Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Basketball Rules!

Thanks to Matt G., Clearwater has a new-to-us, high-quality basketball hoop. With warmer days, skilled players and others eager to improve their hoop skills enthusiastically form 2-on-2 or 4-on-4 games, play H-O-R-S-E and practice shooting.

A variety of ages from 9 to adult give no quarter while playing, while at the same time, everyone learns to be sensitive to size and skill differences. A committee has formed to oversee basketball certifications and to make sure players take care of equipment and use reasonable rules of play.

See more photos by clicking the "Read entire post" link.


Shooting hoops

Taking the shot

Staff take the court

Monday, April 27, 2009

More School Snapshots

Indoors and outdoors, Clearwater students engage in rich play experiences .

Keeping an eye out for the 'Creek Monster', played by Matt G.

Playing Quelf

Setting up the ground rules of a pickup soccer game.

Settlers of Catan--a perennial favorite attracts new players.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Earth Day Cleanup Work Party

On Sunday, April 19, families from The Clearwater School, Clearwater Commons members, and neighbors worked for two hours to pick up and dispose of large and small objects that were discarded along the approximately 1500 foot-long stretch of 194th St SE. We had lovely Spring weather and enjoyed great conversations while we worked.

Among the larger objects collected were seven vehicle tires, a water heater, a car fender, a vehicle door and fender, two TVs (includng a 42"), a bicycle, fencing and large amounts of lumber.

Several children enthusiastically crawled under blackberry brambles and large bushes to retrieve hard-to-reach litter. A couple of them brought robot claw hand toys, which proved to be invaluable to kids and adults, especially in deeper pools of water in the low spots and thick bramble patches.

We also removed a large pile of debris that someone dumped onto the Commmons property a few months ago.

We filled a small dump truck to the top with garbage and recyclables. A big thank you to Odyssey Builders for lending us their truck. Without it, we would have had to round up a small fleet of pickup trucks to haul everything. Thanks also to Tom, Vera, Arlo and Eric for the unexpected sorting job they had to do once they reached the dump.

After two hours of dirty, but satisfying work, we were all happy to sit down to a great potluck meal. We hope that our presence cleaning up the road and the sudden lack of litter will encourage travelers on the road to dispose of their trash more responsibly. In any case, we look forward to working with our neighbors on future efforts to clean and enhance our neighborhood.

End of post.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

School Snapshots

There are many wonderful interactions, engaging activities and diverse groupings of people everyday at school. The following photos provide a taste of these rich experiences. Check back soon for more snapshots.

Conversation is a powerful way that older students learn about each other and the world

Creek pilgrimage

Physically dynamic story telling and conversation

Hanging upside down is interesting on many levels

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Village

There is a society out behind the school called The Village. It has a loose membership of about 8, and they have jobs that they can change when they get bored. The jobs are the Manager (who declares whether it is night or day), the Chef, who puts out random food which everyone pretends is good whether it is or not, the Home Builder and the Nurse.

The Home Builder puts the straw on the roof of the house, which is where everyone sleeps when it is night. There is really only room for two, possibly three (very friendly) villagers at a time in the house. The rest of the time appears to be taken up with eating, pacing and declaring.

A Boy and His Garden

Recently, eleven-year-old Duncan came to School Meeting to request space at school to create a garden plot where he could grow vegetables and fruit. (Duncan's enthusiasm for plants has also led him to take up bonsai.) He and staff had already identified an area at the east end of the former peacock pen as a spot with good sun exposure, away from running, crushing feet. He requested that School Meeting permit him and his dad, Tod, to weed, dig and amend the soil in the plot. Duncan invited other School Meeting members to help him care for the garden and share in the harvest.

School Meeting unanimously approved Duncan's proposal, granting him authority to oversee volunteers and decide when and how much people can pick. Several students at School Meeting were intrigued by the garden project; one student brought seeds for Duncan the next day.

Soon after Duncan's garden was approved, he and his dad worked to loosen the compacted soil, digging out the weeds and adding compost to increase the soil's fertility.

Duncan and his garden

Over Spring Break, Duncan and Tod planted seeds and some strawberry plants. They planted seeds of snow peas, green beans, Swiss chard, lettuce, carrots and cucumbers.

Blooming strawberries

Soon, we will start to see seedlings emerge and watch the magic as the little plants absorb the sun's energy, and create many leaves and stems and eventually fruit. I'll document the growth of the garden over the next few weeks, so be sure to check in and watch everything grow.

The plot with row indicators

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Clay Day in the New Art Room


The new art room is finished and officially open for business. Today there was a clay class. After everyone's finished pieces are taken to be fired, they will be brought back to school to be glazed. There is talk of doing a raku glaze.


And here is the rest of it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Sir Ken Robinson makes an entertaining and profoundly moving case for creating an education system that nurtures (rather than undermines) creativity. It is a powerful argument for reform and he reinforces many of the concepts behind Sudbury education. This video is nineteen minutes long.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sudbury Valley School Mini-Documentary

Here's a great mini-documentary video about Sudbury Valley School. It's a good segue from the recent Chat & Chew, comparing other Sudbury schools with Clearwater. It's also a good introduction to the Sudbury philosophy with some lovely footage of lots of different students going about their day. Check it out and pass this post along to friends and family!

And here is the rest of it.

Friday, April 3, 2009

The Return of the Chat 'n Chew

It is wonderful to have a kitchen!

Last night marked the long awaited return of the Chat 'n Chew. The chew part needs no elaboration, but there was more chatting than chewing! After an hour of socializing a panel of four parents, all former staff members of other Sudbury schools, talked about their former schools and experiences there. It was a wonderful way for the whole community to warm up the kitchen (and test the smoke detector.)

The night before St. Patrick's Day, the Fundraising Committee held its Pledge Drive Phonathon, complete with Irish Coffee, mussels steamed in Guinness, Irish soda bread, and lots of people dropping by to pledge, lend a hand making a few phone calls, add to the music-making, or just enjoy the food and company. It was so much fun that we will be making it an annual event.