Education

Week 19

Although 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)

Week 11

This week has been exciting and fun. For adventure we got the garden ready for winter by cutting down the raspberries, then we went to Bartlett Beach park and played on the tower there. The Eagles enjoyed playing a game of our own devising called pyramid tag. It was very fun. We also had a chance to go to Ahern Park on Thursday since the rain held off! The Eagles loved climbing a HUGE rock that we discovered just off the trail.
 
During Writers Workshop we discussed weather or not the words "good" and "bad" should be eliminated from our vocabulary. We talked about how those words do not adequately describe anything and that instead we should be using more descriptive words in our communications.
 
At music we spent time playing Ukuleles. The eagles worked together to play a song each striking a chord. They worked hard to learn the chords. The Eagles have been learning a lot about music and we have noticed their growth of understanding each time we go back to The Music Clinic.
 
During Civilizations we heard a story about ancient China and we discussed if a Dynasty is a fair and just way of ruling a society or if you shouldn't become the ruler simply because you were born into the Royal family.
 
During Art this week we worked on building our own kaleidoscopes. It is quite a process and we will continue working on it next week. 
 
During our Acton Athens Quest the Eagles continue to earn gold coins for their hand-made artifacts and Socratic discussions (we especially enjoyed discussing whether our leaders should be 'stoic' or not).
 
 
 
 
 

Week 10

We have had an eventful week. During music we worked on playing the harmonicas and also learned to play spooky music on the pianos. During Art, Ms. Sanni taught the Eagles how to do the square knot and to start making macrame.
 
We went to a park on Lake Winnisquam this week and played on a really cool jungle gym. One of our Eagles was very nervous about climbing up it and accomplished it despite the fear. The encouragement and cheering on the of the other Eagles helped a lot! It was an excellent time and all the Eagles came back to the studio with big smiles.
 
During Civilizations we read about the Code of Hammurabi, King of Babylonia. It was so interesting to find out that they were the civilization who invented our 24 hr. day and 12 month year - over 3,000 years ago!! The Eagles discussed each rule in the Code to decide if it was just & fair and we had some very interesting discussions. We also read the story of Gilgamesh this week and debated if it is more noble to change yourself by noticing your own flaws or to change by taking advice that others give you. And does it really matter why you change as long as you are becoming a better person? We also talked about the effect, positive and negative, that your friends and peers can have on you.
 
Gym this week also had a Halloween theme. We played spooky games with Miss Sheri, including wrapping Mr. TJ up as a mummy. The Eagles all came dressed in their costumes on Halloween. We had Optimus Prime, Black Panther, and Captain America at the studio and a mermaid showed up towards the end of the day. Mr. TJ was James Taylor and Ms. Mary was a gypsy. During Writer's Workshop there was a contest to see who could write the scariest, spookiest story. The prize was being able to make cookies on Friday! We ended the day on Halloween with a dance party and board games.
 
We started the Acton Athens quest this week and it has been a ton of fun. The studio has been transformed into Ancient Greece and the Eagles are learning about daily life in Ancient Greece. We have set up a marketplace, home life, education and enlightenment, and an arts center.
 
 

Week 9

We completed our cartography quest this week and will be going hiking to Guinea Pond in the Sandwich Wilderness. The Eagles earned this by completing a World Fact Book during quest time learning about different countries on all 6 populated continents (Antarctica does not have its own countries). Each day they completed a World Fact Book page they received a clue that they used to guess where the adventure location was. The last clue was the GPS coordinates to a GeoCache! During the quest the Eagles also drew their own continent maps.
 
This week during music we started to learn to play the harmonica! Each Eagle will have their own to use when we are at the Music Clinic and we will see what interesting and fun songs we will learn. We also learned to play songs on the piano and each Eagle gave a "mini concert" playing their choice of 4 songs we have learned, everyone did a nice job!
 
We had great discussions this week about having a growth mindset and the language that you need to use for encouragement. We also discussed forgiveness during civilizations, the choice of living under a dictator vs. fighting for freedom, and what it looks like to respect the studio and materials.
 
This week during art we did some watercolor painting. First they drew on the paper with white crayons then put water color over the crayon marks. They also sprinkled salt on the pictures for a neat textured appearance.
 
During gym we did more calisthenics. We are working on growing our strength by keeping track of how many crunches, push-ups, jumping jacks, and squat jumps we do each session. We also worked on our skill based fitness by working on balancing in different positions, jumping rope, keeping up a balloon with a pool noodle, rolling around sit scooters, and hula hooping. All the Eagles really gave their best effort and were all smiles during PE.