(Year 4, Week 6)
Love of Reading
The start of a new session always brings high energy. If an onlooker peaked into the studio, they would see heroes setting SMART goals, working on core skills and getting prepped for the week ahead. The morning launch was centered around being intentional and handling responsibility. Responsibility was selected as session two’s character trait. For the next five weeks, the heroes will be diving into the meaning of responsibility and using the character trait to discover what they feel responsibility means to them.
In rhythm with responsibility, the heroes had taken on quite the challenge of selecting badge books. Before 10 a.m., fifteen heroes had signed up for badge books and proudly clapped for one another as each book was selected. There seemed to be quite a ripple affect. Within just the six short weeks that the heroes had been in the studio, nine books had been read and over thirty badge books had been selected.
Throughout the day, heroes could be spotted reading in the little nooks and crannies throughout the studio. By the end of the day, five heroes had finished their badge books, (previously selected from last session) and were debating one another about who would get to give their badge book review at closing. Love of reading made itself quite apparent and it will be interesting to see if that love continues throughout the rest of the year.
“Imagine you walk into an arcade. Lights are flashing, music is playing and you get to play any game you want for just a small price. What type of game is your favorite? Who would you love to play with? What is your favorite part of the arcade?
Heroes, I want to welcome you to Build-a-Game quest.”
This was how the heroes were introduced to their Session two Quest. A roar of applause filled the Discovery Studio. They listened as the guide explained that over the next few weeks they will be playing games, working on different mathematical skills and getting equipped with strategies. All of these new skills will help them for exhibition. For exhibition, they will be showcasing their homemade games. They get to create games completely from scratch and use their hero bucks to buy whatever supplies are world-class. Meaning, the harder they work in core skills, the more money they will earn to buy materials for their games.
The heroes spent the next hour and a half playing probability games with complete and total concentration. The heroes worked incredibly hard and the guide found herself having to print out challenges that were meant for Wednesday’s launch. Every single hero participated in quest and got to at least challenge two, with most of them ready to start challenge four. Usually this type of concentration is mostly seen during flow phase from 8:45–10:15. However, ‘playing the odds’ really brought out intentionality in the heroes. It was interesting to see how playing a game filled with numbers and math did not intimidate the heroes who often say, “math is too hard!” in-fact, they were completely absorbed in the activity from start to finish. A loud groan echoed through the studio when it was time for studio maintenance, with one hero saying,
“I was just about to finish! Can we do studio maintenance another day!?”
“…He walked towards the door. His footsteps felt slow and heavy. His fingers trembled as he went to turn the knob. knock knock knock. His head was pounding. He felt sick as he pulled the door open, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing…”
“Heroes, what do you believe he saw?”
Hands flew up in the air.
“He saw himself staring back at him.”
“He saw a long, dark hallway.”
“He saw nothing but darkness.”
“He saw a tall, scary figure!”
The heroes ideas were endless. They were then welcomed to their Writer’s Workshop. Spooky Stories! The heroes were told that the guide would be writing alongside them throughout the session. She will be asking them for warm-cool-warm feedback and having them help her with her story.
Writing is one of the most magical parts of the Discovery Studio. Their imaginations and creativity surpass all realms. They’re creators, inventors and overall masterminds of their stories. For the next hour, not a single hero made a sound. They were dialed in and crafting their pieces full of skeletons, talking pumpkins and nightmares.
By the end of Writer’s Workshop, eight heroes made it onto the Excellence Board. They were challenged to do their intro. It had to be at least one paragraph and five to seven sentences, but, it could definitely be more. There wasn’t a single hero who didn’t write less than two paragraphs. The stories seemed to jump right out of their heads onto their paper. By the end of the day, heroes could be seen walking around the studio like zombies and practicing their perfect mummy stances.
The heroes are hard at work, all day long. Whether that is working intentionally on core skills or moving through conflict resolutions and trying to find peace. However, true learning is so much more than just the grind of adding numbers and writing sentences. Some of the biggest learning moments come from their sacred time called “free time.”
One of the best parts of the day is when the heroes run full speed out to the field. If someone walked around or was a bystander sitting on a bench, they would see some of the biggest learning experiences happening. During free time, heroes can be seen going head to head in an intense game of capture the flag. Others have established their, “wolf tribe,” and work for an entire hour trying to uphold their, “kingdom.”
On and on their imaginations run wild. Playing together and building strong ties. Through their conflicts and their play, they are finding their voices. Heroes who were quiet at first now feel a sense of ownership. While heroes who stepped up into leadership positions quickly, are learning to hone in their listening skills. Every day when they trudge back into the studio, they come in with stories of triumph, defeat and a deeper understanding of themselves.
Heroes have caught the passion project bug. Passion projects are an exciting time in the studio. A hero selects something that they want to work on and create a daily, weekly and sessionally plan to accomplish their goal. This is another reason why heroes work so hard to get into soaring. If a hero gets into soaring, they have the option to work on a passion project during collaboration.
Three heroes chose to follow a photography passion. They presented their ideas to a guide and created a game plan to achieve their goals. One of the exciting elements of a passion project is the ability to use hero bucks on necessary supplies. They are able to look up items they need to achieve their goals and pitch what they feel their hero bucks are worth so they can buy supplies.
Throughout the week, the heroes could be seen snapping photos of the changing leaves, their fellow heroes and different spots in the studio. They worked diligently on their passion project once they hit their SMART goal and only emerged when it was time for lunch. Seeing them foster a passion is a highlight on the hero’s journey.
The heroes worked hard in quest on Monday and Wednesday. However, six heroes ran into a hiccup with the final challenge. It was hard, painful and they felt like they couldn’t push through. Yet, the only way to be submitted into the Play Lab on Friday was to complete the challenges and turn in tokens to play the games.
Anxiety spread through the heroes like wildfire.
“This isn’t fair! It’s too hard! I can’t do it!”
“I agree! I can’t do it! It’s impossible!”
It was quite a, ‘take a deep breath’ moment. On Friday’s energy is high. Seeing friends get to play games is tough. These are quite honestly the moments that can be difficult for an onlooker. It would be so much simpler to say,
“okay, yes it is too hard, go ahead and forget this challenge.”
“Let me show you how to do it.”
But on reflection, would that really help or hinder? Through the pains and the frustrations, the heroes self-managed. They even went into the Calming Corner to take deep breaths to find their center. After twenty minutes, the heroes who at first struggled with the challenge, reemerged, created their own team and finished the challenge. While the frustration is hard to watch and the first instinct is to reach in and save people from pain, it is so much more beautiful to watch them break free of their own chains.
For the last forty minutes of the day, laughter filled the studio as heroes tackled new games and created memories. They loved sharing what games they thought were the best and which ones they definitely did not care for. They even began talking about the type of board game they want to build and how many hero bucks they will need to buy supplies.
The first week of session two wrapped up into a nice package of learning and growing. For five straight days, heroes worked on core skills, silently from 8:45 to 10:30. One hero stated on Friday;
“Man, who knew flow could be so quiet!”
They all giggled at that. Watching them set standards during the week for their community was inspiring. Many of the heroes broke out of their comfort zone by giving badge book reviews, tackling math problems and even working their way out of reset. They were introduced to the character trait of the session and got the ball rolling on leadership positions. There were even two launches completely run by soaring heroes. A remarkable first week that really displayed a true learner driven community.