Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Week 15, Marlborough School

December 20, 2011

Designing Houses, job interviews

I was nervous about today's class, I had a moderately ambitious agenda and was unable to find outside help for class.  Neither of the two promised helpers from the school were available.  I got lucky, it turns out that Science Club was also meeting this morning, so several homesteaders were not present.  I had a nice small group of nineteen today (perhaps it was somewhat the nature of the nineteen that were present that made the group feel "nice and small").  I began the class by setting out pencils and paper on all of the desks.  The Spanish class seems to have taken all of my pencils, it was necessary to obtain more.  I drew rudimentary side, front and top views of houses on the board.

When the class came in and settled I explained the next step in Village.  Everyone will be making houses, presumably out of wood.  With a few pointers (you will need to build what you create, you will need to pay {in meeps} for your materials, you will need to use your design plans to actually build your house, real building code is eight feet between a floor and ceiling {it doesn't need to be twenty}) and a few questions (mostly for the trading post) the kids got started.

While the class was working on drawings, I began the job interviews.  Morton and Michael both applied for the position of trading post manager.  Morton has quite a lot of experience, so I hired him as manager and Michael as assistant to the manager with the stipulation that Morton train Michael as his replacement.  Next I interviewed for Bank manager.  Only one of the applicants, Carman, was in class today.  She seems to have a bit of useful experience herself.  Carman also doesn't have a problem with being the boss, and working above people.  I haven't hired her yet as I still need to interview the other applicants.  I interviewed Maria for the position of Newspaper Editor.  I think she would be a great fit for this job, she is certainly qualified, but she wasn't sure she wanted to be in charge of others.  She decided to instead apply for a job as a journalist.

After the interviews I worked with those who needed a little bit of help.  I think the class was extremely productive today, especially considering most of the work was independent.  Before class was done I asked the students to keep a look out for certain types of trash (plastic windows) in their holiday wrappings.

After vacation I will bring in the empty cereal boxes for those who finished their house plans today to begin building cardboard models.  Over the break I will write up a parent letter about Village and what we are doing in class and to solicit volunteers and materials.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Week 14, Marlborough School

December 14, 2011

Currency continued

This mornings Village was well attended, I had 24 of 27 students present!  This was another town meeting day.  We began the class with a little refresher from last week.  I wrote all of the currency names up on the board and invited the kids to make more suggestions.  We had about fifteen ideas in all.  When narrowed it down we had:  Tiny Tips, Meeps, and Pee Pee Bucks.  Meeps won by a large margin.  Moving right along we decided that next we needed a symbol for our currency.  The moderator called on her classmates to draw their ideas on the board.  Some winning suggestions for symbols were: a lightening bolt, a three dimensional star, a cursive letter M, and an equilateral triangle with a square inside, with a pentagon inside the square, with a hexagon inside the pentagon, finishing with a crossed M in the middle of it all.  The three dimensional star won.

The class was a bit distracted today.  This is a result of me not inviting the class to have a free for all with the craft supplies during meeting today.  In light of this less than admiral behavior and constant distracted murmuring, one student (the hopeful future trading post manager) made some announcements regarding trading post import policy (much of the murmuring was about items being "smuggled" into village).  He informed everyone that the trading post would assign tariffs to all imports, regardless of the suggested real world value of the items.  He then took questions.  Unfortunately I haven't assigned jobs yet, so specific answers to many questions were unavailable.

With few minutes remaining the class decided to revisit government talks.  This was a challenge because at this point, those who were unable to be respectful during the meeting could not be convinced to quiet down so we could hear those who had been called on.

While we have a bit of unfinished business and there are a few behavioral things I would like to discuss with the class, I am not in favor of having another meeting until sometime in January.  I can talk until I'm blue in the face about the virtues of respect... but my message would not be heard because some of the group were simply bored today.   I can't expect more of the kids than I would of myself.  So next week I need to find a couple of helpers to come in and support the lesson so I can move forward and assign jobs.  I would like to start designing houses next week; and get the bank, newspaper and trading post up and running.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Week 13, Marlborough School

