Year 1 Session 2 (11/6/20)

Hello Aim Academy Families,

This week the Eagles took the “training wheels” off. From Civilizations to Writer’s Workshop to the Chess Quest, they are in complete control of the direction of their own learning. As the old adage says— with great power, comes great responsibility. And the Eagles did not take this responsibility lightly. During Core Skills this week— you could see an Eagle writing a novel about a wizard, a group of Eagles holding a Socratic Discussion about the Ancient Cities of India, an Eagle steadily solving math equations on their whiteboard and a Montessori Eagle calculating the cube of 6 using the Cube Chains. All at the same time!

On Monday morning, we launched the Badge Book Library. Badge Books are books that have transformed the way people think and live their lives. From Charlotte’s Web to Hatchet to Diary of a Young Girl to Harry Potter (and so many more!)— these books have captured, challenged and transformed readers’ worldviews. Badge Books are also an integral part of the Reading Badge— in order to earn their Reading Badge our two oldest Eagles must read five Badge Books and our two youngest Eagles (that aren’t Montessori Eagles) must read two Badge Books. As part of the Badge Book requirement, Eagles also write a review that answers the following questions: 

Who was your favorite character (and why)?
What surprised you?
Would you change the ending? Why/why not?

Civilizations and Writer’s Workshop also saw a fundamental change this week. Up to this point, we have been gathering as an entire studio to tackle both of these areas. Now— they are incorporated into Core Skills time. Eagles may choose to engage in Civilizations individually, with a partner or in a small group. After they have read a chapter, they answer several open-ended questions that put Eagles in the shoes of these ancient peoples. Once completed, they earn 10 pts (1 sticker)! 

In Writer’s Workshop, Eagles now have the choice to choose between several different writing areas (e.g. Creative Writing, Pitch a Field Trip, Science Based Fiction, etc…). To begin a new area, Eagles complete a Research Challenge with a Guide that exposes them to various elements of that writing style. For example, in the first Research Challenge of Creative Writing, the Eagles are introduced to Freytag’s Pyramid by watching this video: and are asked the following questions:

  • Let’s map out some of your favorite stories on this diagram. What story should we start with? How should we fill in the exposition part of the pyramid? 

  • When writing a story, should an author determine the climax first, or the exposition first?

  • Does this pyramid seem very similar or very different to the Hero’s Journey narrative? How so? 

  • Freytag, as well as many other writers, believed that despite the complexity or simplicity of a fictional story, they typically follow this structure. Do you believe that a story must go through this exact order?

At the end of the mini-launch with a Guide, the Eagle then sets out to complete a small challenge. For Creative Writing, they map out their own story idea using Freytag’s Pyramid. Once completed, the Eagles are free to begin the drafting phase of the Writer’s Workshop process. The final steps of the Writer’s Workshop process include editing/revision and publishing. In completing each step of the process, Eagles earn points. To earn their Writing Badge, Eagles have a certain number of research challenges to complete and pages to publish (scaled by age). 

One important element of the Hero’s Journey is meeting with a mentor. This week, Eagles begun individual Hero’s Journey check-in’s with Mr. Lance and Mr. Daniel. During these conversations, Eagles are asked four questions:

  1. What accomplishments are you most proud of in your Hero’s Journey at Aim?
  2. What areas are you looking to improve in on?
  3. What are the Session 2 goals that you set for yourself at the beginning of the Session?
  4. What can you do to reach those goals?

During the Chess Quest this week, Eagles began notating their games and using the chess clocks. They also started solving chess puzzles by grappling with “Your Move” challenges. These challenges place Eagles in situations such as “help white to win the black knight in two moves” or “help black to checkmate in one move.” We also talked about Fast Thinking vs. Slow Thinking, and how that applies to both chess and the Hero’s Journey. Fast Thinking is quick, instinctual and automatic, while Slow Thinking requires taking a step back and analyzing the situation. Different tasks trigger your brain to engage in one or the other— for example, brushing your teeth or solving a complex math equation. One question that was posed was whether you could think of any times when you used Fast Thinking, but later wished you had used slow thinking?

This week in P.E. with Ms. Rachel, the Eagles learned about positions and formations in soccer. They played again at the park and both teams executed a 2-3-1 formation throughout the entire duration of the game. 

On Friday, the Eagles enjoyed their Field Trip to the Natural History Museum of Utah. Several of the exhibits sparked the Eagles’ curiosity and wonder— although when asked, the resounding favorite were the “Antarctic Dinosaurs.” An honorable mention was the exhibit which showed Ute tribe members doing the Bear Dance.

Have a great weekend!

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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