Week 17 (2017) – Mock Trial and Navigating Group Work

Our heroes have been working hard to catch the cookie culprit, and just this week, they have come to an agreement that it was…ME! Can you believe it?! In a few short weeks, you will get to see some of the evidences they have collected and decide for yourselves what the outcome should be. Thank you in advance for taking time to act as our Jury at the Exhibition on the 9th of February.
In addition to holding a “Mock Trial” this week, our young heroes have been learning about DNA, and how forensic investigators can use it as a more accurate way to collect evidence. They have put together their own DNA molecules, and have both researched and written an informational piece about it.
In the process of holding a “Mock Trial” and balancing an information-rich DNA project, our heroes have truly been learning what it means to work as a team. During the trial for example, they decided who would play which part(s) (which not everyone was happy about at first), and how much of the script they would follow vs. create on their own. There were times when heroes felt they needed to talk louder to be heard, which turned into great conversation. By the end of the week, our heroes agreed that listening to someone was just as important as sharing an idea, and that they needed a system to ensure that everyone was heard (during a group project).
In addition to working together during the trial, our heroes learned to work together to support teammate’s individual needs. For example, when writing about DNA, our heroes gave each other great feedback and helped each other raise the standard of excellence for what was included.
During Core Skills this week, our heroes continued to focus on supporting one another in goal-setting and achieving. Heroes have been meeting with their running buddies everyday and reporting their progress. Next week, heroes will also be using traffic light colors to help them note what each individual person needs. For example, if someone has a green signal up, they would like some help. However, if a person has a red signal up, they do not wish to be bothered. If a person has a yellow signal up, that means the person doesn’t wish for help, but is also open to helping someone else.

Interesting Discussion Topics this Week Included:

1. Is it EVER okay to tell a lie? What if it was to protect yourself?
2. Would you rather have scientific evidence or know someone’s character well?
3. Would you be willing to give evidence against a good friend? A parent? What if you doubted the accuracy of your evidence?
4. Is it mean to make someone work really hard (from a scene called “The Death Crawl” in Facing The Giants)?
5. How does a trial work? How do the different roles work?
6. Which area can you improve/work on when you set SMART goals (make them more specific, measurable, accurate, realistic, or timely)?
Other Tidbits:
  • Next week Thursday, we will be taking a field trip to R-Athletics from 2-3pm. There is a waiver that needs to be signed and returned (you can send it to Journey Academy) in order to participate. You can find the link to the waiver here. Shout out to the heroes for earning this with their Hero Bucks!
  • We will not be having school on Valentine’s Day due to our February break. However, we will be making cards in the studio to celebrate the gift of friendship!
  • I enjoyed seeing those of you who were able to make it to “The Great Escape Room”! Thanks for making it awesome! 🙂

Week 16 (2017) – Molecule Building, Accountability, and Ethics

It’s hard to believe we are halfway through our 4th session already!! The new rhythm of goal-setting (with the “Focus Table” and regular check-ins) has helped our heroes hold each other to even higher standards of excellence within the studio. Today, I overheard a pair of our heroes checking in with each other, and one asked the other, “Don’t you want to meet your goal?” This was so encouraging to me! Not only are the heroes learning the importance of goal-setting, but they are also learning to support each other!!
In addition to learning how to support one another, we talked a lot about being resourceful this week. I have always encouraged the heroes to try doing things on their own, but this week, I encouraged them to ask each other more questions! Part of learning is often knowing how to use written resources, asking a friend to help, or getting support from a Guide (when you don’t know what to do or where to look). There is a difference between wanting someone to give you answers and seeking support!
Learning to support one another is a skill that our heroes will use for life! During project time this week, our heroes got to support each other while working both independently and in groups. While learning about DNA in forensics, our heroes designed their own models, showing how each person is unique. This was a challenging task, but by working together, everyone was able able learn the information needed, and then independently build a molecule. By the end of the day today, each hero agreed that this process was the highlight of the week! 🙂
Interesting Discussion Topics this week included:
  • What can you do to spread goodness? How can you “Pay it Forward”?
  • How can we pray for our country this week? How can we pray for our studio? How can we support each other’s needs?
  • If you set a goal to read 100 pages of a GREAT book and you read 99 pages, should you still reward yourself for your hard work?
  • When setting a goal, is it most helpful for you to have a running buddy to keep you accountable, meet with a guide to plan out your steps, or sit at the “Focus Table” where you won’t be distracted?
  • What can you do to help the other heroes in our studio meet their goals? If someone is struggling to meet a goal, is it most helpful to check-in with that person, work to keep the studio calm and focused, or encourage the hero with words?
  • As a detective, would you rather collect DNA evidence or have an eyewitness testimony?
  • Should a person spend the rest of his/her life in jail for committing a crime? What if the crime was something really serious, like murder? Does forgiving a person mean giving them a second chance?
**A challenge that has been on my heart this session is to encourage the heroes in their faith with every opportunity that we have! Today, we spent some time praying for our nation and leaders, worshiping through song, and listening to the Bible on audio. Our heroes all participated and had so much input as we prayed and discussed these matters!

Week 15 (2017) -Experiments, Accountability, and Excellence

What a week! Even though we’ve had 2 snow days, our heroes have made some major accomplishments! Among these accomplishments, one of our Heroes completed all of the first grade material on Dreambox and is now working towards her level 2 math badge (even though she came in as a first grader), and another completed all of the first and second grade materials on Kahn Academy and is now working towards his level 3 math badge. I get so excited when I think about the possibilities these young heroes can achieve when there is nothing holding them back!

