It was a “BEE”utiful Week

It was a “BEE”utiful week in the EMS studio this week. For the entomology quest, the heroes had the opportunity to speak with a real-life beekeeper  from Canada over FaceTime! He shared fascinating information about how many bees are in two boxes (120,000), how and why to “smoke” the bees, the benefits of bees and their honey, the delicacy of eating honeycomb, and how often he gets stung. He also shared how he plans to call us back on a warmer day to reveal the bees in action. Next week we have another real-life expert visiting the studio and will get to build some habitats for real insects!

Above is an open bee box. We hope to see this on a warmer day!

During civilization, heroes were divided into groups to explore life during the Renaissance. They gathered together to share their findings, and learned about famous figures such as Johannes Gutenberg. At the end, a question was posed during the studio-led discussion, “Will the internet have a greater or lesser impact on society than the printing press? Why?” They also held debates regarding the rebellion that took place between the Pope and the reformers. Reflecting, the heroes said it would have been difficult to discern who or what to believe, the Pope and the Catholic teaching or the reformers.

FUN Friday was full of enjoyment for the heroes in pajamas as they carried around a mascot all day (Boxed Water, #betterplanet), played a game in P.E., visited baby goats, and still met their goals during core skill time.


Accountability continues to be a word brought up in the studio. Accountability to:

  1. Uphold the Hero’s Contract.
  2. Character Callouts.
  3. Asking for hero bucks when necessary.
  4. Keeping the studio, hallway, and lockers clean.
  5. Meeting our Journey Tracker points.

A vote was cast following a thorough discussion with Mr. Matt that showed the heroes how to daily set goals to help accomplish their weekly Journey Tracker points. They voted to post their individual points up weekly if, collectively, the studio did not meet the goal. Great improvement was made within the first week seeing ____ heroes of the 12 here this week accomplished their weekly points!

Have You Asked Your Hero:

  1. About “Backwards Week” next week?
  2. If they met their Journey Tracker points?
  3. What happened to the beekeeper’s apple trees, flowers, and garden after becoming a beekeeper?
  4. What they taped onto their chromebook’s keyboard?

My child loves school!

What a blessing to hear from parents who came to our portfolio reviews how much their hero loves coming to school and enjoys learning. The heroes were so excited to have this special time with their parents and share with them all the fun they have at school,  learning and meeting their goals.  As each hero read books to their parents, presented samples of their work, and showed off their progress and achievements, heroes and parents were glowing with pride for all the heroes’ accomplishments. But of all their achievements in math, reading, or writing, their greatest achievement in Journey Academy is learning to love learning.

Hero personal responses during discussions:


What is something you would like to get better at?

How do you know that Jesus is in your heart?

Hero’s journey: Call to action What is God calling you to do?



I know Jesus is in my heart because Jesus watches over me at night.

God is calling me to love others more than myself.


My responsibilities

I know Jesus is in my heart because when I am doing good things, it is Jesus doing good things.

God is calling me to tell people about Journey Academy.


Ice skating

I know Jesus is in my heart because Daddy loves me.

God is calling me to help people.


Building and sketching

I know Jesus is in my heart because I asked him to.

God is calling me to be an entrepreneur.


Drawing a dog

I know Jesus is in my heart because I stand up for those who are hurt.

God is calling to tell others about Jesus.



I know Jesus is in my heart because I hear Jesus’ voice.

God is calling me to love Jesus.



I know Jesus is in my heart because Jesus tells me what to do.

God is calling to help my friends and family.


Cursive writing

I know Jesus is in my heart because I dream about Jesus in heaven.

God is calling me to listen to my Mom and Dad and Jesus.


Drawing dinosaurs

I read the Bible and it says Jesus is in my heart.

God is calling me listen to my heart.

Our Week At A Glance

Week 3: April 23-27,  2018



Bible verse song

1 John

Colossians 1:15-20

Do you believe Jesus is really God? How do you know?