December 6th, 2011

Currency and Government... town meeting

The peeps of Tiny Town met this morning to discuss currency.  Our usual moderator was absent so other town members tried to do the job.  The discussion began simply enough:  What should we call it?  What should it be made out of?  Then we digressed.  It was suggested that each clan have their own currency which brought us back to the conversation of how these clans will actually work.  There are many in town who have a lot to say against clans... but only one who speaks for them.  Hmmm.  How did we wind up with such an unsatisfactory form of government?  Perhaps homesteaders are beginning to recognize the importance of paying attention and participating in town meeting.  It was moved to repeal the clan form of government.   The measure passed and Tiny Town currently has no government at all.  At the beginning of class today I stressed the importance of getting the currency figured out and how we really can't move forward with house building and jobs until we decide what, if anything, will be used.  I let them know when we began the government debate that we would need to shift back to currency by 8:33, to allow enough time.  One student managed to keep our meeting track.  It was agreed that we will revisit the government conversation next week.  We had a hard time trying to decide if we needed to have government in order to have currency.  We discussed things that have passed in the world as currency over the ages.  We discussed what early Americans did during the American Revolution when there was not an official government.  We learned that each American dollar represents an actual real (although small) amount of gold.  With these ideas in place the class decided to move on and offer up suggestions for the actual physical thing we will use for commerce in Tiny Town.  Suggestions were:  rocks by weight, duct tape, green cloth, tin foil, cardboard, cardboard covered with foil, green paper, paper with stamps.  We talked about counterfeiting and the need for a secure object. We voted to narrow our choices.  The top three were duct tape, green cloth, and paper with stamps.  More discussion ensued.  Many homesteaders were concerned with the actual cost of obtaining the materials to create the currency.  "Duct tape and cloth are rather expensive you know."  At this point one homesteader suggested we just use electronic banking on the grounds that it would save time and resources not having to build a bank or create currency.  After another vote the townspeople decided upon paper currency with stamps.  "What now?  Government?"  "We need to name our money."

The remaining three minutes of class were spent offering ideas for names.  Next week we will vote on these names and an accompanying symbol.

Class today was amazing.  I am rather impressed by the behavior of the students during town meeting.  Of 21 students who came to class this morning, only four were girls.  During the meeting most of the class was quiet and attentive.  Those that are not able to be quiet and attentive were not disruptive.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Weeks 11 & 12, Marlborough School

November 29, 2011

Building Fences

The weather has held out and this week and last week were spent on the land clearing and putting up fences.  We have a beautiful little spot with a lot of diversity to build on.  Many students have claimed land in or around the stream.  Last week some of those up stream began building bridges by way of dropping large branches across the stream.  Homesteaders down stream were none to pleased about this!  When the weather turns and class must be indoors I am sure this will be a topic at town meeting.  We were joined by a new student last week and now our number is up to 25!  Eighteen boys and seven girls.

At the start of class today I reminded them of what we are trying to accomplish.  It has felt like the kids are only putting up fencing to appease me.  I let them know that the boundary strings will be coming down and the purpose of the fence is to be able to recognize their land when the winter is over.  I think my pep talk had the desired effect because students were a bit more focused today.

The group of seventh graders who are calling themselves a clan found a bunch of beer bottles and cans on the acre, they proceeded to build "Beer-Henge" with these.  When I told them the school probably wouldn't approve of them playing with old beer containers they promised that they would not touch them anymore.... only worship at the site.  Oh my!  I suppose it is a good thing there is such a lack of over site.

We did not have any fifth graders today as they are on a field trip.  Ours days outdoors are numbered.  I think next week will be the last class to work on the land until the spring.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Week 10, Marlborough School

November 15, 2011

Stake your claim!

To prep for today I brought 24- 36ft sections of twine; 24 wooden stakes, numbered in sharpie; and 24 copies of the deed terms from the big white Village guide book.  We began by talking a little bit about the Homestead Act of 1862 and how our game models this distribution of land.  We read through the deed agreement, line by line making sure everyone understood the expectations and responsibilities that accompany the boundary string.  When all of the students had signed on we headed out to the acre.

Armed will stakes and twine, 22 kids charged into the forest!  It was not unlike the cover scene from The Last of the Mohicans.   The  rest of the period was spent staking claim to mini acres of land.  Some kids chose land simply because they liked the property.  Others chose to claim land near friends.  While others had some politics at work and encouraged their class mates to claim all in one area for the purpose of establishing a stronger clan.

When we went back inside, one student was very concerned (to the point of hostility) that anyone would claim land near the "river".  His point of view wasn't really shared though, those that chose wet land defended their choice by stating that their home might hang from a tree or that it might be built on stilts.

