Thursday, November 28, 2013

"Improving Their Work Slowly Over Long Periods"

Like a lot of five-year-olds, he's been tagging everything with his name, forming the letters with care, ordering them left-to-right, leaving his mark pretty much wherever he has a chance. This is my fourth year teaching him: he's always been a perfect fit for our school, a kid who needs to move his body, who learns best not by watching or listening, but by doing. From the moment I met him, he's had something in his hands, fiddling with it, testing it, bouncing it off of things. As a two-year-old, he was fascinated with our classroom hamster wheel, which he played with in every way imaginable, trying to fit it into places where it belonged and where it did not, spinning it, turning it over and rolling it, dismantling it, and sometimes going so far as to hide it so he could find it the following day in order to continue his experiments.

Even when it comes to social skills, he's always been a hands on learner. Most of his interactions involve some sort of physical contact, like a friendly bump, a shove, actions that are often misinterpreted by others. He will sometimes take a friend's face in his hands, his palms cupping their cheeks as he smiles at them, just to show them how much he likes them. Some children object to this, not understanding, but the ones who "get it," and there are plenty, find in him a pal for the ages.

These days, he spends his mornings in a public school kindergarten and his afternoons with us at Woodland Park. He's not a fan of the worksheets or the long stretches of sitting indoors, and when they recently inflicted the cruelty of an academic standardized test upon him, he was ranked near the very bottom, bringing his mother to me in tears. And this is a mom who knows better, who knows that some perfectly normal kids have brains developmentally ready to read at two, while many others don't get there until seven, eight, or even later. Much of the rest of the civilized world doesn't even try to start teaching children to read until they're seven. What he hell does it mean: a reading test for five-year-olds? Only someone with no knowledge of child development, or a complete jerk, would use such a tool as anything more than, perhaps, a research benchmark. But to share the results with parents, along with rankings? What is that about? Is it supposed to be some sort of motivation? Only a sociopath would think this is a good idea: I suppose the same ones who punish kids who have trouble sitting still in their chairs by taking away recess time.

This is the great crime of the standardized, assembly line curricula found in most of our public schools. It simply cannot make allowances for children who aren't ready to learn something when they "ought to," according to arbitrary timelines, ranking them, slapping labels on them, driving them with threats and punishments, causing inappropriate anxiety for both the child and his parents.

Based on his academic performance, Winston Churchill's father was convinced that he would never be able to earn his own living. Likewise, Walter Scott's father found his early attempts at poetry so humiliating that he discouraged him because he feared it would reflect poorly on the family. Einstein and Darwin were such poor students that their teachers felt they would amount to nothing. Louis Pasteur's teacher called him "the least promising boy in the class." 

This isn't a race, folks. I've taught many children who were, say, precocious readers, puzzlers, or artists, kids upon whom adults glibly slap the label of "genius." In fact, in every class I've ever taught, there are one or two children like this. They're delightful to teach, a joy, but their early years accomplishments are no better indicators of their future successes than the less notable accomplishments of their peers. Some of our great geniuses showed themselves early, of course, like Mozart, Orson Welles, or Picasso. We are impressed by such greatness at such a young age, but often fail to recognize that the rest of their careers, while still worthy, never approach the genius of their youthful work.

And then there are "dull" children like Churchill, Scott, Einstein, Darwin, and Pasteur, people who needed time for their genius to ripen.

Several years ago, University of Chicago economist David Galenson took a look at this phenomenon, especially as regards creativity. He argues that there are really two methods of genius at work here. Prodigies, like those kids who are sounding out words as two-year-olds, tend to approach their "work" with a clear idea of what they want, then set about doing it. "Late bloomer" genius, however, is of the sort that comes from the experimental approach characterized by a kid who, say, spends hours and days horsing around with a hamster wheel. "Their goals are imprecise, so their procedure is tentative and incremental," according to Galenson. From his book, Old Masters and Young Geniuses

The imprecision of their goals means that these artists rarely feel they have succeeded, and their careers are consequently often dominated by the pursuit of a single objective. These artists repeat themselves, painting the same subject many times, and gradually changing its treatment in an experimental process of trail and error. Each work leads to the next, and none is generally privileged over others, so experimental painters rarely make specific preparatory sketches or plans for a painting. They consider the production of a painting as a process of searching, in which they aim to discover the image in the course of making it; they typically believe that learning is a more important goal than making finished paintings. Experimental artists build their skills gradually over the course of their careers, improving their work slowly over long periods.

