WEEK 44 (06/20/22) END OF SCHOOL YEAR!

June 29th: Launch Night for Children’s Business Fair: 5:30 to 7pm Belknap Mill – Here is the sign up

August 6th: 10am to 1pm NH Children’s Business Fair in the Laconia City Hall Parking Lot. Here is the link for your child to register to have a booth at the Fair! Please spread the word to your friends – any child can participate ! Spread the word to come and shop the Fair that day : )

August 11th: 3pm to 4pm – Welcome Back Party at the studio

August 15th: First day of School


In case you are still looking for summer camps and options, one of our Acton mom’s told me about a FREE tennis and yoga camp nearby! Here is the link 

Here is Laura’s blog on How to Close the Year as an Acton parent.

If you are looking for some summer reading here is our list of recommended books! (we have a few copies of some of these books that you can borrow).

Here is a copy of next year’s calendar.


The last week of school no matter which school you go to, it feels the same. Summertime joy is in the air, no focus because the beach is calling your name, and the taste of no more school work is extra sweet on your tongue. But at Acton Academy end of year goals bring our Eagles right back to reality. Because they have spent all year setting big goals and accomplishing them along their journey, they have built amazing skills to help push the distractions aside. In the Spark studio, every Eagle showed grit and perseverance this week trying hard to reach their goals. The tribe many times throughout the week stopped what they were doing and supported each other in truly amazing ways. Our Eagles overcame showdowns, disappointment, and hard decisions and they helped each other to keep at it and not stop trying.

 To me, this last week confirmed that all the trials and challenges were worth the hard work. Being able to watch the final badges and milestones being placed on the board with the biggest smiles and pride showed how much each and every eagle has grown this year. No matter where life takes you and what hurdles are thrown in front of you, if you have the strength to keep jumping you can accomplish anything. These are the true lessons that will help them conquer anything life throws at them. Our eagles do not need to knoweverything; they just need to know that they have the skills to figure outanything. Focusing on practice and never perfection leads to strong, supportive, and determined little humans.  


During Quest this week the Eagles worked hard on nailing down their pitches for their Exhibition booths. I am sure that you heard some good ones at the Exhibition : )

Although the energy was high in the studio this week, there were many Eagles that were ultra-focused and pushing themselves to just do that little bit more work that would earn them a badge.

We were excited on Friday to do a move-up ceremony for Aliyah, who completed her Locke’s Hill badges and is now moving into the ES studio. This was just one of many great examples of Eagles persevering to finish up loose ends in their badge plan.

Thursday’s Exhibition was a success! Thank you to everyone who was able to make it and also to those who contributed to the potluck – we had quite a spread! 

Friday’s trip to Ahern was HOT and many of the Eagles decided to wade in the water. We apologize for giving you soggy children at the end of the day : ) but they had a TON of fun doing it!

We ended the year by giving out year books to each Eagle, it is always so fun to see the growth and changes in the pictures throughout the year.

We wish all of you a wonderful, relaxing summer and we look forward to continuing the Journey in August : )

Congratulations to Badges Earned:

Vivian – Mt. Chocorua Reading Badge
Bode – Mt. Chocorua Writing Badge
Margaret – Lockes Hill Reading Badge (now on Piper!)
Finn- Lockes Hill Reading Badge
Aliyah – Lockes Hill Writing Badge- on Piper and moving up to ES
Jack – Mt. Chocorua Math Badge


An Update from Mr. TJ

Civilizations this session is a deep book. Reading a specific deep book about Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece. There are many books that were not finished. That is ok. Many of the learners suggested they would finish their deep books over the summer and come back ready to earn the badge.

Instead of me leading all of the launches this week, the learners launched on what character trait they believed had the most impact on the studio at large.

A lovely end to this quest about creativity. During a quest launch this week I asked about robots or AI and its ability to create art or be creative. Ask your pathfinder about the responses to this question. 

Well, the stories did not disappoint in Genre. Some were certainly comical and fun while others were certainly exciting to read. It is very clear how much time and energy went into creating the stories!

The studio has been interesting this week as far as the mood. I can tell the Pathfinders are excited for summer and preparing for their adventure of the summer. I think we have a fair amount of nervous energy as well knowing seeing friends will be limited more than they are used to.

Ask your Eagle: Did you live to your potential this year? How did you grow? What changes are you going to make next year to make it even better?


I would love to take a minute to share some of my thoughts from my first year as an Acton Guide. To each and every Eagle and family, thank you. These two words will never actually convey my appreciation for the overwhelming support and kindness I was shown over the past nine months. Thank you for trusting me to guide your children and spend my days with them. Some days were definitely not easy or pretty, but we hung on and kept swimming. The lessons I learned from your children have changed how I not only see education but also parenting. Taking on my own Hero’s journey has given me countless new perspectives and an unwavering belief in the Acton system. I am truly honored to be on this adventure with all of you. My cool feedback for the year: we aren’t there yet. My warm feedback for the year: we built a tribe of amazing young people and we get to keep trying and continue the journey! Happy summer my friends! 


June 23rd: Exhibition and End of the Year BBQ Party Potluck! Here is the food sign up sheet

June 24th: Last Day of School!

June 27 to July 1st: Survivor Summer Camp – registration required: Here is the link!

June 29th: Launch Night for Children’s Business Fair – 5:30 to 7pm Belknap Mill
Here is the sign up

August 6th: 10am to 1pm NH Children’s Business Fair in the Laconia City Hall Parking Lot. Here is the link for your child to register to have a booth at the Fair! Please spread the word to your friends – any child can participate!


We are in need of cardboard! Please bring some in this coming week if you have any extra at home : )

I will be sending out the Spring Parent Surveys this weekend. I really appreciate you filling them out – they take about 5 seconds and it is part of the way that we maintain our status as an Acton Academy!

The NH Children’s Business Fair relies on donations from the community in order to operate. Here is a link to the Sponsorship Flyer, please help us spread the word around the Lakes Region! Make sure your Eagle is signed up to have a booth at the Fair if that is their plan 🙂

If you are looking for some summer reading here is our list of recommended books! (we have a few copies of some of these books that you can borrow).

Here is a copy of next year’s calendar.


As we get ready to enjoy our Hero journey’s outside of the studio for our summer break many Eagles have set end-of-year goals. Stamina and tenacity to finish badge work to prepare for next year requires a different type of perseverance. Attaining something that you have worked on for a long time truly builds the intrinsic motivation that our Eagles need to soar. Finding their own inner devotion to become a true learner-driven Adventurer comes from the endurance and dedication to all the short-term goals throughout the year to achieve their end-of-year goals. The inner feeling of pride, accomplishment, and self-motivation that only you can achieve holds an unmeasurable amount of sanctity. Conquering a mountain level per year takes a lot of grit!


This week during quest the Eagles learned about hiring employees. Here are some pieces of advice from Forbes on hiring your first employee at a startup company:

The sooner the better (if you can afford it)

Hire for potential, not (just) track record

Have applicants demonstrate skill or aptitude

They played a game called RoboRush to help better understand the process your business may go through when deciding if and when to hire employees. They were told to pay close attention to the Mentor in the game and how much money you make each step of the way. When is the cost of an employee worth it, or when are you better off not hiring?

