“Have you ever been so focused on points that you didn’t take on a challenging part of your learning? Do you ever focus hard on the things you do well that you don’t face the really difficult challenges?”
This was the open discussion this week as the heroes were introduced to Excellence Goals. The heroes will be breaking up into squads based on who is in their desk cluster, and with a squad leader to guide, set meaningful excellence goals. These goals will be specifically in an area where they are facing resistance or struggle. At Heroes Academy, we believe the brain is a muscle that can stretch like a rubber band. Some of our rubber bands are long and stretchy, while others are small and stiff. These small rubber bands represent areas that are harder to learn in the beginning. Heroes who meet their excellence goals at the end of each week will earn an additional 50 points that week.
This week the heroes wrapped up the probability portion of their quest. So far, they have explored what probability is and how taking it into account can influence the outcome of a situation or game. On Friday, they completed their final research day of this quest. Next week, they will begin creating the board games they will present during the exhibition!
Work Hard, Play Hard
This week, after listening to “The King’s Stilts” the heroes tackled the question: “Is is more important to work hard or play hard?” The heroes debated passionately on both sides. Some of the heroes agreed that it is more important to work hard, because this allows for more play time and gives you something to recover from. Other’s disagreed, and said if you play hard you feel more relaxed and ready to do your best work. One hero brought up the point that you can be both working hard and playing hard at the same time if you enjoy what you are doing.
This tied to the collaboration phase this week where the heroes discussed what collaboration phase of core skills should look like. They decided collaboration phase should include:
- Quiet whispering
- working together
- helping each other
- low energy, no playing
The heroes are continuing to define different parts of the day to raise the standards of excellence and create a highly intentional studio.
The heroes met on Wednesday morning to vote on this week’s outdoor experience activity. They chose to play capture the flag again this week, but voted to change the rules. While they have continued to choose this game time and time again, the intricacies of the game and rules is always shifting.
This week, the safety spots were moved to the middle of the field. At Heroes Academy, we believe it is important for guides to step back as much as possible and have the heroes make decisions in the studio. These experiences will help prepare them to take on leadership roles later in life.
The heroes began writing the first drafts of their hero’s journey stories this week. Many of the heroes chose to write fictional stories and were very excited to share their completed drafts with each other. Next week they will have a chance to develop a work of art for their submissions to Stone Soup as well! The heroes are developing a love of writing, and a big piece of that is being able to share their work with their fellow travelers.
Town Hall Meeting
There were several town hall submissions during this weeks town hall meeting:
“People are taking too long for snack breaks, I think snack breaks should be 15 minutes.”
Result: The heroes voted that snack breaks would be a maximum of 15 minutes.
“My idea is to allow nesting heroes to be area heroes.” (for studio maintenance)
Result: The heroes voted not to pitch this freedom level change. The most common argument was that this is an incentive to work towards a higher freedom level.
“Is it okay that one day I am able to do a podcast launch? It’s like an audiobook but with facts like a Ted Talk. It’s about science, it’s a study.”
Result: The heroes voted to bring this idea to a guide to see if the hero who presented the idea could do a podcast launch.
“I don’t think we should do exercising and dancing on the rug because it distracts people cleaning. We have had people cleaning and then they just go and play.”
Result: Majority vote agreed that all heroes who do not help finish clean up in the morning should be held accountable.
“We don’t have Alex the math game anymore. We should put it back in.”
Result: Majority vote decided to pitch adding this game back to approved core skills to the guides.
“I think all the clusters get checked off but I don’t like that because sometimes some in your desk cluster go off and play and don’t do their personal maintenance so you don’t get to eat for half of lunch. I think you should be checked off for lunch for personal maintenance.”
Result: Majority vote agreed each hero will only need to have their own personal maintenance checked off to eat.
It’s a powerful experience witnessing these heroes in meaningful discussion, learning to agree and disagree with respect, and arriving at solutions on their own.
A Note from Kara
This week the heroes had a hard but joyful goodbye to Kara, one of their first guides. Kara wanted to share a note with parents.
I am so grateful to have been part of Heroes Academy.
I am grateful for the partnerships with parents and, most importantly, the connection with each young hero. Watching your children grow, learn and overcome struggles over the last year and a half has truly been an honor and I’m so thankful for the experience.
While my own hero’s journey now takes me on to a new opportunity, I count it a privilege to have been part of this community and the lives of the heroes. They have taught me so much about courage, perseverance, creativity and joy and I will miss them greatly.
I hope to follow the Heroes Academy journey as it continues and I wait in anticipation to see how these young heroes will change the world!
Today was Kara’s last day at Heroes Academy. After free time, the heroes gathered together to get a picture for Kara. During closing, everyone had a chance to say a special goodbye and wish Kara good luck in her new adventures. She took some time to give each hero a character call-out including two heroic words she feels describes each of them.
This week has been a productive and intentional week in the studio. The heroes have participated in several discussions over the course of the week reflecting on the importance of intentional work and upholding the rules of engagement. Their journey is truly an amazing one as they take responsibility for their learning. It comes with ups and downs, and each hero walks the often lonely road of trials, but the lessons they are learning are invaluable, and will give them the tools and habits to go out and change the world.