Today's class went very smoothly.  No one fell in the stream and no one got hurt.  All in all I think the kids are quite happy with their land choices.  We did find some old barbed wire in the forest, I will be revisiting the acre before next class to clear it.

The custodian said that we could borrow rakes, so next week we'll set up fences and clean up our land.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Week 9, Marlborough School

November 8, 2011

Stringing up a town

Today's class was visited by Margaret, Owen, Pari and Mr. PeepT.  While we waited for our guests to arrive we had a brief discussion about our town meeting last week.  Namely, what do we do now that we have clans?  How is this going to work?  Several students commented that they didn't really like the idea, it will be too complicated.  The originator of the clan system let us know that each clan would have their own government and rules.  With the clan system, peeps would be expected to attend town meeting with their clan as well as the general town meeting with the whole village.  Hmmmm... extra meetings?  This plan is losing popularity rapidly.

After Margaret and Owen joined us we split the group in two.  Those who wanted an opportunity to work on peeps stayed inside and also helped our guests with some peep interviews.  The rest of the group went out to string up the "bog" acre that we selected last week.  I passed out the eight 100ft sections of string and twelve kids ran in as many directions... the only guidance I gave them was to not unravel the whole piece of string in one spot and that all of the pieces would need to tie together.  At the end of half an hour we had claimed our land!  It has a few dead trees lying on their side, a nice rock wall, a "river", some wetlands and plenty of forest for everyone!  We rejoined the indoor group and had a brief conversation about the clans again.  The majority of the class would like to stake their claim next week, claiming land is kind of complicated with the potential clan separations, a few would like to hash out the clans and government instead.  It will be interesting to see how peep land choices effect the clan situation.

The plan for next week will be to string up mini acres and begin fencing in the land.  If it is raining or freezing we will try to figure out this government.

As we haven't collected or painted any rocks for property markers, I need to remember to bring some numbered sticks in next week to identify individual lots with.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Week 8, Marlborough School

November 1, 2011

Naming the town, discussing government

The original plan for today was to continue scouting for land and string up the acre for our village.  Mother nature had her own plan and sent us about two feet of snow over the weekend.  As many students did not have snow boots I decided to keep the class inside and have our first official town meeting.  Ostar was selected as moderator without an interview as she was the only one who applied for the job and had previous experience.

The first item on the agenda was choosing a town name.  Before we got started we glossed over parliamentary procedure and the role of moderator.  Many names were submitted for consideration.   The group moved in fairly rapid order and narrowed the nominations down to:  PizzaHut, Miniborough, and Tiny Town.  A vote was called and Tiny Town won!

Next on the agenda was government.  This discussion began with a few seasoned villagers suggesting a representative democracy with three select peeps.  It was suggested that we could select one peep from each grade to have better representation.  At this suggestion the seasoned villagers sort of withdrew their motion.  Another villager suggested direct democracy, in which everyone has the option to be a part of our legislative process.  Anarchy, tyranny, Free State and the Mafia were also suggested.  There was much discussion about possible benefits and disadvantages of all of the different governing types the students had suggested.  Ultimately the seasoned villagers came up with another proposal to split the village up into three clans, each clan will live within a designated land area of the village and have their own rules and government.  It was moved to a vote between Free State, direct democracy, select peeps, and three clans.  The three clans proposal passed.  Discussion ensued as to the next step.  Divide into the clans?  Name the clans?  Maybe we should select our land first?  The group moved to vote on the land for the village.  They chose between the woods, the bog and the river.  The bog won with ten votes.  We moved back to the discussion of clans and what that might mean for everyone.  Morton suggested they have three clans plus one neutral clan.  Danny offered that the clans were really too confusing, what happens when you leave your clan's land?  Do you follow the other clans rules?  How do you know where the boundaries are?  The discussion became a little heated at this point, a motion was made to have a thinking corner for those speaking out of turn.  "I second that emotion!"  Three strikes and you're out to the thinking corner.  This measure passed unanimously.  We next moved onto naming the clans and this is where we left it because the bell rang.  I wonder what will happen next week?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Week 7, Marlborough School

