Joy and Learning (Year 3, Week 9)

Heroes Academy
6 min readNov 9, 2019


Monday started with the heroes eating another frog. Every week the heroes set a weekly SMART goal, with an emphasis on doing that thing you want to do the least. That thing you have been avoiding.

Badges System Improvements

Following a focused hour of core skills, eating frogs, the heroes gathered with guides to discuss improvements for the badge system. The badge system is a way to prove mastery and track your progress on your learning journey. After some discussion a few key improvements were made to the badge system and the heroes spent time updating their badge plans. Many of the heroes shared how much more simple and clear the improvements made the badge system, and more heroes have submitted badges as a result.

New System for Badges

Vulnerability in Writer’s Workshop

“Every child is an artist. The problem is how to remain an artist once we grow up.” — Pablo Picasso

During Writer’s Workshop the heroes discussed how inventing and innovating were similar to writing and art. That both require vulnerability. The heroes were then faced with a challenge of using creativity through a form of art, to represent their personal stories.

There was a moment of beautiful growth during Writer’s Workshop when a hero was struggling with their personal narrative. This hero mentioned to the group how their story felt too personal and that they were worried about being vulnerable. Other heroes shared as well how they too, felt their stories might be too personal to share, that maybe they didn’t want to go too deep into their personal lives. One hero then stood up and said,

“But the best writing and art comes from your heart…”

It’s a tough balance to know when to be vulnerable and when to be discreet. It’s a powerful learning experience for these young people to struggle to find this balance.


Conquering Math

Heroes have different strengths. Some thrive during quest, others love the challenge of writing and then some love to dive head first into core skills. As with any journey, there are many challenges. Math has been in the panic zone for some heroes. During this session, Math Masters focused on inspiring, equipping these young heroes to be on the path to mastery.

Becoming a master takes hard work. But there are many enemies to becoming a master.

  • The obsessive tries to take a shortcut to mastery. They try to go too fast, they want results now, and when it gets hard, they quit.
  • The hacker gets some results, then is content. The hacker thinks he is “good enough.”
  • The dabbler is very enthusiastic about starting, they start new things all the time, but rarely finish. When the newness of something is gone, so is the dabbler.

According to George Leonard, the master takes the long view. He is patient, recognizing that growth is often hard, with long periods of flatlining, followed by growth. His goal is to grow. To not quit. To not take short cuts. To slowly, if necessary, become a master.

After the heroes discussed which curve they found themselves on, they teamed up and tackled some more math challenges.

Working Together
Visually Drawing out a Problem
Debating on the Numbers

Many heroes are making enormous strides in math, and energy in math has never been as high in the studio.


The past week heroes made a conscious effort to hold each other accountable for moving into flow phase. They all agreed that being able to focus and get into flow is an important and a huge part of their hero’s journey. For the last week the heroes have been timing themselves to get into flow, trying to improve each day.

On Thursday, the heroes celebrate two heroes who were working in reset, who earned their way out. At 150 points heroes who are in reset (for not having put in a minimum effort in their work) are able to rejoin the community and get back to their nesting freedom level. The heroes clapped and celebrated as the two heroes moved their desks back into their squads. The best moments are watching how they celebrate their community. Their sense of teamwork and pride they feel in one another pours over when heroes hit personal goals.

Flow Phase

Town Hall

Friday’s town hall meeting was full of ideas, announcements, and suggestions for the studio. 10 in total.

More than half of these requests were related to studio maintenance. They discussed ways in which they feel they have not treated the studio like a sacred place. Many points were made about small improvements that needed to be made, especially around losing hero bucks when your studio maintenance job isn’t done, and making sure your squad leader checks off your personal maintenance job before moving on.

Other town hall meeting suggestions were to be able to ride scooter and skateboards in a safe area (denied but hoping to resubmit), a game to make the studio more quiet during core skills (approved but needs to be created), and being able to play personal games during mindfulness (unclear).

Town Hall Meeting allows each hero to have a voice and bring important changes and improvements to the studio. While there is much to learn about holding meaningful discussions and arriving at resolutions, the heroes make lots of progress each week to make their studio a better place.


The heroes hit huge strides in week 3 of session 2. The heroes started to finalize pieces for their inventor and innovator quest. Groups who were stuck for two weeks on trying to figure out the perfect design, whipped out projects in an hour. Adding new innovations and even doing test runs. They got started on their patents and even decided to design creative portfolios.

At the beginning of session 2, many heroes weren’t quite sure how they felt about writer’s workshop. By the end of week 3, the heroes were so into their personal stories that they decided to write more than one! Their personal books started to come together at rapid speed and they are even researching how to give better feedback. Some have been writing at home, and some have been writing during their free time.

Quest Challenge

The studio just feels like a powerful place of learning, and it is full of joy. Joy and learning, what else can one ask for?



Heroes Academy

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