This session, TVS heroes have been writing science-based stories. While you may feel like we are living a science-fiction novel right now, you might enjoy losing yourself in this alternate reality written by a hero.

April 28, 2058, this was the day “The Incident” happened. Oh, you haven’t heard about that yet? Well, are you sure you want to know? Ok, ok, fine I’ll tell you, although it is not a tale I tell often. Why is my name The Narrator? I have no clue why they named me that, but you wanted to hear a story so I suppose I’ll tell it to you.

April 28, 2058, 3:42 PM 

[Yes I know you already know]

This was the day they finally got a monkey into a computer file. In the state of the art DNA R&D faculty (they had a sign in the lobby saying things like “If you put all the DNA molecules in your body end to end, the DNA would reach from the Earth to the Sun and back over 600 times” or “Every human being shares 99.9% of their DNA with every other human”) It was a monkey because humans share 98.7% of your DNA in common with them. It still took a while because the human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA (the other option was mice, humans share 85% of their DNA with a mouse). They were celebrating and they also wanted to get a creature into it, they edited the genetic code to be able to transfer it over. It was done using the B-84 prototype, which can change the properties of nucleic acid, which makes up DNA. Using this device, they transferred a monkey to their computer file. Everything was fine until they waited to see how long it could stay as a file. At 9:36 PM they got a ransomware virus (If you don’t know what that is, its a virus the encrypts your files and has you pay a fee to get them back), the scientists were scared for the experiment so they paid the fee (use virus protection to prevent this in real life) but a couple of files didn’t decrypt, including the monkey, they tried to see if the monkey was ok not knowing at the time that the monkey’s DNA was messed up and that the code running the decrypting process was also bugged.

The de-computerization process messed up and the computer got the location wrong

The Monkey landed on his side in a park next to the DNA R&D facility after Instantaneously appearing in it. Only this monkey was much smarter than before, he hid and snuck behind a skyscraper, unbeknown to him, he had been injected with a small tracker, back at the DNA R&D facility they were in a state of sheer panic,

“NO, NOT JACK!” one of the scientists yelled

 “We can find him trough the genetic tracking device by matching his DNA sequence”

“That doesn’t work remember, genes make up only about 3 percent of human and monkey DNA”

 they called the FBI to come and capture the monkey, which had turned an odd shade of green and at this point was knocking over trash cans. The FBI thought the team at DNA R&D facility was mentally insane.

The monkey was in an alleyway when he saw a way to get to the main street, after walking there he saw the window of a bakery, his brain having been altered, he really wanted a doughnut so he smashed the window with a rock and grabbed it. It was made of plastic of course so the monkey didn’t like it. The people inside the bakery screamed and ran from the monkey on first sight. The noise made the monkey even crazier, he started running around and eventually climbing on balconies.

Meanwhile, the scientists were panicking trying to convince the FBI they are not insane and they just need help. Eventually, they decided to go do it themselves and they got in a car and drove around the city desperately trying to find the monkey. They put up lots of posters and they put up posters all around the city. 

Monkey that is green for some reason

If found, please call 1-555-DNA-LAB

Reward $1000

The people living there also thought they were mentally insane and some of them tried to kick the scientists out. This went on for half an hour until they came across the monkey. All the citizens screamed and ran away. The monkey cased them, then the FBI inspectors came. They were shocked. They called a military team immediately and within 5 min they came and tried to find the monkey.

There was a sewer cover that was left open that happened to be the secret entrance to the Anarchists’ secret hideout. Anarchists were a group of people who didn’t like the laws and the government. No laws or anything. The monkey fell in, and there was a room.

“Aw shucks. You didn’t close the sewer cover all the way, Joe.”

“Don’t worry, John, it’s just a monkey, it’s not a person. Don’t worry about it. It seems the zoo’s not treating him too well. We will just give him some bananas to keep him quiet. He clearly doesn’t like the people either.”

