Week 22

We had the completion of our quest tournament on Monday. It has been a lot of fun during Chess Quest learning and playing along with the Eagles!
 
We had a great launch on the Definition of Excellence and how it is a moving target, also how it surpasses the common or ordinary.
 
In Civilizations we learned about the ancient people of the Americas. We looked at photos of the Nazca drawings and the Eagles were excited about the mystery of what they could possibly mean. We also read about the statue heads of the Olmecs. We discussed if we had lived in that time and were poor, would you have farmed food for the rich people in order to stay in society or would you have moved away to live by yourself and have freedom but need to rely on yourself for survival? We also discussed if the ancient people came to see the world as it is today, would they have liked what we have done with the land and with civilization or not?
 
In Music we practiced our piano pieces for the Exhibition concert and we also played our ukuleles and worked on reading music.
 
On Wednesday we spent time getting ready for the exhibition. This exhibition was tough to plan because so much of our work involved being present in the studio and it was hard to show off everything we did. 
 
Thursday we finished our exhibition prep after we did our usual Thursday activities. PE was very fun as always with fun Valentine's Day-themed games, relay races, tag, and balancing on big yoga balls. Art was focused on finishing up our final drafts of our self-portraits. 
 
Friday was clean up after the exhibition and the last push for core skills. We also spent time reflecting on how the Exhibition went and what could've been done better/ in a different way.
 
We had a very special Valentine's Day Lunch Party - Mr TJ made everyone banana pancakes!
 
Our morning launch today was a debate about whether or not you can learn things outside of school. The Eagle were very insistent that they can (and do) learn a lot outside of school - which is exactly what we were hoping for! During vacation week the Eagles have been challenged to learn 1 new thing.
 
Here is a link to a TEDX talk given by the owner of an Acton Academy in Idaho: http://bit.ly/39AS5kV
 
 
Cutting books out for Exhibition!
 
 
Trying out human chess! They made a BIG board on the floor!

Week 21

This week for adventure we went on our pitch-a-field trip adventure to Fun Spot. In order to earn this field trip the Eagles had to write a persuasive essay that included how the trip would be educational. We will have this Essay to check out at our Exhibition at the end of the session! I must say our Eagles showed us what they are made of. I am proud to say all of the Eagles behaved like true Acton Eagles being kind, respectful, and helpful throughout the entire trip.
 
We had a great morning launch on Monday about good and bad apologies. We discussed how one little word can make sure a huge difference: "I am sorry but" vs. "I am sorry and". Using the word "but" almost negates the entire apology. We also discussed how much your tone matters when apologizing.
 
For quest we learned more about strategy and setting up checkmates using fancy piece combinations. At music we practiced our instruments (harmonica and piano this time) like always. I am proud of the progress we are seeing in the Eagles' musical abilities.
 
In Civilizations we learned more about Alexander the Great and we discussed "Would the Empire have been better if Alexander had been older when he became King instead of only being 20? Or does age not matter?" It was a very good conversation!
 
Here is a link to Laura's most recent blog post - warning, it is a heavy one! https://www.actonacademyparents.com/from-hell-to-hero/
 
 
 
Harmonicas!
 
Doing the obstacle course!

Week 20

A week full of accomplishments! The Eagles have had stellar focus on their core skills over the last 5 days with what we think might be the most points earned in one week ever. They all showed how much they have become Eagles and can work to accomplish goals. We kicked off on Monday with a morning launch about how much focus can matter and we watched a failed, unmanned space launch and a video of Kobe Bryant talking about "being in the zone".
 
In music Ms Karen had us working on our rhythms and practicing the recorder. In art, Miss Sanni had us work on our second draft of our self-portraits after practicing eyes, noses, and lips. The Eagles have also been given random scribbles and shapes on a paper and have had to use their imaginations to turn them into drawings of something meaningful. This has been a super fun exercise, although we had to put up privacy screens to deter copying other's ideas. In PE Ms Sherry ran us through a very fun obstacle course and had us working on our coordination using a ball and a wedge mat.
 
