What a great first week in our "home-school pod" format - and so proud of our Dragon-Riders* for taking on the challenge of entering this new school that is so unlike anything they have ever seen before.
*Note: While our school mascot is the "Dragons", we like to think of our Heroes as "Dragon Riders" or Dragonauts because our focus is to acknowledge, tame, and make friends with our fears (the dragons) not slay them. Inspired by the How To Train Your Dragon books and movies, it kind of makes sense, right? Our fears never go away completely, but if we learn to "ride" them it opens up a whole new world of adventure.
We started the week building new habits (daily reflective writing) and DEAR (Drop Everything And Read) time - both favorites in the studio. In both cases, we are not trying to be perfect writers (sometimes a picture is a good starting place) or push certain books... we are encouraging the learners to pick what looks interesting to them, and cultivate a love of reading and writing first.
We also explored Seeds of Potential (you might remember this one from the sliced apples in Courage To Grow) and began the conversation of Growth Mindset. The Heroes created a Happy Brain/Sad Brain poster to remind or make it easier to identify how they are feeling.
By the middle of the week we introduced the Hero's Journey, and enjoyed Noon Tunes in Stranahan Park. Everyone in the studio got key jobs to help us function together.
- Dillen is our Schedule and Time Keeper to say on track
- Divya is our Accountability Partner helping everyone keep their promises to each other
- Marlee is our Organization Officer making sure the team has what it needs for each new adventure
- Aidan (our youngest Hero) is our Safety Officer and grew about 6 inches as he helps us navigate safely between the studio and our off-campus adventures.
On Thursday we began the process of creating our FIRST studio contract, which means the agreements and promises we make to each other to function as our own little, civil society.
And by Friday - we took to time-traveling adventures when we went back 120 years to visit the replica school-house and to learn about Ivy Cromartie Stranahan (the "mother" of Fort Lauderdale and its first school teacher). We visited the Fort Lauderdale History Center to see what Fort Lauderdale looked like before it was a city, and just a trading post/crossing over the New River.
Our next stop was the Museum of Discovery & Science (MODS) where spent the after exploring the new Pioneers in Space exhibit. The theme for the day was what it might feel like to be a pioneer in early Fort Lauderdale, as a Founding Dragonnaught in the AAFTL studio, or to be a pioneer in space, traveling to Mars to start a new society.
No school on Monday (observing President Day) and then we will be off to the races, to learn more about ourselves as we explore:
- Comfort Zone vs. Growth Zone vs. Panic Zone
- Core Skills and setting our baselines for academic growth
- Setting up and exploring our new Chromebooks with Mr T (our Technology Director)
Questions/Conversations You Might Share With Your Child:
Keep in mind that the first week or two may feel disorienting in some ways for your child. Acton does not look or operate like what they are used to seeing in a traditional school.
- You can ask them what it is like when they ask questions or look to the adults for answers, and they are encouraged to find the answers for themselves?
- Ask them about what felt hard and where they felt stretched. It is a great opportunity to praise their willingness to move out of their comfort zone and tackle hard things.
Each week we will be sharing a quick recap. We share because sunlight (transparency) is a great way to honor each of us even as we tackle hard challenges. Here's one last video from our friend Matt Beaudreau (Acton owner and parent in CA) sharing some of what he is learning from the other Acton families from around the country.