Week 4: Sept 21 – 25


Reconciling is becoming friendly again and making things right when they feel off.

Empathy is feeling in your heart the things that other feel.


In the picture book “The Story of Ruby Bridges” written by Robert Coles, we see an example of reconciling and empathy.

Ruby said the prayer she repeated twice a day — before and after school: “Please God, try to forgive those people. Because even if they say those bad things, they don’t know what they are doing. So You could forgive them, just like You did those folks a long time ago when they said terrible things about You.” 

This allusion in Ruby’s prayer is meant to call to mind Jesus’ prayer on the cross in Luke 23:33-34a.

When they came to the place called the Skull, they crucified him there, along with the criminals—one on his right, the other on his left. Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”


With the examples of reconciliation and empathy from Ruby Bridges’ story, which alludes to the ultimate example Jesus demonstrated on the cross, the heroes created art based on what lessons they learned.



Listening to (and Miss Cheryl’s reading of chapter 3 from) the Watson’s Go to Birmingham by Christopher Paul Curtis provides more examples about reconciliation and empathy from chapters 1-4.

Lessons of reconciling:

  • Kenny’s mom helped Kenny become friends again with the new kid named Rufus.
  • Kenny decided to help his brother Byron even when Byron was consistently mean to Kenny.
  • Kenny gave up one of his good gloves when Rufus did not have any gloves to keep his hands warm.


Lessons of reconciliation and empathy were also seen this week in photographs from the Civil Rights Movement. The heroes made observations and commented on what people in photos might be feeling or experiencing.


Reconciling can look like two girls “join[ing] hands while riding the bus together during the initial phases of the integration of the school system in Boston, Massachusetts. September 15, 1975.” Bettmann/Contributor/Getty Images

A reconciling act. Selma march.



Other nuggets of gold from this week:

  • Some ES heroes volunteered to build two desks for the ELS studio. Using their first strategy,  limited progress was being made. Then, Mr. Matt had them consider a different strategy for building the desks. With renewed determination, the heroes worked by themselves and built a desk!! What a difference a different building strategy made! Thank you, Mr. Matt, for giving the heroes the tools (pun intended) to succeed in their challenge.
  • I called upon our laminating-fixer hero, Sloane, to fix the laminator again. We performed a scientific experiment to figure out the problem. In the end, she fixed it! 
  • The iReady diagnostics took place this week. Emmry commented on the reading and math placement tests for the rest of the ES studio after she had been the first to “test out the new waters” of the new learning program.
  • “Challenge donut.” We make the most progress not when we are in our comfort zone, not in our panic zone, but in our challenge zone. We bit right into the center of round donuts after sharing examples from our life about times when we were stretched in a good way by being in our challenge zone.


See you next week!

Beyond the typical book report

Week 3: Sept 14 – 18

Beyond the Typical Book Report

When it comes to book projects, there are so many ways for a hero to show their comprehension for books they read. That’s why ES heroes can choose from a growing list of book review options. In last week’s “New Inspiration in ES” blog, I listed the current book review methods for ES to choose from. Coming soon, several more methods will be added.


Reading her Deep Book


A bird’s eye view of Thomas Edison’s property is being created. This hero’s dedication to her diorama from “Who Was Thomas Edison?” is inspiring! She is making her diorama completely out of paper, tape, and glue.


Working on a slide presentation for a Boxcar Children mystery


More book review options coming soon:

  • write a sequel
  • write a new ending for the story
  • make a new book jacket for the book
  • create a book award
  • write an interview between you and a character
  • write a comic strip version of the book
  • make 3 drawings of important scenes from the book
  • create an illustrated timeline showing important events from the book
  • create a collage to tell about the book
  • create a mobile from items related to the story
  • create three postcards from one of the main characters
  • create a “10 Facts About [Book Title]” handout
  • write a letter to the main character asking questions about what took place in the story
  • create a Venn diagram to show similarities and differences in the traits of a main character and yourself


Other nuggets of gold from this week:

  • The heroes designed t-shirts and conducted multiple rounds of voting in order to select the design for the new ES t-shirt! During Town Hall Meeting, the heroes also created a plan B based on what the budget could afford.
  • The ES heroes conducted a reusable hand towel vs. paper towel debate (without whole-group practice). During the debate, one team brought up the facts that we use 66 paper towels per day at minimum (77 minimum if you add in going to the bathroom one time). They pointed out that this use of paper towels will quickly deplete our paper towel supply. At the end of the debate, the vote would determine the future of hand drying in the ES studio. Switching to individual rewashable hand towels won the most votes.
  • Thanks to everyone who was able to come the ES Exhibition with a LIVE Maker Play experience!


