Trusting the Heroes



The Early Learners’ Paleontology quest and exhibition showed strong evidence that the heroes are so much more capable than what we can ever imagine. Choosing this quest on their own gave them the motivation to learn effectively in many different ways during the session. They truly immersed themselves in Paleontology, stepping into the shoes of different Paleontologists we have learned about in our research. They showed tenacity and eagerness to discover new knowledge about the dinosaurs that drew their passions out. One hero, who from the very start did not waver in interest from one dinosaur to another, showed dedication in learning about a group of prehistoric creatures who could fly like birds. She was enamored of her discovery that these creatures were not dinosaurs at all and was determined to learn even more. Another hero was also filled with confidence in defending her newly discovered dinosaur, despite many objections that it did not exist. And the heroes who chose to be paleontologists could not wait to share all the facts they have learned from reading countless books and online research. Giving the heroes choices in their learning empowered them to achieve high standards of excellence.

The heroes themselves set these high standards for their quest. Their exhibition proved that being in control of their learning process allows them to reach these standards free from expectations and limitations imposed upon them. Their choice of roles during the exhibition, either as a Paleontologist or a prehistoric creature, allowed them to independently learn about their role. Their competence in their learning paved the way to confidently come up with creative ideas for the exhibition, which led them to decide on the idea of taking their families on an outdoor adventure along the nature trails that they so enjoyed exploring throughout the quest. Each hero chose the spots for their dinosaurs based on what they have learned about the creatures’ habitats and behaviors. They even insisted that they could build their own dinosaur costumes, which they did by ingeniously using cardboard boxes to make their creatures’ significant body parts. And the heroes who chose to be Paleontologists to guide everyone through the expedition were very assertive that they are up to the task. The Paleontology exhibition proved that the heroes could be truly be trusted to take control of their own learning.

As the heroes reflected on the past session during group discussion, they were asked to rate the quest on a scale of 1 to 10, with regards to how fun the challenges were and how important the challenges were to them. All the heroes vigorously waved all ten fingers in the air for both questions and some even raised their feet up in the air to count their toes too! Many heroes shared that they felt that the quest was important because they learned many new things they did not know before the quest, not only about dinosaurs but also about other prehistoric life, just like real Paleontologists. They also completed individual surveys to rate aspects of the quest, giving it 5 stars for the best and 1 star for the least. Click here to view the survey results. Many heroes said they liked filling out the survey because they felt like their opinion mattered and their feedback was valuable.

If you were a dinosaur, which body part would you use

to defend yourself from predators?



I have wings that pop out when I need them, then hide them under my arm. My wings are so strong they could blow a T Rex all the way to the volcano. I also have spikes that have poison inside.



I have spikes on my tail and a shield on my elbow and knees that spray poison.



I have spikes all over my tail and I swing it around.



My Shield pops out of my back.



I have wings that help me run fast. I have big spikes I could lay on. I have long legs. I have sharp teeth. I appear cute at first then transform into a very scary dinosaur.


Tyrannosaurus Rex

My sharp teeth and some spit comes out of my mouth.



I have spikes all over my body and a shell covering my back like a turtle. And I swing my club tail back and forth.



Sharp plates on my lips, arms, back, and stomach protect me.


Simon-tyrannosaurus Rex

I spit out poison so strong it makes trees fall over.

Ever since their Marine Biology quest, the heroes continue to care for the environment as they run to pick up all the litter they find along our nature path. Their little hearts break each time they see litter, eagerly racing each other to pick them up, with such loving concern for God’s creation.

The heroes set high goals for themselves as they tackle their spelling lists. They take turns working on Spelling City projected on the Apple TV, while the rest compete for their turn to go next if they correctly spell the word on the whiteboard first. With the requirement to master Fry words 1 to 100, some heroes chose to start with words 91 to 100 to challenge themselves. Another hero completed several lists in one day. They are determined to remain in their challenge zones to grow their brains.