October 25th 2011

Scouting for land, learning about area and perimeter

The plan was to choose the acre and hopefully string up the borders.  To prepare for this: last week we saw what an acre looks like, I brought 800ft of twine.  We began class discussing a mistake I made.  An honest mistake, but one that lead the way to learn about the relationships between area, perimeter and the number of sides or points a shape has.  Last week we learned that a square acre has about 200ft per side.  I took this knowledge home with me and remembered that longer pieces of string are very easily tangled and the last two times I have been witness to the stringing up of an acre, we had to cut and tie the string in many places. I decided to section off our string, rather than provide one piece that is 800ft long (should be 836ft for a more accurate measure).  I considered making four 200ft pieces.... but even better would be to have eight 100ft pieces right?!?  I briefly explained this to the class, with the end goal being that we could split into small groups and each group place a piece of string, making sure all pieces get tied together.  Can anyone tell me my mistake?  I had drawn a circle, square, triangle, and octagon on the board.  No one was really sure.  I pointed out that all of the shapes on the board had 800ft perimeters (however, they were not drawn to accurately or to scale, which the students noticed immediately!).  We already know that the square has an area of about 43,000 square feet and a perimeter of 800ft (200ft per side).  What do we think will happen if we take that 800 foot piece of string and make an equilateral triangle with it?  Each side will be about 266ft long.  Will that give us more or less area than the square with the same perimeter?  The class did a bit of murmuring and decided that it would probably be smaller.  Any guesses as to how much smaller?  Some numbers were thrown out the closest was 28,000 square feet.  Very close!  The actual area is about 30,600 square feet.  So if we strung up and 800ft perimeter triangle we would loose about a third of the land we are entitled to claim for our village.  Next we looked at the circle.  Do we think the circle will be smaller or larger?  Larger!  How much?  Several guesses were blurted out, the nearest being 50,000 square feet. The actual circle would be nearly 51,000 square feet.  How about this octagon, bigger or smaller than the square?  Bigger!  Bigger or smaller than the circle?  This shape gave us some trouble, some said smaller and others were sure it was bigger.  Any guesses as to the area of the octagon?  The nearest was 47,000 square feet.  The actual size is about 48,000 square feet.  So if we string up our acre using the eight strings I provided and create an octagon we will be claiming about 5000 extra square feet!  Does anyone know how big 5000 square feet is?  Well we measured the gym once and found out how many square meters it was.  How many?  I don't remember.    We established that we would be claiming a LOT of extra land and left it at that.

Onto the outdoors...
We grouped up in front of the school.  Did anyone find any land last week that they want to share with the rest of the group?  I found some near the cross country track, with a river going through it.  Hey, why don't we just build where we built last year?  I suggested that we look at last years site as it was closer, led by those who played last year.  We explored a bit and regrouped out by the pavilion.  We discussed some pros and cons regarding the site in the woods.  We moved on to the other site near the stream.  The kids were getting cold and having a hard time focusing on discussion at site number two, so we moved back out to the pavilion to discuss pros and cons for the stream site.  We then compared the two sites to each other.  I then had everyone who wanted the stream site to stand on one side, everyone for the woods on the other and those undecided in the middle.  There were eleven for the stream, eight for the woods and three undecided.  Now what are we going to do?  It was suggested that we have two villages and a civil war.  It was suggested that there was a third site that had many similar pros to the first two sites and fewer cons.  We ventured off one more time to a very nice site and began a pros and cons discussion.  Unfortunately the  bell rang at that time so we all had to hustle back to the school for the next class.

Next week I intend to continue this topic and hopefully select land.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Week 6, Marlborough School