The room had concrete walls and a couple of mismatched posters of random tv shows. One poster was of the monkey.

“Wait a minute joe, that monkey is wanted”

“Great then we can be friends, monkey”

The people down there had heard about the monkey and agreed to help him. So the group of outlaws and the monkey went into the main city and charged the investigators, the FBI had not arrived yet so they tried to stop the investigators. The investigators were in a coffee shop and were enjoying themselves. Then the Anarchists and the monkey barged in and started attacking people and they demanded that the investigators put their hands up and call off the FBI. The investigators said no and that they had taken FBI hand-to-hand combat training for emergencies.

Both sides fought with their hands and feet. Punch. Kick. Jab. Bang. The investigators won due to the fancy training they had. The Anarchists ran away with the monkey as fast as they could. The investigators were trailing not too far behind. The monkey tripped on a rock. Everyone else ran off. At the last moment, a black SUV with tinted windows, full of FBI agents, pulled up. The doors opened, the FBI agents dragged the monkey to the car, locked him in a cage, and drove away.

******

That’s all we know so far. So now, Chris, you’re going to get the monkey. You’re going to do this because you’re the best. And because I feel like making you doing it.

“Wha- w- wh- Why me?” says Chris.

Because I feel like making you do it. I mean, Umm, You’re going to be a hero. You’re going to accomplish great things. I think.

“Bu- b- but I don’t want to,” says Chris.

Just go do it!

*** The story of Chris ***

So I’m supposed to get a monkey and people will praise me? I don’t think it’ll be too hard. All this walking is really tiring. I’m getting close to the address The Narrator gave me. Here it is, the FBI building. What if I just ask the guards politely if I can go in?

“Ex- E- Excuse me. C- c- can you let me in?”

“Get out of here, kid!” said the guy at the barbed wire gate.

“Okay.”

I go behind a tree and fall into a random hole. At the bottom of it is an air shaft. I crawl around in it like in the movies. But of course, this isn’t the movie so they have security cameras. Alarms start blaring, and some guards crawl toward me.

“Ah, it’s just a little boy. What can he do?”

“He looks about 13. What do you mean little?”

“Oh shush, Jerry.”

Just then an Anarchist stabs him. Then the Anarchist says, “Go kid!” So I crawl as fast as I can, looking through every hole in the vent to see if the monkey is in the room. Eventually, I come to the scientist’s room and there he is. In the room, there are a few scientists in lab coats. One is a computer. The monkey is in a glass cage with scanners and monitors around him. There are also a couple of science things lying around on tables as well as some more monitors and random wires. The scientists are overheard saying, “We ran a DNA test on him. He is apparently more Irish now. Don’t bananas share 50% of our DNA?”  “No, that’s 50% of our genes, only 1% of our DNA.”

A fly comes over the guard’s head and he looks up and sees me. He shouts “There’s a guy watching us!” And he shoots at the vent cover. And vent cover comes off. “Oh shoot! That’s my last bullet.”

“Ok, I have permission to fire now. Thanks, Greg! I get to do something fun now!”

“*Sighs* Ok, fine you can shoot, but don-”

I jump down from the vent on top of the guard with bullets and knock him over. The scientists are so scared they don’t do anything. I grab the gun with bullets and shoot the other guard with it. One of the scientists tries to hit me with a test tube and he misses. The liquid inside the test tube splashes on the alarm. I duck out of the way, and the test tube hits the cage, breaking it. The monkey comes out of the cage and jumps on the scientists and knocks them out. I see a tranquilizer on the wall, with the label “Tranquilizer”. I take it and jab it into the monkey, and the monkey falls to the ground. The Anarchist comes into the room. I give the address of the narrator to the Anarchist to take the monkey. I’m about to run away when I hear some guards talking outside the door. I scramble up the air shaft as fast as I can. But the guards heard me. I crawl as fast as I can. I hear them coming down the shaft. Then, everything went black.

I wake up being dragged down a hall by some guards. 

