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Year 1. Session 2. Week 5.

Week 5 marked the culmination of Session 2 and with that, the Discovery Studio’s second Exhibition of Learning, The Real-Time Lemonade Stand-Off! The early part of the week was focused on preparing their work to be at a level worthy of public exhibition and boy did these Eagles pull through!  They were tasked with finalizing their company image, mission statement and marketing pitches as well as purchasing all of the necessary materials to set up their stand and prepare their goods for sale.  The Eagles showed off the skills they cultivated over the session including imaging and branding, cost/risk strategies, gathering and utilizing market research, among others. This was the largest Exhibition of Learning to date as the studio hosted not only Discovery family and friends, but Spark parents as well!

After the Lemonade Stand-Off wrapped up, the Eagles joined Ms. Rebecca for a reflection discussion surrounding the various art projects created over Sessions 1 & 2.  Various media, supplies and focal points were discussed before the Eagles answered questions such as:

  • What was your favorite part of the process?
  • How did you respond to “mistakes”?
  • Would you do anything differently with your piece?
  • Do you consider yourself an artist?

There were some powerful takeaways from the group after 10 weeks of very intentional, engaged work with Ms. Rebecca.

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Perfect Austin weather helped to wrap up the session of Ultimate Football in PD. With both teams competing so hard throughout the past four weeks, it was only fitting that the final game ended in a draw!

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The journey back in time and around the world saw the Eagles transported to the Far East to learn about Ancient China.  They were told the story of Lei Zu and the Silkworm- how silk was discovered and its impact on Chinese culture and economy, and about her husband, Huang Di, who united surrounding villages to grow his dynasty.  They learned about the rice fields and the hard work, often in very difficult conditions, it took to sow the seeds and harvest the crop.

These stories prompted deep discussions surrounding whether or not the principle of a dynasty is fair, and does the answer change if the family or leader is great and fair, or cruel and selfish?  They also tackled whether or not children worked harder in Ancient China or today- was it more challenging cooking breakfast over a fire, or reading a badge book?  Mastering 20 math skills or spending a cold day harvesting rice?

At the end of a strong last week, the Eagles were ready for their next adventure with The Expedition School on a trip to Westcave Preserve!  They have been hard at work all session, not only on their Core Skills, Quest, Writers’ Workshop and Civilization, but also on their Hiking and Geology Badges.  This field outing consisted of learning about watersheds and how the geological features were formed.  They conducted field observations of various rock, stalactites and stalagmites as well as wrote, directed and performed short skits surrounding the principles of Leave No Trace.  Congratulations to everyone who worked so hard to earn their badges!

Finally, we hope all our families enjoyed this break to spend time with family and friends celebrating the Thanksgiving holiday.  We are so grateful to be able to work with each of you and be part of everyone’s own Hero’s Journey.  Onward to a short but meaningful Session 3!

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Year 1. Session 2. Week 4

Week 4 started with a launch to honor Veteran’s Day. Eagles first watched this video and reflected on which freedoms guaranteed by our constitution they value most: the right to vote, freedom of religion, or free speech? After sharing, they watched this video about a veteran who continued to represent the United States and they debated the following questions:

What inspires you more about Bradley’s life?

  • His Service and Sacrifice in the Navy
  • His resilience to not let his injuries and disability limit his life
  • His desire to “keep fighting, keep serving, keep representing the US”

If you were a Veteran, how would you want others to celebrate/remember this day?

  • A personal phone call or letter
  • A parade/larger celebration of this day (NY’s is the biggest and Austin has one, too)
  • Something else?

Their call to action was to write a thank you note to a veteran they know, or to write a letter to all veterans that Ms. Samantha will deliver to the local VA Clinic.

On Tuesday the Eagles were supported again by Writing Buddies during Writers’ Workshop. These meetings gave the young authors the time and space they needed to think deeply about their stories, to identify gaps in their narratives, and to have real interactions with an audience. Thank you, Writing Buddies! During the last week of the session, Eagles will submit their stories to be published and placed in the Ascent library.

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This week in E-Ship, Eagles dug into learning about the costs and risks of running a business. First, they acted out a play called “Sally the Seller” where they got to experience unit economics, then they learned how to calculate unit economics (sunk costs, variable costs, fixed-period costs, revenue and profit) for their businesses.  They practiced this important math with their snack mix recipes and held their second Real-Time Stand Off to practice for their upcoming Exhibition. Eagles practiced setting up their booths, selling their products, and tracking their sales. They calculated revenue and profit at the end of the stand-off and reflected on the experience!