Area Activity

October 18, 2011

   Today we did the acre lesson.  Our class was a bit smaller today as some students participated in the once a month Science club.  We still managed to have twenty kids though.  To prep for this lesson I looked up few acre facts, area in square feet: 43,560; length per side of a square acre: 208 feet, nine inches.  I also looked into the dimensions of a soccer field, thinking that it ought to be standard and perhaps we could use those measurements as a tool.  Soccer fields are anything but standard.  A middle school field may be 300 feet by 165 feet, totaling 49,500 square feet... but it may not be.  Note to self: measure to school fields and set aside info for later possible use.  I brought a fifty foot tape measure and a piece of side walk chalk with me for the lesson.
   I began the lesson sending any students who showed up without a jacket back to get one, it was 37 this morning!  When I had everyones attention I pointed to 43,560, which I has written very large on the board.  I asked the kids why this number was significant.  There were a few ideas, among them, the population of all peeps!  One student offered that it is the number of square feet in an acre.  Why does this matter?  We will have this much space to claim for our village!  Each homesteader will get up to 81 square feet of their very own to build on!  I figured 81 based on the white Village Guide Book, which recommends giving each student a 36 foot long piece of string for the perimeter of their claim.  I don't really understand where this number comes from (it is not 1/24 of a real acre or 1/24 of a real 1/2 acre), but it works, so I used it!  Now that we know why 43,560 is important, we need a way to actually measure that and see just how big it is.  If 43,560 square feet fit inside a square, how do you figure out how long each side of that square actually is?  A couple students said divide by four... that didn't work.  Another student offered that 12 times 12 equals 144... on the right track.  I suggested that we simplify this problem.  43,560 is a lot like 40,000; 40,000 is quite a lot like the number 4.  I went ahead and drew a square on the board divided it into four squares.  Eventually we got to 2 X 2 = 4.  However, we took four zeros off of the number we really needed (40,000) and those had to be put back in place for us to find the correct length for one side of a square acre.  We will need to measure out 200 feet, four times!  I think this is going to be hard!
  I took the students and the helper provided by the school out to the school parking lot, specifically the long drive way right in front of the building.  I drew a chalk line at one end and had the students measure out 200ft with the 50ft tape measure.  I drew a line at the 200ft mark.  We formed a group again and I began telling them about pacing... then I backed up a little and we talked about gait.  What is gait?  It is like a door in a fence.  Nope, not a gate, just gait.  I told them that it is the natural rhythm and measure that your body falls into when you walk, comfortably.  I then told them that we were going to learn how many paces it takes each of us to get 200ft, and showed them how to count paces.  This way we won't need measuring tape or string to find out what a real acre looks like.  They went once.  I sent them counting back to the other end.  Many students got the same number, those that didn't I sent back again.  Enough of us had consistent counts to move on.  So, how big do you think an acre is?  From that white sign, to that big tree.  We paced and found we came up a little short for our first side, the students added on the extra 6 paces or so and we moved onto the next side.  From this tree to that stop sign.  Most of the class over shot their 200ft count and went all the way for the stop sign... so we had to do it again.  We chose the average spot to be our next corner.  The students then trudged through the drainage ditches (fortunately it was fairly dry this morning) and the parking lot back toward the building.... X marked the spot and we all stood back and marveled at how much land an acre is.  It is quite large!
  Next we broke into two groups to do a little bit of exploring.  Where do we want to put our acre?  We did not have much time for this... but we did have enough time for the kids to establish that they did not want any poison ivy, bees or dog poop on their land.
  If weather permits, next week I plan to spend the lesson scouting for land and possibly string up the actual boundary line.  Today we learned; how to pace, what gait is, the size of an acre.  We dug deep into our brains and remembered how to find the area of a square.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Week 5, Marlborough School

October 11, 2011

We were nearly a full class today (21 students I think).  I arrived at school early to set out all of the peep making supplies and write the job info on the board.  When the class had arrived I informed them that we would have until 8:35 to finish up peeps and fill out job applications.  After this point we would move onto peep introductions.  We went once around the room saying our names, as many students still don't seem to know who their classmates are.  The jobs posted on the board were:  banker, trading post manager, newspaper editor, moderator, secretary, and "odd jobs".  The class was instructed to fill out the questions posted on the board if they had finished making their peep.
Job Application Form:
1. Position applying for
2. Name (peep)
3. Hometown
4. Age
5. Education
6. Relevant experience
7. Non-relevant experience
8. Why should UPM (United Peeps of Monadnock) choose you for this position?

The kids were chomping at the bit to get started, I ought to have given the class a little bit more information concerning the jobs than I did, but ultimately, I don't think this will be much of a problem.  The next 20 minutes were very busy and productive.  Many students had questions regarding the required information for the job application.  They really had fun inventing a bit of history for their peeps.  At 8:35 I collected 15 job applications!  I am very excited about this and have to figure out just how I will conduct interviews during class.

After a bit of clean up we moved onto some more peep intros.  Today we met:

Bob, introduced by Matthew.  Bob is a thug, not a people person.  Has a mutation that he was born with a tail.  The Spanish teacher was present for this and she said that people can be born with all kinds of mutations.  Bob can be hired for all kinds of maintenance, he is a very skilled exterminator.

Lilly S. introduced us to Ostar, 21 years old from Alaska.  She wants to be moderator, her favorite color is white, she wants a husky and she like ice fishing.