Of course, most children, are not destined to become geniuses of either sort, but Galenson's work is to me a clear illustration of the broad range of what can be considered developmentally "normal," something that is confirmed by every expert in the fields of eduction and brain science. We know this, teachers should know this, as should administrators, school boards, and education policy-makers, yet they are increasingly throwing their lot with the crazy idea that education is a competition with winners and losers and rankings.

Last week, this boy who ranks near the bottom according to a standardized test, spent a half hour on our "concrete slide" with a piece of chalk, sliding down while dragging the chalk behind him, trailing lines on the concrete surface. As he slid, he studied the chalk in his hand, the colors, and the shape of the lines he was making. When another child dumped a bucket of water down the slope, he discovered that he could create more intensely colorful lines with wet chalk. He slid again and again and again, sometimes joined by other kids, sometimes all on his own, gradually changing its treatment in an experimental process of trail and error, each time down leading to the next, and none generally privileged over others. It was a process of searching, a process in which learning was a more important goal than passing a stupid test.

This is education and it's not a race that will necessarily be won by those first out of the gate. Education, like life, is a long game, one with a finish line so far away it's hardly worth worrying about.

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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Story Of Civilization

There was something exciting going on halfway across the room so the block area was left to a single builder who got to work. After several minutes, another builder joined him, watching for a bit without speaking, then getting to work on his own project in his own space, two islands of concentration in that checker board sea.

In this short week before Thanksgiving, we typically run with a skeleton crew, what with all the traveling, either taking families away or bringing loved ones to our homes to stay with us. It's an easy week to stand back and just watch.

We've made our lists of things for which we're thankful, but this is it for me, right along with my own family: our human drive to engage in projects and our equally human instinct to make space for others to join us. As the boys built, others came along; at first only asking questions, which is what the third arrival did, not becoming a builder, but rather a man of words, drawing out the words of a once isolated creator, compelling him to explain himself and his work, which he did eagerly to an equally eager audience. This is how we all learned he was building a "parking garage."

The next two on the scene came together, watching for a moment, taking inspiration, already planning a duet, finding their own space, chattering, and managing the volume of their conversation so as to allow it to take place alongside the other one nearby, but not connected. They struggled, however, because the place they chose to build was right in front of the shelves upon which the rest of the blocks were stored. Others, in their quest for materials were inadvertently destroying their efforts. There were a few shouts of, "Hey!" and other cross words. I left my watcher's post to say, "They're not knocking your building down on purpose. This is a tough place to build because you're right in front of all the blocks."

I didn't tell them what to do, just stated the facts as I saw them. I used to do this kind of thing in a more stilted manner, saying something like, "I see that you're building in front of the blocks. Other people need to get the blocks and are accidentally knocking over your building." I really doesn't matter, I don't think, but I've worked hard to make what my 17-year-old daughter used to call "teacher talk" my own, to express the technique of speaking informatively in natural language.

By the time I'd returned to my corner, they had, in the space created by my informative statement, decided to move, transferring their efforts to other spots on the rug, revealing to me that they had not been building together, but rather side-by-side. Now we had four separate efforts in progress. The words that passed between them were largely functional, except for those coming from our original builder, who was by now narrating his every move to his friend who chose the role of interviewer.

Now others were joining us, collecting blocks, then dropping to their knees. Two more solitary projects began to emerge, fully encircling the original. One of the original builders informed us at some point that he was building a road, one that was beginning to move into any unclaimed territory.

I'd created this invitation to play merely by "opening" the shelf with the wooden blocks and placing a box of "wild" animals on the floor, but the kids know that the "every day" cars are always available.

The children at the center turned increasingly toward one another as their constructions took up more and more of the the empty space. The ones on the edges could still turn their backs on the others, but this luxury wouldn't last. Growth leads to negotiation, compromise, and agreement, a chain of reason that makes civilization possible.

Now there was precious little open space. A few children moved on to other things, while others moved in. At one point a boy arrived who had not been part of the building. He was a little wound up. He wanted to play in the space, but ignored the blocks at his feet, kicking a section of them over in his effort to engage others in his silliness.