“Meeting their brains” has helped the heroes develop strategies using metacognitive practices. Each day the heroes used playdough to add each part of the brain to their model and discussed the function of each part. And at the end of the day, they shared how they used that part of the brain. Their awareness and ability to regulate their thinking enabled them to persevere until they met their goals, despite distractions, obstacles, and struggles. Throughout the day, heroes reminded each other, “I am exercising my brain” and “my brain is growing.” Once a hero reflected on her thinking and said, “My brain says it’s too hard. But the Holy Spirit says keep going. The brain is the boss of the body, but the Holy Spirit is the boss of the brain. So I am listening to the Holy Spirit!”

After feeding their brains while staying in their challenge zones throughout the quest, the heroes enjoyed their well-deserved Challenge donut party, since they filled in all the sprinkles on their Challenge donuts. As they have insisted from the very beginning of the quest, since they have been feeding their brains, they also needed to feed their tummies with real yummy donuts!

Our Week At A Glance

Week 6: May 14-18,  2018


Picture Day








Bible verse song

Psalm 136

Colossians 2:11-12

You were raised with Jesus through your faith.

How are you growing in your faith?

Colossians 2:13

God made you alive in Christ. He forgave us all our sins.

Think of a time you asked God to forgive you. How do you know you are forgiven?

Colossians 2:14-15

Jesus disarmed the powers and authorities … triumphing over them by the cross

When did you feel triumphant?

Colossians 2:16

Do not let anyone judge you

How does it feel when someone judges you?

Colossians 2:17-18

Do not let anyone … disqualify you

What would happen to  someone who might feel “disqualified?” How would you comfort them?

Growth mindset

Read aloud

Your fantastic elastic brain

JoAnn Deak

How does learning about your brain help you learn?


Peter Reynolds

Would thinking about “-ish” help you persevere?

The invisible boy

Trudy Ludwig

Have you ever felt invisible? What did you do?

Stand tall, Molly Lou Melon

Patty Lovell

How do you react when others judge you? What would be a better way to respond? How would it help if you think first and not react to your first reaction?

Wilma Unlimited

Kathleen Krull

What do you admire most about Wilma? How does her story help you?

Writer’s workshop

Typing club

Paleontologist journals

Spelling city

Fry words 1-10

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

Write a list of questions to interview a paleontologist.

Play-based MTWTh

PE Fri


Dramatic play – kitty

Superhero dramatic play

 Straw connectors

Foam noodles


Jump ropes


Rate epic books


Read aloud: How the dinosaur got to the museum

Why do we need to keep dinosaur fossils in a museum? Where else would you like to display your discoveries if you were a paleontologist?

Dino babies

What would you do if you find an injured dinosaur? Would you try to help the dinosaur even though that may be dangerous? What if it’s a baby t rex? The baby would not hurt you but what if the mommy finds you? Or would you leave to stay safe away from the dinosaurs?

Stegosaurus facts

If you were a dinosaur, how would you defend yourself from predators? Which body part would have important survival functions? Anti-predator defenses (like body size, body armor, living in groups)

How would predators survive if their prey always fights them off?

What is more important to do at the exhibition?

Showing what you learned or how you learned?

Quest Reflection

On a scale of 1 to 10, how fun were the challenges for the quest? How important were the challenges to your learning?

Project time


Prepare a skit and imagine you are paleontologists reporting on the discovery of some dinosaurs.

Photoshoot 2pm

Read aloud: Dinosaurs walked here

Trail locations

Nature trail clean up

Dinosaur Quiz 

Paleontology portal

Mystery fossils

Clay fossils

Exhibition preparations and set up

Quest portfolios

Quest Reflection videos

Google classroom

Feedback survey

Hero Feedback



Exhibitions artwork


Dinos around the globe


Musical instruments






Thinking about how we think

Planning approach to learning

Reflection and self-regulation

Evaluate where you are in your learning. How did you get to where you are in your learning? Where do you need to be in your learning? How will you get to where you need to be?

How did you persevere today? How did you meet your goals? How are you working to meet your goals?

What would you do if you see someone who felt invisible?

Goal presentations

How did you meet your goals during this session? What are you still working on? What was in your panic zone? Comfort zone? How did you move to your challenge zone?

Hero Bucks class field trip plans

Upcoming events:


May 30

Hero bucks class trip:  Catch Air

Please send the waiver forms to school before our trip. Thanks!

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