Week 7

It is the first week in our Second Session. This session we have 2 quests. One at the beginning and one in the second half. The first quest is all about maps, cartography, and geography. We have been creating maps and building information about the world surrounding us. This project will happen for the first three weeks. After this we will move into Acton Athens where we learn about ancient Greece.
We have introduced two new activities in our schedule this session. One is Writers Workshop in which we have a different theme each session. Our first theme is Poetry. The Eagles have had to define poetry, list different types and write their own metaphors. Next we will go through the writing process of Prewriting, Revising, Drafting, Editing, and finally Publishing.
The second new activity is Civilizations. This is a time when the Eagles hear The Story of the World through the eyes of people in different civilizations throughout history. This week they learned about hunter gatherers and nomadic people that lived hundreds of thousands of years ago.
On Wednesday we learned about mindfulness. The Eagles were lead through a breathing exercise and really relaxed for the 5 minute meditation. Everyone loved it! We will be having "Mindfulness Wednesdays" from now on and we will add a breathing exercise recording to the Peace Bench for when our Eagles need to reflect on their actions and calm down.
This week at music we learned about the inner workings of a piano. As well as the difference between quarter, half, and whole notes. At Art this week we spent the hour working on maps of our own "dream" islands in the shape of the first letter of our name. After art we went to our first day at the Downtown Gym. At the gym we did our own pentathlon. Running, High jump, Javelin (with pool noodles), discus (with a Frisbee), and boxing (with heavy bags).
Today's launch was on Values. The Eagles learned that every person had a set of inner core values that guide their actions and decisions. As individuals, we all have different values and different rankings for our values. The Eagles all wrote down 10 of their own "core values" and we showed them how to think before making a decision "Does this align with my values?" Interestingly, every single one of us had Fun and Adventure on the list!

Week 6

The last week of our first session is coming to an end. We have had many great adventures along the way and have grown as a tribe and as individuals.
This week saw the completion of our tree house project. The Eagles have been very excited about eating snack, lunch, and playing all sorts of games in the tree house. Also for those who may have missed them at the Exhibition, the eagles also made two bird houses that were decorated. One will be used in the school yard to try and attract birds the other will be donated to a charity auction.
We enjoyed music on Tuesday with Ms. Karen and were able to play many instruments with a "low deep" sound, including the bass violin, bass guitar, baritone tuba, and harp. We also had a mini concert on the pianos with all the Eagles playing different notes together and one Eagle being the "conductor".
During Art with Ms. Sanni the Eagles came really close to finishing their snail projects. 
We spent some time at Ahern State Park on Thursday after we had completed exhibition preparation. There was a small section of brook where many frogs lived and most of them were caught.
The week culminated in the Exhibition of Learning where the Eagles showcased what they were learning to their families. We had an excellent turnout and appreciate all those that attended. The Eagles worked hard to prepare for the Exhibition and were excited to show everything off! The Eagles solemness during the Contract signing ceremony shows how much they are taking ownership of the studio. 
Thank you all for your support through this first session of our Hero's Journey. We have been Called to Adventure and Entered the Unknown, a place of challenges. We have Met with Mentors and found Allies and Helpers. Next is our Road of Trials. The place where we find what we are truly made of. The Eagles will meet their challenges head on as we head into Session 2.

Week 4

This week has been filled with adventure and exciting challenges for our Eagles.
We began the process of building the tree house with a successful trip to Lowes for the materials. The Eagles had a list and found all the lumber and materials themselves and loaded it into the carts. Some members of the AANH community joined us to help build on Friday. A big thank you to those of you who were able to take time off of work to help out with the project. We are looking forward to finishing the tree house sometime next week.
As we progress in the tree house project we will be working on it Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, each day from 12-2pm. 
During music this week we learned a song called hot dog buns. Some Eagles chose to bring their sheet music home with them so you may have already seen it. Music was quite fun this week practicing scales on the piano, playing drums and everyone having a turn with a violin! During art we finished painting our clay sculptures that we worked on last week and they will be heading home shortly with the Eagles.
The hike on Thursday was a good one. We spent the day exploring the area around Locke's Hill. We found only one salamander this week! Though we did discover a GeoCache thanks to one of our Eagles. We also found a couple animal bones on the trail which were intriguing to look at. We explored the former quarry pit that was used to build Kimball Castle in Gilford. The Eagles enjoyed throwing rocks in the quarry pool and exploring around on the stone steps.
We introduced Rules of Engagement this week, which are the rules of circle time and discussions. So far the Eagles have come up with 4 important behavior expectations during circle. We also have continued adding elements to our draft of the Studio Contract. We worked more on SMART goals, setting our first goals a few days this week during Core Skills. Next week we will be introducing Badges!
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Week 5: Time Management and Heroes vs. Victims