Usually when this happens, the response is loud and immediate, "Hey! You knocked over our building!" but in this case, after all this time of quiet, steady growth, the builders seemed at first shocked. Our corner of the room fell tensely silent as if everyone was waiting for something to happen. The boy with the rowdy energy shuffled his feet again, awkwardly, not sure what was happening, destroying more of what the others had created.

I said, "Those guys worked really hard building that. You're knocking it down." He looked at his feet and tip-toed off. Within minutes what he had broken was restored.

As the original builders began to move on, they left behind a cobbled testament to the short-lived civilization they had built alone and together. The children who played here now were inspired to engage in dramatic play, taking the constructive process into their imaginations, creating new things from the old, without disrupting what they had found, but arranging it for their new ideas: ideas like a parking garage that was now a "fairy animal castle," and a perfectly symmetrical "drive through zoo."

It was the story of civilization told in an hour.

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Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Making School Relevant

Looking back it seems like life during my school years, sports excepted, was about individual achievement: test scores mostly, and grades. My adult life, however, has been almost exclusively about working with other people to accomplish something. I think this is true for most of us, most of the time, be it in our job, church, hobby, or family.

If education is a preparation for life, then it makes sense to me to model our schools after what our children will actually find themselves doing throughout the rest of their lives: people accomplishing things together. And that's what young children tend to do when left to be themselves.

When I arrived at school one morning last year, I noticed right away that the outdoor classroom's chairs and benches had been rearranged. There was a chair in the sand pit and the benches were perched along its edges. I wondered if we'd had a midnight visitor, which happens in a city. I returned it all to its regular spots.

I later learned the truth when a couple of the boys started shifting the furniture, moving it first to the sand pit, then eventually up the concrete slope, under the lilacs, continuing the game they'd started after school the day before.

"Teacher Tom, this is our cabin."

As they hauled the furniture across the space, up the slope and then wrangled it into place, they chattered, argued, questioned, and agreed. They thought, problem-solved, joked, and listened. No one expected anyone else to obey. As their mutual vision began to take shape, others joined them, finding roles in the project.

When they ran out of furniture to move, they incorporated our planks, the marimba, a fire truck, and then they started hauling logs.

One of the most universal, time-tested, and I would argue valid, complaints that children have always laid at the feet of traditional schooling is the charge of irrelevancy. My daughter Josephine was on the staff of her school's annual art and poetry publication. She and another student were responsible for tracking submissions and managing the process of acceptance or rejection. As their deadline loomed, she regaled my wife and me with tales of their challenges, debates and resolutions, calling the final week "the most stressful week of my life." She had gone in early on a couple of mornings to get a running start. She had stayed late. They'd developed their own process that involved the prolific use of post-it notes, anguished over the language in their rejection letters, and drank too much coffee. As she told us about her week, I couldn't help but reflect on how incredibly relevant it all was. This is what the great John Dewey talked about when he wrote:

Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.

Josephine also said about the most stressful week of her life, "It was fun." That's what relevancy will do for you.

Instead of teaching children about the world, abstracting it into lectures, worksheets, textbooks or iPad screens, a progressive play-based eduction places children in the actual current of the stream of life, putting them where they engage directly with life itself instead of one step removed. 

That's how to make education relevant, which in this case means building a cabin with your friends at the top of the concrete slope among the lilacs.

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Monday, November 25, 2013

Philosophical Investigations

Years ago, our family took a vacation to Palm Springs with a group of other families, all of whom had children about the same age. We were in a big resort with a number of swimming pools and tennis courts, we had bikes and scooters, and everyone brought a few board games. The idea was that the adults would rotate keeping an eye on the kids, creating lots of room for everyone else to enjoy more adult recreations. I played a round of golf, but my main "me time" motivation was to hike in the desert. I love few things more than awaking in the dark in order to get a cup of coffee and bit of breakfast in me in time to hit the desert in the cool morning, just as the sun begins to peek over the mountains. One morning I awoke extra early and drove over to the Joshua Tree National Park.