See you next week for the start of our Quest 1B!

New Inspiration in ES

Week 2: Sept 8 – 11

New Inspiration in ES

Despite the wasps that were trying to overtake our playground, the heroes continued to grow together as a tribe. This week in ES included a few more tribe building team challenges, more Maker Play experiences, Chromebook Covenant creating, and Deep Book reading.


The Hula Hoop Lift team challenge proved to be harder than it sounded.


How can we work as a team and have a growth mindset to continue trying this frustrating challenge?


The day we watched a video of what Maker Play (“Anji Play”) looks like at one school in Anji, China, stirred up new inspiration in the heroes for their own use of Maker Play materials and space. I observed a greater joy and enthusiasm in their play and structure-building.

“I was inspired [from the anji play video] because those kids were so young, and yet they were working so hard.” – ES Hero

structure in process


Improvements to their house have taken place over the past weeks since the beginning of school. Despite having to taking down their creation after every Maker Play, these heroes pursue in revising their plan. This week, they utilized the fence and added a “no shoe” policy for their wood floor.


Counting catches. Written on a Character Callout: “Thank you for playing football with me.”


During Core Skills this week, the heroes picked out and began reading their Deep Books. Deep Books are “just right fit” books that are in the hero’s challenge zone. Each level in the ES studio has a variety of book genres to choose books from that will count towards their Reading Badge. Book reviews for each Deep Book are also learning evidence that is added to their “Badge Work” portfolio. Some heroes are part way through grade levels with their Deep Books and Deep Book reviews. Three Deep Book reviews were started this week.

The heroes have a variety of methods to choose for when creating a review (each method can only be used once per year).

  • song lyrics
  • diorama
  • board game
  • literary map
  • advent calendar
  • speech
  • character journal
  • slide presentation
  • movie script
  • video newscast
  • newspaper from page
  • magazine article
  • write a traditional book report
  • propose their own review idea


Other nuggets of gold from this week:

  • The TV was not connecting to the iPad. God answered our prayers through a growth mindset-focused hero who problem-solved for 30 minutes to fix the TV! Thank you, God, for providing help through a hero.
  • Miss Cheryl jammed the laminator by accident. A hero who enjoys helping others and trying new things voluntarily joined in the effort to fix it. We took the laminator apart, and worked together to find a solution to the jam.
  • During Town Hall Meeting, the heroes discussed more studio topics that were up for proposal.
  • A level 5 Hero collaborated with Miss Cheryl to edit and make changes to how badges are earned for each level in ES and what evidence of their work should be added to each hero’s badge work portfolio.


See you next week!

Promises we make to one another. Week 1 in ES

Promises We Make to One Another

Week 1: Aug 31 – Sept 4

Fingerprints of God – in the hero and in the butterfly


The gradual progression of settling into our daily schedule continues. Tribe Building activities were still abundant this week, but certain routines and elements that the heroes look forward to are taking shape. With this comes the creation of the promises that the heroes will make to one another for this school year (via studio contracts).

“I cannot wait to start doing work.” – Hero’s comment from the first day of school

The ES heroes began setting one goal for Silent Core Skills (CS) this week. A special option for the heroes during Tribe Building’s Silent CS time is “Bublup.” This launchpad of organized links and documents that I as the guide add and share with the heroes has been a quickly growing favorite for Tribe Building Week. Next week, each hero will pick out a Deep Book and begin working towards their Reading Badge.

Team building activities have included outdoor games, structure building challenges, art projects, a love language quiz and personality quiz for each hero, and the start of a time capsule.

A free-standing structure building challenge in process


A hero observed in one free-standing structure challenge involving pencils that one individual pencil standing up was taller than their carefully built “log cabin” structure. Using only the amount of pencils that were given, the log cabin was not tall enough to beat one standing pencil.


Animal Personality Quiz by


Accountability is needed to create a strong community. Peers holding one another accountable for promises that they agreed on as a group aids in the development of a powerful community.