“Aw shoot Jim he woke up,” says a guard.

“Darn it! Knock him out bill”

I free myself and start running, they shoot at me, but they miss. I frantically try to get away. I look for an exit for what seems like forever. Then I realize I can jump out a window. I smash the window with a potted plant I picked up from the hall and jump out. I land in a bush and run. I don’t think anyone saw me, but then I hear the guards. To throw them off I go back into the building, I don’t think it’s a good idea when I hear guards behind me. I dash into a room but I think the guards saw me, I look around frantically and realize its the room the monkey was in. I realize I can upload myself to the internet and live forever but I’ll be lonely. Or, I can fight the guards and risk going to jail. I have to make up my mind quickly. I hear the gauds saying they see me. I panic and start trying to figure out how to put myself on the internet. The guards rush in and I jump at the sound of the guards. I fall on the computer and get sucked in.

***

You live in a nice peaceful neighborhood a couple of houses away from the narrator, but you never forget what happened that day.

The 10 Science Facts in this Story:

  1. DNA is made of nucleic acid
  2. You share 98.7% of your DNA in common with chimpanzees and bonobos
  3. Every human being shares 99.9% of their DNA with every other human
  4. You share 85% of your DNA with a mouse
  5. The human genome contains 3 billion base pairs of DNA
  6. Genes make up only about 3 percent of your DNA
  7. Your DNA could link you to places you’d never imagine
  8. A DNA test can reveal you’re more Irish than your siblings
  9. If you put all the DNA molecules in your body end to end, the DNA would reach from the Earth to the Sun and back over 600 times
  10. You share 50 percent of your DNA with each of your parents. But with bananas, we share about 50 percent of our genes, which turns out to be only about 1 percent of our DNA

A Bump in a Hero’s Journey

ES Session 6: Week 5

Last week, a hero submitted his Newsela Badge. The Newsela Badge is designed to improve non-fiction reading and a hero must master 30 articles to move to the next level.

When this hero submitted the badge, he was proud that he had worked hard to complete the challenge. What he didn’t realize was that 14 of his 30 articles had disappeared. Nearly half of his work was gone.

As a guide, I made a comment on his badge. I thought that he had simply forgotten to post a third picture of the missing articles. I posted the comment, figured that he would fix it soon, and moved on.

I didn’t know that his work had disappeared. I didn’t hear a complaint about this weird system glitch. The next thing I heard was nearly a week later…

“Oh yeah, my Newsela got messed up,” he explained. “I have a plan to do 1 article a day until I catch up.”

This was mind-blowing.

Think to yourself about the last time that you were hit with unforseen circumstances. Maybe a restaurant messed up your dinner reservation and you had to wait an extra 30 minutes. Or an important email got shifted into spam and caused company delays.

Or back in the days of Microsoft Word, you were writing a term paper, forgot to hit save, and you lost the last 5 pages you had written right before the deadline (definitely not recalling a real memory).

You would be irate. Even the best among us would complain (often and loudly). 

But this hero didn’t do that. He did not try to blame others. He did not try to reason that he should be exempt from the full requirement. This hero accepted that this task was his responsibility and made a plan to finish the work. (And he sent the company an email to see if they could fix the problem for himself and others.)

In this pandemic, every day we are challenged to accept what we cannot change, so that we can move forward and do the best with what we have. I’m grateful for this elegant example from a hero.

Problem? Problem-solved

ES Session 6: Week 4

“You cant do it”

This week, the heroes have been creating songs as part of the Music Producer Quest. One hero worked hard on his drumbeat and then posted his first draft online. A fellow hero commented, “you cant do it.”

This hero was heartbroken. He had put a lot of effort into his song. He knew the comment broke the studio contract. But it was also personal- he considered this fellow traveler a close friend.

In Town Hall, the hero brought up the incident. Even though he was sad, he explained it clearly and succinctly. The other hero was dismayed. “Sorry!” he said, “I meant to say- you can do it. I must have typed a ‘t’ accidentally.”

