Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Clearwater Mafia Forum

Mafia is a party game that many people at school play. There are many different variations, including some played online.

I have created a mafia forum for people to play mafia on, and as I am on vacation, I am having trouble recruiting. If you want to play a online mafia game, you can go
here and sign up.
I am running a short introductory mafia to make sure people are acclimated to forum mafia. The requirements are not too much. Basically, you would need to post once or twice a day (or more) and state your opinion and vote and such.This post ends here.

End of post.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Catching Up

Before too much more time goes by, here are some snapshots of activities in the warm, early days of this school year, which will perhaps help ease the frigid temperatures during this cold snap.

One of the most popular warm weather activities was whiffleball, played many hours daily by a variety of students and staff, rotating between all ages and sizes, playing on teams, practicing together and one six-year-old who only wanted Matt to pitch him a few balls almost every day.

Ready to hit the whiffleball

And here's the pitch

For lots more pictures and more of this post, click on the link.

Another pitcher takes the "mound"

This pitcher is also an expert juggler

Another student having just finished playing on a summer league, worked with Matt to keep her softball batting and catching skills sharp.

Steely-eyed softball batter

A few students posed when they spotted my camera, while two girls, blithely unaware of me, focused on their farm.

Don't mess with these girls

Ready for the stage

Good friends

Friends overseeing a farming operation

End of post.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009


Gabriel here!

What am I writing about today? Minecraft!

If you don’t already know, Minecraft is a Sandbox game created by Markus Persson.

In Single-player Creative Mode, you roam around the randomly generated map, and build structures, or dig down and find some caves, or go on a mad destruction rampage and destroy all of the blocks that make up the world. You can do pretty much anything. Right now, you cannot save any maps, unless you have purchased the game for about fifteen dollars.

In Single-player Survival Mode, you have a limited number of blocks and a limited number of hit points. You also have a limited amount of breath underwater. You have to mine all of your materials by destroying blocks. It also takes a short time to mine. (As opposed to Creative Mode where you can destroy blocks instantly.) There are also angry creatures called “mobs” running around. Currently the types of mob are:

Zombies: Basic enemies that run up and try to kill you.

Skeletons: Slightly more advanced enemies that shoot arrows at you and explode into arrows when you kill them.

Pigs: Run around, do nothing and drop health-restoring mushrooms when you kill them.

Sheep: Stay in one area and graze, drop cloth when you kill them.

Creepers: Enemies that have an attack like zombies but explode when you kill them.

In Multi-player Creative Mode, you start or join a server, and play with up to 31 other people from all over the world. You can make collaborative works of art, or just show off your art.

On Tuesday, the 3rd of November Joey started up our very own minecraft server, TCWS Flat Grass Server. We used that for a while, dealing with griefers, and watching awesome pixel artists do their stuff (pictures below).

Then we saved that map, renamed the server to TCWS City Server, and used a map editing tool to create roads all across the map. We are currently running that map, and we are having fewer problems with griefers. We have created a few anti-grief precautions there, such as not being able to dig without an admin’s consent, creating more admins, and learning to type “/ban playername” more quickly.

Currently there are six admins from the school, and one from the internet. It is a huge phenomenon at school. The server runs 24/7, but unless an admin is on, nobody can get on.

I have collected a series of screenshots for your viewing pleasure. Also, feel free to stop by and explore our city. Just create a new account, go to the server list, and click TCWS Natural Server (or create an account and follow the link above). Introduce yourselves and ask to be let out of the prison cell you will appear in.

The Admin Tower on the old server, which housed the spawn prison and the griefer watchtower. Made by Joey with a map editor called OMEN.

A waterfall on the old server, made by Joey.

A companion cube from Portal, made by an interwebber named Flox on the old server, which, if you look at pictures of it in Portal, is remarkably similar.

The subway on the new server, made by Joey and an interwebber named Coolpilot.

The admin-only pool on the new server, made by me!

A dog statue, made by Leo

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Gabriel Intro

Hello to all the folks in the blogosphere!

