Students entered the classroom to find a new desk arrangement, inspired by their own ideas about reducing distraction and enhancing productivity. This tool served them well as they applied themselves to core skills with quiet intensity (well, not so quiet after about an hour when the Rosetta Stone headphones went on… but they quickly worked out a plan that allowed the few who weren’t doing foreign language learning to still have the quiet they wanted for their own goal-striving).
PE offered a well-timed physical break. After the tough (but getting a little easier as we get a lot stronger) Acton Insanity work-out, volleyball was a chance to merge focus and sweat into a happy competition.
History came alive in the yurt post-lunch, when a special guest archeologist (and Acton mom!) inspired the Eagles with tales from her own Hero’s Journey, digging up the past to try to solve the ongoing mystery of pre-literate human culture.
During Project Time students were challenged by the probability quest projects as well as the basic human problem of sharing space and addressing your own needs without compromising those of your community. “I’m really disappointed in the way I acted,” one student volunteered during a quick critique session on classroom behavior during the Quests. (Her offense? Getting a little too enthusiastic about probability assessment!)
“This will help me later in life, when I’m trying to decide whether to take a risk,” another offered unprompted, as the lessons learned debriefing moved from behavior critique to real world application of concepts.
Last but far from least, this wonderful group of young adults modeled curiosity, self-management, and terrific discussion and critique skills for a young visitor who skipped kindergarten to learn more about what happens in a real middle school (and find out what the heck his mom does all day)- and were the most gracious hosts imaginable. Go Eagles!!