Year 1 Session 4 (1/15/21)

Hello Aim Academy Families, 

With responsibility being our Aim Academy Attribute for Session 4— it served as an overarching theme for this week. For a learner driven community to thrive, each individual must be steadfast in their commitment to be responsible.

The Eagles began the week by discussing whether the “warning” system for Eagle Bucks was working. The initial thought behind the warning system was that asking for an Eagle Buck as soon as someone breaks a promise on the contract would be too harsh, and that they should be given a second chance. One question that was asked was whether people tend to change their behavior after being given a warning. Most Eagles said no— that most people continue breaking that promise on the contract after being given a warning. Ultimately, the Eagles voted in favor of “taking the training wheels off” and discarding the warning system for ES/MS Eagles. They did say that Spark Eagles should still get a warning if they are breaking the contract, because they are younger and still learning.

Monday also saw the launch of “storytelling.” During storytelling, the Guides told a tale of the Knights and Snow Leopards battling for control of the kingdom and the forest that surrounds it. After an epic battle, the Knights successfully protected their kingdom as the Snow Leopards ran across the river to inhabit the forest where the Owls and Tigers reside. The Dragons saw an opening— finally the forest was free of the Snow Leopards and their ice powers, which always froze the Dragon’s fire. The Dragons flew across the river to claim the forest for themselves. This led to the Snow Leopards and Dragons swapping House Rooms following the story. How will the Knights react to their new neighbor? Will the Snow Leopards, Tigers and Owls be able to cohabitate the same forest? The next chapter of this epic tale awaits.

Later in the day, the Eagles kicked off the second week of the Game Design Quest by discussing the Question of the Week— “Are games of skill fair?” Eagles took both sides— and a lively debate ensued. The Guides continued by asking— is it fair to play a game of basketball against LeBron James? Is it fair to play a game of Chess against Grandmaster Garry Kasparov? This caused the Eagles to dig deeper, with some heroes on the “yes” side crossing to the “no” side. The Eagles were then challenged to create their own games of skill. These games included Harry Potter Trivia, Unicorn Matchland, Magic Ladders and some others. 

“Eagle Buck or Committee”— are those sacred words? Words that you should only say if you truly mean them? What responsibility comes with saying those words? What choice does the hero who is asked for an Eagle Buck have to make? These were some of the questions the Eagles dove into Tuesday morning. The general sentiment among the studio was that they are sacred words— and that they should not be thrown around lightly. An additional area of agreement was that if you are on the receiving end of those words, you have the responsibility to make a decision: accept responsibility for your actions and give up an Eagle Buck, bring it to the Disputes Committee or choose neither and receive a strike.

The majority of the Eagle Bucks asked for this week have arisen out of fellow travelers not upholding their promises to “be diligent in their work” and “not distract yourself or others” during Core Skills. This is an area that the Eagles have struggled with over the past three sessions— yet this week marked a notable improvement. In this way, peer driven accountability (Eagles being courageous and asking for Eagle Bucks) has helped to course correct. Evidence of this can be found in the fact that no one posted “people are being too loud during Core Skills” to the Town Hall Topics Board this week.

For Quest Time on Wednesday, the Eagles chose between Video Game Design or the Ball Game Design Challenge. Two Eagles have been using CS First and Scratch to design an MMORPG-esque “Quest” game. The rest of the studio set out to design their own “ball game.” To start, they played two games familiar to them— “Hit the Cone” soccer mini-game (thank you Rachel Okura!) and “Don’t Let the Ball Touch You” (which takes place on the trampoline). Following this, the Eagles came up with their own never-before-played ball games and play tested them.

During the second half of Quest Time, the Excellence Committee opened up the Play LAB and Eagles chose new games to test out. During this time, Eagles tested out Mouse Trap, Sorry, Jenga and Monopoly. Afterwards, the Eagles reflected on what they liked or disliked about the game by filling out the Play Lab Rubric. The primary purpose of this is for Eagles to begin thinking about what they want to incorporate into their game design for the Game Expo.

On Thursday, the Eagles and Guides once again went to Lance’s tumbling gym in Bluffdale for another P.E. session led by Mr. Vaughn. The Eagles continued practicing tumbling exercises such as the back bend, somersault, cartwheel and roundoff— while trying some new ones such as the spider walk and back roll. Mr. Vaughn has encouraged them to practice exercises such as the backbend at home to improve their flexibility. It’s amazing to see how much the Eagles have progressed in one short week! 

Upon arriving back in the studio, the Eagles continued their progress in Movie Making with a challenge in costume design. The Eagles were separated into two teams with two goals in mind— dress up one of your team members in a costume that will (1) help the other team correctly guess what they are dressed up as and (2) be difficult for the other team to tell who is actually wearing the costume. Both teams were able to guess each other’s costume design (circus performer and ninja) with one team struggling to figure out who was actually behind the costume.

The week came to a close with Town Hall on Friday morning. The Eagles discussed the issues of playdough being left out at the Creation Station, thumb tacks falling out of the wall, lost and found being full as well as some other issues. The Eagles ultimately voted to affirm the notion that everyone (including Spark Eagles) should pick up after themselves after using the Creation Station, to use Studio Bucks to purchase poster tac to replace thumb tacks and to dump out the lost and found and sort through it all on Monday morning. 

In closing, we would like to share an inspirational quote that Bill Mark shared with us from Carl Rogers:

“The goal of education -- if we are to survive -- is the facilitation of change and learning. The only man who is ‘educated’ is the man who has learned how to learn, the man who has learned how to adapt and change, the man who has realized that no knowledge is secure, that only the process of seeking knowledge gives a basis for security. Changingness, and a reliance on process rather than upon static knowledge, is the only thing, I think, that makes sense as a goal for education in this modern world.” 

Kind regards,
Mr. Lance and Mr. Daniel

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

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

We'd love to hear from you. Schedule a call below:

Schedule a call