béla the photographer

Béla got a camera for his tenth birthday — a nice camera. A Canon Rebel DSLR. He has been having a good old time with it. He also had his first photography lesson, with Rich! And this is the portrait of Rich that came of it.   Here is a portrait of Claudia, who had…

le super grand continental

Another year, another Fringe Festival season. This year, the kids participated in Sylvain Émard‘s Le Super Grand Continental, a half-hour choreographed dance number with a very large cast. There were lots of rehearsals. Lots.   There were three performances, on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art. Two took place in the day, and…

béla introduces his capstone project for 2018-2019

This year’s capstones have been planned out better than last year’s (which didn’t exist) and better than the year before’s (which were one single ‘zine). I still really like ‘zines for learning — particularly since the one ‘zine format we like to use the most easily gives you five pages of text to work with,…

the great manchester pen-pal unboxing video of september 2018

We may have mentioned before that Claude and Béla have a pen pal in Manchester — who loves a good fidget toy, an interesting snack, and whose dad recommends very good books for Claudia! Since Unboxing videos are the thing… here is one! Now the ball is in our court again… just in time for…

molecule of the week, august 31: water

Well. Not super exciting, but we also didn’t expect we’d be starting school last week. I don’t know that we will necessarily post every week’s molecule. We’ll see. Just in case a water molecule isn’t enough for you, here’s a clip of a concert we went to later in the week — Philly’s Hardwork Movement…

first day of fourth and fifth grade

I didn’t know until yesterday that today was going to be the first day of school. I figured we’d start up when the district did and that’s usually the Tuesday after Labor Day. But the kids were out with friends yesterday and while their mom was texting me, she told me that they were headed…

no more writing on elephants though!

This happened a bit before “school” really “started”, but was still worthy of their first real journal entry of the year. The African-American Museum of Philadelphia hosted a showing of the documentary “Wall Writers: Graffiti In Its Innocence” with special guest, graffiti legend Cornbread. I had heard stories about Cornbread my whole life from my…

summer camps: japan, ancient greece and ancient rome

This summer, Claude and Béla had two non-consecutive weeks at Shofuso, the Japanese house in Fairmount Park, where they had gone for a week last summer as well; they also had a week at the Penn Museum for an Ancient Greece- and Rome-themed daycamp. They were happy to return to Shofuso, where we discovered that…

secret synth night!

Well, it only took half a year or so, but we got ourselves to Secret Synth Night. They’re going to have to be a lot quieter in there if they want to keep it a secret, but I don’t think they really do. It is an all-ages, all-abilities meetup of folks interested in electronic music….

school of rock summer festival

Without a doubt, the best show either of the kids have ever done. The Bowie tribute two summers ago had previously been their high point — I mean, performing under a (working) wooden roller coaster — and their outfits had been SO on point, including handmade items and fantastic makeup. This show, the outfits were…

our library has an automatic short story dispenser

It also has a HUGE Wharton Esherick carving, which I have always loved — and it’s a really good library. But today, we noticed the short story dispenser. I was excited enough to post before I got the full story on what’s actually IN there — somebody came home with “Jabberwocky”, and each of them…

béla’s video on the makey makey basic

Makey Makey lets you make a closed circuit that your keyboard believes is just another key — even though it’s an alligator clip enclosing any object that has even a little bit of electricity in it — could be a banana, or tater tot. Béla learned to use the basics of this system on his…