Colossians 1:22

God has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in His sight

In what ways can you stay holy? Does holy mean perfect?  

Colossians 1:23

Continue in your faith, established and firm, and do not move from the hope held out in the gospel.

What helps you continue in your faith?

Colossians 1:24-25

The commission God gave me to present to you the word of God in its fullness

What is God calling you to do in your Hero’s journey?

Colossians 1:26-27

This mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory

How do you know Jesus is in you?

Growth mindset

The Dot

Peter Reynold

What is something you would like to get better at?

Everyone can learn to ride a bicycle

Chris Raschka

What strategies have you tried to reach your goal?

If you want to see a whale

Julie Fogliano


What do you tell someone when they think your dream is impossible?

Rosie Revere, Engineer

Andrea Beaty

What do you do when something you wanted to make didn’t turn out the way you wanted?

The most magnificent thing

Ashley Spires

What would happen if the character in the story quit? Think of a time you thought about quitting. Why did you feel that way? What did you do?

Writer’s workshop

Typing club

Letters for parents

Spelling city

dinosaur book



Play-based TWTh



Sharks and minnows

Hula hoop

Kitty dramatic play

Jurassic park plane

Library books




Read Aloud

The Great Dinosaur Mystery and the Bible

What is a Pterosaurs

Imagine you are a paleontologist and you discovered a fossil that proves that Pterosaurs can also live in water. Other paleontologists disagree with you and do not believe you. What would you do? What if they say you cannot be a paleontologist anymore if you believe this way, would you change your mind?

How do dinosaur fit into the Bible

You share with some friends about what the Bible says about dinosaurs but they think the Bible is wrong. Would you try to convince them to believe? How?

Andy’s dinosaur adventures

You go back in time and find out that you were wrong about the fossils that you found. Would you tell other paleontologists about your mistake even if it might cost you your career?

Prehistoric birds

You are a pteranodon and you are looking for fish to feed your babies. You find some fish but it is enough to only feed your babies and none left for you. Would you give all the fish for your babies or for yourself? If you do not eat some, you would be too weak to care for your babies. If you eat some, your babies would be hungry and could die. What would you do?

Meet Paleontologist

Jin Meng

What questions would you ask a paleontologist?

Project time

Observe a dinosaur

Bird cam

How dinosaurs looked

How dinosaurs lived

How dinosaurs moved

Maddy’s mom storytime

How dinosaurs behaved



Exploring time and space


Dinosaur mural painting


Dinosaur songs






Think of a time you worked as hard as you could.

Think of a time you review and re-reviewed your work for possible mistakes.

Think of a time you spent enough time to do quality work.

Think of a time you made good use of available resources.

Think of a time you set high standards for yourself. How did you maintain these high standards?

Upcoming events

Tuesday, May 1

Middle School Heroes: ELS Guides for a Day

Thursday, May 3

Field trip: Michigan State University Museum

Beauty in HIS Creation

This week the heroes witnessed a transformation take place within the studio because of the actions and choices they voted upon and upheld. Through discussions and the Thursday town hall meeting, they made a commitment to be intentional about holding one another and the studio accountable to excellence and respect in life and in learning. Many positive, encouraging comments were made about the changes they made as individuals and a studio.

It was timely seeing the studio transformation take place this week since they were learning about what was unfolding during 1500 A.D. with the pope, European kings, and Martin Luther. At the end of civilization this Thursday, the studio created their own “4 Theses” and hung it on the door of the studio. They even backed up their statements with verses from the Bible. It is evident these heroes want to change the world and bring glory to God.

Here are the 4 Theses the Heroes created!


The heroes finally kicked off their Entomology Quest on Tuesday. We are discovering what the life of an entomologist is like by starting with classification. Cheers and excitement rang in the studio when they heard each group will be responsible for creating and maintaining an ant farm, mealworm habitat and caterpillar to butterfly kit. This will be an amazing opportunity to get some hands-on experience with different insects. Here a just a few we’ve come up close with this week.

