Fighting The Chaos (Year 3, Week 2)

Monday kicked off with a discussion about which process or system is needed most in the studio. A strategy called process prioritization.

Drawing inspiration from great companies like Amazon, who thrive on crystal clear processes to deliver excellence, the heroes discussed which studio system needed priority to continue building a world class community:

  • Studio Contract — a system to create order and governance
  • Strike System — a safety and boundary system
  • Freedom levels — a motivational system

This proved to be a difficult debate as each of these systems matter a great deal in a learner driven community. Many heroes noted, however, that the studio was falling more and more into chaos, and we needed promises and commitments that would help establish more order and excellence in the studio.

As a result of the discussion and a vote, the studio contract was the area of focus this week.

As of Friday, the promises and commitments that the studio has made are:

  • Always speak with kindness, encouragement and truth
  • Always do my best work
  • Do not distract myself or others
  • Treat others how you want to be treated
  • Treat the studio like a sacred place
  • Be a good neighbor

The heroes will continue to add, takeaway, and define further these promises before formally signing the contract at the first exhibition.

After making these promises, many of the heroes felt the promises needed some reinforcement through a system called Hero Bucks. Several heroes, including Jack, Paxton, and Betsy initiated an emergency town hall meeting to restore order to a rather chaotic morning.

It only took about 30 seconds for them to decide the return of Hero Bucks was needed immediately. The fifth year heroes stepped up as leaders to launch Hero Bucks back until Friday when they could elect a Hero Buck council.

The next day the heroes spent time practicing how to use Hero Bucks to hold others accountable in a warm-hearted (kind) and tough-minded (firm) way. They created different scenarios and offered each other warm-cool-warm feedback.

On Friday, the heroes voted for a new Hero Buck Council to govern within the studio, manage hero buck appeals, and take care of other leadership needs in the studio. The council members elected were Olivia, Paxton and Betsy.

The Prediction Tools Quest this week challenged the heroes with several team building activities that would help them be equipped more fully to work in teams and squads throughout the year.

One of their challenges was to build the tallest structure for their ball using only popsicle sticks and tape. The tallest structure measured 8.5 inches! Their next challenge was to save Fred (gummy bear) and help him get to his life preserver (gummy life saver) by using paper clips, no hands! Squads worked together to complete this challenge in no time at all!

On Friday, their quest challenge was to create a specific identity for their squads. The heroes created a name, motto and a flag for their squad to finish off a week full of team-building activities! The squad names are:

TEM Team (Betsy, Adri, Tanner, Koby) their motto is “Hard work pays off”.

The Shell Shockers (Canyon, Ester, Benett, Kai) their motto is “Keep moving forward”.

Game time (Aiden, Garrett, Tyson, Zane) their motto is “So what”.

The Stars (Jack, Olivia, Lily, Clara) their motto is “Wherever we go, we light the path”.

“Creativity is contagious, pass it on.” -Albert Einstein

The heroes also spent time this week on an art challenge where they created their Hero Boards. The boards are a tool the heroes use on their desks to block distractions and stay focused. Some of the heroes created “about me” boards with pictures of animals, places and things that they like, while other heroes made “focus” boards with pictures of forests, calm water and mountains.

Friday closed with one the studio’s most heart-warming traditions, character callouts.

Character callouts are when the heroes get to callout a fellow traveler who has done something of character in the community. A few examples of character callouts this week that helped the community connect:

“Clara finished a Lexia level in 2 days which is really difficult and I call that hard-work.” — Olivia.

“Canyon is like the new Caden. He has been helping everyone since Caden is gone this year and I call that leadership.” — Betsy.

“Koby jumped right in even though he was new this week. I call that courage.” — Lily

“Tyson didn’t want to finish his reflections but he did anyway. I call that doing something hard.” — Adri

After a long and hard week of taking on the challenges of learning and community, character callouts brings a closeness and community feel that unites the tribe.

As the tribe builds, intentionality is always fighting against natural chaos. This week the heroes stepped up, launched new systems, and created accountability all on their own. They are proving that young people are far more capable than most people assume. Anyone who takes the time to really get to know these heroes will, without a doubt, recognize that they are capable of changing the world.

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Heroes Academy

Elementary blog for Heroes Academy, an innovative school in Boise, Idaho. We inspire children to find a calling and change the world → http://heroesacademy.org