Fueled by Fun (Year 3, Week 8)

Halloween Edition

Heroes Academy
6 min readNov 2, 2019


Integrity, honesty and respect.

Three simple words with a mouthful of meaning. Monday morning started off with the heroes watching a video and discussing the three words in length.

They then shared some of the hardest lessons they have learned on their hero’s journey about integrity. From doing the right thing when nobody is watching to being honest with a fellow hero. They even decided that the state the studio was in failed to show excellence in terms of respect and integrity. They admitted that sometimes if they saw someone slacking on a job, they might too. They discussed why this habit should change and how they could better keep themselves and each other accountable. Their introspection and self regulation is something to truly admire.

After launch the heroes got to work on their personal maintenance. Vacuums were roaring and Clorox wipes were flying. They scrubbed, organized and cleaned until they were satisfied with the outcome. The week kicked off with 23 heroes holding themselves to high standards of excellence.

Notes of Encouragement

Last week the heroes were introduced to Servant Leadership Tokens. Writing two encouraging notes to a hero is part of earning one token. Since the introduction last week, the studio has been inundated with encouraging notes to fellow travelers, among other things. Since then, the heroes have added flair and creativity.

Encouragement with Flair

They have started designing their notes — filling the inside with glitter, colors and stickers. Adding in things they think their fellow hero would like. Sometimes even smaller, tiny notes. As one hero described to the guide,

“I see them working so hard, I wanted them to be inspired every day to keep it up so I wrote five little notes, one for each day of the week!”

The character trait of this session is leadership. To be a powerful leader, one must develop an ability to be warm-hearted and tough-minded. To be warm-hearted is to remember just how much an encouraging smile, hug or note can change someone’s day, maybe someone’s life.

It’s powerful to see how the heroes are demonstrating world-changing and life-changing character through their leadership, with warm-hearted words.

Teamwork Through Feedback

In Writer’s Workshop this week the heroes explored how writing often takes a team effort to be world class. Tuesday’s discussion started off with them talking about the world’s greatest writing pieces, such as the Declaration of Independence, and the power of two or more minds coming together to deliver a world-class piece.

Warm and Cool Feedback Circle

The challenge for the heroes was to give two fellow heroes warm-cool-warm feedback on their personal story. They challenged each other to give strong feedback in terms of understanding, readability and flow. They got to work on re-writing and editing their pieces with their fellow hero’s input. Before long, the studio is going to be showcasing their journey from beginning to end, not a wall uncovered…

Filling the Studio

Math Masters: Lessons from the Marines

This week the heroes learned about a girl in Provo Utah who is in a school like ours.

Last week she worked on a topic in Khan she clearly already understood well. Yet through carelessness, she got 5/7 correct, over and over, on Mastery Challenges. In 27 questions, she leveled up once.

After learning about “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” a phrase well known to any marine or soldier, she tried again. This time, she went slow, she wrote the questions in her notebook, and was able to fix her careless mistakes. In 7 questions she got 7/7 correct. She leveled up twice. 2 levels in 7 questions = 8x faster progress than 1 level in 27 questions.

In math, trying to go too fast and guessing is the enemy of progress. As the heroes are being equipped to slow down, learn, double check, and write down their work, they are seeing more progress in their work.

Happy Halloween

On Thursday the heroes got a surprise. They had planned their party for Friday but the guides thought it would be fun to add a little more play into their week. When the heroes walked in the studio was covered in spider webs, misty fog and skeletons dancing across the wall. That afternoon the heroes listened to a spooky tale and enjoy an afternoon dedicated to Halloween fun.

Some of the activities included egg races, mummy wrapping and exploding pumpkins…

The heroes work hard every day to earn points, badges, freedom, and other privileges, but a hero’s journey also requires lots of celebration and fun along the way. Traditions and holidays are an important part of the journey at Heroes Academy.

The Aftermath

As one might imagine, the day after Halloween can be somewhat chaotic, especially with the amount of candy each hero brought. Here in the studio this week, however, an observer would have seen the opposite. The heroes came in telling tales of their Halloween night and were instantly ready to be focused on core skills. The entire studio was silent while the heroes worked intentionally for almost two hours towards their SMART Goals.

Three heroes picked badge books, two heroes worked their way into soaring and one devised a new plan to create the slowest but most efficient spinning water wheel.

By the time afternoon rolled around the heroes only had 30 minutes to work on their quest projects. Surprises engulfed the studios. Squads that had been stuck on their designs for the past two weeks started and finished their first build in less than 30 minutes. Even taking on the weight challenge and putting their wheels to actual work. This kept the excellence committee busy running around and checking off wheels and patents.

Brand New Design

By the end of the day though the energy had worn thin, and the low energy made studio maintenance a tough battle. The heroes will spend time Monday revisiting studio maintenance to bring the studio back to a world class place to learn.

Wrap Up

Progress on the journey is important, but if we aren’t careful, it’s easy to miss the joy along the way. This week was a reminder that one of the things these heroes do best is finding the joy in the journey and having fun.



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