They watched the I Love Lucy clip of Lucy in the chocolate factory! : ) They also talked about competition and they worked on building their prototypes.

On Tuesday the Eagles were asked: How will use your time intentionally today, what will you promise to yourself or fellow Eagles?

Nolan: I commit to probably being less distracting- I do wander.

Trace: Working hard in my challenge zone and staying focused.

Lillian: I commit to holding people accountable.

Bode: I commit to doing all my work and not distracting anyone.

Sophia: Working hard in my challenge zone and not distracting people.

We had the opportunity to walk downtown and ask business owners about their journey as entrepreneurs. The Eagles visited:

Daub’s Cobbler Shop – https://shoerepairnh.com/

Piedmont Print & Frame  – https://piedmontprintandframe.com/

Ask you Eagle which one they went to and what they learned!

On Thursday Kendall lead a morning launch to tell the ES all about the MS camping trip, complete with a slide show!

In music we watched what a piano performance should look like. Ask your learner how guests and performers should act! We also watched a performance-gone-wrong. The pianist adapted to the broken piano and entertained the crowd until it was fixed. What a growth mindset! Several learners performed their songs in class. Next week we will practice some final performances, give out piano badges, and discuss what our learners would like to study for music next year.

During Art class everyone colored the paper mache birds that they made last week. They each came out unique having their own individual design and colors, another piece to look out for during the Exhibition.

On Friday the Eagles enjoyed a hike up Locke’s Hill. The storm passed over us just before we started the hike and sunshine and blue skies appeared!


An Update from Mr. TJ

Civilizations this session is a deep book. Reading a specific deep book about Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece. Some pathfinders have realized their books were a little ambitious for the time they had. Checkin in to see if they think they will be able to get all of their book done by the end of the session.

This week Kendall reflected on the camping trip on Thursday. She shared with the whole school what the trip was like and how much fun the MS had. She even made a slide show of pictures of the experience.

Ask your Pathfinder how PD will change for next year. Most if not all should have heard about the changes at this point.

The final push for the Art and Creativity Quest is coming up. This is the time to check with your learner to make sure they are prepared to get the work in by next Thursday for badge sign-offs.

I am in the dark on the Genre stories that are coming down the pipe but I am excited because of all of the energy that is going to them.

The camping trip was a success. There was a lot of adventure to be had and a bunch of fun with our fellow Acton learners. Acton Academy Kennebunkport was very fun to hang out with and we built a bond that I think will serve us in the future. The learners did great on the hike. It was a real challenge and they conquered it just like the challenges that have been presented all year. The pictures are shared with all of the Pathfinders in their school google photos accounts.

Please check in about internship progress and If they want their apprenticeship badge this session, reflections must be in by 2:45 pm on Thursday.


This week we enjoyed outside tea time with a scavenger hunt for clocks and a warm breeze blowing across our faces to help cool our tea. The enjoyment of more outside time has helped me as a Guide know where to focus more time in our days for next year. The learning that happens when we just follow our curiosity is so enjoyable! Afternoon writer’s workshop at the library has also been another highlight during this session. The Eagles have all enjoyed drawing and sketching their observations in their field journals. It also has given them lots of time to sound out their words and practice their handwriting skills.

Wednesday Waseca time yet again used some friendly competition to fuel the fire of unit completion. One of our Locke’s learners, along with three E.S. Eagles were given a business bonus (remember all Eagles are employees of Acton during this quest) that needed to be completed by the end of the core skill block. All four learners needed to achieve the requirements if they wanted to help their tribe get out of studio maintenance at the end of the day. Ask your Eagle if they needed to clean the studio Wednesday. Did your Adventurer get one of the bonuses?  Quest time after lunch brought more outside learning time. The Sparks were tasked with the job of creating a currency and designing a store with one outside element as their product. Ask your Spark about their creative money. What was their product? Where was their store? How much did they charge for their items? How much money did they have at the end? One business owner figured out that if their product prices were high they would have more money to spend at other stores. 

Thursday music class bright the final touches to this session’s work on their outside music man. It was a big event to stand him up in the garden and hear the Sparks playing their music on him. The Sparks created a story of his beginnings – you will be able to read all about him and check him out during the Exhibition next week! During Art class everyone colored the paper mache birds that they made last week. They each came out unique having their own individual design and colors, another piece to look out for during the Exhibition. Some of core skill time has been used for gardening this session. The tribe truly enjoys the extra outside time. The seedlings we started last session were transplanted into a new garden bed. It will be fun to see what grows. Another garden bed got some well-needed attention to weeding and transplanting some flowers from a different area in the yard. Be sure to have your Spark show you their plants at the Exhibition too.

Friday morning launch was led by an E.S. Adventurer that needed to do some product research. She used the tribe to test some ideas and collect a lot of useful data to better design her business. It was a fun start to the day. Ask your learner what they got to test. Did they like everything? Was there a mystery that they didn’t like? After the fun, the Sparks were given 10 extra free time minutes outside to burn off some energy from their product testing. Core skill time following was shorter than usual because sometimes we just get to do that at Acton. They had a full hour of silent core skill time. I know they are serious about doing work when they ask for the special music to be turned on (piano music), that’s a good cue to know that some brain power is getting ready to be exerted. Check with your learner to see if they achieved productive time this week. We ended our day with a beautiful hike up Locke’s Hill in Gilford. It was slightly treacherous at the start with Mr. TJ demonstrating the proper lightning drill stance, but the storm passed quickly and the sunshine was enjoyed from various lookout points. Check with your Eagle about their favorite part of the hike? Did they like the rock chairs, the “treenastics”, or the old rock quarry?  


June 23rd: Exhibition and End of the Year Party Potluck!

June 24th: Last Day of School!

June 27-July 1st: Survivor Summer Camp – registration required.

June 29th: Launch Night for Children’s Business Fair | 5:30 to 7pm: Belknap Mill – Sign up here!

August 6th: 10am-1pm NH Children’s Business Fair in the Laconia City Hall Parking Lot. Here is the link for your child to register to have a booth at the Fair! Please spread the word to your friends – any child can participate !


The NH Children’s Business Fair relies on donations from the community in order to operate. Here is a link to the Sponsorship Flyer, please help us spread the word around the Lakes Region!

Here is a very short blog from Laura on how important it is to give your attention.

Next year announcements:

It looks like we will be staying in our current location for a little while longer, while we are in search of the perfect property with lots of land to enhance having more nature and outdoor time.

We will be adding at least one more Guide to our team next year!


Tuesday morning’s launch with Ms. Kerry fit into learning about entrepreneurship and employment. She introduced the understanding that without a source of income yet the Eagles needed to trade their time instead of money for use of anything they did not bring from home. You want to use a pencil, that’s 10 push-ups, sit-ups, or squats. If you want to sit on a chair, that’s 10 of your choice. If you want to use a cup for a drink of water, be prepared to trade your time and energy for that purchase. The Eagles did a great job taking on this challenge without complaining. 

At core skill debrief many of the Eagles reflected on the understanding of trading your time for things you want. It helped put each learner’s needs and wants in a more clear perspective. Is this really a necessity and is my time worth that? Also many commented on how strong and fit our tribe would be if they had to do that everyday!


