Core Skills and Morning Work

What does a typical morning at The Village School look like? While each studio is different, heroes in Spark, Discovery, and Adventure all begin the morning with a launch and socratic discussion in their studio. Spark heroes then transition into their Morning Work time and Discovery and Adventure studios spend the morning working on Core Skills.

Morning Work in Spark

After the morning circle, Spark heroes spread throughout the Spark Studio and Spark Lab for Morning Work. During this time, learners master early reading, writing, and math skills through both guided and independent activities. Learners can choose to work with the materials or activities they have had already had a lesson on or ask a guide for a lesson on a new material. They are encouraged to find work that is challenging for them and can ask guides to give them one-on-one lessons on new material or as an extension with already familiar materials. Some days most heroes work independently and other days are full of collaboration, but each day Spark heroes can be found working with materials that have either a math, reading, writing, practical life, sensorial, or cultural focus.

At the beginning of Session 2, Spark heroes began using their work plans, a tool that helps them track their work each day, set goals, and work on materials in math, reading/writing, sensorial, practical life, and cultural areas. The other day one of Spark’s youngest learners approached me, enthusiastically holding up her work plan to say that she was “so proud” of herself for working on all five areas that morning. 

An example of a Spark work plan

Core Skills in Discovery

After the morning launch in Discovery, the heroes have time to meet with their squads to check in with each other, ask questions, share, and set individual goals. They then transition into Core Skills time, spreading throughout the Discovery Library and Discovery Lab, where they work independently on building strong foundations in math, reading, and writing. Discovery heroes are learning how to manage their time and prioritize their work. Some learners create daily checklists for themselves, many set SMART goals on Journey Tracker, and others are still working to find a system that works for them. 

The morning schedule on Wednesday

Recently, Discovery heroes were given the opportunity to write their weekly goals on the whiteboard and many showed excitement to do so. Others chose not to. Guides hold guide meetings during Core Skills, where learners can raise concerns or talk about areas they are succeeding and/or struggling, and guides can hold up the mirror, saying things like “I’ve heard you say you want to work on _____, but I’ve seen you _____.” Or “I notice you’ve been setting daily SMART goals in math, but not in reading. What’s stopping you from setting reading goals?” Between squad meetings, guide meetings, setting SMART goals, and sharing weekly goals, Discovery heroes are given the opportunity to problem solve and to find a system that works for them so they are able to continue to challenge themselves during Core Skills time and explore their emerging passions and interests.

Core Skills in Adventure

Core Skills time in Adventure is similar to Core Skills in Discovery. Heroes work on math, reading, writing, Quest, or Civilization. Adventure heroes spend 45 minutes on math and 45 minutes on reading each day so that they are able to complete their Core Skills badges by the end of the year. Every other day they spend 30 minutes researching for Civilization to prepare themselves for their Civilization discussion. Adventure heroes generally use Fridays to catch up or make progress on Character or Skills badges. They are learning how to prioritize their work and are continuing to challenge themselves, explore their interests, and make progress on their long-term goals.

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