This week the Tribe was focused on taking their Daily Goal Setting habit to a new level. While Goal Setting was introduced last session as part of Build A Tribe, it takes awhile for all of us (adults included) to master the art of SMART Goals.
When we fail to make our goals SMART, we don't really know when or if the goal was actually achieved. But creating SMART goals is like rocket fuel (or Dragon's Fire) 🔥
For our Dragonauts, that means typing in their goal each day, and learning to hold one another accountable to the goals we set for ourselves (Learning To Be, and Learning To Do). Those goals are then tracked on a big scoreboard, with points totaling for our Adventure Day reward at the end of the week.
Academics, yes... (and SO MUCH MORE)
In Acton we don't think of children as being in a particular grade. We simply think of them as human beings. They are exactly where they need to be on their journey. There is no time table that dictates that a child needs to read by age seven, know multiplication by eight years, or write an exposition in first grade.
What we really want to see, is progress. Like this.
30 stories read!
And from one young learner who was telling us a few weeks ago... "I can't read".
A child will get there when they get there. You may have a learner that does 4th grader math at age seven, or one who does not embrace reading until they hit age nine. In each case, it is perfectly fine because we are consistently nudging forward, wherever they start. They will get there when they are ready. And when they ready... watch out! They often accelerate their learning to the point of doing years of academic work in just a few short months.
For example, this weekend (I was in CA with other Acton owners) I heard about a child who learned how to write and read in cursive (all letters) in 2 weeks! How and why? Because they were ready and wanted to learn cursive. This is part of the Learning To Learn focus in an Acton Academy.
Learning Comes From Making Mistakes (and Reflection)
One example of a learning opportunity, is when a "Strike" is given for behaviors that are outside the contract that is made between learners and their fellow Dragon-riders, or between learners and the Guides.
We give strikes not as a punishment but a way to help our learners navigate thru situations in the studio and help them hold each other accountable. They signed a contract. If they broke the contract - there are consequences. Just like in real life.
It is a wonderful learning experience in Learning To Be and a great opportunity to self correct. We are here not to point fingers but have the children understand and travel their own Hero's Journey. A strike is not a shame or pointing fingers, it is merely a lesson and an issue to "work through" with an attached opportunity to become better for the experience.
This week... one of those Strikes was given, and it was beautiful Acton experience. A young learner still learning how to write, was able to first dictate their reflection on the experience, and then use that dictation to write the words.
That is our promise to our bigger Tribe of families. We are going to share the ups and downs, the trips, spills, and falls of the Hero's Journey. We each have our own "Dragons" (meaning fears and issues) to make friends with (we don't "slay" dragons at AAFTL). IF we step in to rescue (and oh, as a parent it is SO compelling to step in to fix the struggle), we hurt and hamper the growth.
I will write that again because it is THAT important (and a lesson I struggle with too).
When we step in to help (or rescue)... we hurt (even though we have the best intentions).
Here are some additional resources from the nationwide Acton Tribe to help with our own HJ's (Hero's Journey) as parents.
One of the things we love to include each week, is books, ideas, and resources for each parent and their OWN Hero's Journey. This week we have a book recommendation from Laura Sandefer:
And back by popular demand, another video (#7 this time) from our friend Matt Beaudreau (Acton Placer, CA) who has created a Top 10 List of reasons why you want your child in a Learner Driven environment.