One Day at BFSPosted: October 8, 2009
Spent the day today at the school. I think it may take more than one post to cover it all. Here are some photos.
When one enters the school there is already a hum of activity. Breakfast is a casual affair, and having my coffee with me, I did as I usually do: sit down with a kid or teacher and kibbitz. But as I looked around activity was already in full swing. David, the adviser for the 7-10 year olds, was engaged in a biology lesson. He had brought back an unidentified jaw bone from is time in Alaska and was challenging the children to guess what it was. My guess was Caribou.
As I could see everything was already in full swing, I set myself up for drawing at the rear tables. As soon as my equipment came out, I was joined immediately by 2 older kids and one younger. As we begain to draw, a small group gathered around to watch. The basis for my instruction is to show cross hatching, a time honored drawing technique. After that, I let them go wherever they want to. The sessions are peppered with conversation and explanations of where the technique has been used, where it came from and how I utilize it. As I gazed around the room, I marveled at all the interesting activity going on. To my right, a small group was gathered studying Chinese. In the corner, a volunteer was giving a lesson in physics. Another student was demonstrating his favorite melodies on a bowed psaltery.
After we ended the drawing session, I used the time to wonder the school. I check downstairs to see what was going on in the small rooms. In one room, some young boys were gathered around microscope. The young teen girls were gathered in conversation in another room. And in a third a game of “dark tag” was in rapid, giggly motion.
I have to lift my hat to the teachers at BFS. I found the day a bit exhausting.
The next major activity was lunch, which Lily, two students and a parent volunteer helped to put together. It was one of the more unusual meals. Billed as brunch, with eggs, pancakes, waffles, potatoes, apples and strawberries. I sat at a table with a group of boys who seemed that they had not eaten in weeks. As soon as the food landed, it was like a flock of crows had descended to devour every bit. As for the potatoes, they pretty much ignored them. I ate the eggs and the ignored potatoes.
For the afternoon, I decided to attend philosophy. This was attended by mostly the High School group. Quite a turnout. The instructors were from a philosophy outreach program from Columbia. The theme of the discussion was “what is intelligence?”I found myself quite engaged with the talk as this question is in line with my own pondering thoughts.
I am aware that this post reads like a boring journal entry. I have to admit, I am tired after a long day. It was good to take a break from the computer, and world worries, and spend my time with curious minds. There is something refreshing about this, although I think the refreshing will have to come after a good nights sleep. I will be going back periodically to work on drawing. There are some there who are keenly interested in this activity, so I will make myself available whenever possible.