Art class this week had the Eagles creating some fun birds. Creating paper mache birds was a multi step process. Crumpling newspaper and making a form and then using the paper mache glue and strips to see our birds come to life was all about following directions. The Spark group had a huge call to action when the E.S. studio was not following the guardrails and showing focus and patience during their art class. The youngest learners were called out to show the older eagles how to be attentive and respectful and listen and follow the Guide’s directions. They did a fantastic job of holding their fellow Eagles accountable and getting them on track.  


Eagles have finished their 360 peer reviews for each other this week. Ask your Eagle how that went for them.

During Quest the Eagles worked on Identity Island. Ms. Kerry told them: On this island you will begin creating an identity for your business by writing a slogan and designing a booth to sell your product. You will also explore Behavioral Economics by putting yourself in the shoes of a customer. 

They asked themselves questions like: What do you think the importance is of having a slogan associated with your product? They watched the Bee Sweet Lemonade story clip about an entrepreneur about your age, who got started at the Acton Children’s Business Fair! They also read her story from her website.

Customers: Will they buy this?

Cost: Can we make and deliver it cheaply enough?

Competition: Can we defend against copycats?

Context: Am I the right person and is this the right time?

In Civilizations the Eagles are hearing stories about the Ancient Greek Gods. They read a story about Zeus this week.

During Music several Adventurers learned more piano songs as they pulled their music knowledge together. Ask your Eagle what song they wrote or learned.

On Friday we enjoyed a hike at Chamberlin Reynolds. Some of the Eagles built a fort and others explored the beaches and trails. Your Eagle may have come home with wet feet on Friday! A bunch of Eagles choose to wade in the water with their shoes and boots on. Natural consequences!!!

Reminder- Eagles should share their business materials list with their families this weekend. They will be making a prototype of what they are selling on Thursday.

Congrats on Badges this Week:

Aliyah – Lockes Hill Reading Badge and Lockes Hill Math Badge

Lillian – Piper Mountain 2 Typing Badge

Nolan – Piper Mountain Reading Badge and The Lencioni Family Badge, Part 2


An Update from Mr. TJ

Civilizations this session is a deep book. Reading a specific deep book about Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece. The learners have all selected their books at this point and have begun reading check with your Pathfinder to find out what they are reading. The books are moving along and the Greek writing is definitely beginning to intrigue the learners.

This week we covered a plethora of topics including the recipe for excellence. We have talked about this quite a bit this year and it is not new though it warrants repeating. The recipe is Time, Effort, and Focus. If you put those three things together you can find your way to excellence and mastery. Interestingly enough these also connect to the three monsters in the ES. Time coincides with resistance, Effort with a victim mentality, and Focus with distraction. When one of these monsters gets you it means an ingredient in your recipe gets removed and the product lacks.

There will be big changes in PD for next year stay tuned for interesting developments.

This week during Quest we were doing multiple mystery challenges. The most interesting one so far has been the single-word prompt Obscurity. There are some interesting works that came out of that prompt including an Alien, a spiral of eyes spinning into the distance, and others.

Some of these independent genres are getting very very very interesting. A murder mystery choose your own adventure and a story of a girl named Ivy.

Everyone is excited for the camping trip this weekend. Please check in about internship progress and make sure the learners are prepared for their camping trip this weekend.

There were four badges earned this week.!


There are times at the studio that just feels like life. Not like school, not like work but just being. This week had that springtime nostalgic taste in the air of a simple way of life. Learning about money, how to count it, and most of all how to earn it, brought some great understanding of how important time and the use of time really is.  

Monday’s core skills may not have had a lot of grit or focus but it doesn’t always have to. Creating a love for learning sometimes just needs freedom to figure things out. Monday’s debrief reflected on how to improve. Afternoon quest time provided that reset from earlier on in the day to hunker down and focus on the task and then enjoy some extra free time outside. Make sure to check in with your learners so there are no surprises on their materials list needed for their business ideas. Each eagle needed to make a list of the materials and resources they may need to ask family and friends to help them gather.

Tuesday tea time brought some time telling bingo fun. In the Spark studio, we used Ms. Kerry’s idea to bring awareness that all things cost money or effort. Any activity from the shelves had to be paid for. Bathrooms, sinks, paper, pencils, chairs, and such were free of charge. Bingo provided 5 free purchases to anyone that got a full row filled in with their time-telling skills. We try to have at least one E.S. learner join us every Tuesday and this week he was very excited to earn 5 free purchases since they had much more to trade for. 

Wednesday Waseca time created some exciting rivalry as a few of our learners are at the last leg of their Locke’s Badges. Sometimes some good old competition can really kick-start a drive to succeed. Check in with your learner to see how they are advancing in their Waseca work. I have said it before, Waseca really is such a great system to have in our studio. It pulls together so many skills in one activity, perseverance, challenge zone, organization, teamwork, collaboration, and the list goes on. Wednesday after lunch the Spark’s enjoyed some real world quest time in downtown Laconia. All the small businesses were incredible with their patience and kindness to allow our moving classroom to get some hands-on real-time skills for young entrepreneurs. Searching for price tags and identifying costs, asking questions, observing a storekeeper’s customer service skills, counting money to see if you can purchase an item you really like, seeing that you need more than one bike in a bike shop to keep your business going are just a few scenarios we experienced. We are very lucky to have such a fantastic community to help our tribe learn and prepare to be future leaders. Ask your Spark about their stickers collected from some of the shops and which store was their favorite. What do they remember that they will use for their business planning?

Thursday music man-making was so much fun. So creative and engaging. They worked together in teams to put certain parts of our music man together. Some learners were sanding down rust, hot gluing gems and wrapping wire. Ask your Spark what part they created!

Thursday afternoon quest was a ton of fun for the Sparks. They watched a short video on goods and services. Following we took out magazines and found pictures to show examples of goods and services. They learned that some business can be only for goods, only for services, or a goods and services business. At debrief many of them said it was a lot of fun and they liked learning about what they could do with their own business ideas.

Friday morning we gathered around our circle table to really pull apart our level of focus this week and if everyone worked hard in their challenge zones and stayed focused on their weekly goals. The tribe noticed there were more check marks in the no category than the yes side. Each Eagle then understanding where they broke down during the week, set a daily goal to see if we could achieve a majority in the yes column. After core skills we met again for our debrief to see our results. Each eagle was very honest and held themselves accountable to their shortcomings. “I did not work hard. I distracted other Eagles too much.” “I was only working in comfort zone on my doughnut. I didn’t get to challenge zone.” “I worked so hard and reached my goal but I still didn’t get my badge!” This was a great ending to our week to realize that goals are important for more than one reason and for different reasons for different people. We don’t all see goals the same way but we all use goals to get us moving on our hero’s journey.  

Forest Friday ended our great week with lots of adventure and working hard. One Eagle had some time to talk over a situation and get some advice so he could later communicate and tell the other eagle honestly what upset him. Others had big challenges to work as a team to finish their fort. And some conquered new outdoor skills. Be sure to ask your adventurer how they ended their week.  

Congratulations to Aliyah for earning:

Lockes Hill Reading Badge and 

Lockes Hill Math Badge



May 23-30th: Spring Break

June 9th – 5-6:30pm: Acton Art Show at the Galleries at 30 Main in Meredith

June 11- 13th: Middle School Camping Trip

June 23rd: Exhibition and End of the Year Party Potluck!