This “stand-off ” was particularly exciting for the Eagles because Mr. Phil’s family visited the studio! His wedding was on Saturday and as part of the wedding festivities, his family visited Ascent and served as customers for their Costs and Risks Snack Stand-Off! Congratulations, Mr. Phil and Ms. Haley!

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In Civilization this week, the Eagles traveled to the Indus Valley to learn about how these ancient civilizations used rivers as roads and all about the citadels. They also learned about the mystery of Mohenjo-daro and imagined what might have happened to the people who lived there. Using their Discussion Rules of Engagement, they debated the following questions:

What type of transportation helped its society more: boats on rivers in the time of ancient Mesopotamia and India, or cars in our modern society? Why?

To be great, does a civilization need a great individual to unite cities like Sargon did for Upper and Lower Egypt, or does it just need a great collection of individual citizens within it?

Once it warmed up on Friday, Eagles working towards their Hiking Badges participated in a neighborhood walk where they practiced making keen observations and practicing safety!

 

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This week also marked many new freedoms for the Eagles that come with great responsibility! The first Eagle-led Town Hall was this week and these heroes demonstrated, yet again, that they are determined to build the best learner-driven environment.

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It often goes without saying, but Core Skills time in the Discovery Studio is such a focused and intentional time that adults who visit Ascent, often remark about how surprised they are to see so many young people completely engrossed in their work all at once. These young people have created something amazing. Their culture is strong because of their hard work and because of the care they put into their environment.

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Looking forward to a powerful end to a wonderful session next week!

 

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Year 1.Session 1.Weeks 1&2.

Week 1 started off with a glimpse into the future. What might life look like in 2039? The Eagles listened to a story that included their heroes, favorite places, favorite foods, and even a soccer training program in Lima. At the end of this story, they learned and discussed the 2019-2020 Question of the Year: Is Truth Discovered or Created?

After listening to this version of the year 2039, they participated in their first official team-building game: Magic Tarp. The group was challenged to flip a tarp over to the other side without using hands, and if anyone stepped off, the team would try again. This was a very tough challenge indeed! Some fellow travelers wanted to give up, while others cheered them on, hoping to finish on time. Alas, they came very close but were unable to complete it successfully. The group sat together to debrief the challenge and participated in a powerful discussion on hero vs. victim mindsets. IMG_0364During the first week, the Ascent Eagles jumped right into their Core Skills by first completing a Technology Tools Challenge in pairs and then learning about S.M.A.R.T. Goals (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Tough). Going forward, every time they prepare to complete individual work, they will set goals for themselves. Many Eagles are now learning what they are able to do in and hour or two and are becoming well versed in their learning programs.

 

 

After learning more about their individual work, the Eagles were challenged to a large group project: starting and completing a lip dub by the end of Week 2! They worked hard to choose and memorize a song, and then choreographed their parts with team members. Many parents have likely been hearing the words to, Best Day of My Life at pick-up each day. The Ascent Eagles will submit their video to the network-wide Acton Music Video Competition! As soon as it’s ready, we’ll be sure to share it with families.

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Over the past two weeks, new traditions have also been established such as, Game Time on Fridays, completing a group Challenge Donut, and eating together family-style for lunch. We have a studio full of puzzle-solvers here at Ascent so we brought out a puzzle table for the in-progress work.

 

 

In Week 2, the Eagles were introduced to their badge system on Journey Tracker as well as Writers’ Workshop. This session’s genre is A Letter to Your Hero. Eagles will spend time researching their heroes and then each will learn how to write a formal letter that elicits a response! In addition to Writers’ Workshop, they learned more about our Expedition School Field Program and were awarded hats and their first Field Badges as part of joining this exciting new program (more in the coming weeks).

This week also marked the start of P.D. (Physical Development) with Ms. Janita and Art with Ms. Rebecca!

 

 

The Eagles have been busy building this new community! From starting the contract-writing process, to discussing freedom and responsibility daily, as well as being introduced to new peer accountability systems, the learning has been powerful and they have been working hard. In between the intentional discussions about community culture have been many moments of laughter, joy, and new bonds forming. Onwards!