Want to “listen in” on how the ES Hero’s Contract was developed this week? Here’s the start of the discussion:

“Over the next several weeks, you will be making promises to each other, so we can build a strong community, and so you can start on your Hero’s Journey. How do you want to be treated by me? How do you want to be treated by each other?”

We began with key promises from past contracts heroes made to each other:

  1. I promise to reflect Jesus in my actions and words.
  2. I promise to take full responsibility for my education.
  3. I promise not to intentionally hurt another hero with my actions or words.
  4. I promise to show respect towards:
    • other heroes
    • my surroundings
    • the rules

From here, the heroes discussed and evaluated over the course of this past week to create and sign their Hero’s Contract. Other contracts that were created were the Studio Etiquette and Rules of Engagement for during discussions. Parents can find these documents now saved in the JA Family Drive. A contract still to come is the Chromebook Covenant.


Another Silent Core Skill favorite this week with the heroes has been “Interland.” Interland is a creation of Google’s Be Internet Awesome program that makes learning about internet safety super fun and engaging! We also discussed being “SMART” with the internet and technology the heroes will be using on a daily basis.

  • S: Be safe as you search. If it feels wrong, don’t.
  • M: Email is to be limited to people at Journey and parents/guardians. Google Chat is not allowed unless JA is doing distance learning.
  • A: Your allowed device is your JA’s Chromebook.
  • R: The role of your Chromebook is to support your learning towards badge work and projects.
  • T: Tell a guide when you receive unknown emails or if you end up on a bad website.

“Interland is an adventure-packed online game that puts the key lessons of digital citizenship and safety into hands-on practice.” – Be Internet Awesome by Google


And of course, there was more Maker Play this week!! Here are some of the things I heard during the ES Maker Play:

  • “This is failing, but we can do it.”
  • “I already finished my plan. Now what?”
  • “It made me sad when you got distracted from our project.”
  • “We might just get it.”
  • “We need ladders. That’s what we need.”
  • “Let’s make something else, guys. We’ve failed.” “No, let’s keep going. Let’s make a new plan instead of giving up.”


Other nuggets of gold from this week:

  • We had our first time of reading Character Callouts. Each Character Callout provides us with a formal opportunity to thank or honor a hero for a character trait that they demonstrated that week. The heroes like when I sign the Character Callouts as people from history, book characters, current day people, inventors, etc. They watch very carefully how I sign because I am “not allowed to sign as the same person twice.”
  • During capture the flag this week, I observed heroes laying down their life for their friends (as Dr. T’s Kingdom Time Scripture (John 15:13) focused on this week). They were willing to risk going to jail in attempts to free one of their teammates. I also observed heroes taking risks for their teammates as they worked towards a common goal.


Happy Labor Day! See you Tuesday!

ES Welcoming Week 0.5

Week 0.5: Aug 26-28

Welcome Back!

Smiles, laughter, anticipation, joy, excitement, nerves, curiosity, friendship. Being together with the heroes in person again has been so needed. Being back at school fills me with gratitude. The transition of the first week back in this season goes in the books for being the most unique one yet. I am excited to share some of the many highlights with you from first week in the ES studio.

First and foremost, thank you very much for sharing your heroes with us here at Journey Academy. Thank you also for your amazing support, smiles, and prayers.

**We are currently working on a solution to an error with the “Add Media” button on this blog. Sadly, we are unable to attach photos into the blog at the moment.**


Kingdom Time led by Dr. T is a new addition to our schedule this year. First thing in the morning, the Heroes and Dr. T sat in a large circle outside, pondering on and resting in what it means to “be still and know that I [the Lord] am God” (Psalm 46:10). A new tradition of “Honoring Fridays” also started. Each Friday during Kingdom Time, Dr. T, the heroes, and the guides will share qualities and traits that they see in one another.


Some of the first few challenges for the heroes this week were Running Buddy/Squad Group presentations for explaining processes including the strike system and the hero buck system. They could create a game, video(s), speech, slide presentation, poster, or skit(s) to share with the rest of the ES studio. We laughed so hard!


Playing a game called “21,” the heroes had fun learning about the routines and guardrails in the ES studio. We also played a game called “5, 3, 1” where the heroes started in partners to find 5 things in common between them. Gradually, we worked our way to the entire studio having to find one thing in common between all of us. The heroes chose: “We all love being at Journey Academy,” and I could not agree more!


