Week 22 in Review: Learning To Live Together


PE, Art, & House Meetings!

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Middle School Update

What does sacred mean?

At the beginning of the year, as Heroes were building a contract to bind the tribe together, they made a commitment to each other to "keep the Studio sacred."

The trouble is, "sacred" means different things to different people.

For some, it means absolutely free from clutter or distraction.

For others, it means comfortable and relaxing.

Or perhaps it means inspiring and empowering.

Can a space be all of those things at the same time?

That's been the great debate here in the Middle School in recent weeks. Many Heroes have been pushing for a higher standard of Studio Maintenance, voting to draw stricter lines around the cleanliness of our space. Some have voiced their need for quieter, more intentional work time. Others have created work spaces outside, hanging hammocks in the trees.

It's interesting to be the Guide in these moments - to watch the negotiations, the various ways Heroes navigate frustration, miscommunication, and group consensus.

While far from perfect and definitely difficult at times, Heroes are building the muscles to do the hard work of living alongside of each other, struggling to create a Studio that each and every one of them sees as sacred.

Elementary Update

This session the heroes were granted a freedom they had longed for since day one: the ability to choose their own Quest groups. They had the following parameters to follow: 1) your group must be a mix of boys and girls; 2) you must represent at least 2 levels; 3) your group must have three members; and 4) you must include at least one person you haven’t not worked with before. Even with guardrails in place, heroes jumped at the chance to choose with whom they would spend the next five weeks collaborating. The room buzzed with considerations. Should I choose my best friend? Should I choose someone I know to be a hard worker? Someone I consider smart? The kindest heroes or the most intentional heroes? Guides stepped out of the way and within ten minutes five groups of three stood ready to accept and tackle the session’s Quest challenges.

Fast forward four weeks, faced with their Exhibition in less than five Quest days... tensions had risen. Did I choose the right group? Should one or two heroes do all the work and let the entire group receive credit? During a launch on extreme courage, heroes brought their grievances to the forefront. Names of heroes not carrying their weight were respectfully stated and specific examples given.  But even more remarkable than the courage and tact it took for learners to publicly state their complaints, was the honesty and accountability of the group members who were slacking. Heads nodded, agreement was given and a truce was reached. Heroes asked for more guidance from their proactive peers and group leaders agreed to identify roles, strengths and direction moving forward. This session heroes have tackled environmental sustainability, earth science and cause and effect relationships; but perhaps more importantly, they’ve taken a step further on the path to Learning to Live Together.

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Tyler Thigpen