 

 

Year 1. Session 2. Week 3.

As most weeks do, Week 3 began with a focused session of intentional Core Skills.  The Eagles were tasked with identifying which specific badges they were working towards while setting their goals for the day.  By the end of the week, the Eagles submitted and earned SIX new badges towards their badge plans!  This, on top of ten prior badges that were reviewed and approved, provided quite a spark of motivation in the studio around progression through IXL/Khan, Lexia, Spelling City, Typing Club and others.  Everyone is excited to carry the momentum through to week 4!

 

The imaginative, creative fiction works the Eagles have been drafting continued this week in Writers’ Workshop with a focus on Word Choice.  Tuesday’s session was kicked off with a TED Ed video highlighting the use of metaphors and similes to put the reader in the shoes of the character.  It described a character named Billie who, well, let’s just say wasn’t feeling too well at school that day:

    “Billie’s legs are noodles. The ends of her hair are poison needles. Her tongue is a bristly sponge, and her eyes are bags of bleach.”

The author’s word choice makes the audience feel almost as nauseated as Billie herself.  With word choice top of mind, and with the help of a few gracious Writing Buddies (thank you!), the Eagles were back hard at work bringing their stories to life!

Once again the clock was dialed back while the Eagles took a trip through time and around the globe.  This week’s Civilization witnessed the unified ‘Old Kingdom’ of Egypt and their burial rituals, the Sumerian dictator King Sargon and his rise to power, as well as a King Hammurabi and his code of laws.  Debated topics ranged from asking priests to spend royal riches on an expensive mummification to save yourself in the afterlife or risk of being rejected from the afterlife by not being mummified, instead using the money to feed the hungry people of the kingdom, to deciding if you would rather live in a free city-state that was self-managed but did not progress because it was constantly fighting other city-states, or live under a dictator like King Sargon who conquered and was ruling your city-state from afar, but put a stop to the fighting.  We can’t wait to see where our travels through time take us next week!

Ultimate Football continued on during the week and this sport has provided a few new challenges to the Eagles in the form of determining equitable playing time.  Only five people from each team are allowed on the field at a given time, so how do you figure out who gets to play (and how much) when everyone wants to be out there?  Tuesday’s scrimmage was cut a bit short to gather in a Socratic Discussion surrounding that very topic.  There was a lot of frustration around the group but great ideas were debated and the session ended with each team working through their own substitution strategies.  Typically, Thursdays are split with one team in PD while the other works with Mrs. Rebecca in Art, however Mother Nature had other plans in store.  The schedule was adjusted due to the rain so while one group was doing art, the other was working through their hour of Core Skills.  The rain subsided just as the typical hour of Core Skills would be getting underway. Since each group got their Core Skills in, an impromptu, `1combined PD kicked off giving the Eagles a chance to put their strategies to work earlier than expected! The response was a complete 180 and it was just remarkable to see so much growth in such a short amount of time.  The game flowed seamlessly with substitutes enthusiastically cheering on their competing teammates and Eagles running off the field to allow their peers into the game with words of encouragement and high fives.  It was a game to remember!

 

The four Ascent lemonade companies were back at the entrepreneurial grind this week, navigating their way through markets, competition and behavioral economics in preparation for their first live Lemonade Stand-Off!  Market research and surveys were conducted through the week to help determine potential preferences and help set prices on each serving of lemonade.  At the end of the week, a mystery investor, encouraged about the future prospects of the lemonade industry, provided each team with $10 Studio Bucks to purchase material for their competition later that day.  Each team was rewarded with any profits made during the competition. The team with the most profit earned won an additional $10 Studio Buck bonus investment from the investor to use in future competitions!

 

We also had the opportunity to celebrate another Eagle getting one year older this week!

What a great week! Here are some questions to help get the conversations going at home:

  1. What was your greatest lesson learned during Quest this week? How did you team work together? How will contribute to your team next week?
  2. Which badge were you most focused on last week? Which one(s) will you focus on next week?
  3. Are you working towards a Field Badge? Which one and why?
  4. What is your favorite part of the day: Civilization, Core Skills, Quest, Writers’ Workshop, PD, or Art?

Year 1. Session 2. Week 2.