This week has been a whirl wind of activity with work on the tree house and core skills being our primary points of focus.
We had a wonderful time this week with music and art on Tuesday and Thursday respectively. At music we learned more about the solf├Ęge syllables (Do, Re, Mi, Fa) and spending time with drums and piano. We sang a bluegrass song and everyone was able to try out the banjo and mandolin. At art we began a new project that practiced our cutting skills and should be looking great by the end of next art period.
A big part of this week was working on our Badge Plan Binders. The Eagles are setting their learning goals for the year by choosing which Badges in each of the core skills that they want to earn.
This week's hike was to the top of Piper Mtn. in Gilford. We had a wonderful time at the summit and on the way up. We also saw a large amount of grasshoppers at the summit and many were caught. I would like to congratulate all of the eagles on completing a challenging hike of over 2,000 feet in elevation!
We had big lessons in time management this week. Each day a different Eagle is the "Time Keeper" and they are in charge of keeping everyone on schedule. If they forget to give 2 minute warnings and are late to the next activity, they start losing points. If they are told it is time for the next activity and are late, they also lose points. This week we had a few very late realizations that they forgot what time it was! The Eagles figured out how to still get all of their work done on those days and now they check the time constantly and are really learning the value of being not just on time, but early!
We had a big discussion about being a Victim vs. being a Hero and the traits of each mindset. We encourage our Acton parents to use this vocabulary at home. If your Eagle is really struggling with something, dwelling on something negative, being lazy, indifferent or distracted, you can ask "Are you being a Hero right now or a Victim?" 20190919_102733 Vivian 20190918_134643 (1) 20190918_101613 20190917_103916

Week 3

We had quite the eventful week even though it was a short one. While focusing on core skills in the morning we began working on building our tree house play structure. So far we are in the planning stage, but next week we hope to start building! 
Thursday we started Art with Ms. Sanni doing some leaf pressings in clay we plan on painting next week. We spent the rest of the day at the Squam Lakes Natural Science center. The Eagles greatly enjoyed the natural playscape and checking out the animals (and dinosaur animatrons) along the trail.
We had our first Town Hall meeting this week and made some great improvements to the studio already based on the Eagles ideas and discussions. We also started building our Studio Contract and testing some rules and ideas out this week. A few have made it into the permanent contract and we are still experimenting with others.
During one of my favorite morning Launches this week, we brought out a bowl of apples and passed each apple around the circle. We asked the Eagles to tell us how each apple was different than the others (some have bruises, different colors, longer stems, etc). Then we started cutting the apples in half and we found that in the middle of each apple is a STAR with seeds inside. And this got us into the discussion that every living thing has seeds inside of it and that each have the potential to blossom into new fruit. We talked about how each of our Eagles (students) have seeds of potential inside of them - how every human has seeds of genius and creativity! And what do we need to do to nurture those seeds and let them grow? If you toss an apple in the trash it isn't going to automatically become an apple tree, but if you plant it in fertile ground and water it and give it sunlight, the tree will grow. The Eagles talked about how they need quiet time to learn and to work and they need friendship and challenges to grow as people.
I am also reminded that, as parents, we need to remember to be the gardener of our child's seeds of potential and not a carpenter shaping them into what we think they should be. <3 This is definitely easier said than done sometimes!
The inner growth has been steady and things are starting to fall into place. We are excited to see what the Eagles continue to accomplish!

Week 2

This week we began core skills. The group took to this like fish to water diving deeply and working hard.
While we spent plenty of time on core skills we also spent time exploring Opechee Park, working on conflict resolution and respecting our peers, developing SMART goals, and learning about the Challenge Doughnut and recognizing when we are in our safe zone, challenge zone or panic zone. Mr. TJ told us an Abenaki Indian story about the night sky and he also read a few stories including My Mouth is a Volcano by Julia Cook.
And, of course, we enjoyed our weekly hike. This week we went to Chamberlain-Reynolds Memorial Forest. While hiking we saw a young Bald Eagle, a Loon, and many different amphibians. We also discovered gold thread (or Canker root) and found a tree that was scarred from a black bear's claws!

Week 1