Studio Maintenance jobs were chosen by the heroes this week, and the crew sought to work together as they cleaned their studio. Listening to music makes it even more fun. I see the heroes taking ownership in their studio and practicing responsibility with their job tasks.


Another challenge the heroes worked on this week was creating the tallest free-standing structure using only craft sticks, binder clips, and clothespins. With the element of competition intertwined as part of the challenge, the heroes experienced frustrated emotions at their materials and at other groups. Our debrief after this activity was long but valuable. We talked about questions including:

  • What might have frustrated you or others during this structure-building challenge with the binder clips, clothespins, and craft sticks?
  • What might be some of the reasons we worked on this challenge?
  • What are some ways this challenge might apply to real life?
  • What were some of the things you might have done when you did not agree with the ideas of another person?


A major element and highlight from this week was Maker Play. Our routine for Maker Play is: Plan, Play, Clean-up, and Reflect. The planning for the first day of Maker Play started with how to survive the heat, but once the heroes moved onto the “Play” portion, their concerns about the heat dwindled.

Some things I heard or saw from the heroes during Maker Play:

  • “We can’t do this.” “Yes, we can.” “Let’s keep trying.”
  • “We can do it, right.” “Yes, we can do it.”
  • “I failed at that creation.”
  • “This is cool that we actually made a structure with a roof over it.”
  • Heroes pitching in to help each other clean up and make the clean-up process more fun.
  • Heroes trying to get a pulley system working.
  • “It works!” “Wait, we can’t celebrate yet.” (fixing obstacle in their creation)
  • “We can just crumble it (tarp) up.” “No, it’s nice to fold it.”


Other nuggets of gold from this week:

  • Individual interests shined through as the heroes created art collages for the profile wall of things they enjoy. The heroes like seeing their fellow heroes’ collages.
  • Dropping everything and reading (DEAR) is now built into the daily schedule! This time is so precious as the heroes, Dr. T, and the guides all participate.
  • Miss Cheryl could not stop saying “Point when pointed to” instead of “Talk when pointed to” (our first Rule of Engagement for discussions). We laughed so much!
  • The heroes held their very first Town Hall Meeting and discussed questions include: What chair formation should we have during discussions? What Fun Friday/special days should we have this year? (List and dates coming soon.)


Have you asked your hero:

  • What were you feeling before school started this week? What are you feeling after the first week of school has ended? What might be some of the things that caused a change in what you are feeling now?
  • What designs for the structure building worked well and which ones did not? Might  there be any patterns here?
  • Is it more important to have a clean studio, an organized studio, or quiet/productive studio? Why? How are these three related?
  • What might be some things that you wish Miss Cheryl knew? (Feel free to email me as needed.)

See you next week!

Theater and Transitioning to Distance Learning in ES

Week 26: March 9 – 13

Theater and Transitioning to Distance Learning in ES


A week that began normally and ended taking a very different turn. Backstage theater tour, playbill content creating, striving for Core Skills session goals, working as a team in improv games, theater team collaboration, and then preparing and practicing for distance learning for the rest of the session. The last two days this week included making a plan for our distance learning the next few weeks and practicing what our new schedule would look like.


The heroes demonstrated gratitude as they wrote thank you notes to the four guys from Calvin’s Improv Group that came to Journey for a Hero Talk. We mailed their notes out this week. Caleb Curry, the President of the Calvin Improv Group wrote to us and said,

“I wanted to let you know that we all had an amazing time with you guys! Talking about it afterward, we were all able to agree it was the best environment we had been in to teach improv and something we will remember for sure. We had such a good time…We were all definitely impressed by it.”  – Caleb Curry


Our tour of the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center with Jeremy Cox proved to be more exciting than we expected! Being on stage, behind the scenes, in the set storage room, and working with the lights was so cool! Thank you, Jeremy for such an inspiring tour!

As we waited for the second group of heroes to arrive to the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center in the van, the heroes who had already arrived occupied their time by playing improv games.



Stage trap door! The heroes brainstormed plays that might utilize this trap door experience. Can you think of any shows that use a trap door?


Seeing the set for the Hunchback of Notre Dame show up close gave theater more of a magical feeling than simply an empty stage.


Maddy was especially curious about the backstage manager’s post since her role in the Journey Academy exhibition is the Backstage Manager.


