Hello Aim Academy Families,
Five weeks down, one to go. Which means that the Exhibition is next week! Please join us for the Session 4 Exhibition of Learning this Thursday, February 11th from 12:00—1:00pm. Throughout this session, the Eagles have been designing their games for the “Game Expo” and are excited to have y’all play test them!
Stories have played a central role in shaping communities around the world for millennia. At Aim Academy, we place stories at the center of everything we do— namely through the Hero’s Journey. The Hero’s Journey is the primary metaphor for life as an Aim Academy Eagle, and the foundation of our “Learning to Be” experiences. Several times a day, you will hear the Hero’s Journey evoked in our studio— whether during a Socratic Discussion or in a 1 on 1 conversation. This week, we wanted to share the impact that the Hero’s Journey has had on the lives of Eagles in our studio.
What distinguishes a Hero is not their successes or talents, but their ability to get back up after a fall. Several times in one’s Hero’s Journey they will fall down, and it is in their resolve to get back up and continue the journey which truly makes them a Hero. The Aim Academy Eagles understand this— both theoretically and experientially.
On the first day of Session 4, we launched our new Overarching Question— “Are heroes made or born?” One Eagle has consistently maintained that heroes are made— relaying that only through experiences do people have the opportunity to become heroes. They contend that this is particularly true when someone goes through challenging experiences. Some experiences will give you the opportunity to help a fellow traveler. Others will lead to failure. But it is getting back up after falling, she says, which leads to becoming a Hero.
This past week, there were a couple instances in which Eagles faced an obstacle on the “Road of Trials” in their Hero’s Journey. One Eagle was visibly down after a particularly intense game of Kickball. They felt that a friend had crossed a line in disparaging their kicking abilities. After a few minutes of self reflection, this Eagle took the courageous step of meeting with a mentor. After talking through some guiding questions— the Eagle decided that fellow travelers should be able to work through issues and that they would bring it up by the end of the day. The conversation happened, and afterwards, both Eagles were visibly happy and playing together again. This Hero chose not to fall prey to victimhood, rather, they took the time to process their emotions and solve their own problem in an act of self-service. Our community is stronger for it.
Monday served as a high energy day in the studio. Two brand-new math programs— Beast Academy and Reflex Math were launched. The Eagles were ecstatic— and spent nearly all of Core Skills exploring these new learning tools. Beast Academy provides a comprehensive math curriculum in which students learn concepts by solving math puzzles. In doing so, an Eagle can earn several stickers a day by completing challenges. Over time, they can even earn a Beast Academy Badge! Reflex Math is a quick paced, highly-gamified program that helps students practice mental math (i.e. times tables and division tables). An Eagle can only earn one sticker per day on Reflex after hitting the green light (15 minutes of concentrated effort).
Later in the week, one Eagle asked a fellow traveler why they were spending nearly all of their Core Skills time on Reflex Math. To which the Eagle replied— “because it is really fun and I just unlocked a new game.” The Eagle paused, and said, “sometimes, it's best to tackle ‘the hard stuff’ because there is a bigger reward later.” They continued by sharing an analogy from their home life— they love playing video games, but also understand that there are chores, like yard work, that need to be done. Sure, video games are really fun, but they know that if they complete the yard work that they will help their family (and maybe even get ice cream!) Their fellow traveler considered this for a moment, finished their final game on Reflex Math and dove into Beast Academy.
Eagles also have the opportunity to earn a Hero Badge by completing “Learning to Be” challenges. These include completing 10 random acts of kindness, writing a thank you note to a fellow traveler, doing a service project, serving a full 6 week term on a committee or holding 5 friends accountable to the contract (as well as several others). The Hero Badge itself serves as a tangible reminder of one’s growth in their Hero’s Journey. Something they can feel, something they can share. Yet it is in the journey to the badge— the grateful smile they receive from a friend after delivering a handwritten thank you note or the character callout they receive from a fellow traveler for a random act of kindness, that is the real reward.
Hope to see y’all next week at the Exhibition!
Mr. Lance and Mr. Daniel