Year 1 Session 4 (2/12/21)

Hello Aim Academy Families,

Another Session in the books! From creating tag games to board games to video games to card games and more, the Aim Academy Eagles dove into the Game Design quest with courage and creativity. Thank you to everyone who was able to attend the Exhibition of Learning yesterday! From day one, several of the Eagles set off to design a game that would maximize one thing for the players— fun. With the amount of enthusiasm and laughter present in the studio yesterday, it sure seems like they accomplished their goal. 

Since most of y’all were at the Exhibition, we want to touch on the other AMAZING things that happened this week! On Monday, the new Freedom Levels system was launched— Daily Freedom Levels! Each day, ES/MS Eagles are challenged to earn 6 or more stickers during Core Skills. If they do so, they reach “Soaring”— earning a full 45 minute lunch and the ability to dive into an elective of their choice upon coming back into the studio. “Flying” Eagles, or Eagles who earn 4–5 stickers, have a 40 minute lunch and retain the opportunity to reach Soaring status and get a partial elective upon coming back into the studio. Nesting Eagles, or Eagles who earn 3 or less stickers, have a 35 minute lunch and 40 extra minutes of Core Skills upon coming back into the studio. The following day, they are required to sit at a “Nesting” desk (located outside of their House Room). They are in Nesting until they can prove that they are responsible enough to hold extra freedoms— meaning that they must earn 6+ stickers in back to back days. These Freedom Levels also apply to the Spark studio— however, it is determined by whether they reach 1, 2 or all 3 of their Aim Academy Standards (1. Reader’s Island, 2. Counting Island or Island of the Golden Beads, 3. Matchland or Island of the Many Shapes). If an Eagle reaches “Soaring” status on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday— they earn “Fun Friday.” 

Every Eagle rose to the challenge this week— each one attaining Soaring status EVERY. SINGLE. DAY! We cannot put into words how proud we are of them. They all enjoyed “Free Friday,” at which time some Eagles took advantage of the opportunity to create a new LEGO Masterpiece.

On Thursday— a breakthrough happened with the Disputes Committee. After hearing both sides of the issue, two committee members said “I still don’t really know how to vote.” Ms. Serena asked whether it would be helpful to deliberate without anyone listening to them. The Disputes Committee members then proceeded to huddle together (please do yourself a favor and go see the photo on the Roundup Bloomz post) and discussed their feelings on the matter. Ultimately, one of them voted in favor of an Eagle Buck being taken away and the other two voted against it. While they weren’t unanimous in their decision— it was clear that the exercise was helpful and would carry on as a Disputes Committee best practice.

Thursday also saw the first Aim Academy Attribute Award given out. This session, the Aim Academy Attribute was responsibility. We launched on it several times throughout the session, and observed an uptick in both individual and collective responsibility within the community. Due to the special nature of this award, Eagles cast their vote by writing it on a piece of paper and giving it to a Guide. It ultimately came down to a re-vote between two Eagles— Salomon and Israel. Ultimately, Israel ended up winning by one vote. The studio clapped and cheered for their fellow traveler who they saw grow before their eyes. In his acceptance speech, he touched on how he used to leave things all over the studio and how he's been trying to better keep track of his stuff. He ended with— “And after getting this award, now I will be even MORE responsible.” Gotta love it!

During Town Hall on Friday, an important topic was brought forth that has been discussed a couple times before— “The House Cup should not happen because there’s too much pressure and people get too into it.” After both sides had made their case— an Eagle, who was pro-House Cup, made a final effort to persuade his fellow travelers. He said that he feels like the House Cup has helped to motivate him, and others in the studio, to challenge themselves to work hard every day during Core Skills. With the House Cup hanging in the balance, he drove himself to earn 3 badges to push his House over the line. His case ended up convincing his peers on the other side, as all nine Eagles present voted unanimously to keep the House Cup. 

“We do not learn from experience... we learn from reflecting on experience.” - John Dewey

This is why the Friday following the Exhibition is so important. Today, we were able to reflect on the successes, challenges and missed opportunities from this session. What do you think went well at the Exhibition? What could be improved next time? What did you learn about yourself during this Quest? What did you spend most of your Quest time on and why? The Guides posed a host of questions and the Eagles silently reflected in their Hero Journals for 10 minutes. Afterwards, we came back together as a group to talk through these questions. Some Eagles wished they would have spent less time at the PLAY Lab and more time on their game. Others thought they could have spent more time on preparations for the Exhibition.

Experience and reflection are the cornerstones of Aim Academy. At our core, we are a school that provides a safe space for students to try new things, make mistakes and learn from them. In the Hero’s Journey— it isn’t about hitting the right notes all the time. It is about falling down, getting back up and continuing the journey. Oftentimes, life lessons in time management and prioritization happen during the first year of college, or even well into adulthood. Yet— the Aim Academy Eagles exercise these muscles everyday. They will be ready to change the world in no time.

We hope y’all have a wonderful break! 

Kind regards,
Aim Guides

Hi, I'm Lance Stewart.

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

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