This first week in June was a big deep breath in preparation for the coming week. Our school year ends on Thursday with a last day of school + Family Adventure Day planned for our little tribe. Big shout-out to Lacey and Off The Bow Rentals for setting us up for a day on the water! Lot's of excitment to get not only out "on" but "in" the water here in beautiful Fort Lauderdale (aka the Venice of America).
In addition to preparation for the last day of school festivities, we will also celebrate a "summer" birthday this week. And there is lot's of nervous excitement for the Children's Business Fair on Saturday, June 11th. We have 20 booths with over 30 total entreprenurs signed up and ready to show their work!
This week we wrapped up our daily focus on Core Skills, giving the studio a lighter schedule for their last week of school. All Dragonauts accomplished their goals for the week, which resulted in a "Adventure Day" trip to MODS to see the new Dinosaurs in Motion exhibnit that just opened.
Building A Love Of Reading By Choosing "Epic" Books
One of the key elements of an Acton Academy is building a life-long love of reading (we call it DEAR, or Drop-Everything-And-Read time). As you might imagine even for yourself, it is a whole lot more fun to read when you get to pick the subjects you are most interested in!
Epic Reader Certificates were given out for completion of total number of books and total hours read in Epic:
- Marlee 114 book 14 hrs of reading time
- Dillen 29 books 20 hrs of reading time
- Aidan 101 books 5.8 hrs of reading time
- Divya 103 book 19 hrs of reading time
This regular, encouraging, and supportive environment for reading and writing has created a number of surprises for our learners, such as when Aidan (our youngest Warrior) ASKED to do a creative writing activity over his DuoLingo time.
The Start of Something Big... Becoming More Learner-Driven
This week our Tribe of learners also started something big, as a project to push more control of the Studio to the learners (getting the adults out of the way), so each Warrior can take ownership of their own education.
Divya, our 9-year-old "Sheepdog" who has more experience than any of us having attended and visited several other Actons, led the Tribe through several Launches (aka, Socratic Discussions) that culminated in their first Studio Snapshot. No adults were involved in this self-assessment (intentionally). This is the short introduction from the Studio Snapshot page:
This tool is designed to be used by the learners, to self-assess the awareness and functioning of their own studio tribe. It was written so that an 8-year-old Sheepdog/ES learner can follow the steps below, lead the launch, and post the results in the studio.
Adults (owners, guides, and parents) may feel tempted to step in, take over the assessment or the discussion around the results. That is a mistake.
It is the learner’s studio. By taking ownership of the assessment, the learners control the discussion about what’s working (or not working) in the studio. This puts the opportunity to make improvements squarely in front of each learner as they can see their results posted on the wall.
The process was not always easy. There were a bunch of challenging new words to learn, steps to follow, and an awareness to rate how the Tribe is doing on key benchmarks such as Level of Energy, Intentionality, Civility, and Excellence. These ratings were for the collective group, and not individual feedback (which we will start next year when we start regular 360 Surveys).
You guys might remember when I traveled to Carmel, CA earlier this spring for a workshop with other Acton owners who are developing learner-driven tools and resources for our network. This Studio Snapshot is one of the outcomes of that work, and this was our first opportunitu to test it. It is also being used by other Studio across the country.
As part of this experience, this week we will award our first "Sheepdog-In-Training" Badge. Badges are a big part of tracking and recognizing progress in the Acton learning environment. The coming year will include the introduction of our full Elementary Badge Plan for all the learners to earn their way into Middle School.
And lastly, Satisfaction Surveys will be going out this week. Just as we asked the Dragonauts to assess their growth and opportunities to get better, regular surveys with the parents hold us accountable to the vision we all have for our AAFTL community. Please take minute or two to share your ratings and suggestions. The results go not only to us but are shared out to the Acton network as part of holding everyone accountable for doing our best work together.