The Eagles started the last week of October with a quiet Monday morning of intentional Core Skills. They launched into the day with a video about Stephen Hawking and a discussion about perseverance in the face of struggle and how this hero changed the world, using his terrifying diagnosis as a means for motivation. Doctors didn’t think he would live past his 25th birthday, so he got to work. Eagles grappled with questions on what motivates them on their journeys and they shared reflections on times they motivated themselves and times they received help from others. They were then prompted to write a motivating note to themselves on a sticky pad to be placed somewhere they’ll see often. The notes include messages such as “You can do it!” and “Keep going!”

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On Tuesday and Thursday, Eagles continued drafting their stories in Writers’ Workshop and were challenged to think more about how illustrations impact a reader’s experience and ways they can make their stories more memorable.

Kimery Duda, the founder of the Expedition School joined the Eagles this week for their Tuesday morning launch of the next two Field Study Badges: Hiking and Geology! Eagles first learned about Alexander von Humboldt (geologist turned explorer) and discussed his character traits as a hero. Then, Kimery led them in a game of observations and discussed what it means to be a keen observer in nature. She also discussed hiking/backcountry safety and the history of Westcave Preserve (the location of our next Field Day!).

Due to the first frost of the year, P.D. was canceled this week and was replaced by extra Core Skills. Half the group listened to music and worked on papier-mache sculptures with Ms. Rebecca while the other half stayed warm, curled up on comfy furniture with their Chromebooks in hand and their headphones on. Later that day, the Eagles organized a costume contest to celebrate Halloween!

In E-Ship this week, the Eagle-led companies focused on company image by exploring different marketing styles and brands. They worked hard to create their company image and on Friday competed in a swag and sign competition where they put their hard work on display!

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In Civilization this week, Eagles traveled to Egypt where they learned about King Namer and the earliest forms of writing. They debated the importance of certain contributions to civilization and grappled with the impact of written history.

On Friday the Eagles wrapped-up the week by sharing highlights, lowlights, and character callouts!

Year 1. Session 2. Week 1.

Session 2 was welcomed with tons of enthusiasm as the Eagles were excited to see their friends and get back to work!  The session was launched with a short video describing what it means to learn like a Jungle Tiger, setting the stage for embracing struggle in lieu of the comfort that comes with having things done for you.  With the launch of the E-Ship Build-a-Business Quest, Creative Writing for Writer’s Workshop and the introduction of Civilization, the Eagles will surely be pushed beyond their comfort zones with fun, new challenges this session.  Eagles are gearing up to embrace their inner Jungle Tiger and face these challenges head-on!

Expedition School Field Program – Pedernales River

The rain may have delayed Session 1’s Field Program Outing with the Expedition School, but we couldn’t have dreamed up a better day to spend outdoors on Tuesday!  The Eagles engaged in hands-on learning of kayaking skills and water ecology fundamentals relating to our local waterways.  Those who pursued the Kayaking and Water Ecology Field Badges learned advanced maneuvers, paddling techniques and conducted water quality testing.

 

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We want to get a big thank you to all of the Expedition School Field Guides and parents who volunteered their time to shuttle the group to and from the river!!

E-Ship: Build-a-Business Quest & Writers’ Workshop – Creative Writing

Eagles embarked on their session-long entrepreneurship quest of building a business from the ground up!  On this quest, groups of Eagles form companies that will sell lemonade and snack mix. They will be challenged to set up their organizations, determine their brand, conduct cost and risk analysis and calculate unit economics. Throughout the quest, they will participate in various real-time Lemonade Stand-Offs, culminating in a final Stand Off at the Exhibition.

This week, Eagles were challenged to determine a company name, mission statement and determine the roles each person will play within the organization. Upon completing these challenges this week, teams were tasked to create a duct tape wallet to keep the Studio Bucks they will be earning throughout the quest. They’ll need plenty of Studio Bucks (different from Hero Bucks) to purchase supplies and materials to sell at the upcoming Stand-Offs!

 

To wrap up Week 1’s quest challenges, each Eagle learned about 8 different entrepreneurial heroes including Dallas Crilley, a young author writing about the benefits of venturing into entrepreneurship at an early age, Moziah Bridges, a fashion designer who inked an exclusive deal with the NBA before entering high school, and tech icons Bill Gates and Steve Jobs.  Many Eagles participated in the Children’s Business Fair over the weekend, which was a fun and inspiring launch to this quest. The community is excited to see each Eagles’ growth on their path to business success throughout the session!