Most of the improv games and warm-ups we played this week:

  • Film Dub
  • Slideshow
  • Fast Forward, Rewind, Pause, Slow Motion
  • And Then
  • Pile of Props
  • Yes, Let’s
  • Take a Walk
  • Ask My Neighbor/Kitty Wants a Quarter
  • Quick Change
  • Rainstorm
  • Human Knot


The heroes love going to GR Gymnastics! They challenge themselves to try new things, to work on their weaknesses, and to strength their previous gymnastics skills. In Evi’s opinion, “Wednesday is my favorite day of the week!”


This week during a Launch discussion, the heroes discussed the COVID-19 coronavirus through questions like: “What does the media want you to believe?”, “What is really true about this virus and its spreading?”, “Who is most susceptible to catching this virus?”, and “What can we do in our studio to prevent the spread of germs (in general)?”

This week in the “Journey Academy Heroes’ Podcast,” two heroes chose to talk about coronavirus. Our research came from Spectrum Health. Make sure you do your own research on this topic from reputable sources. Overall take-away message: Stopping the spread of the virus that caused COVID-19 through every day good habits is the best way to keep people healthy.

Music: preview of “Energetic Ukulele” by Royalty Free Music Awwkwards


A bonus podcast! We added in an additional podcast focused on the distance learning that we are transitioning to.

Music: preview of “Energetic Ukulele” by Royalty Free Music Awwkwards


Have you asked your hero:

  • What were some highlights from your tour of the Forest Hills Fine Arts Center?
  • What are your thoughts about Calvin Improv group’s comments about coming to Journey? (See above)
  • When were you in workflow this week?
  • Were you ever in your panic zone this week? When were you in your challenge zone this week? When/where were you in your comfort zone this week?
  • When adults look at you and your friends, what do you think they see? What would they think is important to you? Are their thoughts of you true? (from Generation Change by Dave Ramsey)
  • Do you ever hide behind your “stuff” so that other people–or God–won’t be able to see the real you? How would your friendships change if all you “stuff” was taken out of the picture? (from Generation Change by Dave Ramsey)
  • What is it about us that Jesus values so much? Does he care more about what we have or who we are? (from Generation Change by Dave Ramsey)


John 14:27

Jesus speaking: “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”

Forming a Theater Production Team

Week 25: March 2 – 6

Forming a Theater Production Team


Our second week of the Process Drama/Improv Quest has been filled with playbill writing, improv game practice, practicing our on-the-spot thinking, and growing as a team. In Writer’s Workshop, the heroes constructed the advertisement form and typed the acts and cast members. Thank you to those who have reserved their advertisement spots in the playbill.



We love when heroes lead discussions. Every Thursday this quest, one of the ES heroes will lead close discussion with the ELS.


Caleb, Isaiah, Jackson, and Alex from Calvin Improv came for a Hero Talk!


Great takeaways from Calvin Improv team’s Hero Talk

  • Ways to grow at improvising include practicing being creative, be willing to make mistakes, read a lot to broaden your understanding of things in this world, practice improv games multiple times, and hold conversations with any different kinds of people.
  • Improv helps us in life situations because it helps us think on the spot, respond to stimulus around us, try new things, adapt to the responses of others, respond under pressure (ex: interviews), speak clearly when talking, and so much more.
  • When performing an improv show, it is important to speak loudly, project your voice, speak clearly, be concise, and don’t ask questions.
  • Starting and ending an improv show is simple.
  • Improvisers love to share improv game ideas with one another.


Improv games we played this week:

  • Bad Advice
  • Improv Olympics
  • Speak As One
  • Letter from Camp
  • Barnyard Symphony
  • The News Interviewer


Welcome back to the “Journey Academy Heroes’ Podcast!” This week, Ellery and Reaghan chose to talk about growing closer to God. Enjoy!

Music: preview of “Energetic Ukulele” by Royalty Free Music Awwkwards



Have you asked your hero:

  • What was the process like as you worked on the advertisement form and the acts and scenes for the exhibition playbill?
  • If you have set a weekly program schedule for yourself, how did it go this week? If you have not set a weekly schedule, what are the pros and cons of having a schedule for your programs?
  • What difficulties came up as you collaborated together with your theater committees?
  • How are play rehearsals going with the directors and movement master?
  • What tasks are you and your committee/team currently working on?
  • What were your highlights from when Calvin Improv came for a Hero Talk?
  • What improv games that you have played so far do you think the people at Heather Hills Independent Village might enjoy watching?
  • What surprises have come up this week for you?