Kevin introduced Pablo (from last years village) and his new wife, Amanda.  Pablo likes hitting things with swords, he likes weapons.  He is good at everything.  His favorite color is plaid.

Lilly M. introduced Nikki, age 25.  Nikki is a vet, she has one dog, one cat and several guinea pigs.  Her favorite color is lime green, she likes running and she hasn't killed anyone.  Nikki will sell the waste from her animals.

Dalton introduced us to Beerana and Morton (from village summer camp).  Beerana is Morton's 29 year old wife.  Morton, who is 30, is the town drunk.  He is from Alcantol.

Elizabeth introduced Lisa, age 21.  Lisa's favorite color is purple.  She loves to cook.  She has one dog and has killed no people.  She was in jail once for spitting on a cop.

Harley introduced Bob Hi.  Bob will not fight to the death with Gabe and his peep.  He has one snake and one spear.  His favorite color is hot sparkly pink.  He is bald and he likes squirrels and pie.  Bob is 30, drinks a lot, has killed three people, has one brother.  He is bald because he pulled his hair our when he was drunk.  He has no friends and has never been to jail.  Bob informs us that he will not nuke the world.

Jacob introduced Jared.  Jared is a 19 year old from Philadelphia.  He fixes computers and wants to be banker in village.  He plays soccer and and loves lemon pie.  His favorite element is oxygen.  He has never had a reason to kill anyone and he doesn't drink.

Elizabeth S. introduced us to Marie, a 19 year old from Littleton, VT.

This is where we stopped (short) as the bell rang!  I am planning on doing the acre activity next week and possibly scouting for land depending on the weather.  If the weather is foul we will do the indoor area activity (large cookie... how do you get the most from your perimeter?), hopefully finish with peep intros and come up with some town name ideas.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Week 4, Marlborough School

October 4, 2011- Day 4
  Today at Village we were missing about 1/3 of the class due to testing.  I decided to spend the hour with peep introductions.  I gave a brief intro to the activity, let the kids know the kind of information we might like to know about their peeps.  My first eager volunteer was Sawyer.  His peep is named Michael, he is 21, and his favorite foods are: ice cream, apple pie, and lasagna.  He is Canadian, has a German Sheppard and he is a vet.  Seeing no other volunteers, I went ahead and properly introduced Rolph.  He tends to be popular, and good at loosening the tension in a class because his favorite thing to talk about is manure, aka poop.  Rolph helped Michael find his natural voice. 

Next we met Ryan’s peep, Dave.  Dave is 25, he likes to dance and he is from the Spanish room.  He has a pet disco monkey.  He is a professional disco dancer, he loves disco ball shaped cakes, he has a salsa dancing brother.  He can do interesting tricks with his head as it is not glued on yet.  He knows Dance-Fu and has been jailed once for dancing too much. 
Tayissa introduced us to Hunter.  He is 21, from the Leaf Tribe and has 11 brothers and 11 sisters.  He is married to Pocahontas, his hobby is hunting and he does not carry a gun.
Wyatt introduced Chuck, not like Chuck Norris.  He is 15, hunts, does extreme sports… he doesn’t go to school so he basically does whatever he wants.  He owns and carries two spears and he will fight everything, but not cats.  Chuck has 10 pets and is from South Carolina.  He does not like Bob the Builder, does not have cable and does not like pie!

Will introduced Mark.  Mark is 25 and has dread locks and furry cow hide chaps.  He loves biking, has no pets, likes dogs, likes cherry and blueberry pie, he also likes pizza.  Mark is very wealthy, he might join a biker gang, his favorite weapon is a machine gun.  His favorite color is yellow and he also likes pink a little bit.  Mark has been jailed once for trespassing and vandalism (spray painting private property).

 Danny introduced us to a peep with no name, yet.  He is 24, has a very squeaky voice, his weapon of choice is the revolver.  ? is a gun collector, he is a hired assassin by trade and he plans to blow up Canada because he does not like the Canadian accent.

Cedric introduced us to another name-less peep.  He is 37, from Australia, he likes sailing, and motor cycle tricks.  Radiation from the hole in the ozone layer over Australia has made him very strong and very orange.  He was formerly a policeman, he kills 10 flies in the summer and he is not a murderer.  He has ridden a kangaroo, jumper 50ft chasms on a motorbike, and navigated whirlpools on a motorboat.  He carries a machete for bushwhacking.  He has a younger, turtle obsessed half brother, and a younger half sister who loves French fries.