Mr. TJ shared a new way to handle studio disputes (called VOMP), and the Heroes took to it immediately:
Voice - tell your side of the story
Own - take ownership of what the other person said. This is how you made them feel, whether you meant to or not.
Make a Plan - how will you move forward and/or handle differently in the future?
 
In Quest, our chess tournament has started! So far everyone has played one game each. I think this will be a close tournament. The games were pretty tight on Wednesday.
 
In Writer's Workshop, we are working on picture books. So far everyone has a story written and we will start sharing and giving each other feedback on Tuesday. The Eagles are loving the freedom of writing any creative story they can imagine.
 
In Civilizations we learned about Alexander the Great and his father Philip. The Eagles were asked if he was destined to be the ruler of the biggest kingdom in the world or did he make a path for himself by working towards accomplishing his goals? We learned about the 3rd Great Wonder of the Ancient World: The Lighthouse of Alexandria that stood 330 ft tall!
 
On Friday to end the week strong we had a morning launch about focusing on your goal until the very end! We watched a video of Lindsey Jacob Ellis snowboarding at the Olympics when she was so far ahead of the competition but broke her focus and ended up falling and earning a Silver Medal instead of the Gold. The Eagles talked about how important it is to stay in the zone all the way until the finish line with whatever goal you are pursuing.
 
 

Week 19

The week started with a lack of focus, then ended very strong with stellar focus and effort!!
 
On Tuesday in music we learned a new song on the piano and practiced the same song on the ukulele and rhythm for it on the drums. During art, we continued working on our skills drawing faces adding lips and working more on noses and eyes. I look forward to seeing where these skills take us.
 
In PE, we played all sorts of fun games and did our usual warm-ups. The Eagles are showing how in shape they are.
 
We walked to the Laconia Library and everyone received a library card and choose books to take out and bring home. The Eagles were VERY excited about this trip and proud of their book selections.
 
During Civilizations we learned more about the Greeks and the Peloponnessian War. We talked about what is more important for a society: to make great architecture (what the Greeks are known for) or inventions?
 
In Quest, we have been plugging away at chess and I (Mr. TJ) am losing a lot more then I would like to admit.
 
During one of our morning launches we watched President Kennedy's speech from 1962 at Rice University where he announced that we would be attempting to go to the moon. We focused on the message from the speech that "We are not accepting this challenge because it is easy, we are doing it because it is hard and challenges that are hard are worth pursuing". We also watched a video on Grit that reiterated that learning is hard work and the key to success is trying again when things don't go your way. The Eagles then demonstrated persistence and resilience by trying to knock over Mr TJ and not giving up and having to try again.
 
We celebrated a Birthday this week with cookies on Wednesday!
 
All in all a great and fun week. Thank you to all who participated in the Journey Meetings. Reflection is always valuable and hopefully you have enjoyed the information gained in those meetings.
 

Week 17

What a week coming back from break! Our new overarching Question for Session 4 is: How will you tackle challenges? The Eagles have dove back into Core Skills and our quest for this session: Chess! Some Eagles can already play and others are learning fast. We are using www.chesskid.com and Storytime Chess to learn the game and different strategies. These programs are very fun and interactive and the Eagles especially like King Chomper and King Shaky.
 
This week in music we learned about rhythms, what they are and how to use them. We practiced some of our songs on the piano and the ukulele. Ms. Karen was ready to show them how to play the flute but the Eagles all REALLY wanted to play the drums so she let them have fun with percussion and we will do the flute next week!
 
Our adventure hike on Tuesday was quite exciting and tiring. The trails at the Meredith Community Woods were pretty rough and I think all of us were tired by the time we got back to the studio. We took a lot of resting breaks along the way. It was really fun to see all of the animal tracks in the snow and we identified rabbit, squirrel, deer, fox and even an ermine (weasel).
 
PE was canceled this week so we spent some time at the park instead. Even with the cold weather, the Eagles were excited to get out and explore. In art, we are learning how to sketch self-portraits and started with practicing eyes and noses.
 
In Civilizations we learned about King Cyrus of the Babylonians. We talked about whether his best trait as a King was fairness to the people, kindness to new subjects, or wanting to expand the empire. We also learned about the Spartans and had a very lively debate about what is more important to focus on: military might or education and wisdom for the people.
 