He fixed the comment and that was it. Problem solved. 

Sometimes, we forget that children are more resilient than we think, especially when they are given the right tools. A unique part of TVS is Town Hall Meeting because it allows learners to solve problems together.

Other problems brought up in Town Hall Meeting this week: independent scheduling for Wednesday, asking for peer approvals, and making a system fair for everyone. 

How do you empower great problem-solvers? Give them lots of problems to solve!

Brave New Writing

ES Session 6: Week

“It is not the strongest of the species that survives nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one most adaptable to change.” – Charles Darwin

The scientist in me really loves this quote. Approximately 2 months ago, the world began to change rapidly. We had a call to action to adapt all our lives; for school, this meant moving our community online.

There have been many tough moments. While it is easy to get bogged down in them, it helps to focus on the silver lining. This is a time of innovation. A chance to explore new methods and re-discover the tried and true. For me, this means an opportunity to develop a new Writer’s Workshop.

In this Writer’s Workshop, heroes enter the world of science fiction. They have a mission: saving the town from radioactive sheep, surviving severe weather, or escaping the sphinx. The missions themselves are examples of science fiction and they provide a launch point for heroes to develop their own stories.

The gameboards are flexible and adaptive: heroes can complete missions at their own pace. They can choose to write many stories or focus intently on one story. Heroes chose topics ranging from astronauts to animals. The primary goal is to write! To use their imagination to create a new world.

Perhaps you need a little escapism at the moment. Here is an underwater adventure by one of the ES heroes:

Once upon a time…There was a sea turtle named Shelly and a seahorse named Zoom Zoom. Their friendship was highly unusual in the ocean world, because Zoom Zoom was the smallest of all 53 species of seahorses. In fact Zoom Zoom was less than 1inch tall! Shelly was a Leatherback sea turtle which is the largest type of sea turtle in the ocean. She was more than 7 feet long! So they really had a special relationship. Like most Leatherbacks, Shelly had great eyesight and an excellent sense of smell. That is how Shelly found Zoom Zoom one day after her 10,000 mile journey across the ocean that year. Their friendship began in a beautiful coral reef off the coast of California two years ago. The day they met, a current pushed Zoom Zoom onto Shelly’s back. At first, she did not know that a seahorse was on her back because he was so tiny! When Zoom Zoom tried to get off of Shelly’s back, Shelly then noticed the movement of Zoom Zoom, and they started to talk. They have had many adventures together ever since. 

One day, while they were swimming side by side, they spotted some litter.They both noticed that ocean pollution and litter was getting worse and worse lately. In fact, some parts of their stunning, colorful coral reef were actually turning white, and dying. Many species of fish had gone away looking for new homes.

Shelly went to try to move the litter away from the reef, but Zoom Zoom was worried. Zoom Zoom tried to stop Shelly, but she was already hard at work. Shelly was picking up a plastic ring and tried to throw it out of the reef, but a big strong current thrust it right back to Shelly. It landed around Shelly’s neck! She tried to take it off, but it was stuck! Zoom Zoom tried to help pull the ring off, but the ring would not budge.

Zoom Zoom went to get help, but while he was gone a fisherman’s boat came bobbing through the water. Some men were in the boat. They put a net around Shelly, and hoisted her into the boat. Shelly saw something gleaming in one of the fisherman’s hands, it was a knife! Shelly tried to squirm away but they held her tight, but then Shelly felt the plastic ring getting looser and looser around her neck, they were cutting the plastic ring off her neck!

Meanwhile Zoom Zoom had gotten help but he did not see Shelly anywhere! He looked for her all day, and was about to go back home to go to bed when he heard something. He swam towards the sound and found Shelly! He thought Shelly was in danger because the fishermen still had the knife in his hand. He tried to cause big waves to throw shelly out of the boat, but he could only make little splashes. 

