Week 9 in Review: Justice, Equality & Opportunity

Our elementary learners preparing for their bike tour of Pinewood Forest

Our elementary learners preparing for their bike tour of Pinewood Forest




Big big thanks to our “external experts” who visited the Studios this week to share feedback and guidance. These experts work as consultants and gave our learners feedback on the most recent versions of their project plans for the “Market Quest.” For this Quest, our heroes are consultants to Pinewood Forest in helping them redesign the Saturday family Marketfest this Spring.

A few “quick hits” about The Forest School:

  • Recently we gained accreditation from the Georgia Accreditation Commission (GAC)

  • We were invited to speak about the school at Harvard, Camp Winshape, an international conference (Hundred.org) in Finland, and a Mercedes-Benz stadium event hosted by Georgia Center for Opportunity

  • Lastly, our High School design process has begun!

And now for our Week 9 Updates…

Middle School Update:

Justice, Equality, Opportunity

How do you respond when intentionality dips in the studio? Last week, heroes were off the mark in their time on task during Core Skills. We (Co-founders and Guides) reiterated the expectation of staying focused and limiting distractions during work time.

And then we turned it over to the learners, posing the question, "So, what are you going to do?"

Heroes called a Town Hall meeting and elected "cops" to keep an eye out for game playing and other distracting activity during Core Skills time. Heroes wasted little in founding The Forest School Police Department, creating logos and the motto: "Justice, Equality, Opportunity."

The cops, eager to do their work, handed out tickets left and right. Studio-mates grew frustrated. Appeals were made. A special Town Hall meeting was gathered. Checks and balances were called for. Compromises were reached. Amendments were ratified.

And the results? Core Skills has been humming along like a well-oiled machine (for now). Heroes have stepped up their output and set more challenging goals. Consequences have been felt. And, at least this week, our standards have been upheld.

How will this experiment in self-governance play out? It's impossible to say and it certainly will be messy, but more and more learners are taking ownership of the studio. And as long as those in power strive for (and are held accountable to) the motto created by the inaugural TFS police force, "Justice, Equality, Opportunity," then our Tribe will be just fine.

Elementary Update:

It was the groan heard ‘round the world. When the heroes arrived Monday, on the first truly cool morning of Fall, they were unprepared for the bomb Lisa would drop at the morning launch. In her hands, she housed two mysteries—one a surprise for Friday, the other a challenge for the week. Once the cries of excitement over the Friday surprise had dwindled down, the heroes leaned in, eager to hear and accept their challenge.

“Is it ever good to be bored?” The heroes quickly surmised that boredom was more of a gift than a burden and rattled off countless memories of times when boredom had led them to their most creative projects, sore bellies of laughing with best friends and made up games in backyards. At the height of the discussion, the Boredom Buster challenge was launched. Each hero was charged with sacrificing their coveted Chromebooks during leisure times of the day, opting instead to embrace potential boredom and the greatness that could arise from it. Shoulders drooped and moans were long and loud, but, the challenge was accepted.

By Friday, the Chromebooks seemed a distant memory, with one hero whispering to a fellow traveler “This is the best challenge Ms. Lisa has given us.”  A group of four created a skit they performed for their peers, complete with props and a fake slap! Two young heroes created a car from cardboard and used their entire bodies to roll it around the studio. Trees were climbed, lunches revolved around studio fellowship, and new artwork was added to the walls each day.

Will they continue to limit their time behind screens when not working towards badge plan goals and Quest milestones after the challenge ends? Maybe not. But should they fall back into the throes of slither.io, I have a feeling a few leaders will issue another Boredom Buster challenge!

Enjoy your weekend!

banner image via

Tyler Thigpen