This session’s Writers’ Workshop, Creative Fiction- has come out of the gates with a bang!  The Eagles were extremely focused on both WW days, with each completing their own Freytag’s Pyramid outlining the major components of their stories and beginning their first drafts.  Next week they will step into the shoes of an illustrator to use imagery as inspiration to make their stories more memorable.

PD – Ultimate Football

Session 1 wrapped up with the PD Olympics, paving the way for those new skills and strengths to be put to use!  The Eagles were introduced to Ultimate Football (think American Football meets Ultimate Frisbee!) on Thursday through skill development and conditioning.  They worked on hand-eye coordination through throwing and catching, agility with a cone drill and teamwork by navigating from one side of the field to the other within the framework of the Ultimate Football rules.  The session started out with a lot of energy, which should make Tuesday’s first scrimmage a blast for everyone involved!

 

It was a great first week of the session and we’re excited to see what Week 2 has in store for our heroes!

Year 1. Session 1. Week 6

It’s hard to believe the first session has wrapped up at Ascent as it seemed like only yesterday that the Discovery Eagles were being dropped off for their first day of school!  The growth shown by this group of young heroes, from their first team building challenge (Magic Tarp) on Day 1 to their wildly successful Exhibition of Learning this week, has been nothing short of inspiring!  Here’s a look back on a strong closing week to Session 1:

PD Olympics

The Eagles have been training hard all session working towards their PD Olympics that took place on Tuesday.  They participated in four events- Sit-ups, 40yd Dash, Elevators and a Half-mile Run, and had their results recorded by a wonderful group of volunteers.  The Eagles will test themselves again at the end of the school year to see just how far each of them has come along on their physical development goals.  A HUGE thanks goes out to all of our parent volunteers for their time and support!

 

Finalizing the Contract

On Monday the Eagles finalized their Studio Contract in time to sign it on Thursday at the Exhibition of Learning. For six weeks the Eagles spent many hours debating each line of the contract. They proposed new lines, explained their reasoning behind each proposal, listened to counter arguments and voted. They did not rush the process, nor did they take a single word lightly. It was clear that these young heroes understand the weight of their promises to each other and are seeking to build a happy, safe, and productive learning environment. After only six weeks together, this tribe has accomplished something great (see below for pictures of the contract signing).

Exhibition of Learning

Much of the week was spent in preparation for the Eagles’ Exhibition of Learning which took place on Thursday morning.  The Eagles determined the content of the exhibition, developed an itinerary and crafted a plan to pull it all together.  They worked diligently to get their studio space and materials ready to guide their parents, friends and family through their Core Skills work. They nominated a panel to answer questions from the audience and the panel spent the week preparing as well!

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Art/360 Reflection/Rhys’ Birthday

Session long art projects were wrapped up with Mrs. Rebecca and provided a great outlet for all of the energy carried over from the Exhibition.  Wonderful self-portraits and stills adorn the bookshelves, bringing an additional pop of color into the studio!

While one half of the group was finalizing their artwork, the other half had the opportunity to reflect on the first session and set intentions for their return in Session 2.  Each Eagle received their anonymous 360 feedback and then reflected on their feedback while setting personal growth goals for session 2.

The Eagles also got to celebrate another birthday this week!

Last Day of Session 1

Friday had originally been earmarked for a day on the Pedernales River in Johnson City with The Expedition School, however Mother Nature had other plans for the Eagles that day.  Spirits remained high despite the change of plans and the first cold day of the year- it was remarkable to see the level of focus these young minds possessed, especially given the circumstances! They were committed to finishing strong and quietly worked heads-down on their Core Skills and Writers’ Workshop for hours.

The first feeling of fall was celebrated with some warm tea on the deck and a cozy Game Time inside.

We hope everyone has a relaxing and restful break- see you in Session 2!!

Year 1. Session 1. Week 5

This week the Eagles launched with a discussion surrounding the TED Talk: How to Speak So People Want to Listen. They were asked to reflect on the following questions:

Which of the 7 deadly sins of speaking are you most guilty of?

Which do you think is the worst offense? Which one is worst for your community?

Which of the positive cornerstones should you focus on the most as a group?

Which one is most critical to creating a strong community?

Which is your strongest as a tribe?

