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February 2020

March 2020

Week 27


What an adventure this week has been. We are moving fast and adapting to our new experiences with grace and fortitude. On Monday and Tuesday, we were in the studio.
 
Monday was a fairly normal day. We launched on COVID-19 focusing on the facts that were available at the time and speaking honestly about our concerns about it. For Quest, we worked on our growing curiosity tree and completed a very exciting experiment. The Eagles had to try to blow up balloons with yeast & Sugar & warm water, vinegar & baking soda, and just the steam from hot water. They had a blast watching the balloons inflate and coming up with hypotheses and questions.
 
Ms. Anna came for Kindness Class and explored emotions and feelings in the face and body with the Eagles. They were able to look in a mirror to see the emotion and they also played a "Charades" game where they had to get the other Eagles to guess what emotion they were portraying. They practiced asking each other out loud "How are you feeling right now?" once they realized that sometimes they think they know what the other person is feeling but they might not be right. We also added stickers to our Kindness Garden poster for the Eagles' acts of kindness.
 
On Tuesday we did our music class via Skype. Ms Karen helped us learn about the staff in music and showed us some songs on the guitar. For civilizations, we started talking about the Indus river valley and the civilizations that came up around there. Including the caste system that came up in that area. I will say the Eagles did not like the idea of such a fixed system.
 
We went on an adventure hike in Ahern State Park and Mr. TJ showed the Eagles some of his outside survivor skills and how to build a fire. The Eagles were also challenged with seeking out the car without using the trail.
 
Wednesday as we all know we switched to the remote learning processes. The road started a little rocky and we hit some speed bumps a little faster than we wanted to. However, our Eagles seem to be taking the changes well.
 
On Thursday, we all got together to play some chess with our fellow Eagles and talked about Siddhartha during Civilizations. Quite an interesting tale. the book Siddhartha might be a good read for anyone who is looking to for a reading suggestion while in quarantine (adults, not Eagles!).
 
Friday was back to core skills and some quest time. Our younger Eagles are still working on the Growing Curiosity Quest while our older Eagle is working on an independent passion project to share with us next Friday. It is always great to hear how everyone's day is going at closing circle and Mr. TJ has been checking in with the Eagles throughout the day. We know that as everyone gets more used to the technology of emails and google hangouts, we should have smoother sailing with the Eagles asking each other and Mr. TJ for help/advice instead of parents! : )
 
 
PS - Here is an EXCELLENT blog (from another Acton Academy) on how to bring Montessori materials into your home life: https://www.howwewonder.org/post/setting-up-home-for-success
 
PPS- Here is a link to Laura's blog, about easing the stress of learning and working from home!

Week 26

This week has been very interesting. The Quest this week has been called Natural Disaster! It has challenged the Eagles to cope with issues and find ways to work around them. The Eagles have done an excellent job working through all of the problems that we have encountered. This includes: figuring how to make core skills work with limited space and limited resources, finding workarounds to challenges that were presented by Mr. TJ, and looking for solutions to social issues that arise by limited space. So far the Eagles have comported themselves very well. The social issues have been surprisingly few.
 
The Quest challenges have been: On Monday, the Eagles had to work their way across the slack-line to rescue "Brenda" as well as crossing a raging river using fewer "buoys" than they had feet. On Wednesday the Eagles had to contain some "toxic waste" that was dumped out in a flood, redesign a bridge that was washed away, and rescue "Gary" form a raft in a river using only two boards! The focus this week has been on problem-solving and adapting to situations that are not very comfortable.
 
We spent A LOT of time outdoors this week, even walking to Opechee Park for lunch on Monday. The Eagles enjoyed poking at the the ice with sticks (from a distance!) and seeing how it would break apart and make noises.
 
Wednesday was our first after-school lego club and the Eagles LOVED it. They had a ton of fun, thank you Jamie for hosting!
 
During music this week the eagles continued working on their skills with rhythm and beat, as well as learning some new songs to sing. At Art, they worked through following specific directions to accomplish a piece of art. The snakes they made were interesting a lot of creative decorations on each. Unfortunately, PE did not happen and we went to the park at Bartlett beach to play instead since Ms Sherry was out today.
 
In Civilizations this week we learned more about Rome, specifically the Punic wars and Hannibal's use of elephants in war. We discussed whether the use of warships or elephants during war-time was more helpful.
 
We had a great launch discussion about giving feedback and using "I" statements and expressing your feelings well.
 
Writer's Workshop is focused on Communication in this session. We are practicing coding and decoding conversations. Learning that slang and other languages are just codes that we need to figure out in order to understand people. The Eagles did Stump Mr. TJ with the code they created which was very creative and challenging to figure out. 
 