In Core Skills this week, we have been working on developing healthy habits. It takes approximately 21 days to build a habit, and we want our young heroes to develop the habits that will push them towards success for the rest of their lives. To encourage healthy Core Skills habits among all of our heroes, we are holding everybody to higher standards of excellence within the studio. This means, our heroes are setting their goals, and them immediately being challenged by a guide (to see whether or not these goals are challenging enough). At the end of Core Skills, heroes then check in with an accountability partner and report their progress to a guide. If a hero has not met the majority of his/her goals (2/3), that hero then sits at the “Focus Table” the next day where extra support is available.

In addition to setting high goals during Core Skills, our heroes are also working to develop higher standards of excellence in general within the studio. Today, heroes selected members of the team who will work on an “Excellence Committee” that works to improve the studio environment. We also recognize that though these are great steps, nothing is possible without the strength of God. We are praying that God will direct each of our hearts, and help us to be the most excellent version of ourselves. During close today, our heroes prayed for one another and identified ways they can support each other in this.

The Detective Quest this week has been coming along great! Our heroes have now taken fingerprint samples, casted a footprint, completed a bite-mark analysis, sampled handwriting, and done ink chromatography to match traces of ink left at the crime scene to the suspects’ writing utensils. They are loving the experiments, and our oldest heroes have really stepped it up to help the younger ones create detective reports each day. So far, the heroes suspect that I TOOK THE COOKIE FROM THE COOKIE JAR! Can you believe they would think such a thing?? They will find out for sure next week when we finish putting all of the clues together.

Some Interesting Discussion Topics we have had this week included:

  1. Is it mean to give someone a consequence or does it show love? If God corrects us because he loves us, should we correct our friends?
  2. Which of the following would you consider the MOST important habit for success?
  • Setting Goals
  • Being Results-Oriented (Completing the MOST important things first)
  • Be People-Oriented (Recognize you need support from others)
  • Be Health-Oriented (Take care of your needs)
  • Be Honest with yourself and others
  • Self-Discipline (Make yourself do what you should do whether you feel like it or not).
  1. After God created the world, he said that it was very good. God created you and said that you were also very good. When Adam and Eve sinned, they were ashamed and hid from God. Do you think God still thought they were good? Yes/No? What does God think of us when we make mistakes?
  1. Is it bad to make mistakes? Yes/No? Is it bad to make mistakes if learn from them? Is it bad to make mistakes if you never try to learn from them? Is it possible to learn if you never ask for help when you need it?



Please don’t forget that there will be No School on Monday in celebration of Martin Luther King Day! Hope you all enjoy the extra long weekend!

Week 14 (2017) – Launching the Detective Science Quest

Happy New Year!

The beginning of the year is a time of fresh beginnings, reflection on the past, and goal setting. This week has been all of the above. As we returned from break on Monday, a new hero, Beckett, joined our community. The other heroes welcomed him right in, and they have been enjoying his presence and what it brings to the studio.
In addition to welcoming Beckett on Monday, our heroes spent some time sharing what they did over Christmas break, reflecting on their Hero’s Journeys so far, and setting new session goals (goals they want to accomplish over the next 5 1/2 weeks). A few of our heroes have progressed very quickly through their goals so far, and we are encouraging them to keep excelling! We are also encouraging our heroes to take goal setting very seriously. It is simple to set a goal, but persevering and actually accomplishing it can be challenging. We are encouraging everyone to not just start something fresh, but to finish it to the end!
Tracking goals in our new Goal Tracking Binders has been a helpful tool for our heroes in learning to share their progress. These binders can be shared at any time-so if you are ever curious about your hero’s progress, I encourage you to ask him/her to share it with you!
Speaking of sharing, I’m sure your hero has shared that…A COOKIE THIEF HAS ESCAPED JOURNEY ACADEMY!!! As we launched our Detective Science Quest this week, our heroes learned that someone stole the Christmas cookies from the cookie jar over Christmas break. All that was left was a  half eaten cookie, some clothing articles, a recipe, a footprint, and some fingerprints. Throughout this next quest, our heroes will be setting up scientific experiments to collect evidence, learning about DNA, understanding the basics of law, reading mystery books, and will end by creating a visual of their experiences that they will share at our next exhibition. This is the most academically challenging quest our heroes will undertake so far, but everyone is up for the task!
A few of our Discussions this week have included:
  1. Which area of forensics are you MOST interested in? Field forensics, laboratory forensics, or medical forensics?
  2. Is it better to give grace to the person who commits a crime, or to prosecute? How does this look in the studio? Is it better to give someone grace in the studio, or call him/her out for violating our hero’s contract?
  3. Is there a difference between setting a goal and accomplishing it?
  4. What do you do with freedom: Do you use it for your pleasure, or do you challenge yourself to grow? Would you rather have a comfortable life, or a challenging life?
  5. What kind of atmosphere do you want to have at Journey Academy? How will you help to create it?
  6. What does it mean to show goodness? What are some ways that your parents show goodness to you? What are some ways that God shows his goodness? How can we show this fruit of the spirit in everyday life? (We are challenging each other to memorize Galatians 6:10).
  7. Does giving someone a consequence for their actions mean that you are not being good to him/her?
  8. What are some foods that you love to eat? Now that you have tasted that food, would you ever want to go back to drinking out of a bottle? What do you think it means when King David says, “Taste and see that the Lord is good?” (Psalm 34:8)