June 24th: Last Day of School!

June 27-July 1st: Survivor Summer Camp – registration required.

June 29th: Launch Night for Children’s Business Fair | 5:30 to 7pm: Belknap Mill – Sign up here!


Here is a blog from Laura about Principals of a Learner Driven Community.


The Eagles have fallen in love with this Quest! Not only did they all get the challenges done on time, but many of them were done early and asking to move on to the next step ASAP!! It was great to watch and see their enthusiasm. Even the Sparks are ready to grab life by the horns and start their own business!


A bunch of the Spark learners decided to take money from the Studio’s Monopoly game and bring it outside to play with. They threw it up in the air, put it in puddles, tossed it in the sand and crumpled it up. There were several consequences given, including loss of the privilege of using the game closet. They had a discussion about how to respect the materials and they definitely got the message.


Quest this session is Entrepreneurship. Eagles will be learning all about owning and operating their own business. At the end of the session they will have a prototype business fair for Exhibition. Please remember they can enter the actual NH Children’s Business Fair that will be open to the public on August 6th! Participating in the actual fair is optional, but we would love to see our Eagles out there, showcasing their talents and their business savvy as they make some extra money!

Goals of the E-Ship game:

1. To learn more about yourself/what you love;

2. To learn as much about entrepreneurship as possible;

3. To create a business for the Children’s Business Fair!

This week the Quest focused on coming up with a business idea that you love. They dove into what it means to be motivated. Ms. Kerry read The Story of Bootstrap Tortoise, Asset Fox, and MBA Hare.

The Eagles were asked: What makes you the most excited about coming up with your own business idea?

“The money because then I can use the money to buy things that will help me make more money.”

“To make others happy cuz money is not all there is to the world.”

“Having fun. I love making crafts and now I get to sell the crafts I make.”

“Doing it with friends.”

“Making friends there and doing the projects with friends.”

During Writer’s Workshop, the Eagles started Field journals- We’re going to get outside and go to places to sketch, practice situational awareness and write our observations. 

During music the Eagles have several optional songs to flex the piano skills they’ve learned this year, or create their own song in the Middle C position. A few Eagles are taking the opportunity to learn these challenging songs. Some Eagles are choosing to goof off. Ask your Eagle what they have chosen to learn or make for this last session to earn their piano badge!

During Art class the Eagles completed their group art piece that wiil be displayed at the Art Show on Thursday at the Galleries on 30 Main in Meredith at 5pm!

This Session is all about heads down and hard work. They watched a video entitled: Stop Making Excuses and Own Your Actions. The Eagles all have individual goals to accomplish and focus on to end the year strong!

Friday the Studio hiked at Rambling View Farm in Gilford. Thank you to parent drivers, Cindy and Alex, who helped make this trip possible! The Eagles had a blast.

Badges this Week!!

Bode – Mt. Washington Typing Badge

Trace – Mt. Washington Writing Badge

Wyatt – Mt. Washington Typing Badge



Civilizations this session is a deep book. Reading a specific deep book about Ancient Rome or Ancient Greece. The learners have all selected their books at this point and have begun reading check with your Pathfinder to find out what they are reading.

On Thursday we launched Process V. Progress. Which was more important. The way you do things or that you are moving forward/getting better. The learners were split on which is more important. The girls all believed that the process was most important whereas the boys all shared that progress is most important. The argument for a process being if you use a great process you will get your work done. The argument for progress being as long as you are moving forward it doesn’t matter how you do it. They were challenged at the end to examine a process that they use and see if it is resulting in the most progress they could possibly make.

In this session, we are working on Art and Creativity. How can you express yourself through drawing, coloring, or painting? This week they dove into the fine skills of drawing like creating 3D images and shading. 

This session is the opportunity for the learners to catch up on Genres they are behind on or if they are all up to date, create a genre challenge of their choice. The challenges, end goal, and the process are all up to them and they are expected to have an excellent product by the end of the session. Check with your Pathfinder to ensure that they are up to date with their Genres or to see what their Independent Genre is.

The camping trip is coming up quickly! Make sure you read through the gear list so your Pathfinder is well prepared for the trip.


As employees of Acton E-Ship Academy, the Sparks had the opportunity to learn about US coins and earn money for completing core skill works. This money could then be used to pay for productive time on Friday. The cost of productive time was $12.00. 

On Tuesday, the effort and hard work was clearly visible. However, only 1 Spark cleaned up and made it to our meeting on time. Those other Sparks learned the lesson that if you are late, there may be something you miss out on. In this case, it was getting their pay for all the core skills activities they completed that morning. Since Tuesday, all Sparks have been ready and on time for each subsequent core skills meeting!

The Sparks began creating their Music Man as their music project with Ms. Rachel for the last session of the year! They were very creative in using “trash” and recycled materials. They are building the music man and creating his story – stay tuned! 

The Sparks enjoyed two separate Quest launches this week. They learned about what an entrepreneur is and jotted down some ideas for their businesses. They also constructed a map of this session’s Quest, which is called E-Ship (Entrepreneurship). Their map consists of 5 islands- which are named after 5 different concepts that entrepreneurs take into account when starting up a business. Each Spark colored and cut out a ship and docked it at Motivation Island. As they complete each day’s Quest challenges, they get to set sail to the next island. Your Spark can let you know what island their ship is on now.

It was a pleasure to see the teamwork, encouragement, and consideration the Sparks exuded when sharing their Business Idea Tickets to one another. They truly have matured since the beginning of the school year. I even had to ask them if they were sure that they were really Sparks and not Pathfinders (MS)!

We hope that Ms. Jessica is feeling better next week and that we will have her back in the studio : )



May 23-30th: Spring Break

June 9th – 5-6:30pm: Acton Art Show at the Galleries at 30 Main in Meredith

June 11- 13th: Middle School Camping Trip

June 23rd: Exhibition and End of the Year Party Potluck!

June 24th: Last Day of School!

June 27-July 1st: Survivor Summer Camp – registration required 

June 29th: Launch Night for Children’s Business Fair | 5:30 to 7pm: Belknap Mill


Friday morning weigh in time. The anticipated results from the surveys are always the best part of the morning after the exhibition. Thank you to the families and guests that filled them out and gave comments. It was wonderful to see so many! Without the surveys the Eagles would not b able to reflect and give good warm and cool feedback. The tribe had some great reflection and as always more lessons were learned and more growth occurred. Failures only bring new beginnings to try again. Seeing some lower scores compared to the last exhibition also doesn’t mean they failed, but it did prove that there is always room for improvement. This exhibition however had some monumental achievements that could not be measured with any survey. Some of our Eagles conquered big fears, some found support and others found new assets. As guides, we look for way more than what can be found in any scoring rubric. Finding grit, determination, bravery, respect, and communication skills are only a few. Ask our Eagle what fears they may have overcome or what monsters they defeated. Maybe your Eagle will surprise you with some true heartfelt realizations and be able to identify just how much they have grown, so far, this year!


