Dear Blake Families:
Hopefully this update finds everyone well, having found some time to enjoy the beautiful weather on Saturday and also enjoy an extra hour of sleep this weekend. Our family had a great weekend so, starting off with the arrival of our newest family member, Lila (a puppy). The joy on the faces of Maggie, Owen, and Gray have certainly balanced out our couple of sleep-deprived nights - we're hoping that will continue...
This past week was certainly one full of excitement and energy, both at Blake and in the greater Boston community. Through conversations and observations with students and staff this week, I was fortunate to both see and hear examples of student-centered learning, creativity, positive support, and good-natured fun. Our 'creativity team' met on Thursday morning before school and it was a great check-in to both highlight current projects as well as brainstorm some initiatives for this year and the years to come. With our theme in mind, I have posted an article by Peter Gow from Education Week entitled Butchers, Bakers, Makers, and Opposable Thumbs. Gow's brief article references the 'days of old' when children were more actively engaged in projects with their hands, coupled with an inherent desire and reality that we are craving to fill that void we often feel. After noting some of the 'losses', he presents thoughts about the 'maker movement': "The Maker Movement, it strikes me, is a kind of glorified acknowledgment, often without the actual acknowledgment, that human children-- and adults-- need to be handling things and actually doing things physically every bit as much as they need to be thinking about them, talking about them, exploring them on the Internet, or figuring out ways to sell them via social media. Just as people find the game of Jenga relaxing and enjoyable, we seem to find constructing things, concocting things, and even taking things apart and putting them back together-- often in new ways-- existentially rewarding."
With the many demands we as educators and invested adults face, both external and internal, for ourselves and our students, I find that it can feel overwhelming and unrealistic to find time for the Maker movement. And, if I'm being honest, that can feel frustrating and, really, disappointing - acknowledging the sentiment that we know 'what is right for students' but not sure if we can 'make it work'. I was encouraged and rejuvenated, however, on both Thursday with some of our costumes and on Friday morning with the pumpkin display in the library - some true creative elements being admired and recognized by all. While I do not have all of the answers, I do know it is a noble goal to keep in mind for all of us, as Gow notes the 'hands-brains' link that helps to foster the physical, creative process: "What Maker educators have to do, and many are already really good at this, is to restore to the maker process that combination of openended exploration and the mastery of craft that kids once learned while building customized model cars, playing outdoors, or hammering stuff together out of the scraps leftover from building cranberry scoops in shop class. The hands and the brain are linked, in ways that schools in recent years -- whether hotbeds of tech innovation or bastions of crusty textbookcentered learning -- have been ignoring and that Maker culture can restore to a more proper, and more human, balance."
For many of us the excitement of the Red Sox this week brought to mind the meaning of community and perseverance (not to mention the 'creative element' that many of these players on the team exhibit). While I often find myself hesitating to employ sports analogies as I think the metaphors can be overused, I do believe that connections exist. Richard Justice, a columnist for MLB.com, posted an article on Thursday, Boston's Improbable Run Culminates in Championship, commending and highlighting the dynamics of the team. Whether you are a big sports fan or not, I do believe that there is meaning and connections to be made with the shared hopes we have for our students and adults in the Blake community -- teamwork and unselfishness, importance of common and shared values, struggle as a motivating force, and the principle that it takes everyone to form a culture and shape a community -- "Every single one of them decided to put away his personal agenda to focus only on what was best for the team and to prove that the team we saw last season wasn't the real Red Sox." Sports metaphors aside, I feel fortunate to work at Blake with a team of caring and invested educators and parents, working to share in the important and challenging work we face every day for the benefit of our students.
Please click here for Important Dates and Announcements.
Please click here for Thursday Packet Information.