One of our discussions this week brought up Psalm 50:11. There it states, “the insects in the field are mine.” We challenged ourselves to look past the “creepy crawler” mentality many of us might have about insects and instead, reflect on how they are a part of God’s creation. They were asked, “Can you find beauty in any insects?” Some insects mentioned were caterpillars, ladybugs, butterflies and bees. At the end we voted in response to this question, “Do you think insects are gross or not?” The majority find them gross, and I look forward to seeing if any hero’s opinion ends up changing by the end of this quest.


The MS heroes are taking on another leadership role within their Entomology Quest group. They are learning about effective approaches to leadership that empower and bring a group together so they can complete their challenges and meet their goals.

Have You Asked Your Hero:

  1. What sources they are using to learn more about their passion topic?
  2. Why accountability partners / running buddies are important in life / studio?
  3. Who had a birthday this week?
  4. What happened on “Fun Friday”?
  5. What an autobiography is?

Joyful Learning

Our young heroes find joy in every aspect of their learning experiences. They celebrate every little achievement each day when they meet their goals, understanding that they are on their way to achieving greater overall goals.There is a great joy to be found when the heroes feel that they are trusted to make their own choices, to come up with creative ideas, and to be a leader. They joyfully take on challenges courageously because they believe they are more than capable of succeeding in their tasks through hard work and determination.Their experiences of success give them joy in moving forward and working harder. Joy abounds because the heroes are actively engaged in their learning and realize that their very own efforts and hard work, especially amidst struggles and challenges, resulting in their achievements.

Their joy also overflows because of the freedom they experience each day. Within a democracy, the heroes enjoy their freedom in setting their own goals, working at their own pace, using strategies that work for them, and participating in the decision-making of their own learning.  Joy stems from the work that heroes choose for themselves, making a true commitment to engaging in tasks that are meaningful to them. Freedom paves the way to achieving success in their learning.

The heroes also find joy in evaluating and monitoring their own learning and uncovering the progress they have attained from their perseverance. The heroes love a good challenge. Their Challenge Donuts help them reflect on their learning and think about ways to feed their brains with challenging work. Before doing their core skills, they make it a goal to color a sprinkle on their Challenge Donuts in their badge book to remember to engage in work that is in their challenge zone. Then after core skills, they take the time to reflect on their learning, then get a sticker to sprinkle on their donuts for feeding their brains. The heroes enjoyed feeding their tummies too with Dunkin Donuts for fun Friday. They proposed that when every hero has filled every sprinkle in their Challenge donuts in their badge books, which meant that they have been feeding their brains with challenging work, then it would time for another donut party to feed their bellies too!

Being part of a tight-knit community with a genuine compassion and interest for one another is a key premise for experiencing the joy of learning. They joyfully help one another, encourage those who are struggling, comfort those who are hurting, and celebrate each other’s successes. Joy multiplies exponentially as each hero shares their joys with one another.

Our Week At A Glance

Week 2: April 16-20,  2018



Bible verse song

2 Corinthians

Colossians 1:10

Live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way

How do you please the Lord? When you make a mistake, does that mean the Lord is not pleased with you?

Colossians 1:11

Being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience

Think of a time you were learning something new, how did you have patience and endurance?  

Colossians 1:12

Giving joyful thanks for the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance

What is something you have learned at Journey Academy that you are most thankful for?

Colossians 1:13

He has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of Jesus

Think of a time Jesus rescued you.

Colossians 1:14

In Jesus we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins

When did you need to ask Jesus to forgive you? What did you think about to keep moving forward?

Growth mindset

You failed!

Think of a time you failed at something. How did it make you feel? What happened after you failed?

Think of something you have learned. What did you need to know first? What steps did you take to learn it?

What did you learn by building one skill on top of another?