Tuesday’s morning launch was focused on how to retain what you have learned. Reflection! Many times in the Acton studios adventures are called to action to use reflection as a vital tool for growth. They have had so much time to study and absorb information from this quest that they were given time to fill out a reflection paper and rate their efforts. Some Eagles may not have taken this activity for its full worth so at the end of the day it became a required challenge to submit into journey tracker. During your weekly or daily check-ins with your Eagle be sure to use this paper to open some good dialogue about their efforts. Each Eagle had to have peer approval for their individual scores and 4 Eagles chose to share their results at core skill debrief. The 4 Eagles that did take the opportunity, truly set a world class example of honesty, integrity and accountability. Ask your Eagle how they used the reflection time to keep persevering on their hero’s journey. Tuesday also had a great ocean video that helped even the youngest learners better understand the depths of the ocean. See if your Adventure can recall some of the world’s landmarks and structures to tell you about how deep parts of the oceans are.  


You will notice below, a lot of picture of Eagles hard at work. This week the focus and determination of the Eagles to achieve their goals and their milestones was impressive. The Journey Meetings definitely contributed to the seriousness with with the Eagles are taking their core skills. When they know what their Parents are expecting from them they step up the plate! The Guides and peers were cheering them on as the success built up.

Even during Quest, a few more levels were achieved by teams that were “stuck” and it seems that their motivation peaks when time is running out.

Wednesday started our day off with an emotionally fueled game of under the sea jeopardy. Only two quest teams had completed all of the necessary challenges to be contestants. The Black Parrot Fish (Sparks) were able to select an older E.S. learner to help with writing their answers to make the challenge more fair. The Sparks did a great job. Even though they may not have answered correctly it showed just how much they had learned this session and they played with enthusiasm against their older counterparts. Each team did a fantastic job of recalling information throughout the past weeks. The gritty part was that they may have forgotten it was only for fun. The grand prize at the end was not previously announced so neither team even expected any type of “reward”. It was intense to watch, much like the game enjoyed at the exhibition. Lots of fun but also lots of fierce competition in the air mixed with lots of confusion and too many buzzer sounds. In the end the E.S. team did win and were given a popsicle, both teams also were rewarded with 20 extra minutes of free time. The E.S. team at different times during the game chose to pass their turn to The Black Parrot fish to select an answer from the board. They realized numerous times that they were quicker and they showed grace and character to the younger learners.  

Ms. Marilee brought in some really awesome wooden fish for the Eagles to paint and they added them to their Exhibition Art Gallery. Ms. Rachel helped urge the piano players along and 6 Eagles achieved Music Milestones!!

Here is a transcript of part of the Exhibition reflection discussion:

Tribe, what do you think you did well?

Samantha: i think the stations really did well

“Was that everyone was staying at their exhibits and what went good for me was i got my questions done i time and when i was quizzing them on it they got them right”

“I liked that there wasn’t an order. There were 2 eagles for them to ask and they could tell them where to go, I think that really helped the people know where to go”

Tribe, What did not go well or do differently? 

“Most of the time my partner was not with me at my station so that got confusing”

“what would have been better if it wasn’t raining it felt really really crowded inside”

“I think the jeopardy could have been a little bit better because i think it should have been a couple eagles and a couple guest like 5 eagle and 5 guests, it seemed like there were definitely too many”

“I don’t think that would have been unfair because we didn’t have enough time”

“well some people didn’t even want to play that way they could have chosen”

Overall the Eagles had a great week, although we all missed Ms. Kerry who finally returned from her quarantine on Friday. She did lead some of the morning launches remotely, including a practice round of Under the Sea Jeopardy.

On Friday, after Exhibition and Quest reflections and a deep cleaning of the studio, the Adventurers enjoyed a trip to Opechee and the Skate Park to end the Session.

Congratulations to Badge Earners this week:

Sophia – Workshop Badge
Lillian – Workshop Badge


An Update from Mr. TJ

Civilizations this week was themed on Conflict goods and Slavery. This week is pretty heavy. Diving deep into the effects of conflict goods and slavery on civilizations. The Pathfinders have a very modern view on the ethics of slavery and conflict goods. They certainly expressed a contempt for the abuse of human rights in order to gain financially.

We discussed the idea of an alley oop. Basically setting someone up to do something that is cool or important. The idea being that we are a team and in order to build up ourselves we should help each other. Set someone up for success or closing out something important for a fellow learner. I offered up an alley oop on Wednesday by clearly opening up a document that would set them up for success when compiling their badges.

We have at least two apprenticeships that are accepted. I am hoping to hear about more of the apprenticeships coming to fruition during the break.

This week the Eagles worked on polishing up the Genre for this session and preparing for exhibition. This means the last few revisions and making things great on their Life and Death Reflections.

The Pathfinders pulled off a fantastic Exhibition and the feedback was that everyone did a great job and the guests could see their hard work. We even had 2 Eagles who couldn’t be there, do remote presentations over Google Meet!


The rogue waves and tides have yet to cease in the studio. With each swell and rise and fall of water levels the studio grows more and more. The tumultuous sea has delivered copious amounts of real life situations that the eagles have had to navigate through. Much like filter feeders of the oceans the Eagles have to rely on the nutrients surrounding them. With Ms. Kerry being remote some of last week and this week Ms. Mary and Mr. TJ have acted like much of the zooplankton to help strengthen and grow their skills. Exhibition excitement week also always seems to hook the Eagles and reel them like a giant tuna. Waiting for Friday’s morning launch to weigh in and see how big the catch will be is going to be hard. Watching the Eagles dig deep and find the gumption to do the hard work necessary to present their Quest work is greatly gratifying. So much peer camaraderie and support is contagious, it sometimes feels like watching a grand sporting event with cheerleaders, half time shows and referee standoffs.  

The Sparks enjoyed a walk to the Library to return all of our borrowed books. Usually we take time to explore the library, have a read-aloud and pick out books on our trips. This week the focus was on making sure to return what we used. We did not spend time inside the library. It was completely focused on the responsibility of giving back what was borrowed. Afterwards we did enjoy some epic games of hide and go seek around the beautiful gardens behind the library. It was so much fun, ask your Eagle about their favorite hiding spots? Also ask them about our fun game we played on the walk there and back.

Wednesday started our day off with an emotionally fueled game of under the sea jeopardy. Only two quest teams had completed all of the necessary challenges to be contestants. The Black Parrot Fish (Sparks) were able to select an older E.S. learner to help with writing their answers to make the challenge more fair. The Sparks did a great job. Even though they may not have answered correctly it showed just how much they had learned this session and they played with enthusiasm against their older counterparts. Each team did a fantastic job of recalling information throughout the past weeks. The gritty part was that they may have forgotten it was only for fun. The grand prize at the end was not previously announced so neither team even expected any type of “reward”. It was intense to watch, much like the game enjoyed at the exhibition. Lots of fun but also lots of fierce competition in the air mixed with lots of confusion and too many buzzer sounds. In the end the E.S. team did win and were given a popsicle, both teams also were rewarded with 20 extra minutes of free time. The E.S. team at different times during the game chose to pass their turn to The Black Parrot fish to select an answer from the board. They realized numerous times that they were quicker and they showed grace and character to the younger learners.  