We are ready for a great Town Hall meeting today with multiple topics that the Eagles want to discuss. Town Hall is the time when the Eagles get to discuss, vote on, and change the way that things are run in the Studio. We look forward to seeing them take ownership of their space and processes.
 
A special note from Mr. TJ:
This week I was thinking about my relationship with media. This was inspired by a conversation I had with my parents and my sister. My sister and I have children that are very close in age and we are trying to figure out what their relationship with media will look like. I came across an article from Canada's Center for Digital and Media Literacy. I was struck by it because of the funny anecdote my parents told about my sister hiding from Ursula (the bad witch in The Little Mermaid) behind the couch, dog or anything else she could find. That got me thinking about how media and movies can affect us in real ways. I was terrified of Captain Hook. If you find the time please read this article. It hit home for me and is something I thought others might appreciate. It is also a good reminder that children's brains are not fully developed and actually perceive the world in a different way than our adult brains. For example, children ages 3-6 cannot actually tell the difference between whether something is real or fantasy. In their developmental stage, all things are real. Even cartoony versions can be extremely frightening.
 
Here is the link:
 
 

Week 16

It has been quite a whirlwind in our final week in the session. We want to start by thanking everyone who came to the Exhibition & Holiday Party and supported our Eagles. We also want to thank all those who supported our Eagles in numerous other ways we can't even begin to count.
 
The Stop Animation Quest was a success and we are very proud of the Eagles' final video. You can watch their video here: Eagles stopmotion
 
In Writer's Workshop we continue to work on persuasive writing with the topic of "Pitch a Field Trip". Seeing as this session was so short, we will bring this WW into the first couple weeks of next session to make sure there is enough time for the final product. We also talked about rhetoric and we "built a house" for making good persuasive arguments. ( Picture below of the "house" drawing).
 
In Civilizations we read about the early Greeks. We imagined that we were inventing a tool that was to be used for farming but then someone figured out it could also be used as a weapon. Would you still invent the tool?
 
This week in Music we had a lovely holiday party and played musical chairs. We also practiced our percussion skills focusing mostly on dynamics and contrast in our music.
 
In Art, we did another snowflake based project and worked on developing visible patterns.
 
In PE we played more games based around winter, practiced our tumbling and received a very kind gift from Ms. Sheri.
 
We took a trip to the Laconia Library and everyone received a library card! The Eagles are excited and had fun reading in the sailboat in the children's room.
 

Week 15

We had an excellent week. This week at music we practiced our piano skills, as well as learning a new instrument, the recorder. We also spent some time working on rhythm skills individually with Ms. Karen. In art with Miss Sani we made holiday cards so look forward to seeing those come home after the exhibition. At PE we played some winter and holiday themed games like floor hockey and pin the nose on Rudolph. We got some laughs out of pin the nose on Rudolph.
 
We built and decorated gingerbread houses this week and it was really great to see the Eagle have a discussion about what the consequences would be if they ate the candy. Lets just say a lot of push-ups happened ; )
 
In Civilizations we learned about the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. We discussed which is worse for a ruler to have: too much anger or believing that you are better than everyone else? We also asked if it was right for a leader to use a lot of the country's tax money and resources on a personal project like the hanging gardens?
 
The Eagles have been working hard on our current animation quest. We are EXTREMELY blown away by the focus and effort that they have put into the quest this week. We look forward to sharing the results with you at the exhibition next week. Writer's workshop is moving along well and we think that the pitch for a field trip will be quite persuasive.
 
Laura's blog post that we would like to share with you this week is a story told by one of the Acton parent's in Austin TX. It is an amazing story of who your child can become after being in an Acton environment for a while. Here is the link: https://www.actonacademyparents.com/about-mornings-a-story-shared-by-an-acton-parent/
 

Week 14


 
This week was the start of our Animation Quest! The Eagles were challenged with creating a story board and a flip book as they build up to making a stop-animation greeting card.
 
During Writer's Workshop the Eagles worked on "Pitching a Field Trip" where, over the course of 3 weeks, they will come up with a field trip idea that needs to meet certain standards and try to persuade us to accept their idea and actually go on the field trip! Our younger Eagles are working on written expression and connecting words to images.
 