I'm not going to try to describe this special place to you, but hiking among the Seuss-ian trees and unlikely rock formations opened me up to the universe to me, calming and exciting me in equal measure, taking my thoughts away from the petty concerns of day-to-day life. When I returned to our group, I pretty much single-handedly persuaded our entire group that they must go with me on the following day. The children were not exactly thrilled with this idea, especially my own daughter Josephine, then about six-years-old, who simply could not understand why she should be expected to leave this her Spring Break paradise for "a desert." As we drove through the park looking for a place for our group picnic, she griped, "What's so great about this place?" Then sarcastically, "Oh look, there's a tree. And another tree. And a rock. And a rock . . ."

People often praise me for my patience, but this was one of those times when I was approaching the end of it. The kids piled out of the cars shouting, complaining, and fighting, our late-ish start meaning we'd arrived as the heat was mounting. No one was anywhere near reveling in the mystical wonder of it all. We found a patch of shade with picnic tables and while the others began to set things up, I took my girl by the hand, a little testy, and said, "Let's go for a walk." We followed a barely there trail around the corner of the abrupt rock formation against which they'd built the parking lot and suddenly we were alone in this magnificent place. 

We walked in silence for a few hundred yards. Tension ebbed away as we became two people, both now alone with the person with whom we had spent most of our waking hours during the past six years. When Josephine finally spoke, she asked as if continuing a conversation, "Do you ever think that maybe we're just tiny specks?"

I said I had thought about that.

"Maybe there are giants and we're so small they can't even see us."

I told her about the "Bowl of Soup" theory: the idea that our entire universe is just an atom at the bottom of a bowl of soup in another, larger, universe.

"Maybe the giants will eat us." She wasn't bothered by this idea. In fact, she smiled as she said it, the way one does at a bright idea.

I said that our whole universe might be born, live, and die long before the giant even came close to getting to the bottom of his bowl, let alone getting it into his mouth.

She thought about this and nodded. We walked some more in silence. We had been following the base of the rock formation a track that was leading us back around toward our friends. I've always enjoyed what I call, "scrambling," which is to sort of clamber up and down rocks. I jumped on top a boulder, bounded to a larger one, then stair stepped down the other side. Josephine had never been a climber, but she followed me and we scrambled our way back to our friends.

My formal study of philosophy is limited: most of what I know of it comes from what I've gleaned through secondary sources like novels and biographies. This does not mean that my philosophy is not profoundly meaningful to my own life: it is, just as yours is to you, and just as our children's is to them. Don't doubt that children have a philosophical life just because they're little. Indeed, most early learning is of the philosophical sort: we have experiences and we try to make sense of them, attempting to fit them together in a reasonable and systemic way, to create and test theories about the big questions.

When my brother-in-law died when Josephine was two, she asked, "What happens when people die?"

I told her that some people believe in heaven, then sketched it out a little for her.

She said, "Uncle Chris is in heaven drinking coffee, playing his guitar and playing basketball . . . And getting it ready for us."

A couple years later she announced from her car seat over my right shoulder, "I don't believe in heaven any more."

I said that some people don't.

"I think you come back alive as your favorite animal. I'm going to be a bunny, because that's my favorite animal."

It's tempting to answer children's philosophical questions with certainty, to let them know it's all taken care of, when that's by no means the case. We have the same open questions we've always had about the nature of existence, of reality, of logic, of values and morality, of war and peace and life and death. Oh sure, some of us have it figured out, and I don't mean that sarcastically. I know many people who are quite certain about their own philosophies, and I don't for a moment doubt them, even when I think they're wrong. One could even argue that all of us are, at any given moment, certain about our philosophies. They may not be satisfying philosophies, ones that are wrecking our lives even, but it hardly seems that we can behave in any way that does not jibe one-hundred percent with our core beliefs. That they may not jibe with our purported or aspired to beliefs is another matter. Changing one's most deeply held beliefs, ones we've been forming since before emerging from the womb, is often a gargantuan task, one that is only possible in the context of philosophical investigation. 

The children of Woodland Park spend their days playing, and it's important that our playground be a world in which we are all free to engage in philosophical investigation. This is why we have long, hand-raising discussions on the subjects like the Easter Bunny or the Sugar Fairy. This is why we talk about the dead things we find or the animals we accidentally kill, which is the occasional fate of the worms in our compost or lady bugs in the garden. This is why we spend so much time talking about our rules, our agreements about how we as individuals will live together. This is why we wonder aloud about unanswerable questions, like "What is play?" 