Thursday, Exhibition Day! Well there is always too much excitement, apprehensions, contentment and unknowns. Prepping the studio puts every eagle in so many real world scenarios that they need to work their way through. The pressure of wanting to succeed, the happiness of finally getting to showcase all their hard work, and differences of opinions are just a few. Bue sure to check in with your Eagle and see what they say about exhibition prep. Do they enjoy the hustle and bustle or do they recede like the tide and find ways to help without being in the thick of it? The Sparks mostly seem to enjoy putting together their session books and gathering all their work to show off. This quest had ample time to take advantage of creative arts and crafts times to learn about the oceans. We had so much to display it almost felt as if you were walking into the ocean itself with corals, whales, eels, fish, octopus, and turtles. Ask your Spark what their favorite art project was this session? The Spark room was so full of pride as the school’s youngest learners led their guests through their work and showed off their creations. It was so much fun for me to observe all the happiness and see them take charge of presenting. I look forward to seeing this passion continue to grow over their years of being Adventures. 

Congratulations to Badge Earners:
Noah – Spark Literacy 7 badge!!
Margaret – Locke’s Hill Writing badge!!



May 16th: Renewal paperwork due for next year (I will be sending this out to each family over the next week)

May 19th, Thursday
2:00 pm – Middle Studio
3:30 pm – Elementary/Spark 

May 23-30th: Spring Break

June 9th – 5-6:30pm: Acton Art Show at the Galleries at 30 Main in Meredith

June 11- 13th: Middle School Camping Trip


THANK YOU SO MUCH to our parent drivers/chaperones who helped make our trip to the seacoast possible: Jodi, Beth and Heather!

And thank you Rachel for your generosity in leading the gardening action at the studio!

Here is a great blog on Feeling Lonely or Insecure as an Acton Parent written by a parent at Deep Creek Acton in Pennsylvania. 

Here is an interview with Laura Sandefer on the Frontrow Foundation Podcast


Ms. Kerry started the week with a discussion about friendship: Do you think it’s more important to pretend to like something that you really don’t/or change the way you act in order to have friends or be truthful about what you like/enjoy and risk not having any friends?

“Be truthful or else you’re going to be with people who are judging you.”

A couple Eagles shared stories of when they were with the “cool” people and felt scared of speaking. They felt like they were being judged. Another Eagle brought up being worried that she was not as good at something as someone else. She was scared that they would make fun of her. 

During Quest this week the Eagles created a giant marine food web!

They also had fun dissecting a predator’s “stomach” (made out of jello) and they had to figure out which predator the stomach belonged to, place its name on the giant food web on the whiteboard, along with the names of the prey it eats.

The Eagles pondered different problems in their own life and what the solutions would be. Then they pondered problems in the world and thought about what they could do to make it better. One of the big things that shocked them was the picture of the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. They learned about Boyan Slat, the 27 year old inventor/entrepreneur who came up with the Ocean Clean Up idea. He was inspired to clean up the ocean when he was 16 and scuba diving off the coast of Greece. While scuba diving he saw more plastic than fish.The Eagles came up with ways they could do better about making sure all their trash goes into the trash can and how they should all zip up their lunch boxes when they are done eating so that baggies and wrappers don’t blow out of them and all around the yard. 

Which character trait is most needed to come up with a solution like Boyan Slat did: confidence, creativity, or selflessness?

Vivian: confidence because if you’re confident in yourself you are most likely to get it done.

Lillian: I think you have to be selfless because like you are not doing it for yourself you are doing it for everyone else and everything in the ocean, but I also think you need all 3

Teddy: I would say creativity because then you can think of more ideas to help the problem, I think you need all 3 but to just pick one I think creativity, you could think of how to make machines that would go all around the world to clean up the oceans

Jasper: Creativity because you can make new things that can help the ocean

Bode: I think you would need to believe in yourself because if you didn’t you might quit halfway through or just never even do it at all

Cody: I think you would need perseverance because maybe sometimes you wouldn’t get things right and you would need perseverance to keep on trying.

2 Town Hall slips that were discussed that you should know about as parents:

  1. Toys are allowed at Acton again, however the Eagles came up with a LONG list of rules regarding how and when to play with your toys. Ask your Eagle what the rules are!
  2. The Eagles are wanting to be able to listen to Spotify again (right now they only have access to the Pandora accounts that parents have set up). We took away Spotify because there wasn’t a way to filter explicit content. The Eagles are trying to figure out how to get around that road block, but so far they do not have a plan.

During Music the Eagles were challenged to a game of note naming. Ask your learner if they were on the winning team! Ms Rachel challenged the students to write their own songs (with words) or learn two songs before they could go outside for some earned free time. Many learners rose to the challenge and wrote some beautiful tunes and words. 

Congratulations to Badge Earners this week:

Jack – Workshop Badge


Warm weather, working hose, and a short week ending in a fantastic trip. Life as an Acton Eagle couldn’t get much better. With distractions and victimhood hitting the studio so hard the past couple weeks during quest time some plain old fun in the sun was surly needed medicine. This week also had extra focus on what makes an Acton Eagle and what that should mean within each learner. Not everyone gets the opportunity to hold that title and how can we as a community help bring out the Hero in everyone. How can Heroes take charge and make a stronger impact? How can each of us become part of the solution and not part of the problems facing our planet and oceans.? Be sure to ask your Adventurer what makes an Eagle and what that means to them. Ask them how they are being mindful and what changes they are making in their everyday lives to keep focus on making positive impacts on our world.  

Seacoast Science Center proved to be everything and more to bring the hard work from quest times to real life understanding for our Eagles. The indoor exhibition area was loaded with information and had so many hands on activities. The touch tank was definitely a favorite as well as the beautiful tanks filled with corals, anemones, fish, plants and even a giant eel. Each Eagle also had the experience of working with a science center staff member to learn about seals and how to rescue them. And of course, tide pooling. Lots of creatures and exploring was enjoyed. We could not have asked for a better day, the sun was out, the temperature was fantastic and the Eagles had a chance to mingle with other Acton Eagles. The only thing we needed was Ms. Kerry! The studio has missed her calmness and focus and we can not wait for her return.  


Lots of extra laundry made have been made this week. The outside hose was turned on and many Eagles took advantage of the fun. The gritty on the hose though……someone left it on all day during our excursion to the Seacoast. This will be an opportunity to learn from mistakes, the tribe will need to dig in deep and do some hard work and prove their integrity to earn the privilege back!  


An Update from Mr. TJ

During Civ this week the Pathfinders approached the topic of oil and silver and the impacts those resources had on the world at large. 

Launches this week continued to focus on how the best practices for thriving in a job, as well as some conversations about the studio at large and how we are maintaining our culture.

In Genre the Pathfinders continued working on their Obituaries or stories of life and loss. The final drafts should be finished in the beginning of this coming week. They also Read Chapter VII of The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolstoy then describe a future scene where you are taking care of someone who is dying.

Kendall led a great PD class centered on yoga and stretching this week.

The Pathfinders have been preparing this week for how they will present their apprenticeship opportunities to their parents. They also finished drafting what they want to say during their in-person meetings with their potential apprenticeship business owner.

The emails are getting responded to! We have our first responses to the emails that were sent out this week. I am looking forward to seeing how our learners can develop these relationships and start developing their passions and interests. It sounds like we have a couple of Pathfinders with their apprenticeships well in hand.

They are also creating “convenants” to sign with their parents with rules and limitations about their apprenticeship, including transportation logistics. They are creating an “employer contract” to have at the ready for when their apprenticeship is accepted. This is an important document that will have the employer sign off on dates, location, pay, and the type of work they will be doing.

