Crazy, but that's how it goes.
Recently, Ben Rubel, who is about to finish his last year at the Macomber Center, was lamenting the fact that we wouldn't be able to do one last performance of Crazy Train for the potluck. After all, it's hard to imagine performing crazy train without Cat Pennington, whose genuine hard rock style made for such a memorable performance at the WinterShow a couple of years ago. But after Baxter blew us all away with his hidden singing talent this year's SpringShow, he seemed like an obvious choice to replace Cat. It turns out that Baxter, who is an avid runner, knows Crazy Train from its being played on an endless loop during one of his day-long running competitions. This time, Ben Rubel will replace Mark on drums, and Vera, 16, who just joined the Center last month, has been learning the bass part from Dan. Though she has never played the bass before, she is tackling it with total determination. We did a quick run through this week and hopefully we will get it together for the potluck which will happen on Saturday, June 3rd from 2:00 to 5:00.
On Wednesday morning, as I was standing out under the maple tree with Dan, trying to resolve a conflict between several of the kids, a white pickup truck appeared in the parking lot and two young boys, who I had never seen before, went running straight down to the field and immediately joined in on the morning football game. Then a woman stepped out of the truck and begin taking pictures as her husband untied bicycles from the truck. Though it took me a few minutes to figure it out, this was the Villarama family. Joei Villarama had contacted me several months ago asking if they could spend a few days visiting the Center, but as they were coming from San Francisco by car, it was uncertain exactly when they would arrive. The Villaramas are from the Philippines. They started their journey from Manila and flew to San Francisco where they bought a secondhand pick up truck and began making their way across the country to see all the free schools and self-directed learning centers that they could. Next they go to NYC to see the Agile Learning Center. Jimmy and Josh have fit right and the family has been a welcome addition to the community. We wish them much luck in their goal of eventually creating a self-directed learning center in China or the Philippines.
A few weeks ago I overheard Morgan, 16, who many of you may know from her poetry reading at our recent SpringShow, telling Dan about her interest in slam poetry. I asked her if she would like me to bring in my friend Amy Mevorach, who is an established slam poet in the local area. She said she would be very interested. We found some other kids to include, and this week Amy came and ran a poetry slam workshop. Morgan is considering putting together a poetry slam at the end of the year if she can find enough members to participate.
The town of Framingham is inviting students to design a logo for their new "bring your own bag" bylaw which will go into effect starting in 2018. This new logo will be on all the promotional posters, flyers and bags used to encourage people to bring their own bags shopping. Our friend Claudia, whose son is a former Macomber Center member, is working on this initiative with the town. She came by this week offer our members a place in the competition. Several of our members are interested in design and went straight to work on designing a new logo.
A self-directed learning group.
This week a small group of us met for our second "self-directed learning group." Ever since Blake Boles gave a talk here a couple of years ago entitled "the art of self directed learning" I have wanted to put a small group like this together. The idea is simply that every week a group of kids and adults meet to discuss the things they're interested in learning, how they think they may go about learning those things, and in some cases setting personal goals for themselves. We share ideas and resources, and support each other in anyway we can.
Without getting too arcane, this week saw some important changes in the way foursquare is played here at the Center. And then... the rules were changed back again.
On Thursday morning we debated for over an hour the recent changes that were made to the foursquare rules. These changes would have made it so that people who slam the ball, causing it in many cases to roll down the hill, would be responsible for retrieving it. This would also make slamming people less fun because it would not send them on a long hike down the hill after the ball.
When major rules come up for debate at the Center is when we see the biggest turn-out at the meeting. And nothing is more important to the kids here than the rules that govern the way foursquare is played. When the meeting voted to change the rules last week, overturning a long foursquare tradition, not many kids were aware that the rules had come up for discussion and so the proposed changes went through largely unchallenged. This week, however, when the debate was reopened, everyone came to the meeting.
The changes, though short lived, seemed to create a friendlier atmosphere on the foursquare court, but as some of the older, long-time players of foursquare argued, the old rules are structural to the game, they are part of what makes the game what it is. Like it or not, when someone gets you out, you have to go get the ball. If they slam you, you may have to go a long way to get it. In short, the original foursquare rules have been restored and all is right again in the universe.
For a detailed discussion of the fine points of the arguments on each side of the debate ask your member-child to explain it.