My name is Gabriel, and for the purposes of this portion of the blogosphere I will be called CapitalG.

In case you haven’t noticed, I will be posting here now.

I’m also a member of the Computer Committee, an admin on the school’s Minecraft server (details in the next post.), and a participant in the writing of the Warrior Cats play. I’m also making Warcraft III maps in my spare time (which I don’t have a lot of.).

Things I like: computers, drama, the word “blogosphere” (blogosphere! Isn’t it fun?), long hair, books, nature, loooong walks (I am planning to walk/run a marathon next year), and Clearwater.

Next post coming soon!


End of post!

Rain Garden Poetry

Last week, a ten-year-old Clearwater student composed a poem about Clearwater's new rain garden.

Without further ado, here's his poem.

The Swale
by Arlo

We have a swale on the side of our school.
Water runs in it and people run on it.
I think it’s cool and so do my friends
So we’ve managed to not hurt it—-not a dent.
Not a hit
Not a smack
Not a slap
Not a bang.
So I think it’s cool and so do my friends
So this is where my poem ends.

Arlo and the rain garden

End of post.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

New Bridge

North Creek, a lovely salmon-spawning creek, runs year round through The Clearwater School's property. Many students enjoy wading and swimming in the creek during warm weather.

April 2009 creek play

There is one bridge that provides access to the other side of the creek.

Watching creek activity from the bridge

The west side of the creek includes a couple of beach areas, a large open pasture with scattered trees and shrubs popular for playing capture the flag and a small wooded area, christened Creek Village by a group of students who have created and continue to develop the story of the village and their own characters as the village inhabitants.

The bridge pre-dates Clearwater's ownership of the property and the bridge deck has never felt as solid as a bridge should . A couple of years ago, we patched some deteriorating areas on the sides of the deck. This year it became clear it was time to replace the bridge.

Read more by clicking link below. After removing the decking, it was a relief to find that the upright posts, the horizontal beams and railings were still sound.

Rotten wood removed from bridge deck

Bridge bare bones with loose planks for workers to walk across

Tom Campbell coordinated rebuilding the bridge. He organized skilled parent volunteers to deconstruct the deck and rebuild it, salvaged and acquired sturdy materials and put a lot of his own time into the actual building.

Tom and Jonathan begin the rebuilding

In addition to Tom, huge thanks are due to Weylin, Jonathan, Matt, David, Chad, Eric, Bob, Ian and Kurt who donated their time and skill to making a sturdy new bridge, which re-opened in late October, about a month after work began.

Jonathan and Weylin attach new decking boards

Nearly finished after many hours and days of craftsmanship

Solid new bridge

A by-product of the bridge rebuilding is a new fire pit up the bank from the creek, which was created and used for the first time to burn some of the unsalvageable wood. No doubt there will be some wonderful gatherings around the fire pit in the future.

It is a pleasure to cross the new bridge, secure and sturdy enough to accommodate many thousands of running and walking footfalls across the creek for years to come.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Robert and poi--Video by Shane

If you were following the blog last year, you may have seen photos of Gabe, one of our graduates who demonstrated his skill with poi as part of his diploma presentation . Robert, who also plans to get his diploma this year, has become Clearwater's resident poi master and can do some amazing and beautiful things. His hours of practice really show.

Shane, a new Clearwater student and avid videographer, filmed and edited footage of Robert in a recent performance to produce the video below.


End of post.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Clearwater Is a Swirl of Activity

The new school year is well underway and characterized by great excitement, a mature culture and a wealth of activity. Everyone is happy to be back at school and enters into interactions and activities with focus and anticipation. The days feel very full and fun.

A subset of students initiated and joined in on a number of organized group activities and projects, to the extent that we had to create a weekly schedule just to make sure that activities wouldn't conflict and preclude students involved in more than one from doing all or most of the things they want to do. The master schedule looks like this, for now, with an addition of singing two mornings a week.