The Pathfinders enjoyed their trip to Odiorne Point on Friday with the rest of the studio. A highlight was tide pooling and meeting older Eagles from other New England Actons.

Of note: the Apprenticeship Prep Quest is not designed to have an Exhibition, however the Eagle do wish to have one, so they are needing to come up with the plan all on their own of how they will present their work on Thursday. It will be great to see what they come up with!


Sparks again this week did not use marbles to track their weekly progress. I have been observing that the addition of their own creativity while building the weekly project has given a chance for much more ownership and individuality. The marbles served a great start to establishing a routine of setting goals, recording their work and tracking their progress. Moving forward we are going to continue having a weekly project instead of the marbles. Be sure to ask your Spark every Monday what the week’s project will be. This week they built a coral reef. They started with just the reef on their papers and each day earned corals to add. Because we have moved our Thursday core skill block outside to focus on gardening and we would be away exploring on Friday this week’s tally was only 8 corals. All of the Sparks earned all of their corals by the end or core skills on Wednesday!!! Talk about some Heroes! We continued to discuss many times throughout the week qualities of a Hero and qualities of a villain.  

The Sparks had a fun time planting flowers around the school with Ms. Rachel and Ms. Jessica. 

Ms Rachel challenged the sparks with several games using their rhythm sticks and their listening skills! They also listened intently as Miss Rachel read a scary story as they “tapped” the footsteps following our group. Ask them what was following them! Was it a lion, tiger, or bear?

We also started incorporating some time into singing the days of the month song and days of the week songs. During this time we also have been enjoying a quick game of rhythm copycat. I will lead the team in clapping, stomping, snapping, etc. and have the Sparks repeat the same pattern back. The singing and repeating is going to help concrete their developing skills needed to move up into the E.S. studio. Keeping play as a big part of the Spark’s day helps their learning time stay fun. All the playtime also makes sure that when it is quiet focused core skill time they are able to keep on track and stay on target. A lot of the activities in the Spark room involve some kind of manipulating and moving of parts, but it is still a time for purposefulness and fortitude in their work. Play based learning is such an integral part of the Spark studio and, especially now that the nice weather is here, we plan on taking full advantage of fun learning time.



May 13th: Field trip to Odiorne Point State Park: Eagles need to be at school by 8:15 am sharp!!! (Pick up will be at/after 3:30pm).

May 16th: Renewal paperwork due for next year (I will be sending this out to each family over the next week)

May 19th, Thursday
2:00 pm – Middle Studio
3:30 pm – Elementary/Spark 

May 23-30th: Spring Break


Here is Laura’s blog on Learning to Be Practices that Changed my Family’s Life

Our parent lunch was based off of the book Love and Logic for Early Childhood.


This week the Eagles have continued to struggle during Quest. They learned about adaptations and how a lot of sea creatures biologically change in order to fit their environment better. In the Tuna Challenge they get to choose the scariest, craziest animal they can find when researching, and bring that animal to our studio. They also usedthe Light Spectrum Station where they used the Deep Sea Glasses to stimulate the way light behaves in the deep sea. 

They were asked: Which adaptation have you made to life at Acton that has had a positive impact on the rest of your life?

Samantha “I’ve changed a lot. I learned how to type, read better, and more math. I learned to make more friends. I was very shy and here I feel comfortable.”

Teddy “I learned that getting to go to a private school is very lucky and I’m learning to stick up for myself and hold others accountable.”

Wyatt “I’ve learned that I can learn at my own pace and that has made me a better student.”

Vivian “I learned more and more everyday and I think my learning is important here. I think I can be a better student because I can learn what I want to do. I have the choice here.”

Sophia “When I used to go to my public school I never stuck up for myself and I stayed in the corner. I now talk more and speak up for myself. I have a bunch more friends that I can count on. Now almost the whole Tribe is my friend. We have learned to stick up for each other.”

Cody “It has changed me and my brother. When I was at my other school no one would wear masks or be safe. I want to keep my brother safe.”

Lillian “I think this school helps me persevere through my struggles. It has also taught me to type better and stand up for myself.”

Trace “At my old school I was a little shy, now I am better about that.”

Amadeus “At home I learned to read and now I’m great at reading. I learned to type at this school.”

Jasper “I think I learned to make more friends. At my old school I only had 1 or two friends.”

During Art, the Eagles worked on their Under the Sea dioramas and created coral and animals to add to the scenery.

At music the Adventurers journeyed into reading music! We used the flash cards we made last week to compete in small groups. Next week we will have an ultimate showdown! We also learned 3 songs on the bass clef and 3 songs on the treble clef.

During the Shark level challenge this week, the Adventurers dissected an ocean fish!! They investigated the dead fish to learn more about their anatomic structure and make observations about body shapes in order to guess their habitats. They also made scientific sketches. It was a stinky job!! : )

Because the Quest teams are having such a difficult time working together, Ms. Kerry did a launch on teamwork. After watching a video, the Eagles were asked how they could improve their teamwork skills.

“listening to others”

“maybe speaking more, it would benefit my team maybe if i had a good idea we could do”

“telling them my opinions, here is an example, the art project: maybe if i share my ideas they might like them”

Ms. Kerry also had a discussion with them about why they are having such a hard time with the quest, instead of having fun with it. Their feedback was that they didn’t like all the worksheets, and they thought it was too hard. Unfortunately, the teams are not reading the directions and therefore are focused on the Jeopardy worksheets (which they can do at any time) and are not completing the Team Challenges – which are the fun part!! The Team Challenges are the experiments and tests and hands-on learning. Yes, there is a worksheet so that they can record their observations and data. They seem to think they need to do the Jeopardy sheets first, no matter how many times we tell them otherwise.

Friday brought a trip to Opechee for the Quest teams who were all caught up. The rest of the studio needed to use the time to continue working on Quest.

The Eagles have filled out goal sheets to get them through the last 6 weeks of school. These sheets will be shared at journey meetings. If you are not having a journey meeting, make sure to ask your eagle if you can see their end of the year goal sheet!

Badges Earned this Week:

Jack Lockes Hill Reading Badge and Lockes Hill Writing Badge
Bode: Character Call Out Badge
Wyatt: Washington Reading Badge


Well the gritty came right away this week. Following on the curtails of last week you may be expecting to hear of the Eagle’s struggles, however, let’s not forget that everyone, even guides, are still on their Hero’s journeys. The surprise of Iowa Assessment time was announced right away at morning launch. The spark’s were not participating so it gave an opportunity for a fun craft that encouraged spacial awareness, fine motor skills, teamwork, organization, creativity and most of all fun. While the Sparks were outside enjoying the decent weather doing their craft in the garage to ensure a quiet test area for the rest of the studio, the Adventurers and Pathfinders were getting an up close, world-class example of how even adults face their showdowns, challenges, trials, responsibilities and new adventures. Mr. TJ sets such strong deliberate guiding that sometimes it’s easy to forget that even he needs time to reset and try again. The testing threw more than a few curveballs and the Eagles showed such flexibility and fluidity to an unknown schedule and responsibilities. As the hurdles were jumped the Studio was able to land on 2 feet and the Pathfinders and 2 Adventures ended the day with success and completion of the assessments. Ms. Kerry and Mr. Tj showed true grit and perseverance and focus to handle the stress


Tuesday started off with a retry on the assessments. This time the trials from the day before had been conquered and defeated. The Adventurers dug deep and self paced themselves through the test. Some Eagles took very few breaks and decided to just get it done, others took more breaks to keep their focus and get out their wiggles. Some extra snacks were available to help keep the rumbling tummies at a minimum. It was fun to see the Eagles as they completed their tests and earned an afternoon of fun and free time. Lots of football and run around time was needed after all that brain energy was used. 


