Acton Academy Omaha

A sweet scent

Excitement and energy were humming as the heroes came back to school last week, ready to start Session #7, our final session for the year. As the new Quest and Writer’s Workshop challenges were introduced, along with some fun incentives like a tie dye shirt party for accomplishing Exhibition work early and a splash park and popsicles party on the last day of school if they fill up their “conflict resolution” jar, cheers of joy filled our ears and movements of motivation inspired our hearts.

As the week continued on, we began to notice increased unity and transformation in the Elementary studio, where EVERY hero earned enough points for Friday Fun – even one day early – and heroes who had been trailing at the end began leading toward the front with points earned. Questions flowed from their curiosity during Quest, and they began their own research projects to showcase at Exhibition for this Session’s theme, “Growing Curiosity”.

“How do you code a video game?”
“Why do rivers flow into oceans?”
“Where do poisonous mushrooms grow?”
“How high can you fall when skydiving without a parachute and still survive?”
“How do you be a friend?”

Yet as we circled up to reflect one afternoon, we heard words that surprised and inspired us. Like a sweet scent you catch unexpectedly on the breeze. The heroes began reflecting on the conflict resolution challenge we had issued – and how powerful it had been for them.
“It’s like a lot of people are way less mad – because we just worked it out”
“Our studio seems a lot more peaceful now”
“I never realized I had so much conflict with _ (a good friend). We worked it out!”

It has been quite a journey for the elementary heroes to come to this conclusion about conflict resolution, even though our younger heroes have usually embraced it. Maybe it felt awkward. Maybe they didn’t know if they REALLY needed it – like a jacket that felt too big and not quite your personal style. Yet, over the past year they’ve had the space to fail forward. They’ve experienced the frustration that comes along with pushing thoughts and feelings into nooks and crannies in their hearts, and how heavy that can feel. They were ready. Now, a little nudge (a splash park challenge!) was all that was needed to help them have the courage and motivation to try it out this week – and begin to make some powerful connections about its importance in their lives.

Our youngest heroes had a BLAST this week exploring this session’s theme for them, Community Helpers. They researched in groups (with a ton of books!) different types of roles in the community, chose their favorite to continue researching to find 4 facts, created a hat for their favorite role, had fun improving skits together one afternoon, and finished off the week with a “coffee shop poetry reading experience” where they discovered they COULD write their own Haiku poem riddles, all about a chosen community helper role.

Such a fun-filled week with these special groups of heroes! They are continuing to discover who they are and find synergy in accomplishing their goals and building their tribes.