Just then the fishermen put Shelly back in the water, and the friends swam away. Shelly told Zoom Zoom that the fishermen were helping her get out from the plastic ring, and showed Zoom Zoom that the ring was now gone! They swam back to their houses, said good night, and went to bed.   

 TVS Heroes are brilliant and adaptive. They jump into new challenges, just like this one!      

Mission Complete

ES Session 6: Week 2

What are the benefits of a learner-driven environment? I could point to scientific studies on intrinsic motivation or educational leaders who point to the future of learning. But sometimes, it is simply easier to show you.

For the past two weeks, the Wolfpack has been learning from home. It is the ultimate test of independence. Certainly, heroes have struggled and run into obstacles, but they have also persevered, been resilient, and found success. Here are a couple of their stories.

Mission: Build a Boat

Heroes came up with creative designs to transport 25 passengers (pennies) at a speedy pace. 

Mission: Write a science-based story

Heroes are trying a new type of Writers’ Workshop this session. They each have a gameboard and level up by writing. This story comes from The Story Spine Challenge, based on Pixar’s world-class storytelling method. The first part was created by a guide as a prompt and the second half imagined and written by a hero.

Once upon a time there was a beautiful bee named Benji. Unlike normal honey bees, he was brassy green and aquamarine blue. His colors were so exquisite, it was like he carried a painting on his back. Everyday, Benji would fly around his forest in southern Mexico. He collected nectar from flowers and even fungi, but his favorite collection spot was the Orchid flower. Oh! Benji was overwhelmed with the scents: eucalyptus rolled into vanilla and spiced with wintergreen. Nothing else smelled like an orchid.

One day, Benji was drifting through the forest and saw a special flower- a Bucket Orchid. It was most fragrant and delicious flower he had ever smelled. He landed gently on a pedal. “This smells like heaven!” he thought to himself. He couldn’t wait to collect the scent and store it for his scent collection. Benji had special scraper hairs just for that purpose.

He was leaning forward to reach the first scent-patch when ploop! He fell down into the flower and was suddenly stuck in a patch of water.

Because of that…  Benji struggled in the water for a bit, afraid of not being able to get out, or getting stuck under water and drowning, for bees can not, just like humans, breath under water. Benji really wished he had gills then he could just stay in the patch of water and not worry about getting out. He used all his strength and tried to grow gills, It did not work. “Darn!” He thought (But in bee language) He needed to find another way to get out. It could be days until a fellow bee found him.

Because of that…  Benji franticly searched for a way of escape, He wished he could rip the flower, but unfortunately he was not strong enough to do that, and he had left his tiny bee sized tools at home this day. He tried to rip the petal with his stinger, so no success, the petal was just out of reach. He could feel the oxygen becoming low, that was bad. Because bees just like humans also need oxygen. He could not move from the water. He Came to the decision if he were going to get out, he needed to get rid of this water first.

Because of that… He searched for a way to get rid of the water, he could try to dump it out. But how? He could try to move to the other side to tilt the flower.. No that wouldn’t work He is not nearly heavy enough to to tilt it. He could try to scoop it out, but to his disappointment, he did not have hands. Benji felt there was no way to escape. He had lost all hope and came the conclusion that this was his fate. But then he had an idea! If he could not remove the water the water from the flower, then he would drink it! He began to drink the water “This has to work!” He thought. He quickly drinked the water. Although it was not all water, it had hints of nectar in it, being in a flower. This did not bother benji at all it gave the water flavor. He drank until he could not any more. “Oh no!” He could not drink it all! He decided he had to try anyways. There was nothing else he could do. Three.. Two.. One.. Fly!

Until finally…  It worked! He flew he got out. He debated going back to finish the flower, but that did not seem like a good idea. He was too full anyways. Next time he would be sure to be VERY carful.