Music was fun this week - the Eagles were able to try out Ms. Karen's tuba and we also played different kinds of bells and sang Jingle Bells. During Art the Eagles made beautiful 3D snow flakes! At gym the Eagles were challenged with completing an obstacle course.
 
We had time this week to start making a snow fort in the playground and to go on an adventure to Opechee Park. The Eagles also decorated the studio for Christmas!
 
This week in Civilizations we read about the Phoenicians and the Assyrians. The Eagles had to choose if they would have been a sailor, hunter or fighter and why. We also talked about how each society was innovative in a different way: the Phoenicians invented glass blowing and made the first purple dye from snails while the Assyrians developed new Armour and weapons. We talked about which is more important, the invention of a library or the invention of the internet?
 
On Friday we had a milestone ceremony! Nolan earned a milestone in literacy. In order to earn a badge, each Eagle needs to complete a number of milestones to achieve their goals. Nolan is now one step closer to his second badge!
 
 
 
 

Week 13

This week has been a flurry of activity! We worked hard on planning out our exhibition. We spent our quest time focusing on creating a valuable experience for our families that joined us. The eagles were excited to show all their work and really shined in getting ready.
 
For specials this week during music we started working on some more complex music and practiced some harmonica. We also have been learning about percussion and playing "in time".
 
In art we created a Christmas tree that many of you saw at the exhibition. The Eagles decorated this tree for a public exhibition at the Belknap Mill so look for it there in December. Please see the attached flyer below with info about the Light Up Laconia Festival on Dec. 1st when all of the community trees will be unveiled!
 
In PE we worked on skill and health-based fitness working balance, agility, strength and endurance. Miss Sheri really pushed us this week and the Eagles were tuckered out at the end of the class.
 
We spent some time on Lockes Hill for adventure day but the trail was very icy so the Eagles and Mr. TJ decided to head back to the studio a little early.
 
The Eagles also had a turkey building competition with Oreos. The Eagles decided on the materials and the rules and then went to work. The competition had 2 parts: Most creative and most turkey-like.
 
Thank you to everyone who joined us at the exhibition! The Eagles were very excited to show their new skills and tour everyone around Acton Athens.
 
This week Vivian earned her first badge!! She has accomplished Math 1 - well done!
 
This has been Leiyla's last week with us. She brought in an ornament-making craft for all of us to do on Thursday and we had a blast. Today we all gave her notes with gratitude and well-wishes for her next Hero's Journey.
 
 
 
Vivian gets her first badge!!!
 

Week 12

 
This week in Writer's Workshop we published our poems! We look forward to sharing our poems with you at the exhibition. Most Eagles chose to do a free verse and the creativity flowed. We also had a nice discussion about whether or not music and songs are poetry. We would listen to a few lines of a song and then the Eagles would move to one side of the room or the other depending on if they were voting that the song was a poem or not.
 
During civilizations this week we discussed Western Africa and The Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The discussions on right of rule and dynastic ideals were very interesting. The Eagles agreed that you shouldn't have a right to rule the people simply because your Father had ruled before you.
 
During quest this week we had a launch discussion topic on the nature of reality. Some fascinating ideas were brought forward by the Eagles. We even dived as deep as to talk about time and how we move through time. We discussed what exactly is the present? We were very impressed with some of the comments brought forward on that heavy topic.
 
Gym was back on this week and the Eagles played games with big balls. One game was called "Have a ball" and they sure did! At music we played songs on the pianos, harmonicas and ukuleles. In art we completed our kaleidoscopes so look forward to seeing those coming home at some point.
 
At the end of last Friday (after we had sent the newsletter) we had our SECOND badge ceremony! Nolan earned the Character's Trait Badge! We look forward to awarding more badges as the Eagles become confident and focused on their goals during Core Skills.
 
 
 
Finishing the Kaleidoscopes with Ms. Sanni!
 
 
Harmonicas and Ukuleles
 
 
Nolan's Badge Ceremony!!
 
DEAR time! (Drop Everything And Read)