I know that many of the readers here are folks who have very firmly held religious, political, and social beliefs. Those are our beliefs, ones we hold based upon our own philosophical investigations. But no matter what I believe, one thing I cannot do is tell you what to believe. I can share my own beliefs with you. I may be able to make you behave the way I want you to behave, but I'll never get another person to believe what I want them to believe, even if that person is a child. Our beliefs only arise from our own, uniquely conducted philosophical investigations. 

I want the children who come to Woodland Park to know they have the scope and space to engage on their own and with each other in these philosophical investigations, to explore the meaning of existence without the fear of being wrong, or the judgement of others, to take a hike amongst the Joshua trees and wonder about the giants in the universe:

Studying philosophy cultivates doubt without helplessness, and confidence without hubris. I've watched kids evolve to be more rational, skeptical and open-minded, and I've seen them interact in more fair-minded and collaborative ways. As one 10-year-old said, "I've started to actually solve arguments and problems with philosophy. And it works better than violence or anything else."

When Josephine and I got back to our friends, they joined us in our scrambles. As we re-rounded the corner, putting the rock formation between us and the rest of the world, the children began to discuss the Bowl of Soup theory.

"If there were giants, we would see them."

"Maybe they're so big that we fit between their atoms."

"If they eat us, we would get digested, then pooped out."

"Maybe that's where these rocks came from."

"Maybe we're inside of poop right now!"

It was a raucous, free-form conversation that bounce from the sublime to the ridiculous the way all the good conversations do.

People tend to assume that adults, by virtue of our longer time on the planet, have an inside track on this sort of wisdom, but I'm here to tell you that this simply isn't true. I've found that we are all, always, equals when it comes to our philosophical investigations. In fact, one of the greatest truths of all was made clear to me in my own three-year-old's musings.

We were in the car and she was griping about something.

I lazily replied, "You know, Josephine, nothing is perfect."

She rode in silence for sometime before saying, as much to herself as to me, "Nothing is perfect . . . except everything." It doesn't get deeper than that.

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Friday, November 22, 2013

One Thing To The Next

I was on my way up to the swings when I came across him. 

He was manipulating a rope, wrapping it around one of the seats on our unicycle merry-go-round, a two-year-old, engrossed in his endeavors. I stopped to watch, which is, after all, my primary classroom role once the kids have arrived on the scene. After wrapping it to his satisfaction, he took the other end and began to walk away, pulling on the rope as he went. My guess was that he was attempting to use the rope to turn the merry-go-round. It worked: the wheels on the apparatus turned a couple revolutions before the rope slipped off.

That's when he looked up at me. As he picked the rope off the ground, he said, "I have to tie it again." Now, I guess with me as his audience, he began narrating his actions. "I'll tie it like this," once more wrapping the rope around the seat. "That's tied," he announced as he took the opposite end of the rope and began to pull. This time, having apparently learned from his previous attempt, he walked it back quite slowly, carefully, concentrating his full attention on the rope where he had "tied" it. This time the rope slid right off without budging the merry-go-round. His eyes followed the length of the rope from where it fell to the ground to his own hands, which brought the magnifying glass that lay on the ground at his feet into his field of vision. He released the rope, picked up the magnifier, dropped to a squat, and began to use it to look at the strawberry plants in our garden.

I stood there wishing he would have continued his efforts with the rope, waiting for him to come back and resume his efforts after this strawberry diversion, but then it was on to a hands-and-knees crawl into the sand pit where he began to use the magnifier as a shovel, the next link in his chain of exploration and discovery. It's a prejudice I have, this narrow idea of what deep, tinkering play is all about. I wanted him to work diligently on what I saw as his "original" project, when, in fact, it was just part of a flow that was taking him around, across, and over our space, noticing, touching, and fiddling, his hands moving him from item to item almost like a swimmer moving water with his cupped hands, to propel himself forward.

Later that day, five-year-old Henry arrived with a length of bicycle tire tubing. He thought we could use it to build a "giant catapult" or "at least a giant slingshot." Henry's been experimenting with increasingly dangerous teeter-totter style catapults for weeks now, usually seeking to launch buckets of water or large heavy rocks, most often succeeding in just missing his own head. He once tied himself to   one of the uprights on our monkey bars as a "safety harness" designed to keep his body away from the danger zone only to figure out that he now couldn't reach his catapult to activate it. I recognized the rubber tubing as the next step in the evolution of his thinking on catapults.

