(Year 5, Week 3)

Freedom levels

his was the first week that the heroes utilized their freedom levels. Freedom levels are part of the studio’s accountability systems. During the week, the heroes work hard to get points in core skills, reading, writing and math. They do this by working through programs like Khan, Dreambox and Lexia. The morning is a sacred time in the studio and they get to work independently and collaboratively from 8:45–11:30. This leaves them more than enough time to work through tough challenges and track their points on Journey Tracker.

The guide in the studio checks their weekly points on Friday and moves them into the appropriate freedom level for the next week. As discussed in the previous blogs, the freedom levels work top down:

Soaring

Ultimate freedom in the studio. If a hero lands in soaring, they have accumulated 300 points in a week. They can use the private rooms to study, sit on the fun furniture, work on whatever core skill they feel inclined to. Work on passion projects, listen to music and really get to plan out their daily schedule. They also are able to sit on the highest council and hold leadership positions.

Flying

Flying is reserved for heroes who accumulated 150 points for the week but less than 300. They get a lot of freedom in terms of where they sit and what they work on. They are also able to hold certain leadership positions.

Nesting

Nesting is perfect for heroes still working on creating and maintaining schedules. They follow the set schedule in the studio in terms of core skills, and they stay at their desk in the morning to get their work down. This allows them to have a quieter space and a routine to help them reach their goals.

Reset

Reset is reserved for heroes who are still working on learning how to track points and accountability within the systems. Heroes spend the day at a desk away from the group so they have zero distractions and are able to get their work finished. Once they get enough points to move into nesting, they are celebrated in the studio by all heroes.

Game Time

time the heroes hold sacred is without a doubt game-time. As mentioned before, there is time each week for the heroes to work together during board game time. There are an endless list of games in the studio, all games that help with math, reading and building connection between heroes.

At Heroes Academy, the mindset that drives the Discovery studio is to help instill and ignite a love of learning. It does not have to be traditional desk sitting, listening to a teacher explain how to do things step by step. At this age it has been proven time and time again that developing a love of learning will help assist people into becoming life long learners. Games here are not seen as trivial and unnecessary. They are quite literally, a foundational aspect of the studio.

If you sit next to a hero during a game of Clue, you realize all of the problem solving and critical thinking skills they acquire. If you sit and listen to them play a game of monopoly, you see them reason out which investment would benefit them in the future, and which one might be a little too risky. You see them workout communication issues through a game of dice and you’ll laugh in delight at their ability to negotiate and change someones view in a game of Pictionary.

Writer’s Workshop

Each session at Heroes Academy, discovery heroes are challenged to take on writing in a “Writers’ Workshop.” In Writers’ Workshop, writers partake in a genre — in this session that genre is poetry — taking their writing through a five-part process: prewriting (brainstorming), drafting, revising, editing, and publishing.

This week the heroes were challenged to begin the writing process by composing a list of things they would like to honor in a poem. After creating the list, they were challenged to find examples of “odes” that honored similar things.

The heroes then came together to share their lists and odes they found inspiring in their research.

On Thursday, they were challenged to begin drafting their first poem.

Quest

Every session the heroes participate in Quest. It is usually centered around a big project that can relate to anything from science to art. They participate in discussions and challenged that relate to the topic and are told stories of people who have achieved great success in the field of study. It centers deeply around the hero’s journey and the question of the year.

This session the heroes have been challenged to put on a silent art auction at exhibition. At the silent art auction, the heroes will be posting up their own work for their friends and family to bid on. They get to not only figure out how to run an auction, but they also get to be the artists hoping their work gets the most bids!

The quest kicked off with the story of Picasso, one of the worlds greatest artists who was no doubt on a hero’s journey. They learned a little bit about his style, the trials of his life and how he rose to fame. They were even able to see the difference between the drawings he created as a child versus the ones he did as an adult. It inspired the inner artist in many of the heroes.

Leadership Roles

The heroes have spent three weeks talking about leadership. They were beyond ready to start voting and moving their fellow heroes into roles. They kicked off with a discussion and went around talking more in depth about leadership as a whole and what it should look like for certain roles. The leadership roles on the docket this week were line leaders, hero buck council, heroes academy council and studio maintenance. Below are the descriptions the heroes had to agree to before they were voted in.

Line Leaders

We hereby promise to uphold our duty to the studio as line leaders. We will hold squad leaders accountable for checking off their squad members. We agree to make sure we are on time leaving the studio and coming into the studio. We agree to be excellent communicators and leaders that the Discovery studio needs. We agree to uphold safety guardrails and to always alert a guide if something happens outside.

Hero Buck Council

We hereby promise to uphold our duty to the studio as members of hero buck council. We will hold our fellow heroes accountable in terms of hero bucks and we will do our best to stay neutral in all situations. We agree to be leaders and run town hall exceptionally by holding our fellow heroes and ourselves to our studio rules of engagement. We take our positions seriously and will do our best to be strong leaders in the studio.

Heroes Academy Council

We hereby promise to uphold our duty as Heroes Academy Council. It is our responsibility to make sure that we uphold our commitment to serving the heroes at Heroes Academy to the best of our ability. We will make sure to be strong communicators and do what is right to meet the needs of the entire community.

Studio Maintenance

We hereby promise to uphold our duty as the studio maintenance leaders. It is our responsibility to support our squad members and guide them to perform their duties. We commit to holding them to work class standards. We will make sure our squad members know how to clean and where to clean. We will check them off every day and hold them accountable while being patient and kind. When they are absent, we will step up and perform their role.

The heroes were excited to vote and moved quickly through the process. Finalizing the roles of these leadership positions. The new leadership roles belong to the following heroes for this session and next:

Line Leaders: Andrew and Liam

Hero Buck Council: Cru, Gabi, Ava, Ibby, Lukas, Liam

Heroes Academy Council: Gwen and Liam

Studio Maintenance: Gwen, Gabi, Ava, Rylan, Ethan, Ibby

Wrap-Up

The heroes had their first taste of all the freedom they hold in the studio. It was the first week freedom levels were implemented and they loved realizing just how much power they have to get to where they want to be. They started their Poetry Writer’s Workshop and dove into their Art Quest. They pitched to each other why they would be good leaders and nailed down some positions. They talked in detail about their Rules of Engagement and ended the week celebrating one another through their very beloved character call-outs.

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