What do you do to overcome challenges in learning new things?

Keep moving forward

Think of a time you had to struggle to learn something. What helped you the most:

Problem-solving efforts

Help from others

Writer’s workshop

Typing club

paleontologist journals

Spelling city

My pet dinosaur book



Play-based TWTh


Hula hoop



Pool noodles

Sailboat play

Shaving cream

Dinosaur dramatic play

Dinosaur habitat

Jump ropes

Hula hoop

Jazz dance


Read Aloud

Boy, were we wrong about dinosaurs!

Prehistoric mammals

What if dinosaurs had not gone extinct, how would the world be different? Should the dinosaurs be allowed to roam wild or should we keep them in enclosed areas?

Get to know a dinosaur

If you could have a living dinosaur or prehistoric creature for a pet, which one would you choose? How would you take care of it?

What should you feed your prehistoric creature? Where will it sleep? What materials can the creature use to build a nest? Where can the creature lay eggs or keep its babies safe and warm? What can the creature do for exercise? How can you keep the creature from getting bored?


Steve Brusatte

What would you do if you discover a dinosaur?

Is it more important for the dinosaurs to live free on an island away from humans, or for humans to live on the island to learn about dinosaurs? Would you join a group of paleontologist going to the island to study dinosaurs? What if the dinosaurs need help to survive? Would you put the dinosaurs in enclosures to keep humans safe?

Dinosaur Quiz Whiz

Project time

Dinosaur classifications

Grouping dinosaurs

Make footprints for each toy, then ask kids to examine the prints and the toys. Can they guess (predict) which toys made each set of prints? Have kids check their predictions by making their own prints.


Roll out some clay and have kids make impressions. Have children examine the toys’ feet, and ask these questions:

What do the feet look like? What shape are they?Do the dinosaur’s feet remind you of the feet of any other animals? Which ones? Kids keep track of their observations in journals

Andy’s dino adventures

Trex facts

Nature walk. Collect materials to help your pet dinosaur build its nest.

What dinosaur are you?

Weigh and measure your dinosaur. Lie the dinosaur down on a piece of graph paper and trace the creature’s length. How long is it in inches? Use a weighing scale to measure the weight of the dinosaur.

Mystery fossil

Compare the size of your dinosaur with the size of other, living animals. Understand size differences by comparing dinosaurs to animals and objects they are familiar with. Would the creature be the size of a chicken? An adult human? A school bus?



Dinosaur footprints


Fossils in US National Parks


Dinosaur songs


Dinosaur painting




Hero led discussions

Studio maintenance

What mistake would you like to celebrate? How did you learn from your mistake?


Think of a time you helped a friend feel better.


How did you encourage a friend?

What challenges did you face and how did you overcome it?

What problem did you solve? Did you need others to help you?



















Onward We Go

This week has been full of so many new things! The EMS studio was thrilled to welcome two new heroes. On Tuesday, the studio came together for team building. One of the challenges involved being timed while throwing a ball across to someone in the circle and doing so until everyone had a turn. After setting a timed goal of 30 seconds for this circle challenge then going down to 20 seconds for a goal, they were able to end the day completing that same challenge in 14 seconds! They persevered and celebrated that accomplishment.

Besides going to Craig’s Cruisers today, I am guessing you have heard a bit about the Passion Project. If not, ask your hero. Everyone in the EMS studio is excited to wonder and learn more about a topic that interests them. Some topics that have been chosen include architecture, Paris, books, dogs and psychology.

The MS heroes have been placed in a leadership role for this project and are holding “Standing Meetings” with their group members. These meetings are meant to be quick check-ins to make sure all the heroes are aware of what they are doing and where they are headed to complete the project well.