Using the words here (7 deadly sins and the cornerstones) how will your ideal tribe communicate by the end of the year?

This launched the Eagles into a very important discussion on how they want to communicate as a tribe and it set the stage for on-going productive conflict resolutions, Socratic Discussions, and collaborations throughout the week.

Eagles were also introduced this week to the concept of a public exhibition. They first made a list of the questions they would need to answer in order to plan their exhibition and then started on a very detailed and well-thought through plan for their very first one at the end of the session!

Another new concept and system they learned about this week was peer-to-peer 360 feedback. At the end of the week, they were introduced to 360 surveys and spent over an hour giving direct feedback to their peers on how well each of them followed their temporary studio contract. This will happen at the end of each session going forward, and upon returning from break, the Eagles will complete a detailed self-reflection that includes a 360 survey goal based on their responses.

Since the focus this session is Build the Tribe, Eagles continued to be challenged with team building games. The two this week challenged them to, 1. Keep an inflated ball in the air for a certain amount of counts, and 2. Tape a shape to their forehead and find the fellow travelers with the same shape- no talking allowed! They completed their challenges with grace and loads of smiles.

In Writers’ Workshop, Eagle authors completed peer critiques and Community of Editors where they were challenged to identify their strengths in editing (inner punctuation, outer punctuation, capitalization, spelling/grammar, or Voice -their focus trait of the session) and sign-up to edit their peers’ letters in the Community of Editors with that particular focus.

This week was all about preparing for the upcoming PD olympics! On Tuesday, kickball anchored the day during which learners worked on a variety of skills after just having gone through a gate-to-gate team challenge. Thursday, a prep day, had the learners practicing for the other events coming up!

In Art the Eagles began painting! It was a bright sight to see!

Thank you to the parents who were able to come to our first Parent Coffee! Everyone is looking forward to celebrating a successful session at the end of the upcoming week!

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Year 1. Session 1. Week 4.

This week kicked off with a video of a guided rafting trip and a discussion surrounding the role of a guide.  The Eagles were challenged with finding similarities between the role of the river guide and those at Ascent,  and uncovered common threads such as providing tools, regrouping before upcoming challenges and creating a safe environment for their journey.

A new tool introduced to the group, 3B4G, tasks each hero with seeking out three resources to assist with their question before relying on a guide to provide direction.  The practice of guides offering questions instead of answers is one thing that all Acton Academies around the world have in common and is done because we believe children are far more capable than we can imagine. Our goal as guides is to empower them on their journeys.

 

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Monday was also highlighted by the Eagles revisiting an old team building exercise- Flip the Tarp!  Through strong communication and a growth mindset, the group was able to successfully complete the challenge that stumped them a few weeks prior.  They learned a lot about the power of grit and perseverance in the process!

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Tuesday marked the first Core Skill “Power Hour” and the Eagles stepped up and met the challenge head on!  Everyone was challenged to focus for one hour on Language Arts in the IXL program before finishing off the final hour of Core Skills with their choice of learning.  Many Eagles found themselves in a state of flow and continued their focused IXL learning far into the second hour.  Overall the group answered over 2,500 questions in 16.5 hours of active learning in one program alone!

 

Mid-week the focus shifted to the power of word choice, specifically how it relates to effective conflict resolution.  Examples of ineffective strategies were introduced and discussed followed by the type of language used in effective conflict resolutions.  The newest space in the studio was then unveiled- a Peace Table meant solely for conflicts to be resolved between fellow travelers.

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In Writer’s Workshop, the Eagles continued working on the drafting process and were introduced to the six traits of writing. Their focus trait this session is Voice and they began to hone in on this trait in the letters to their heroes through both self-reflection and peer critiques.  The Call to Action was strong for many of the Eagles, with some even working on their letters during Scholar’s Choice and Free Time!  The tribe continued building relationships by encouraging one another during PD and carrying the camaraderie over throughout the rest of the day.  The level of communication and respect heroes have shown to one another in just four short weeks has been quite inspiring!

Game Day (Tuesdays) this week was an introduction to Kickball! Eagles are practicing pitching, kicking, fielding, and running. Most importantly (according to them!) they are encouraging and cheering! On Skills Day (Thursday) we went back to circuits. With a balance of upper body (planks/push ups), cardio (cone dashes and jumping jacks) and core/lower body (sit ups/wall sits), Eagles were pushing themselves and each other the entire way. They are gearing up for the upcoming PD Olympics!

