It can be overwhelming to try to document Village. There is so much going on - and each child's experience is different. We talk often about the many ways to succeed in Village - you may become involved in government or have a successful business or create a careful house or get your Peep University degree. At this point in the game - children are busy, each in his or her own way.
Government - Both governments seem to have reached a peaceful and productive stage for now. Supporting the lake resort has been approved as has a transportation system. Peepaleapolis has even approved some proposals to increase tourism (free money for tourists at mini fair and an event planner.) The Peepers council seems to have staved off a return to direct democracy after a disgruntled citizen, frustrated that they had moved to a conversation around a table type of meeting started a petition to return to "The kind of government where you say, 'out of order!'" So far the petition hasn't received the 37 signatures it needs to call a town meeting to recall the government. Interestingly, until recently, about 2/3 of government proposals so far have had to do with who is at the meetings and how long they have to be there.
One controversy emerged about the lake land. Several students with water based businesses created a proposal for Simon for an additional land grant between the villages. This land would have a lake on it and could be used by both villages. But, to get a liner for the lake, the group had to find $20,000 - something they couldn't afford by themselves. They went to both towns - but the towns were unsure. Rumors abounded that some peeps could put their businesses on the lake but others couldn't. Would their be a way for regular citizens to use the lake? Was it fair to use town money for something that not everyone would be using (sound like any stadium funding debates recently?) It took a lot of communication to iron out the details but the digging has begun and we should have a lake next week.
Businesses - More businesses have a permanent presence on the land - signs, carts and roadside stands are all in the making. After the initial excitement of buying food, consumers have become somewhat more discriminating. One group was very excited to have made almost $200 at landtime, only to discover they had actually lost money because they had paid $230 for their product. Like many things in Village, we had had a lesson about net vs. gross profit but, until it is put into practice, the importance of the concept can be lost on students.
For many food businesses, the idea of inventory is challenging at first. Students can only keep food at village for two days. Put too much through customs and one loses money; put too little through and one has disappointed customers. Many business proprietors have begun keeping track of how much they sell as well as the volume of their containers (the shaved ice makers, for example, were making about 1/3 of the ice they needed. After learning about volume and looking at how much volume each serving had, they were able to make enough ice for the number of serving cups they had bought today.)
Other peep businesses have developed creative products - such as pencils that really work. Will they protect their ideas by proposing a patent law? Not yet...
Another pair of peeps is creating a Renaissance Fair experience. After cladding a surprising number of peeps in armor, they are now working on a peep ballista - a first for Village in my experience.
Houses - Many houses have popped up on the land - just in time to weather the weekend's storms. Shingles are the finishing touch for many. The amount of problem solving that has to go on during the construction phase is amazing. Students have to decide which tools to use, how to use them, and what to do when their initial plan isn't working. So many of the skills are new - from how to get the right amount of paint on the brush to how to use clamps to steady your work while hammering. It takes a lot of persistence and flexibility to get a house together.
Sometimes it can be hard to convince students that it's worth investing in their houses. Items in the store can seem very expensive (why don't they apply the same criteria to a slushy at land time, I wish I knew). We post the appraisal list to help students understand how $200 of shingles can turn into $1000 in your house's value.
Peep University - We've had a nice assortment of classes this week. One group learned about transportation systems (and has gotten a proposal approved by the governments). Another group took a journalism course and will be writing the Spring Peeper over the course of the next week (look for it at mini-fair.) Quilling, peep pouches, anime and quilting are also on the docket. We have four days next week that we'd like to fill with classes!
Government jobs - The store has had several employees not show up for shifts recently. This has caused a lot of frustration with other store workers. We also had one incident of a customer being treated disrespectfully - something the management finds very troubling and addressed through more training. "Haivng a job" in village means one has to fill out an application, get trained, show up for shifts, keep track of one's work, and submit an invoice in order to be paid. You also need to do a good job and we have frequent conversations with government workers about our expectations.
Echoes of the "Real" World - During village I'm always struck by how much going on in the "real" world is reflected by what is going on in the news. Debates about what we should pay for rage in the Minnesota legislature. Brazil has ousted its leader. England is considering exiting the Euro (we have a shared currency, the Acorn). Immigration has affected the economies of both villages. This is a great time to read, watch or listen to the news with your child and watch for parallels with Village. It's also a great time to talk about things like jobs, mortgages, bank accounts, and credit.