The Exp Summer Daily

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The Experimentory Blog

Our year-round blog describes our program, values, and plans for next year.

The Exp Summer Daily

Our summer news consists of daily updates while we're in session -- giving a window into past years.

Striking Balance

Jul 14, 2018 1:16:31 AM

One of the advantages of boarding school is the opportunity to include bigger-than-the-classroom lessons into the curriculum. Since the Experimentory is a sample of Deerfield and boarding life, we take that to heart.  Daily artistic and athletic co-curriculars and open-ended freetime model a healthy life-work balance and invite student initiative.

Character Building in Unexpected Places

After a full day at the Experimentory, and we finish things off with some student-led activities. This period after dinner is a great opportunity to maximize character and creativity. Students can follow a personal interest, organize an activity with friends, or relax and unwind after classes, sports, and different activities across campus. The hot-spot today was the basement of the library. It is always a popular place, but some rain brought extra numbers of kids inside.

We sometimes forget that creativity and character don’t always require excitement, leadership, or taking action. Patience and thoughtfulness can also be important. Many of the endeavors in the library were great examples: reading, board games, and Jenga to name a few. I spent much of my time working with great group of students who had taken up the challenge of solving a jigsaw puzzle (a picture of our very own MSB).

Ian's Puzzle Group

It is surprising how many character and team-building qualities a puzzle can require. We decided it would be most efficient to divide up into groups. Some kids collected pieces of the border, while others grouped pieces of the sky, trees, or the school buildings. When one group found a piece that another group needed they would pass it to their pile.  If one group finished their part of the puzzle, the groups dissolved and re-organized into new groups. It was extremely gratifying to solve, and I was impressed with the level of patience and collaboration from everyone (character to the max!).

-- Ian, Program Proctor

A Visit to Dance

"Smile! Show me those pearly whites from brushy-washy!!"

Ossie's words were an encouragement to have fun, a demand to perform better, and a joke--a strange mix to find wrapped up in a single order. Stranger still, all three sentiments seemed to hit home at once: the six girls in this week's dance co-curricular simultaneously laughed, committed to their routine, and sharpened their stage smiles. 

Students following Ossie's lead
Ossie leading the routine while watching his
students in the studio mirror.

I had asked the group at the start of practice the genre of their routine. Carolyn was decisive: Jazz! The other students nodded or shrugged. Athalie and Ossie, the group's proctors, were a little less sure. "They each brought what they could do into the routine," Athalie explained. "I'd call the way it came together 'freestyle.'" 

Once practice began, I could see what she meant. After some moments choreographed for the whole group, each girl took turns in the spotlight showing off a different sort of talent. First Carolyn and Megan flossed; then Tori stepped up with a quick jig; next Jasmine spun into a split; Lucy strode across stage to pump up the crowd; finally, Lauren performed a graceful pirouette. Enthusiasm and joy were the unifying element rather than genre. 


"I'm ready to add in the cartwheels," Megan said. As they focused on footwork and timing, Megan had held back this part of the routine.

"Great." Ossie turned to the group. "We'll do it again--this time with Megan's cartwheels."

Tori stepped forward. "Actually, I can do cartwheels, too."

"You mean you've been holding out on us??!!" Tori laughed, and within a minute the dance had changed to include Megan and Tori high-fiving centerstage between cartwheels and roundoffs. 

"What do you think, Mr. Schaffer: Could we do this at the next All X?"

The girls were excited and nervous. "This was going to be for the Talent Show!" "And that's two days earlier!"

Ossie shrugged confidently. "You're ready. Why not both?"

When I left them, they were making plans for extra practice sessions during DFG while not conflicting with the Step group some had joined during the student led activities time. I can't wait to see what they come up with next.

-- Tim, Program Coordinator 

The Exp Summer Daily provides news and updates while we are in session in July and August. The rest of the year, check out the Experimentory Blog for posts feature our students, teachers, classes, values, goals, and plans for the coming year.