Mission: Use the past to decide the future

Two times a week, the Wolfpack comes together for Civilization. This session, they are exploring the Middle Ages from the perspective of different countries. A recent question was inspired from explorers to the New World: should the new continent have been named America after Amerigo Vespucci, Columbia after Columbus, or something else since people were already living there? A hero answered, “I think it should be something else. Columbus enslaved people and didn’t treat them fairly.” A second hero agreed, “Plus, the Vikings were actually the first ones to land in Canada.” Pretty cool to be a history buff and evaluate through a different lens.

In sum, the heart of a learner-driven environment is that students care about the things that they create. 

A Hero needs help! Useful Tips for Parents

Things are humming along merrily at home until that moment when your hero says, “I don’t get it! I need help.” Productivity grinds to a halt. Your hero is lost, you are lost- what to do?

Don’t worry! Heroes run into obstacles all the time in the studio. Obstacles are magical moments when a) you know your hero is invested in his/her learning and b) he/she has an opportunity for growth. This is a chance to become even more independent and empowered.

What is the next step? Here are some common scenarios with follow-up questions you can ask:

It is 1:15. Your hero just finished Quest launch and is excited to start building a boat. But she has no idea where to start and she can’t find any materials. She comes to you to ask for help.

  • What resources are available to you? 
  • Would you rather contact a buddy, read the challenge again, or speak to Ms. Sarah?
  • Would you rather find the materials yourself or go over the schedule the night before and we can find them together?

Quests can be challenging! Even though we are not together in the studio, your hero has lots of resources: contact a running partner, join Ms. Sarah on the Zoom meeting, find the posted challenge on Journey Tracker. Some families have found that it is helpful to review the schedule for the next day each night to get supplies together.

It is time for an online meeting. Your hero knows he is supposed to be online but he isn’t sure how to join the Zoom meeting or if it is optional or not.

  • Have you joined a Zoom meeting before? How did you do it?
  • What do you see on the schedule that could help you?
  • I notice that you’re really stuck. Would you like to email Ms. Sarah or contact your running partner?

Our heroes are pretty tech-savvy, but even technological natives are bound to run into glitches. Point your hero toward the daily schedule. Required online meetings are 9:00 AM, 11:00 AM, and 1:00 PM. We try to keep that schedule as consistent as possible. If a meeting is optional, it will say ‘optional’ on the schedule. 

To further help heroes, there is now one Zoom meeting room for all meetings. (This is a change from previous weeks.) Additionally, there is a Zoom password as well. This password can be found at the top of the schedule, along with the Zoom link.

Your hero has been very focused for the first hour of Core Skills but now she is bouncing off the walls- literally! 

  • What helps you learn best: working for a long time or intensely focusing for 20 minutes and then taking a short break?
  • What kind of a break helps you reset the best? (Going outside, Yoga, Art, PE, or reading a book?)
  • How could you organize your schedule to include these things?

Heroes will have almost 2 hours of morning Core Skills work every day this session. One reason is because some heroes are working very hard on earning badges before the end of the year. Another reason is flexibility. Your hero can create his/her best learning environment.

The most important thing to remember: surprise, it is possible your hero is acting differently at home! In the studio, heroes often know how to solve problems but find that it is challenging. At home, they might come to you in the hopes of an easy way out. Stay strong! Redirect with a question. Often short-term struggle leads to greater long-term success.

Curiosity

ES Session 6: Week 1

“The future belongs to the curious. The ones who are not afraid to try it, explore it, poke at it, question it, and turn it inside out.” – Unknown

This session, the heroes are on an adventure to grow their curiosity and see the world with a fresh perspective and open mind. This is the Building Curiosity Quest. The first destination was the deep sea!

“What would it be like if humans lived in the ocean?” “Will the ocean ever run out of fish?” “What effect does the moon have on the ocean over time?” 

Learning from home doesn’t mean you can’t travel!

These are just a couple of questions that drove hero research. Their research took them from the salmon runs of Alaska to the jellyfish at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.  Today, they will share their discoveries in our Research Symposium. 