See you next week!

New Quest! Improv and Theater Jobs in ES!

Week 24: February 24 – 28

New Quest! Improv and Theater Jobs in ES!



The first week of the Process Drama/Improv Quest is off and running!  In addition to the excitement of the quest, the growth mindset that the heroes demonstrated as they set their session goals blew me away! They continue to move closer to their yearly goals, and a handful of yearly goals have already been blown out of the water!


In Writer’s Workshop, the heroes are writing the content for a playbill to pass along to the Playbill Designer Team. This week, the billing page was completed.



After reading through the theater job classified ad, each ES and ESL hero selected their top three job choices. When theater jobs were hired and posted, the heroes began meeting with their theater committee groups and carrying out their responsibilities for week 1. The committee meetings are off to a great start!



GR Gymnastics! Every Wednesday this quest, the heroes have the exciting opportunity to go to GR Gymnastics. Coach Tammy led a muscle-working gymnastics session that the heroes thoroughly enjoyed.



With the goal in mind to help younger heroes discover what leading a discussion looks like, the ES heroes have made a schedule for this quest with 6 close discussions being led by ES heroes. Another great opportunity to demonstrate leadership!



Warm-up games and long list of improv games! The heroes will choose 5-7 of these games to play/perform at the exhibition. We have just begun to scratch the surface of improv games.


Some of the improv games we have played so far:

  • Gibberish Interpreter
  • Let Me Help!
  • Fortunately, Unfortunately
  • One-Word-at-a-Time Story
  • Emotional Scenes
  • What’s on the Radio?
  • Helping Hands
  • 2 Ways to Die
  • Exaggeration Game
  • Where Is It?


Improv Rules

1) Say “Yes and”. Take the idea that is offered and run with it the direction it wants to go in the scene.

2) Make statements. Don’t ask questions.

3) There are no mistakes. Everyone onstage is a genius.

4) Listen, watch, concentrate. Be in the scene not in your head.

5) Give and take. You can look good if you make your partner look good. Focus on teamwork. 


Welcome back to the “Journey Academy Heroes’ Podcast!” This week, our topic is improv. The heroes are enjoying the process of creating a short weekly podcast. Our goal is to get every ES hero on a rotation. This week, we added prelude background music. The heroes liked the “opps” off-mic recording at the end, so even though we can edit the ending out, the heroes wanted the last few seconds left in for kicks and giggles! Enjoy!

Music: preview of “Energetic Ukulele” by Royalty Free Music Awwkwards



Have you asked your hero:

  • How do you feel about the goals that you set for session 5?
  • How can checklists help you in your work at home and school?
  • Did you decide to set a weekly schedule for your programs?
  • What improv rule is the most challenging for you so far while you participate in improv games? Which rule are you great at applying in the improv scenes?
  • What was your favorite part of GR Gymnastics this week? What gymnastics skill do you want to get better at?
  • What was the most difficult aspect of the playbill billing page to create?


See you next week!

ES Exhibition and Speech Week!

Week 23: February 9 – 13

Exhibition and Speech Week!


So much excited energy ran through Journey this week! Along with exhibition week comes a noticeable height in ownership, accountability, goal reaching, teamwork, and meaningful self-reflection. The list of effort, perseverance, and growth runs miles long, and I am thrilled to share some of these reasons to celebrate with you.


The heroes re-evaluated the responsibilities continuum and discovered that they could move more responsibilities to the “Heroes” side.


A hero led a discussion about how to make the world better by not littering. The heroes are working on leading more discussions and taking on more of this responsibility.


Presenting self-evaluations of this past session to fellow heroes followed by an opportunity for heroes to ask questions of each presenter.


Final Rube Goldberg machine in progress! Some groups has to start over and re-plan their section of the machine. One very challenging part of this machine was trying to join the separate sections into one continuous chain-reaction.


 Failures and successes are part of the process. Through failed attempts, the heroes practiced problem solving skills and teamwork as they sought after how to fix the “sticky” areas.


As a book review, a hero chose the board game method. When version one of the board game needed improvement, edits were made, and the game was tested again. Practicing problem solving and a growth mindset! Fellow heroes are so supportive in the entire process.


