As a school year goes on, the Acton guide slowly disappear further into the background as Eagles take ownership of their studio. The know-it-all adult wants to step in and go “Work harder. Do better. Be nicer.” This could not be more antithetical to independent learning.

The journey towards learner ownership of a studio involves a LOT of struggle and failure. In fact, ownership cannot happen without said failure. It also involves adults and guides asking themselves what actual failure looks like. Sometimes I watch the Eagles during their Core Skills and think, ‘Why do some of them only choose to read?’ I have to step back and remember that a kid who wants to read is a wonderful thing. How could that be wrong? Is that failure? The other Core Skills aren’t going anywhere. They aren’t running out of time to finish them. If they do, then the pressure starts and they will realize what they have to get done. It will happen, if they made every right choice from the beginning, would there even be a point to them being here?

As you saw at our last Exhibition of Learning, they’ve worked hard on their Frank Lloyd Wright Architecture Quest. It was an excellent opportunity for some tactile, STEM-based learning about long term planning and execution. They have had a blast learning and implementing all the steps of the conception, design, and building process that makes up the Architecture Quest. We’ve had some first-rate guests with valuable insight into the process, including Eagle dad Scott Lindsay.

Additionally, they took home their Writer’s Workshop stories to finish over the break and put their final illustrations into their manuscripts. We did Science Fiction and the learners have had a great time doing research into biology, geology, physics, and astronomy and applying what they’ve learned within a creative framework. Their final products are pretty epic.

We have big plans in 2019, including a Coding & Robotics Quest, a second field trip after our awesome journey to the Center for Puppetry Arts, more ambitious writing projects, a multi-week Process Drama with help from the Serenbe Playhouse, and (most exciting!) the completion of some hard-earned badges.