Heroes created Sacred Spaces to work at home, figuring out their best learning environments

The Building Curiosity Quest is a series of mini-Quests: week-long challenges with a new topic revealed each week. Even more exciting, our oldest heroes are currently designing their own quests and will lead the studio for a week on their chosen topic. 

I can’t reveal any more because I am sworn to solemn topic-secrecy but aren’t you curious about what they will choose?

More adventures to come next week!

Putting Together Puzzles

ES Session 5: Week 4

I was 10 years old the last time I did a jigsaw puzzle. But yesterday, I was inspired. I unwrapped the plastic from the box and spilled 1000 pieces on my kitchen counter. 

It was going to be challenging. The picture was 50 people reading classic books, except the books had alternate titles like “The Adventures of Strawberry Finn” and “Pride and Prune Juice”. I wasn’t sure where to start so I sorted by color and clicked titles together. The challenge was fun.

Doing a puzzle is a process. All pieces are important. But you can’t see exactly where individual pieces fit without the big picture. And once you have the big picture, then you no longer see the individual pieces.

At The Village School, our big picture is that every hero who enters our doors is capable of changing the world. What are the individual puzzle pieces?

Obviously, there are a lot of puzzle pieces that make our community special. I’d like to highlight just one today: Squad Meeting.

Heroes pulling up Journey Tracker

Squad meetings happen at the beginning and end of each week. During the meeting, Squad Leaders check-in with the group and provide coaching or feedback. They ask reflection questions, like…

  • What do you want to Start, Stop, and Continue?
  • Which rubber band did you stretch this week: math or reading?
  • What was one highlight of your week? One lowlight?

 Squads challenge each other and keep each other honest.

The meeting is an accountability puzzle piece and it is entirely learner-led.

These Squad Meetings happen rain or shine- even in a pandemic, our learners met virtually. They were flexible. One hero taught another hero how to use the screen share function. I met everyone’s pets at the Squad Leader weekly meeting.

Big picture- TVS heroes are independent learners. But their radical independence is built on interdependence within a community. And even during a pandemic, our heroes connect to make a pretty cool picture (just like puzzle pieces!)

The Best Place for Play

Spark and ES Field Trip

Where can you climb a tower, pan for gems in a stream, and score the winning goal? The answer is Mason District Park!

Yesterday, the Spark and Elementary Studios took a surprise field trip to the park. We enjoyed the spring sunshine with an afternoon of play time.

Experts say that play is essential for children. And not just because it is fun.

Children develop critical skills through play. Yesterday, I saw our heroes improve physical coordination as they navigated the monkey bars and spinning lily pads. Heroes finding creative solutions to building bridges and forts. Older heroes playing and mentoring younger heroes. New friendships sprouting.

The Village School is experience-driven and we strive to create meaningful opportunities both inside and out of the studio.

And sometimes you just need the perfect spot for play, like a park. We are lucky that it is right down the road!

Are you a Math Master or an Art Connoisseur?

ES Week 2: Session 5

If you are a Elementary Hero, the answer is both!

This week, the heroes began a 4-week course to becoming masters of math. This course is a series of launches and activities that emphasize important character traits for a hero (and for learning math). Character traits like…

  1. Growth mindset: I’m not good at this yet
  2. “Slow is smooth and smooth is fast,” or persistence and perseverance are more important than being ‘smart’. 
  3. Insight & Reflection: what tools work best for you? 

The ES Heroes also show their creativity this week as they began Artistic Expression. This set of badges invites heroes to explore art, music, and theater. As a microschool, we are not an arts academy, but we can offer heroes an opportunity to cultivate their passions. This session, they can create an art portfolio, direct and perform in a play, or teach themselves piano.

These two heroes are working on a duet.

Both programs compliment our character-based education. In a rapidly developing society, it is difficult to predict what knowledge and skills will be useful in the future. That’s why the best tool to develop for the future is yourself!