More nuggets of gold from this week:

  • Many session goals were reached this week as the heroes cranked out an extra dose of focus and concentration.
  • The heroes worked diligently to finish and strengthen their how-to speeches for the exhibition.


At the exhibition, the heroes demonstrated bravery as they tested out their Rube Goldberg machine to a live audience. They proved the difficulty of creating one continuous chain reaction machine.




Individual strengths and passions of each hero shined as they pushed through their nerves and presented their How-To speeches to the audience. Great grit, heroes!


Announcing the official “Journey Academy Heroes’ Podcast!” This week’s topic is “Green lighting.” Similar to how a green traffic light gives you the go-ahead for driving through an intersection, “green lighting” gives the go-ahead for projects, and in our case, our science binder. We green lighted (or some would say “green lit”) by fixing grammar and spelling errors in order to give the writing the go-ahead for displaying at the exhibition.



Have you asked your hero:

  • What are some things that you are most proud of from this session?
  • What are some things that you want to improve next quest?
  • What are you most proud of from the exhibition?
  • How did the ES heroes practice teamwork during this Rube Goldberg quest?
  • In what ways did you get distracted from your work this quest?
  • What are you curious about with the Improv Quest after break?

See you next week!

Engineering, Speech-Practicing, and Teamwork in ES

Week 22: February 3 – 7

Engineering, Speech-Practicing, and Teamwork in ES


The exhibition is next week! Pieces of the “puzzle” continue to come together as the heroes put forth loads of effort, focus, and collaboration. “How-to” speeches, their final Rube Goldberg machine, pursuing their session goals, and welcoming Dr. T took center stage this week. Be sure to listen to the audio interview with two heroes at the end of this post.

We are thrilled to welcome Dr. T to Journey! Noticing that Dr. T did not have a bookshelf for his books, the heroes set to work building him a temporary bookshelf. Pretty soon, design “A” required some re-engineering, so the heroes collaborated to strengthen their first design.



Tackling those session goals! Grit = long-suffering perseverance and courage.


In preparation for the “How-to” speeches, the heroes have been creating their visual aids.


This Friday and next Monday, the heroes presented/will present their “How-to” speeches before their studio peers. Feedback from each hero for each hero will provide helpful guidance for making adjustments before giving the speeches again at the exhibition. The speeches given Friday certainly reflected the heroes’ hard work with drafting, editing, rehearsing, and collaborating on their speeches. Three more speeches to go.


How long does VHS tape measure? How much video space does this amount of tape hold? How does that compare with a DVD? The heroes were shocked to discover that VHS tape is about 1,410 feet long! Predictions, before unraveling, ranged from 4 feet to 20 feet. Turns out, two pulleys were found inside each VHS!


Skip-Bo Golf game proved to be a blast! The lowest points win at the end of the game instead of the highest, like most games. Similarly, 1 Corinthians 1:18-20 shows us that through the cross, Jesus changed the rules of the game of life. No longer does power, fame, beauty, or money win at the end of our lives. Christ’s death on the cross seemed like foolishness to the world, but instead, Christ’s death enabled us to be saved from death. There are many more passages in the Bible that tell how God “changed the rules of the game of life.” See if you can find more examples.


Each partner group designed and built their section of the Rube Goldberg machine. Now, the heroes are problem solving to join the three sections together into one continuous machine. As the machine becomes longer, more failures arise. A growth mindset will continue to progress the heroes towards their goal!


Listen to this interview with two ES heroes about the Rube Goldberg quest and their final machine for the exhibition.


Have you asked your hero:

  • What session goals did you reach this week? What “big rock” priority goals do you have facing you for next week?
  • What parts of your Rube Goldberg machine failed this week? What changes could you make to fix those trouble spots?
  • How has the process been for you of connecting your Rube Goldberg machine to the other heroes’ machine(s)?
  • If 1,410 feet of VHS tape holds 4-6 hours of video and a DVD holds about the same amount of video, what do you think video storage devices will look like in the future?
  • What do you think about the change in the Aleks math program to have unlimited math quick table access?
  • This is week two with the new adjustments related to tracking your goals in Journey Tracker. How have these changes benefited you during Core Skill time?
  • Did you give your “How-to” speech on Friday? If so, what adjustments need to be made before you give it again at the exhibition? If not, how prepared do you feel to give your speech on Monday?

See you next week!