For civilization, the heroes discovered what a challenge it must have been for Columbus, Vespucci and Magellan to recruit crew members for the voyage they had planned. They were asked, “What would you do if NASA came to you and told you about another planet that has life and we want you to go there?” The discussion brought up a lot of the struggles those explorers faced in recruiting:

  1. Will the voyage be safe?
  2. Will I see my family again?
  3. How long will it take?
  4. What if we do find something? How do we know we will be safe then?

Next week will be “BUG”tastic as we begin our Entomology Quest! Yes – this means we will be exploring bugs.

Have You Asked Your Hero:

  1. When was a moment you struggled?
  2. When did perseverance pay off?
  3. If you gave a character call out?
  4. What surprised you most this week?

Below are some photos captured from Craig’s Cruisers today. It was a wonderful way to end our week together!

Paleontologists on a Quest

The heroes were so excited to begin their work as Paleontologists. Before the break, each hero proposed a quest they would like to embark on. Then, they voted on which one they would like to do for the next session. The results were very close, with the dinosaur quest only one vote more than the dance quest. The heroes agreed to go on a Paleontology Quest during project time and a Dance quest for their gym time.

This week, our young Paleontologists launched into their scientific investigations, led by their new friend, a baby T Rex they named Blaze, who led them to a major discovery in our very own sandbox, where the heroes found some bones! As they began their research, they were determined to find out what kind of bones they had found. They compared them to the bones pictured in their books and in their Chromebooks. They came up with several theories and predictions. But they were tireless in finding more clues to figure out what animal the bones really belong to.

These Paleontologists have been busy making predictions and gathering data about the specimens they have found in order to prove their hypothesis based on their findings. They have also kept a close watch over their dinosaur eggs and when the eggs hatched, they recorded data on their growth each day. Our Paleontologists work hard each day and look forward to be able to share all that they discover on their quest with their families on a very special exhibition, a Paleontology expedition traveling back in time to the land of the dinosaurs!

Paleontology Quest

Discussion topics

Project options

Week 1



Prehistoric reptiles

Dig into Paleontology

Dinosaur Research Starter 

Dinosaur Write

Fossils for kids

Flesh out a fossil

Sedimentary layers puzzle

Evolutionist and Creationist timeline

Dinosaur Timeline

Dinosaur Times 

Week 2

Prehistoric mammals

Grouping dinosaurs

Dinosaur classifications

Get to know a dinosaur

Dinosaur facts

Dinosaur extinction

What is a dinosaur


Week 3

Prehistoric birds

Observe a dinosaur

How dinosaurs moved

How dinosaurs lived

How dinosaurs looked

How dinosaurs behaved

Week 4

Prehistoric fish

Dinosaur name game

Dinosaur teeth

Relative speed of dinosaurs

How big were dinosaurs

Bigger than you think

Estimation and measurement skills:  

measure out the length of a dinosaur

Week 5

Prehistoric amphibians

Discovering dinosaurs

Dinosaur illustrations

Ask a Dinosaur Expert 

Real or Make-Believe

Dinosaur Quiz 

Write a letter to a dinosaur. What questions would you ask? What would you like to know?

Week 6

Prehistoric invertebrates


Paleontology Expedition

Prepare a skit and imagine you are newscasters reporting on the discovery of a dinosaur.

Write a list of questions and interview a paleontologist about a dinosaur.

Dinosaur costumes

Dinosaur facts

Dinosaur jokes

Nature trail Prehistoric walk

Dinosaur Dig sandbox

After reading the book of Philippians last session, I asked the heroes what book of the Bible they would like to read for our next session,  and they unanimously answered, “Colossians! It’s the next book after Philippians. We can just keep going until we get to the end of the Bible!”

The first chapter of Colossians have helped the heroes renew their promises to one another from their Heroes’ Contract. They reaffirmed their priorities, JOY (Jesus, Others, before Yourself) embedded in their minds, wherein their faith in Jesus always comes first, then their love for others, followed by their hope in God’s plans for their lives. Some heroes inspired others with their testimonies in growing the fruits of the Spirit in their lives through loving Jesus and keeping Jesus in their hearts. One hero said the fruits of the Spirit grows as he puts them into action, like loving others, being joyful, keeping peace in his heart, being patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and having self-control. And another hero pictured the fruits of the Spirit growing from a plant in his heart, which he waters whenever he prays.

