Nature

Week 35

 

Our Quest this week has been working on our gardens. We have been designing a garden and getting it ready to be planted. So far the Eagles' gardens sound like they are going to be beautiful. I look forward to the beautiful flowers and the delicious veggies that will be coming along!
 
In My Nature Journal this week we spent our time looking for homes of animals and learning about plants. On Thursday the Eagles found the names for a specific plant. The Eagles have been finding really interesting animals and plants to record in their description pages.
 
In Music class, we had a smaller class than usual and still had lots of fun. Playing harmonica, and recorder. We also spent some time playing virtual pianos.
 
On Wednesday we launched by playing Pictionary. If you are looking for a fun way to connect with people who you have to talk to remotely that might be a great plan. We had a lot of fun creating drawings that others had to guess what they were
 
In Kindness Class this week Ms. Anna talked about the people in the community who help us and keep us safe and healthy. They discussed how and when to say "thank you" to people. We also talked about how we are different and the same as others and how we all want peace.
 
On Friday we celebrated and awarded 3 Milestones toward Badges that have been earned from our hard-working Eagles!!
 
Here is a link to Laura's blog about Harnessing the Heroic

 


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 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.
 
 
 
 

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 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!!!