Year 1 Session 2 (10/30/20)

Hello Aim Academy Families,

A ninja, girl Robin Hood, Spiderman, snow leopard, Harry Potter, Goku, witch, pirate and a randomly random guy from Alabama walk into a school and… well of course it must be Halloween! Today, the Aim Academy Eagles had fun coming to school all dressed up— with some really getting into character. Beware of the snow leopard’s mighty roar!

But first… let’s take a look back at the rest of the week:

The enthusiasm for Chess is still going strong in the Aim Academy studio! On Monday, the Chess Quest Badge was unveiled. During Quest Time, Eagles can choose to complete Badge requirements or just play for fun. The Badge is scaled to accommodate all ages in the studio— the two youngest Eagles can earn it by completing three requirements while the oldest Eagle can earn it by completing all eleven requirements. 

Monday also saw the Wolverines and Cougars compete in four rounds of “Check, Checkmate, Stalemate or Nothing.” This involved the Eagles analyzing a game board to determine which of the four aforementioned scenarios it represented. Whichever House Hero said the correct answer first earned 5 points for their house! The catch— once your House Hero says an answer you are locked in… which may give the other House longer to analyze the board if it is incorrect!

Bill Mark came in for a Hero Visit on Wednesday to tell the age-old story: Man vs. Machine. He recounted the series of battles between chess Grandmaster Garry Kasparov and Deep Blue. Garry Kasparov was the unmatched Grandmaster of his time— from 1984 to 2005 he was ranked #1 for 255 total months. However, in Deep Blue he found a formidable opponent. Deep Blue was an AI engineered by the IBM development team in the 1990’s. Kasparov won the first series of battles in 1996. However, Kasparov ended up losing against a new and improved version of Deep Blue in 1997. This marked the first defeat of a reigning world chess champion by a computer. And not only that, he lost in astonishing fashion— by resigning during the final game. Needless to say, the Eagles were utterly captivated. Bill closed by connecting this riveting tale to the Hero’s Journey— sometimes a Hero, even when they are at the pinnacle of their game, fall down and give up. Then— in comes resilience. Thank you Bill for sharing this moving piece of Chess history with the studio!

Later during reflection the Eagles wrote about a time, past or present, when they faced a seemingly insurmountable challenge when they felt like giving up— and what they did (or plan to do) in the face of that challenge. 

During Tuesday morning launch, the Eagles were presented with several posters that had not yet been hung up in the studio. They were challenged to decide where they should be posted. Two solutions were proposed— the first was that every Eagle should be able to vote where each poster is to be placed. The second was to create a Posters Committee that decides on the placement. Direct vs. Representative Democracy! Ultimately, the Eagles decided to establish a Posters Committee. They elected Lucy, Layna and Hailey to the committee— who quickly took to the task of hanging up and re-adjusting posters throughout the studio. 

The Eagles took their soccer skills to the park (just behind the studio) on Thursday with Rachel Okura. The extra space took the game to a whole new level! This also allowed the two teams to test out playing different positions. You could hear the strikers calling for a pass after the defense had made a stop and regained control of the ball. Thank you Rachel!

During Civilizations, the Eagles continued their study of the Ancient World by reading about Sargon, the first Sumerian dictator. The Eagles grappled with whether they 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 Sargon who conquered and was ruling your city-state from afar, but put a stop to the fighting. They continued their deep dive into the Ancient World by studying Abraham, Joseph and the Jewish people. At this time, a rich conversation ensued about the value of reading religious texts, such as the Bible, through a historical lens. 

Next Friday, November 6th— we will continue our study of past civilizations by visiting the Natural History Museum of Utah in Salt Lake City! We will leave the studio at 9 AM. We plan to return by 1 PM (at the latest). Please let us know if you are available and willing to drive and come with us! We’ll need at least one other driver to be able to make this happen.

In Writer’s Workshop this week, the Eagles continued to read, share and create Poetry! This week the studio dove into Free Verse and Ode. The Eagles found the (un)structure of Free Verse quite amusing. As part of our launch on Ode, the Eagles collaborated and created the following poem:

Ode to our Shoes

Oh, our shoes!
Squishy like a pillow
They can run like the wind
They can walk over any blade of grass
They protect my feet
They’re black and white
And they are safe to step on
I have really colorful shoes
It can run or jump over any obstacle
My shoes are as fast as cars

The Eagles have really taken to sharing their works with each other during the Writer’s Workshop debrief. Nearly all the Eagles have shared— on topics ranging from blankets to dogs to Harry Potter to chingens (chickens). After they share, they receive warm-cool-warm feedback from their peers. Or in other words— something they liked, something they would change and another thing they liked.

In the first Town Hall of Session 2, the Eagles voted to establish a rule that you can only ask another Eagle for one Eagle Buck a week. This came after a flurry of Eagle Bucks were asked for over the course of a couple days. During Wednesday morning's launch, the Eagles were asked how many Eagle Bucks have been asked for since then. The answer was two. The follow-up question was whether everyone had been diligently keeping all of their promises or whether some promises were broken and went unchecked. The overwhelming feeling was that while there had been improvement in people upholding their promises, there have been instances when promises had been broken. One Eagle said that it felt unfair to immediately ask another Eagle for an Eagle Buck in such circumstances. They proposed a solution— whenever you see another Eagle breaking a promise, you may warn them that the next time they do so they will be fined an Eagle Buck. Several others agreed, and they voted in favor of this solution. Throughout the rest of the week, you could hear Eagles warn each other when promises had been broken. 

Speaking of Town Hall— today the Eagles discussed two issues that were posted to the Town Hall Topics Board. With the cold weather in full effect, the first issue was that the studio needed a coat rack. The Eagles considered the pro’s: it would give them a place to put their coats and would free up more room in their cubbies. The cons were that the cubbies provided ample storage for coats and that a coat rack would cost the studio money. A conversation about budgeting followed. Mr. Lance said that he had looked over Aim Academy’s finances and that the studio would be allocated a budget of $50 per session. It was then determined that approximately $15 of that budget is used for purchasing Studio Maintenance supplies. That left $35 to go toward other purchases— whether it be a coat rack, extra field trips or something else. The Eagles ultimately decided against purchasing a coat rack, after considering that they could save money over time to spend on something of greater value. Similarly, the Eagles decided against spending money to purchase new plastic bags for the chess pieces (the second Town Hall issue). One Eagle suggested an alternative— that they could bring in a plastic ziplock bag from home. A few other Eagles agreed, saying that they could bring one in as well. Problem solved!

Happy Halloween!

Kind regards,
Mr. Lance and Mr. Daniel

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

I'm the founder and Head of School at Aim Academy.

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