone noticed that it has been thundering and lightening?  Maybe the bad weather was a factor in destroying the boat and the house?"

Chuck, "This (points to boat) has damage marks!  Where are the nails (points to the house)?  Where are the nails in that house?"

Disco Dave, " I used wood glue and it is water proof."

Rolph, "Are you sure?"

Fred (reads the bottle of glue), "It says water clean up, it doesn't say anything about being water proof.  The bottom of the house of secure.  We should address thieving, it is happening right in front of us right now!"

Law ideas were being thrown around to address the multitude of problems.  Nothing was decided upon.  The thief wound up giving back what he stole from the trading post.  The bell rang and it was time to run back into the school.

This was by far the BEST class we have had this year.  The kids began to acknowledge their personal investment in the community as well as their responsibility to the community.  We did not create any laws or inflict any consequences... but the group did work together to try to solve these very large problems.

When packing everything up I found the toad, and freed it!

Bob's home with fence

Pablo's home with archway

A nice fence!

Tucked into the hillside

On the bank of the river

A sturdy bridge

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Week 33...?

May 15, 2012


At 5 o'clock this morning I awoke to the sound of rain POURING down.  I thought, "Oh no, not again!"  Every week for the last several it has been raining for Village.  Miraculously the rain stopped at about 7:30 this morning (just as I arrived to set up for Village)!  We had a very small group today, only thirteen homesteaders. Apparently we have forever lost our newspaper editor to the town of Drama Club, like so many before him.  It is a shame and he will be missed... I guess we need to figure out a way for our community to be more attractive than theirs.  This does leave a job opening which was advertised for today.  So far I have no takers, there is much too much other work needing to be done right now.

With our nice small group we got right to work.  A number of homesteaders headed straight for the woods to place houses on land, clean up properties, take down perimeter strings, finish/fix fences, and build bridges!  The rest of the group stayed at the pavilion to make furniture and assemble houses.  One peep even got a stylish new raincoat, made from the fabulous vinyl material donated by the NHDI crowd.  As I was the only "adult" at Village today I assigned supervisory roles to two of the seventh graders who have shown good leadership qualities as well as a fair amount of kindness and respect to their fellow homesteaders.  This worked very well. It allowed me to work between the two groups and gave the homesteaders more freedom of movement.  I don't know if something like this could continue to work with our normally large group, we shall see.

I mentioned bridge building.  The universe continues to smile on Rolph's plan to flood the town.  It is nearly flooded already with out a dam being built.  Streams have turned into brooks that we can no longer jump over. We were able to rework and reconfigure two town bridges today, complete with a culvert.  This was enormously successful and we now have safe, dry access to all of the land.

Wild Wumpus, created by Disco Dave.  This wild creature will be living in the downstairs of Disco Dave's house to protect from intruders.  It is a wild thing though, I hope it is safe to live with!

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Week 32

May 8, 2012

Building, furniture making, land development, placing houses on land

Once again today, it is raining!  Not quite as bad a s last week, but I must admit we got wet!  Homesteaders are properly in the routine of having Village outside, everyone wore a jacket and a few kids brought umbrellas.

We were joined by Tim Bollinger I & II, they were a great help with home construction.  We had four more houses come together today and are ready to go out onto the land next week.  Some kids are busy furnishing their homes others have taken the opportunity (while waiting for a turn with the hammer) to take down their perimeter strings and do a bit of spring cleaning on their land.

The bridge to the far side of TinyTown has seen some improvements as well.  Things are really shaping up, it will be a shame if the TinyTownies don't get their deed fulfillments done in time and Rolph still winds up taking the town.  Next week is the end of the extension.

We have no newspapers to post as the newspaper editor has stopped showing up.  Perhaps next week I'll need to refill that position.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Week 31, Marlborough School

May 1st, 2012

Building, placing houses on the land!

This was our first "normal" Village in a few weeks.  Last week was the last of our help from the Keene State students.  Owen Iselin came by this morning to lend a hand (or two or three!).  The first thing is that it is absolutely pouring outside.  The homesteaders asked if Rolph was making it rain to flood TinyTown quicker.  It certainly seems that way.

Having our class outside under the pavilion is a great motivator for the kids, they can see the end.  Several homesteaders braved the rain and placed their finished houses out on their land.  Owen led that expedition, so there is not much for me to report on except:  Homesteaders that went out with houses, came back without them; homesteaders that went out dry, came back sopping!  The rest of the group spent their 45 minutes taking turns with the hammers, working on painting houses, and making furniture.

The President declared that he should have a different title, Mayor, and should be surrounded by a city council.  The former Vice President did not object to this demotion (I'm not sure that the rest of Tinytown is aware that a change has occurred, but I did not hear any complaints).  The Mayor (who was waiting to have a turn with a hammer) spent the morning recruiting council members.