 

Week 4 culminated with new celebrations and traditions introduced to the group- a birthday celebration and a Hero’s Journey Presentation!  The Eagles had the opportunity to share kind words and express gratitude to a fellow traveler as she ceremoniously traveled nine orbits around the “sun” in the center of the circle to represent her ninth birthday. They sang and then she gifted wonderful new items to the studio- thus begins a new tradition!

 

The closing group of the week was very special as the Eagles had their very first Hero visit, the Owner and Head of School of Acton Academy Kuala Lumpur, Mr. Jia Hong!  Jia shared his Hero’s Journey with the Eagles highlighting the relationships he built while traveling the world for two years with nothing more than a medium-sized backpack.  Lifelong friendships were forged often without a common language to communicate through!  He likened his experience in traveling into unknown parts of the world with the journey each founding Eagle as Ascent has undertaken- while the road may be difficult and intimidating at times, fellow travelers and those you meet along the way play a vitally helpful role in each individual’s own journey!

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Year 1. Session 1. Week 3.

The heroes at Ascent started the week with a discussion on growth mindset launched by watching this video You Can Learn Anything. Then, they learned about a new way to think about their brains:

Another way we talk about learning and challenges is by thinking of our brains as a bunch of rubber bands. Each rubber band represents a different skill or ability, and these bands are different sizes in each brain. We are each born with a different set of rubber bands – people are born with larger bands for some skills and smaller bands for other skills. All of the bands are elastic, and they can become larger if they are used. The smaller a band is initially, the more uncomfortable it can be to stretch it – but it will stretch. People are generally more inclined to stretch their larger rubber bands because they have the least resistance. This is great; it is wonderful to find and grow natural talent. However, this community will also focus on supporting you as you stretch your short rubber bands so that you can discover new gifts and talents that will bring you joy. 

Eagles all shared their long and short rubber bands and then committed to stretching their short rubber bands through out the week by setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals.

 

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Physical Development (PD) is underway with Eagles diving into their challenges right away.  This session is themed by the PD Olympics- a day in the Fall when learners set a benchmark for themselves in various challenges (ie. elevators, 40 yard dash, half mile, sit ups, etc.) and then repeat in the Spring in order to measure their personal growth. To prepare for the events, they focus on building the skills and developing the muscles for those events.  Thursdays serve as Skill Days when they work through circuits with half the tribe (while the other half is at Art!).  Tuesdays are our Game Days when we play large group games to put everything in motion.  In the short time since PD has been launched, sportsmanship and encouragement among these caring Eagles is abundant.

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The Eagles continued to build their tribe and strengthen the community through team building exercises such as a trust walk.  The group broke up into pairs and took turns leading a blindfolded fellow traveler around Ascent’s campus.  Most worked with new partners and shared great feedback during the following discussion about the new relationships they built.

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In art this week, Eagles continued to work diligently on their self-portraits by transferring their photos to paper.  They were introduced to several new tools such as graphite transfer paper, drawing paper and colored pencils.  Shading and light sourcing skills were carried over from the week prior to make their portraits come to life!

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This week in Writers’ Workshop, Eagles participated in a S.O.L.E. to answer two questions: what are the elements of a formal letter? And, what are five tips for writing an excellent letter? Eagles presented their findings to the group and then began drafting letters to their heroes.

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Eagles also made progress on their studio contract! Four items were moved from the laboratory to the results page and will become part of their final contract! The conversations about what lines to include and why are very inspiring! Citing their own experiences, the group is eager to build a strong and independent tribe.

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Speaking of strong tribes, the Eagles demonstrated such impressive responsibility during work time (95% were in deep flow at any given moment!) that they earned a handful of new freedoms and are becoming more and more comfortable with the unique elements of a learner-driven studio.

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The week culminated with the grand opening of the Hero Store where Eagles were able to spend their remaining Hero Bucks on a variety of supplies and gifts.  The store was met with much fanfare and there were already ideas of how their money would be spent the following week.

The closing group for the week was a special event as the Discovery Eagles were joined by the Spark Studio from downstairs.  Guests were treated to the premiere of the final cut for Ascent’s entry into the global 2019 Acton Lip Dub Challenge!

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