Katie’s Coming to Town

My good friend Katie is coming by the school next Friday and has a few offerings to share with us:

Knife Skills (60 minutes)
  • What do different knives do and which are most essential in a well-stocked kitchen?
  • Covering the most basic and versatile cuts: high cut, low cut, pull cut and horizontal cut
  • Whats the difference between julienne, dice, plateaus, and more?
  • How to prepare: onion, garlic, avocado, bell pepper, jalapeño, fresh herbs, butternut squash and pineapple.
  • Basic knife safety/how to not cut off your fingers.
  • Students take turns with basic knife cuts.
Canning & Quick Pickling (60 minutes)
  • Why we can, pickle, and preserve.
  • The difference between pickling and canning.
  • Quick pickling: how to make tasty homemade pickled (anything) in 24 hours!
  • Canning! The basics.
  • Students make own jar of quick pickles & take home a jar of canned food
Photoshop: Working With Layers, Masks & Filters (90 minutes)
  • What are layers? Why does Photoshop love them so much?
  • What are masks? How are they different than layers? How do they work?
  • What are filters? What’s the difference between layer filters and Camera Raw?
  • Examples include retouching, swapping faces and photo collages.
  • Students take turns creating their own artwork with layers, masks & filters

Cedar Weaving, Step by Step

This post is a modified version taken from @Abe’s blog Infinite Playground See the original post here.

Preparation time: 3+ hours depending on how many hands you have available.

Weaving time: 1hr+ depending on how dexterous you are.


  • Cedar bark, purchased from the Daybreak Star Indian Cultural Center art market.  This had been stripped months earlier and I understand had already been cleaned up a little (removing the roughest outer layer).
  • Jerry Stripper – purchased from a leather supply store.
  • Leather strips – to be used for the necklace.
  • Raffia – to be used to tie off the weaving.  (available grasses would traditionally be used).

Many thanks to Sweetwater Nannauck for sharing this knowledge with our community.

Time lapse videos of the process are available in older posts.  Here and Here.

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The World is Flat

“The World is Flat” is the title of a book by economist Thomas Friedman, but it is also a comment on the way the economic landscape is changing. With the increase in power of personal computers leading the way, we now have tools such as desk-top 3D printers, such as the one we use at school, desk-top DNA sequencers, and consumer cameras capable of detecting the motion of exo-planets:

David Schneider recently detected a planet orbiting a star 63 light years away using naught but a hinged plywood base, a stepper motor, some gears from an inkjet printer, an arduino microprocessor, and a digital camera (with telephoto lens).

So, when I say, “the world is flat,” what I mean is that every day, we are leveling the playing field. It used to be that only rich industrialists could produce the goods needed for consumers, but now we are learning how to print what we need at home. It used to be that only rail barons could deliver products to cities across the country, but now we can deliver packages with automated drones. It used to be that only high-income elites could be driven where they wanted to go in their own cars, but now we have smart automobiles that will take us just about anywhere while we read, sleep, or watch live television on our phones. It used to be that publishing giants dictated what was news and what books people would get to read, but now we can post our opinions to be examined by just about anyone on the planet. It used to be that we had to harvest the world’s oceans for fresh seafood and rely on farmers for fresh produce, but now we can install aquaponics systems on our roofs to have fresh food every day (http://www.gizmag.com/globe-hedron-rooftop-fish-farm/22492/).

Traditional education is still designed to prepare students to become employees in a hierarchical work force, with top-level managers deciding what tasks front-line employees should engage in, but now, just about any person can look at the world, figure out what work needs doing, and get to it. Agile Learning Centers are educating students for this flat, more entrepreneurial and more collaborative economy.

How we structure our day

Our school schedule is Tuesday through Friday from 10am to 5pm. The majority of time is set aside for play, be it going to the park, learning to code, making 3D prints, drawing, watching YouTube, or just generally playing.

One of the few requirement of students is to participate in our morning and end of day meetings. Below is the general structure of those meetings:



  • Check-in: let the group know how you are feeling so they know how to interact with you today.
  • Personal Kanban: we take a few minutes to write down personal intentions for the day. This can be done individually or in small groups.

    Student's personal Kanban
    Student’s personal Kanban
  • Transition Game: something to change the energy level and get everyone standing up!
  • Set the Day Scrum: Coordinate with other people you want to play with, set times for activities, etc.
  • Set the Day: Set individual and group activities for the day.
    • Share Individual Intentions: while we set the day also share our intentions.
Morning Kanban Session
Morning Kanban Session


  • Reflections: We talk about successes and failures in achieving our intentions.
  • Blog Question: Decide what we are going to blog about today, we come up with a question and a list that aid in our reflection process.
  • Write Blog Post: We write on our blogs till 5pm, and finish later if need be.
  • Clean Up!
  • Closing Circle: For the very end of the day we choose a person at random to light a candle and ask a reflective question, like “what are you grateful for” This closes our day.


Closing circle.
Closing circle.


Start of Week

  • group_kanban_possibleReview Possible Stickies: We look through the offerings that are on our group kanban
  • Add/Remove offerings: After reviewing current sticky notes we then remove stale ones and add new ideas or offerings.
  • Set the Week: Once we have an idea of what can be done we set the week.
  • Continue on to normal set the day…

End of Week

  • group_kanban_awarenessAwareness (“Change up Meeting”): This is where we review awarnesses and review our newly implemented solutions as well as check in on implementations we are practicing.
  • Continue with afternoon Process…

This week 12/2 – 12/5

Here’s what we did this week :3



  • Crash Course
  • Read
  • Just Dance
  • WebDev Scrum
  • Something that Abe can’t come to. Shhhhh
  • Finally finishing that board game *Wipes sweat off forehead*
  • Code Academy
  • Shading Tutorial


  • Swim/Spa
  • Sell Lamp
  • Art
  • Set up workout calender


  • Swim
  • Learn how to 3D print
  • Book Group
  • Draw
  • Set up board game prototype
  • Improv


  • OonitEE (Unity tutorials)
  • Play with Jill (The 3D printer)
  • MoovEE (Movie)
  • Minecraft Java
  • Awareness


And well that was our week 😀