Coincidentally, or perhaps unconsciously inspired by his play from the preceding weeks, I had our box of small, homemade catapults ready for action. I said, "We'll be using our small catapults at the workbench later today. Let's study them to figure out how to build the giant catapult. He thought that sounded like a good idea. 

Yesterday, we got to work on building a giant catapult. I happen to have been collecting bicycle inner tubes for some time, so, inspired by Henry, I brought out the box. Several kids joined us at the workbench as we got to work. Henry was not particularly interested in my idea of making a studying the smaller catapult, but rather wanted to just get to work with his hands. His process was to begin attempting to attach the rubber tubing to this and that, examining torque and tension. Gus and Audrey, however, were motivated by the idea of first collecting all the materials we would need. So as Henry monkeyed around with his experiments, we scavenged around our outdoor space, coming up with a six foot length of 2X2, an cookie tin, and a length of old fence planking we thought we could use to form a base. 

By the time we returned, Henry had moved on to other games, but Xander and Connor had joined us. Gus let us know that the fence plank would need to be sawed in half. We would then nail the two halves together side-by-side to form the base. I could have recommended a single piece of wood that was already the proper size and shape for his purposes, but where's the fun in that? Everyone agreed that we would need a measuring tape, which we used to calculate, after much bickering, where we needed to cut in order to have two equal halves. Gus marked the spot with his thumb until I made a cut line with a Sharpie. We mounted the plank in a vice. By now Henry had returned. He was quite bold and confident in his sawing abilities, so we all stood back as he backed up his words, making short work of it. As he got to the end of the cut, it looked as if the final bit was just going to break off, so Audrey held the end to ensure a smooth cut. 

Gus grabbed the two pieces, but was disappointed to find that we'd miscalculated. One of the pieces was about 3 inches longer than the other. He again showed me were to draw a Sharpie line. We remounted the plank and this time Henry and Connor teamed up to do half the sawing, followed by Xander who finished it off.

We now had the problem of how to attach the two equal pieces of plank side-by-side. Checking our nail supply we found that there were no nails long enough to drive through the sides (not to mention that I, as an adult with a little experience with woodworking, knew that we would simply split the wood if we tried). Gus suggested that we needed to nail something to the top that held them together. We found an apt piece of wood in our scrap box, then a second one just in case. By now it was just Gus, Xander, and Audrey working together. We decided it would take 12 nails to do the trick, taking turns driving them.

It was time to go inside, so we left the project for later.

I was the first one back out, so I thought I'd take matters into my own hands by nailing the inner tube and cookie tin to the catapult's arm while I waited for the kids. Henry was immediately irritated with me for what I'd done with the inner tube, saying, "That's wrong, Teacher Tom," although he approved of my work on the cookie tin.

When Gus and Audrey arrived on the scene, I showed the kids the smaller catapult, detailing the parts we had already collected and pointing out the parts we didn't have. Gus took a close look, and said, as if talking to himself, "We'll need that part and that part . . . Then we have to drill a hole there . . . I think we can do it a better way." He took the two ends of the inner tube I'd nailed to the arm, saying, "We just need to tie the ends to something." He decided on the umbrella that emerges from the center of our work bench and the leg of a nearby table which we dragged over for the purpose. 

By now it was just Gus, Audrey and me. At some point, my idea of nailing the inner tube to the arm proved faulty (as Henry had predicted). Gus' repair was a work of genius, one that I almost kiboshed before realizing what he had up his sleeve. He wove a metal bar through the inner tube, then we just kept twisting it until the tube was held tightly in place, not libel to tearing as it had with my nail technique.

At one time we had a catapult that instead of launching things, would kick pieces of wood out the bottom. Gus announced, "We invented a cannon!" and there was some cheering, but the catapult work continued apace, Gus focused on figuring out how to create a pivot point for the bottom of the catapult arm without having to resort to drilling. In the meantime, Audrey had assumed the role of keeping everyone safe, arranging caution cones around the perimeter and warning us about the potential for getting things in our eyes.

By the end of the day, we finally managed to launch a small green truck about 6 feet. We left it there, a work in progress, the plan being to work on it again today.

It's all about flow, cupping our hands and propelling ourselves forward, not knowing exactly where we're going, but going nevertheless, one thing to the next.

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