During Town Hall the Eagles agreed to start a recycling bin for glass, plastic and aluminum.

Week 25

This week has been incredibly fun! Last week the Eagles were challenged by Mr. TJ to beat him in an engineering contest and they were successful. This meant that they earned an extra session of adventure time for this week. We used it to explore the pyramid park (Bartlett Beach) on Thursday morning. While there we saw a bald eagle standing very close to us on the ice and later saw two more eagles (or maybe the same one with its mate)! 
 
Our other day of adventure this week was a trip ice skating at Merrill Fay arena. Nolan showed us all of his skating skills while the other Eagles showed off how quickly they can pick up new skills. We had a few spills, though every fall was recovered from quickly. Tuesday was such a beautiful day that we made the executive decision to be outside as much as possible! That meant an impromptu hike at Waukewan Highlands where the Eagles built forts in the woods and enjoyed the fresh air.
 
During music this week The Eagles learned about some different kinds of notes, like whole and half notes. The Eagles then practiced counting the notes using drums and pianos.
 
In art, the Eagles worked on their origami skills. They made paper airplanes and secret letters. The process was fun to watch.
 
In PE the Eagles were working on striking skills using rackets, fly swatters, and pool noodles. It was exciting to watch. and the Eagles really worked hard.
 
We have changed up the Writers workshop this session. This session we are focusing on learning how we communicate. This includes the way we send our messages to others and how others receive them. This helps us understand other people's messages better. We are even going over body language and how to interpret other's actions and faces. Also, what does it mean to be polite? How close do you stand to someone when talking? And other nuances of communication!
 
In Civilizations we talked about Rome more and the types of things they liked to watch for entertainment. The eagles really did not like the idea of how they treated the people that entertained them, and did not give them the respect and freedoms that the Eagles think they deserved.
 
Kindness class with Ms Anna is still a big hit. This week the Eagles started a Kindness Garden Poster where they can recognize each other for acts of Kindness. Each act of Kindness is a "seed" in the garden that will eventually turn into a "flower". They also practiced deep breathing and how to follow their breathing to quiet the emotions on the inside. We read the book "A Quiet Place" and discussed the benefits of having a space where you can go to reset and be with your thoughts.
 
Edison's Lab Quest was exciting this week! The Eagles built water wheels with weights attached that needed to be lifted up by a dowel just with the energy of water. There were a lot of cheers when the wheels started working!
 
In case you missed the announcement, we will be having a 1 week summer camp: SURVIVOR QUEST from July 6-10th. You can register here.
 
Here is a link to Laura's Blog on Acton Tools you can use at home!! This is a good one!!!
 

Week 24

We welcomed the Eagles back to the studio this week after their break! For this session will be doing multiple, mini Quests. Our first quest project is called Edison's Lab! This quest is focused on the scientific process and inquisition. We started by practicing our observational skills and then started working towards solving problems. We learned about multiple "hero" scientists and choose Avatars to embody while on the quest. On Wednesday we learned how pullies work and then were challenged with making a pulley system to pull Mr. TJ's car across the parking lot! It was challenging and quite fun.
 
We are VERY excited to be introducing a new Kindness/Mindfullness Class to Monday and Friday mornings. Ms. Anna was a hit with the Eagles and she taught them how to pay attention on the inside (breathing and emotions) and on the outside (what is happening around me that is influencing me). The Eagles noticed how calm they felt when they were breathing deeply. They also planted seeds in flower pots and had to wait their turn to use the dirt, seeds, and water. They were asked to really focus on how that made them feel on the inside to have to wait their turn. They are all excited to watch their flowers grow!
 
In Music this week the Eagles practiced more recorder work and kept working on their piano skills. They started to learn chords and what they mean.
 
In PE the Eagles worked on counting using dice to pick their workouts. Ms Sherry is showing us how learning never stops.
 
In Art, we didn't have Miss Sanni this week so Mr. TJ helped the eagles work on learning how and why inventors create patent drawings. The Eagles were able to draw patents and really appreciate the details involved!
 
In civilizations we learned about the Romans. We heard stories about their Gods, in particular the story about Persephone. We also learned how they made nice roads (which were unheard of in those days), aqueducts, public baths and apartment buildings. They also were the first civilization to erect "milestones" or road signs on their roads so that people would know which direction they were going and how many miles they had to go. They invented concrete which helped them build their 5 story apartment buildings. We discussed which of the Roman inventions we thought was the most important and why.
 
This week's adventure was a trip to Rambling View Farm in Gilford, a beautiful area for a hike. There are cross country ski and XC mountain bike trails there if you are looking for a place to adventure in any season.