Thursday, October 28, 2010

Saturday forums at The Meeting School provide students with the opportunity to learn more about a range of topics that are not typically covered during the school week.
Held on Saturday mornings, a forum usually involves a guest speaker or practitioner, or travel off campus to a special event. Forums often have an applied, or hands-on component.

Students may also occasionally design their own individual forum. Last weekend Bennett, a Meeting School student, designed and participated in an alternative forum focused on the work of Andy Goldsworthy.

After studying his life and work, he created his own designs from the nature around him.

"I found this art project kind of calming," Bennett says, "but also kind of sad because it's so temporary and wears away in such a short time. This kind of art is more difficult than you might expect because the leaves don't stick to the rocks...there is a real materials challenge. Experiencing this challenge makes me respect Goldsworthy's work even more."

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Bibles and Empires

This semester a The Meeting School is offering a social studies course called Bibles and Empires, which takes a critical look at the tension between creation and empire that threads its way throughout the Old and New Testaments of the bible, and the theme of "forgetting" the importance of God's creation in the pursuit of empire.

The course's texts include God and Empire: Jesus Against Rome, Then and Now, by John Crossan, and Come Out My People: God's Call Out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, by Wes Howard-Brook.

Today's class included an exploration of the different kinds of bibles and the conversation ranged from a discussion of the effect of the printing press and literacy on the the use of the Bible, and the consequences of no longer being in relationship with the bible primarily through an oral tradition, in which stories were passed down through the context of one's culture.

Teacher Landis Brown illustrated this point by quoting from theologian Stanley Hauerwas' book Unleashing Scripture: Freeing the Bible from Captivity to America: "No task is more important than for the church to take the Bible out of the hands of individual Christians." Hauerwas suggests that the bible has become so accessible that it no longer means what it once did, and has lost its power to communicate its prophetic call to care for God's creation.

You can read more at Landis' blog.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Meeting School Means Business!

This posting comes from Moon, a member of our Small Business class...enjoy!

This year faculty member Craig Jensen is teaching a social studies class called Small Business here at The Meeting School. The class functions as a cooperatively run and consensus-based business. Part of the course's curriculum includes deciding on a product to create, market and sell through discussion and consensus.

We finished our first project about three weeks ago. The project acted as a sort of practice run in working collaboratively together and as an opportunity to learn and further develop a craft. The class hand made embroidered name-tags for all of the faculty working for the school. We presented the name-tags as a gift to the faculty during Community Meeting.

The name-tags were very much a collaborative effort, and each member in the class had at least a small part in each of the name tags. Everyone did at least some embroidery - even class members who had little or no experience with a needle and thread. There were many components in the making of the name-tags other than embroidery, including measuring and cutting cloth and sketching out lettering and designs on the cloth in pencil to act as a guide for the embroidery.

The class has started to move forward in the past week with discussions about what we want our business to be. We have started to draft a mission statement and talk seriously about what sorts of products we could make efficiently and well. The class continues to be full of lessons ranging from new crafting skills and cost and profit constraints, to the consequences of late work on the business and developing a sound business plan.

This experience is incredibly valuable. The class emphasizes accountability and a high standard of quality, as the success of our business depends on these factors. Students can use those skills in any situation that life may hand them in the future, even if they do not intend to pursue crafting or small business after the class.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

Hamlet Is You

Last Saturday actor Christian Camargo and his wife, actor Juliet Rylance, starred in one extraordinary Meeting School Forum.

English teacher Burrett McBee commented that it was "an English teacher's dream" to have a professional Shakespearean actor in front of his students who could engage students, honor the text, and open up a larger world than existed before.

Christian deconstructed Hamlet's first soliloquy - it was much more than an analysis of the speech, and students got a sense of how hard one has to work to understand the depth Shakespeare.

One of the questions students had for Christian was "How to you keep a part alive?" Christian talked about the imperative to find oneself in each part - that if one is able to do this, the part will stay vibrant and true.

Please see the article below from The Monadnock Ledger Transcript.

And a postcript for all of the Twilight fans out there - Christian has been cast as Eleazar of the Denali Coven in upcoming "The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Parts 1 and 2."

Sharing Shakespeare’s words

Actor Christian Camargo speaks to Meeting School students


Monadnock Ledger-Transcript
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

RINDGE — Students at the Meeting School got a lesson on Shakespearean acting and a glimpse of the television/ film industry over the weekend.

Actor Christian Camargo, best known for his role as the Ice Truck Killer in the Showtime series “Dexter,” shared how he developed a love for Shakespeare with students Saturday morning.

“When I first read Shakespeare, I wasn’t interested at all. I really didn’t like Shakespeare, but then I became fascinated by it, then obsessed by it,” said Camargo.

The actor had been taught by Meeting School teacher Burrett McBee at the Harvey School in Westchester, N.Y. He said McBee introduced him to Shakespeare and even helped him with his audition for the Juilliard School of Drama.

“Its always wonderful; you never know where students will end up,” said McBee.

Most recently, Camargo has traveled worldwide to perform Shakespeare as part of The Bridge Project.

In Rindge, he performed a piece from “Hamlet,” showing the students how to appreciate and work with the, rhythm, expression and language in Shakespeare.

“You can’t be lazy about words you don’t know,” he said. “There is a texture to these words that we take completely for granted.”

He also spoke on developing as an actor in the entertainment industry, mentioning the dangers of being typecast.

“In Hollywood, when you play one part, that is all they see you as. You play a serial killer, you’re screwed,” he joked in reference to his role as a killer in Dexter.

His wife, Juliet Rylance, who is also an actor, was present and shared one of her favorite scenes of “Hamlet.”

Camargo told the students that acting was less about trying to be somebody else and more about finding the character within.

“Acting is about you, at the end of the day, Hamlet is you,” said Camargo.