In Colossians 1:5, the heroes read about “the faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven.” So they shared what they hoped for, that they believe God had in store for them:

Lulu hopes to get a My Little Pony toy.

Simon hopes for a puppy.

Reaghan hopes for a pet fish.

David hopes to build a Lego robot.

Amelia hopes to be a kind dance teacher who would not yell at her students.

Annabelle hopes to have self-control and not hurt others.

Evi hopes to be brave, kind, and confident.

Maddy hopes to keep Jesus in her heart.

Cole hopes to become a saint.

Our Week At A Glance

Week 1: April 9-13,  2018








Bible verse song

Psalm 100

Colossians 1:3 We always thank God…when we pray for you

How do you show your thankfulness?

Colossians 1:4

We have heard of your faith in Christ Jesus and of the love you have for all God’s people

How do you show your love for others?

Colossians 1:5

The faith and love that spring from the hope stored up for you in heaven

What are your hopes and dreams?

Colossians 1:6

The gospel is bearing fruit and growing…

What helps you bear fruit and grow?

Colossians 1:9

We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of His will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives

Growth mindset

You can learn anything

Think of a time you learned something new. What steps did you take to learn it?

Don’t give up song

Think of a time you failed at something. How did it make you feel? What did you do?

Big Hero 6 clip Hiro’s idea

What strategies do you use to help you persevere?

Cloudy with a chance of meatballs inventions

What do you do when your ideas do not work?

Power of yet song

Growth or fixed mindset

If I have to work hard at something, it means that I’m not smart. F

I like to try things that are hard. T

When I make a mistake, I get embarrassed. F

I don’t mind making mistakes. They help me learn. T

There are some things I’ll never be good at. F

Anyone can learn something if they work hard at it. T

Writer’s workshop

Typing club


Stretch a sentence

Paleontologist journals

Spelling city


Dinosaur stories


Play-based TWTh





Hula hoops

Dinosaur dig table

Rope pretend play

Cardboard boxes

Pillow shields

Kitties dramatic play



Why would you like to go on a Paleontology quest?

What problem needs to be solved by applying an understanding of Paleontology?

How will we find the information we need during this quest?

Why are the skills and topics within this quest important now? Who will we help in studying paleontology?

What is the end goal or final product of your quest?

Project time

Dig into Paleontology

Fossils for kids

What is a fossil

Flesh out a fossil

Dinosaur Research Starter 

VR goggles

Dino games

Evolutionist and creationist timeline

Creation museum virtual field trip 

Sedimentary layers puzzle

Dinosaur Write

Dinosaur Times 



Dinosaur crafts


Where do we find dinosaurs? Dino stickers on globe


Dinosaur songs


Dinosaur painting




When does a hero submit to authority?

Submit to authorities to honor God

Romans 13:1-2

What do you do when an authority (group leader, parents, guides) do something you believe is wrong?

Submit to authorities because of the example of Jesus

1 Peter 2:21-25

When should we not submit to authority?

Submit to authorities to overcome evil with good

Romans 12:19-21

In what ways have you “overcome evil with good”? What would happen if you return evil for evil?

Submit to authorities because of our freedom in Christ Jesus

1 Peter 2:16-17

Are you free to make good and bad choices? Are you still free if you receive consequences for bad choices? Are you still free if you have to submit to authorities?

Submit to authorities because of the rewards

1 Peter 2:18-20

Would you be more motivated to submit to authorities because of God’s promise to reward you or God’s promise to judge justly?

Please sign up for portfolio reviews to be held on Tuesday, April 24 or Thursday, April 26 between 3:30 pm and 6:00 pm.