This week we celebrated another birthday of a Dragonaut in the studio, this time with nine trips around the Sun. In the video below you will catch a bit of the ceremony. Each learner prepares a card with several things they appreciate about the recipient. The cards are read out loud as part of the ceremony. Then the cards are placed in a box and given to the birthday boy or girl, so they can read them later in a quiet moment.
As much as we think as adults, that are we shaping the world of our young warriors on their Hero's Journey, it is the interactions with our peers that really make a lasting impression. So the Acton approach to birthdays is both a celebration and a ceremony to highlight those key moments.
Learning To Be Precedes The Academic Learning
Learning To Be is a primary focus in an Acton Academy, as the learners explore what it means to build their own, little civil society. With that strong base (both personally and as a group) the academics follow and often at an accelerated pace.
One cool example took place this week during Character Callouts during Town Hall Meeting. Each week these warriors on a Hero's Journey are learning about positive character traits, and how to recognize them in others as well as themselves.
Anyone who grew up with siblings close in age will know how challenging it can be. Let alone if your brother or sister was in the same Studio learning environment. We witnessed one such brother and sister team interact with each other in a whole new way.
Dillen (our oldest learner in the Studio) gave a Character Callout to his sister Marlee for working hard on her math and not giving up when it gets difficult. He also made it a point to say “even when I don’t WANT to help, you still find a way to work through.”
You could see the wheels turning in Marlee's head as she had already spoken and shared her Character Callout prior to Dillen. But she asked if she could add an extra one.
Marlee wanted to give Dillen a shoutout by saying how she appreciates how he’s always there to help her when she needs it, even when he doesn't want to because he is busy with his own work. She added that she admires how he’s very good at math and ended the Character Callout with “you’re the best brother!” ❤️
Core Skills & Exploring The World
Also this week, the Dragon-riders continue their Writing With A Purpose, by finishing off a series of thank you cards that will be delivered to important people in their lives.
They began exploring maps, geography and exploring the world around them. The Tribe earned all their goal points (both personal and as a group) for bonus reward time on Thursday.
A First Peace Table Experience In The Studio
One new experience this week was a first experience with Peace Table. Because each Acton Academy is the formation of a tiny civil society, Peace Table is a way for learners to work out disagreements or frustrations with each other.
Learners learn and use a process to speak their truth, in a way that each can be heard. This coming week we will be building on this process with a Socratic discussion around civility, and the story of A Bug And A Wish.
Heading Into The Home Stretch
With just a few weeks left to the school year, the next exhibition is right around the corner (Children's Business Fair on Saturday, June 11th). In addition to their Core Skills and Quest work, a new "Sheepdog-In-Training" badge was introduced to our group this week.
Sheepdogs in an Acton Academy are individuals who take on a role of responsibility for not only themselves but to help guide and support others around them in the "this is how we do things here."
Since February our Dragonauts have explored a number of Acton tools and systems that will be integral to the bigger group of learners coming for the 2022-2023 academic year.
Some of these include:
- Contracts & Covenants (the promises we make to each other)
- Studio Maintenence at the end of the day
- Freedom levels
- SMART Goals for the day and for the week
- Launches, Debriefs, and Socratic Discussions
- Rules of Engagement for those Socratic Discussions
- Town Hall Meetings (including Character Callouts)
- Peace Table Resolutions (new this week)
- Daily Schedule (Reorganized by the learners)
- Becoming a truly Learner-Driven studio where control is pushed to the learners more and more with each passing day.
This week we met with each our learners to talk about what they have learned so far, and ways they could assist or welcome new Dragonauts into the Tribe in the coming year. It is an exciting time to be finishing our first "soften opening" and preparing for a first full academic year next fall.
And remember this - if you are unsure about why learner-drive even matters (or what it is). Watch this series of videos created by our friends at Acton Placer: