(Year 3, Week, 32 )
Monday meeting centered around the conversation of what it takes to build a successful community. The heroes watched the following first three minutes of the video, Coach K: A Winner’s Mind.
In the video, Mike Krzyzewski talks about what it takes to build a strong community. He uses the analogy of the five finger fist. He explains that you can only be strong, on the court, if the players come together like a fist, and attack their problems together. The moment one player decides to not work together, they aren’t as strong.
The heroes were asked if they agreed or disagreed with Coach K. Then they were asked if there were moments, in the studio, that they felt they’d gone off course. Knowing full well that they were making it hard for the community to flourish. The heroes shared that there were moments they had manipulated points, were too loud in core skills and used hurtful words to get their points across. They all agreed that as people, sometimes stress and anxiety can get in the way of showing their best selves.
They were also able to reflect on all of the strength, teamwork and courage they individually bring into the studio. They celebrated their achievements over the past year and discussed in what ways they wanted to tackle the last session of the school year. At the end, the heroes were introduced to the character trait of the session, accountability.
Welcome to the first annual Makers Fair! The Quest theme this session had the heroes shouting with joy. They were introduced to a new type of Quest that not only lets them use their imagination and maybe a few tutorials, but it also allows them to get familiar with the Makers Space.
The heroes were challenged to create something that they can put on display at Exhibition. There will be mini challenges throughout the session to keep the heroes motivated and working towards making their projects world class. They were introduced to all sorts of different types of projects. From ice cream dispensaries to dunk tanks.
There are a couple stipulations to being part of the Makers Fair. The first one is a safety protocol. All of the heroes will be given a safety protocol on all of the tools in the studio. How to use them, how not to use them and the proper storage of the tools. They must go through the process and then be certified to use tools. Keeping themselves and one another safe and protected.
The second stipulation is using their hero bucks to pitch the supplies they need. The heroes get the opportunity to use real world math and calculate what they think their price point should be. It all depends on how many hero bucks they have, what they are able to give and the goals they set for themselves each week. By Wednesday, every single hero had calculated what they think their projects were worth and pitched it to the guides. Needless to say, Amazon orders came in hot with even more coming next week. The heroes were now on their way to being true, makers.
Last session, there were many conversations about the Wii. Many of the soaring heroes had noticed that the use of the Wii had been getting out of hand. Too much time was being spent on the Wii and it was causing some heroes to not get into the freedom levels that they had previously worked so hard to get into.
One day during the week, the heroes were presented with a question:
“If there weren’t any adults in the world, how would you choose to spend your time?
playing and spending time with friends?
Working to build a strong community?”
The heroes split, 50/50. They discussed how fun it would be to be able to choose what they wanted to do, every single day. Others talked about how they would be scared about total anarchy. There was also a lot of giggling about being able to possibly drive cars and sleep over at friends homes on the week days.
One hero, made a valuable comment about how life is about balance,
“I think it is all about doing both. I would want to build a strong community but still have moments of fun, because if we didn’t our spirits would be brought down.”
The heroes then sat down and discussed the issues caused by the Wii. They decided on a game plan. The Wii, would now only be played at free time, lunch and if a hero had earned 60 points and participated in Quest or Writer’s Workshop, depending on what day it was. They got together, created a guardrail and hung it up for everyone to see.
They were very excited and proud of themselves for solving an issue. They also talked about meeting back together, to come up with another plan if the first guardrails end up not working.
During one of the morning launches, the guide shared a story about a woman named Wangari Maathai, the first black woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize. She was the leader of the Green Belt Movement, an environmental conservation project based in Africa. The discussion centered around what it takes to chase after something that you believe in. They talked about positivity, courage, perseverance and leadership.
When the guide asked them, “Do you think you’d be able to start a positive movement for something you believed in? Like for animals, the ocean or maybe even education?”
The replies were a bit shocking. Most of the heroes said no, because they believed, that since they are kids, their voices don’t matter. One hero stated,
“Honestly, I sometimes feel unheard. I also think adults just humor us and say things like, ‘oh wow good job. cool.’ and aren’t really listening.”
Another hero followed with,
“Yeah, I really care about animals and I feel like if I stood up and demanded change for how they are abused, I would probably get a pat on the head and a, ‘that’s nice.’ I hate feeling like my passions don’t matter.”
A gut wrenching moment for any adult to hear. How often is it easy to dismiss, give a pat on the head and move on with the day to day demands? It is easy to forget the voices who so desperately need to be heard. At Heroes, it is the belief and foundation for them to voice themselves and for their voices to matter. However, another hero brought to light that, he doesn’t believe it is just adults, he said,
“Even in here we just don’t respect each other sometimes, so if we can’t even listen to each other, why would adults?”
This led to a deep discussion about giving and earning respect. They shot around the ideas of having running partners and maybe the best part was for them to just have a morning where they could really explain themselves. A morning they could just truly feel heard by one another. Morning launch lasted twice as long as normal. Nobody was asked to leave the rug, everyone was honest and vulnerable and most of all, they really heard each other.
Giving the heroes the space and time to open up about their fears and their needs, created so much connection between them. They have a safe space to talk out their problems and share with one another their dreams and goals.
Like Quest, Writer’s Workshop is something very new. The heroes were challenged to create their very own Heroes Academy Yearbook. During the first launch, the guide told a personal story about creating something meaningful to look back on. Leaving a legacy. She asked them what they want to highlight since they are part of an educational movement, what is it they want people 50 years down the road to see. they responded with:
“I want people to see how happy we are.”
“I want people to know that anything is possible.”
“I want people to know I could do hard things.”
“People need to know how funny I am.”
While a yearbook might not sound much like writing, one might be surprised. When creating Writer’s Workshop, the main focus is communication. Creating a yearbook, if anything, is all about communication.
During the launch the guide gave one final surprise. That would be the last launch she is hosting. For the rest of the session, it would be up to the heroes to vote in roles, run launches and be 100% in charge of managing their challenges and time. Wide-eyed and excited, they got to work.
Within one week, the heroes had elected the staff and for the first time ever, every single hero submitted their Writer’s Workshop. Turning the responsibility completely over to the heroes had them nervous at first. But, the ownership and grit that came out of the first week was incredible.
There is so much space in the new studio for the heroes to not only spread out but to spread their wings. They loved the new supplies and getting to understand how to use equipment properly. They celebrated all throughout the week with one another when someone reached their goal. Not included throughout the week were a few more systems that were put into play by the heroes. They came to a conclusion that they wanted a space for the library and Chromebooks. They elected a committee and put in some guardrails and were excited to start using their new process. Every day, something new was implemented or fixed. Every day there was learning through communication and vulnerability.