Eliza introduced us to Lee.  Lee, is 26, she is a gardener who doesn’t like pansies because they make her sneeze.  She is from Connecticut, has never been to jail, has five cows (for manure for her garden), likes potato chips, grows flowers and doesn’t like Justin Beber.   Lee said it would be okay if Rolph came over for dinner sometime!

Tayah introduced us to Carmen.  Carmen is 21 and from New Jersey.  She has two sisters who also will be living in the village at Marlborough School.  Carmen is not a psycho freak.  She is a fashion designer with beautiful dyed pink hair.  She has been jailed once for spitting on a “cop”.

I would say the class mostly went very well.  The students were quiet and respectful of their peers during the intros.  At the beginning of class I had two kids fighting over a seat, poor language was used and the situation ultimately was resolved.  At the end of class a student informed me that the missing heads (from last week) were taken by another student and he destroyed them and was playing with the clay.  I spoke with Rueben about these two issues; he will send me a class list as well as the official disciplinary script for the school. 
Today we learned/used respect, public speaking, creativity.
Next week I plan to give students about 20 minutes of peep making time, post federal jobs for hire (banker, newspaper editor, trading post manager) and continue with introductions. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Week 3, Marlborough School

September 27, 2011- Day 3
To prepare for today’s class I brought home the bin and reorganized the materials.  I separated the yarn into many spools:  I wrapped each color onto several different pieces of cardboard so that many students could be using the same materials at the same time.  I cleaned out the fabric a bit and trimmed down the larger pieces to accommodate a larger variety for the class to choose from.  I bought 2 more hot glue guns and some ordinary pipe cleaners.  Once at school I set up two hot glue stations, with two glue guns at each.  Each station also had a large metal tray for gluing on.  I set all of the heads and bodies out and as the students filed in, they retrieved their belongings.  I gave brief instructions (pertaining to the glue guns and the plan of the day: finish peeps, work on profiles, and work on town name).  Then the kids went to it.  We were joined by a new student today, I helped get her started and then paired her off with some of the other kids who were further along.  I made rounds, offering help where needed.  Most of the class finished making peeps today.  Some went ahead and began shelters… even though this was not allowed.  One thing that would be helpful at this point in the game would be to bring a helper to direct the students that are ahead and keep them on task.  I could allow them to make pets and things, but I am not going to because not everyone will have an opportunity to do so at this time.  I think it’s really important at this point to forge as a group.  I tried to get the students who were ahead to work together on town names or alone on peep profiles.  This was harder than it should have been.  One student suggested that we have a medieval themed village.  I told him I thought that was a great idea and we could discuss it at our first meeting.  
I stopped the class when there were about eight minutes left to allow for clean up…. Kids did what they do, which is to line up and not clean.  This was corrected.  I wonder if by Christmas break we will clean up as a group?  I took a tally of who would need some more time to work on peeps and let the class know that we will have our first meeting next week to do some peep introductions.
Materials for next week:  camera, clip board, folders
Today we learned/ used:  to work together a bit, hot gluing skills, listening skills, cleaning skills!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Week 2- Marlborough School