In addition to these activities, a large number of students are involved in the cooking class which has created the Clearwater Cafe, the playwriting/acting class and a movement class inspired by student interest in martial arts. Individuals are also involved in guitar, drum, math and French classes, sewing and piano practice. The Clearwater Singers are rehearsing for a December concert. Magic, the Gathering and Settlers of Catan are played on a regular basis again this year.

The newest sport is Whiffleball and an invented variant that can be played in the Active Room. A bus load of students travels to a nearby soccer field at least one day a week. As in all previous years, many students continue to create and develop rich worlds, stories and characters as part of live-action roleplaying games that reflect their particular styles and interests. A film committee selects older or lesser-known movies for movie Fridays. The current movie theme is visions of the future. (More about many of these activities in later posts. Stay tuned.)

The list of specifics doesn't even begin to give a sense of the heart of Clearwater education--the daily work and rewards of creating and re-creating relationships with fellow students and staff members and making constant decisions about how to prioritize one's time, where to focus one's efforts and what it means to be responsible in any given situation.

Students spend time in the art room on a daily or occasional basis.

In the waning days of late summer, intrepid young students braved the creek water, which is much cooler than it was during the summer. Their tolerance for cold water is truly impressive.

To see more photos and snippets of the first weeks of school, click on the link below.

A Magic game in full swing.

Selling delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies to benefit equally the school and themselves.

Working on a sewing project.

Putting the new drum set through it's paces. (More on the new set in a later post.)

Caring for a lame hen.

A monumental, multi-day Lego creation. (More on this later.)

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Clearwater is Snohomish County's First Rain Garden Project

Our rain garden was featured in the Snohomish Conservation District's Fall Newsletter. Unfortuantely, the article is a PDF so I can only link without graphics. This is part of the Clearwater Reach grant project.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Improvements Around Campus

Mat and Matt were hard at work over the summer, making improvements to the buildings and grounds. 

 The Mat(t)s

They finished the painting of the buildings and fixed up the basement of the house which made room for a game room and freed up the upstairs for the playroom again. They also worked on the drainage swale and another swampy area adjacent to the swale, which they now call the "frog garden", right near the newly installed big tires in the play yard.

The swale was made by many members of
our community, and deserves a post of its own.

Frog garden


But they didn't stop there. They upgraded the music room, improving the acoustics and adding recording equipment.

Welcome Back!

Things have been so busy here at school, there are a ton of photos and so little time to post them.

Everyone is glad to be back in the swing of things.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

More Clearwater Art

Drawing is something many students do everyday at Clearwater. A parent's birthday or some public occasion often inspires younger students to create and present a piece of art to parents and sometimes staff members. Some students are dedicated and disciplined artists whose daily routine includes drawing many and varied images. Others put pen or pencil to paper to draw maps of the school or imaginary worlds, which become props or references in creative games. Young girls are often fond of drawing princesses or fairies with lovely clothes and flowers.

Niya, an 11-year-old student, draws frequently at home, but recently has been drawing more often at school. Recently, I was delighted to notice a couple of wonderful, fantastic creatures she whipped out. There is something about the personality and weight of the creatures that captured my imagination. Niya graciously signed and dated the pieces and permitted me to publish them on this blog. Thank you, Niya!

You'll notice that the drawings are on ancient, lined dot-matrix paper, donated to the school for scratch paper. One of the things I find fascinating and inspiring about all the drawing that goes on at Clearwater is that most of it is done for the student's satisfaction, out of a need to express something graphically. Clearwater students don't draw because it's art time, and they usually don't start drawing with the intent to produce something to display. They draw because they feel impelled to, which is often. People such as Niya draw for the love of it, while also consciously working to improve their skills. I often wonder how natural and common drawing would be for most of us if we had all had the time and space to draw for our own pleasure and need.

(End of post)

Sunday, May 24, 2009


When Gabe started practicing spinning poi at school, we started seeing all sorts of things twirling around. Here, Betsy demonstrates a variation on the art, which is called Meteor.