Talk about and create Peeps

September 20th, 2011 Day 2
I must begin by saying that today was GREAT!  Any misgivings I had last week seem to have dissolved.  I brought in the peep making materials and began set up @ 7:45.  On each desk I placed two pipe cleaners, a pencil, one piece of paper, one muffin wrapper, one lump of sculpy (pre-lumped at home).  On one desk I set up two hot glue stations.  On another desk I set out the yarn variety, thread, needles, scissors, toothpicks, and beads.  The fabric box was on the floor.  As expected the kids came in in three waves.   As each wave came in I invited them to sit down and told them they could touch anything on their desk except the pipe cleaners.  I thought this would keep the fidgeters quiet and happy because there was a lump of clay on each desk.  Strangely, there was no need.  All of the students waited quietly and respectfully for further instruction.  When everyone was ready I told them that we would be making peeps today.  I then explained who a peep might be, let them know the peep could be themselves but by no means should be.  I let them know that the only rule involving peep making is that peeps must represent people they could actually meet, example:  You cannot have a dinosaur or a robot, but you can have a peep wearing a dinosaur or robot costume.   We then folded our peep bodies using the two pipe cleaners.  The group was very attentive and asked for help as needed.  We moved through this step by step as a group.  Next students shaped their heads, tooth picks were distributed where needed.  The importance of the neck hole was stressed.  Finished heads were placed in the muffin wrappers with student names written on them.  I will bake the heads at home because there wasn’t really space or adult power enough at school to prevent the heads from burning.  Next students wrapped their peep bodies in yarn and began the clothing (and for some, weapons) process.  This activity completely filled the period.  I only interrupted their work once to tell them about time and space capsules.  I showed them an example of one from summer camp, told them the purpose (to keep your peep safe, and to make it easy to carry your peep with you when we are not in the class room).  I asked to students to look around their homes to try and find something for this purpose.  I also reminded them at this time that they should be thinking about who their peep really is.  I let them know that after we were all properly introduced, all interactions in our class will be between peeps.  They looked a little excited about this!  I brought all of my materials home today to find a better way of organizing them.  Next week I intend to make use of the atrium as a class space. 
Plan for next week:  finish peep making (glue on heads, hair, finish clothing).  Students who finish early can help other kids finish.  They may also work on a peep profile (to really nail down what they will say during their peep introduction), brainstorm names for our town.  I am determined to come up with one more options for early finishers before next class.  Next week I need to have things in place for the kids to pick up after themselves.  I did all of the clean up today…. It took a long time!
Materials for next week:  more hot glue guns, everything that is already in the peep tote, a couple metal trays for hot gluing on, a tray for the beads, perhaps some ribbon, more yarn
Today we learned/used: the limitless power of creativity, you can get more done by behaving respectfully!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Week 1, Marlborough School

Introductions, scale activity

Today was our first day.  Oh My!  The plan was to introduce ourselves and everyone else, introduce the game and what the kids might expect from this program through the year, make mini rulers, discuss scale, break into groups and do the scale activity.  It is hard to know where to really begin.  I suppose it begins with me/the school sort of dropping the ball.  When I arrived at the school I began by setting things aside for the scale activity and getting out materials that I thought we would need.   This was mostly fine.  In the future, I really should do that at home and have separate bags for each group’s items.   The first ball that was dropped and I should anticipate happening again, was that the kids staggered into my class.  So much for introductions!  They came in three waves, ugh. 

Next I invited a student to come up and tell the class what village is and what they might expect to happen this year.  In the future I should actually plan what I am going to tell them about the game and its goals with key points written on note cards or something.  I was extremely nervous which I wasn’t planning on and I think I may have forgotten some key points.  I should lead the intro discussion and have students add to it because they are only going to share what they have gotten out of the program in the past and these experiences are specific and unique.

 Next we labeled our rulers, I brought in twenty 18” rulers (made from wooden yard sticks cut in half, with masking tape covering the numbers), this activity went fairly well…. I don’t think I would change it at all.  Well, I didn’t have an accurate class count, so I didn’t have enough rulers for everyone, however, the kids did fine with this.  Next the students split themselves into groups and each group sent one representative to gather the items for the scale activity.  Among the items for each group were actual peeps and toys representing things that would be too big, too small, or right size for village.  Groups were asked to use their rulers and the peeps to decide what the “right size” was.  When each group was finished they walked around to look at what the other groups had come up with.  Next I had the students bring up everything that was “right” size and place it on one floor tile; then the too big and too small things.  We stood around the three piles and I asked if they agreed with the placement of the objects.  The first thing that caused a stir was a model fighter jet.  The students felt that it belonged in all three piles.  I asked them, “does anyone know about how big, in actual feet, a real fighter jet is?”  Many students raised their hand and shared guesses ranging from 60 to 190 feet in length with similar measures for wing span.  We then measured the model in mini feet with our new rulers and found that it was about 30 minifeet.  It turns out the model fighter jet was too SMALL!  This was a surprise to many students.  We did this for several more objects.  This led into a discussion on proportion when the students pointed out an action figure.  The action figure measured (with her hat) about 7 minifeet… which is about the right size for village.  However the action figure looked wrong for village.  We stood the action figure next to a peep.  Definitely looked wrong!  The kids said that the action figure’s head was too small.  I measured my head, I measure the peep’s head, and I measure the action figure’s head.  I turns out that peeps are not in proportion, the doll was, which is why the doll did not look right size.  We were still on this activity (although we had exhausted it by this time) when the bell rang for the next class.  If more time were wanted on this topic, it could be expanded to having the students regroup the items according to proportion.

Today we used/learned:  scale, proportion, estimation