An Update from Mr. TJ

The story of goods and trade was a major part of the history of the world covered in Civilizations this week. The conversation around this formed the basis for wars, alliances, and politics. They also dove deep into the story of silver, in-particular, and how it has shaped the history of many civilizations.

In the Apprenticeship Quest, the emails are getting responded to! We have our first responses to the emails that were sent out this week. I am looking forward to seeing how our learners can develop these relationships and start developing their passions and interests. This week they all created their phone pitches and their second emails.

In Genre, the assignment was to: write a rough draft of a poem you’d like to have read at your funeral, about how you embraced life and how you would like to face death.

They also had a fun art challenge this week of painting a landscape scene with a Q-tip instead of a paintbrush.

On Friday afternoon the Pathfinders joined the field trip to Opechee Park and discovered some bones from a long-dead animal. They love getting out of the studio and exploring the environment. Getting their hands dirty seems to bring a smile to all of their faces!


Afternoon quest time on Monday was a lot of fun for the Sparks working on their Tuna level card. Ms. Kerry put together a fabulous hands on experiment with some cool blue glasses. Ask your Sparks about their underwater adventures and what they enjoyed the most of their sea explorations. Did some colors disappear or were some colors not changed at all with the special lens?

Core skill time on Tuesday found the Sparks using the upstairs E.S. core skill room so once again we would not distract the focus of the assessment takers downstairs. We set up our Tea Time Tuesday and enjoyed some delicious teas. See if your learner remembers the flavors. They were super fragrant this week. We also had some timed challenges for our time telling tea time work. Having to beat the clock on challenges has been a useful tool in our studio lately. It seems to keep them on track and intentional with their time management. The Sparks enjoyed a trip to the library following lunch to keep working on their quest. We found lots of books and researched all the questions on the Shark level jeopardy card. Ask your learner about the research and which book they liked the most. We actually were working so diligently, we lost track of time and had to tidy our area fast and walk with purpose to get back for studio maintenance time.  

Wednesday started with a short video reminding the Eagles of the importance of teamwork and how to be a better, stronger team member. Focusing on listening, speaking and other skills needed to be a team player was helpful to put the spot light and focus on some character traits needed to pull their teams together and attain their quest level cards. Waseca Wednesday started our morning off. Hard work shown during this time was a great way to start the day. During our core skill time we had some catch up during collaborative time. Two Eagles that had missed Mondays quest research paper persevered and helped earn the tribe’s needed tuna card. They helped propel the unveiling of this weeks challenge opportunity, saving everyone from high tide. High tide has not directly influenced Spark life, however it has helped keep them on task. Ask your Eagle how big a blue whale is. See if they can remember how many other sea creatures are needed in a line to make the length of one blue whale.  

Thursday morning Ms. Kerry had a launch geared towards the Adventure’s, it gave ample time for the Sparks to reflect on the previous days quest time. We used some visual cards to identify if the character shown was that of a villain or a hero. Thumbs up for heroes and thumbs down for villains. This is an easy way to give quick check ins with your Spark and see if they are holding themselves accountable, ask are you showing me what a hero does or what a villain would do.  We will keep working on characteristics of Heroes verses villains as a group so we have a strong foundation to keep growing on our heroes journey and how to hold ourselves accountable and take ownership when we need to try again.  As your Spark what a hero does when you’re out and about. It’s a great way to hear positive character traits from them and it gives a great opportunity for a stinger of a high five! Watch out we have had so many reasons to celebrate that there strength has become pretty devastating. Some of the responses on their reflections were: “I like coloring and cutting and gluing.” “I didn’t like the other team yelling at me.” I didn’t like them telling me my picture looked bad. “ “I liked getting to write the animal names.”

During Music the Sparks learned different techniques and beats using their rhythm sticks. The learners followed directions and carefully kept their sticks in their personal bubbles. Core skill time was spent outside helping to clean up the yard with Ms. Rachel. She was able to bring lots of extra tools so we could all work together. What a great way to get outside and model what taking pride in our school grounds looks like. Ask your Spark what they did to help, did they use the big loppers and tame the mess of vines and weeds, did they rake out last years leaves and debris, did they hold open the huge trash bags and scoop the leaves in, or did they help pull the yard wagon and make deliveries to dump by the truck? 

Thursdays core skill time will be spent outside for the rest of the year as long as the weather cooperates. We will be planting flowers and vegetables in a few different places. If anyone has any extra plants they want to donate, please send them in with your eagle. We will be starting seeds next week inside to then move outside in about 5 weeks. Thursday afternoon quest time brought a stinky hands on experience. Ask your Eagle about their fish observations!

Fridays always start with our debrief of Thursday. We do not do a debrief on Thursdays because after music and art and a short core skill block its time for lunch. It works out great doing it Friday morning instead, that way each learner knows exactly what they need to accomplish and wrap up before the weekend. Most of the learners this week stayed on track and only needed about 45 minutes to reach all of the weekly goals and expectations to earn productive/free time and the fun friday afternoon trip to Opechee Park.  

WEEK 35 (04/25/22) TIME CRUNCH


May 13th: Field trip to Odiorne Point State Park: Eagles need to be at school by 8:15 am sharp!!! (Pick up will be at/after 3:30pm).

May 16th: Renewal paperwork due for next year (I will be sending this out to each family over the next week)

May 19th, Thursday
2:00 pm – Middle Studio
3:30 pm – Elementary/Spark 

May 23-30th: Spring Break


Here is a link to Laura’s blog on Intentionality.

If your child is ages 5-7yrs I HIGHLY recommend reading Love and Logic for Early Childhood.


Quest Group names (ask your Eagle which one they are in!):

Spark Lockes – The Black Parrotfish
Faction 1- The Blue-Ringed Octopus
Faction 2- The Hammerheads
Faction 3- The Deep Sea
Faction 4- The Great White Sharks

Ms. Kerry is reading the Eagles: Who was Jacques Cousteau? They also learned about coral reefs and how so many of them are in danger. When asked if we should try to save the reefs, the Eagles answered:

“I think we should save them because fish might live in there and if that part of the reef gets trashed or damaged they would have to move into a new home which would probably be hard”

“The planet has so much for us and we should do what we can to help it and so much is beneficial to us and just like people we should help each other so many people depend on the fish and we should do what we can to help the fish”

Sophia and Wyatt launched about consequences and their purpose. 

They asked the Eagles, “What is the importance of consequences?” and led them through some physical consequences like having to do burpees, sit-ups, push ups, mountain climbers, and squats.

The Jellyfish came at the beginning of core skills on 2 different days this week. Each time, they brought individual challenges to 3 specific ES Eagles. If all 3 Eagles successfully completed their challenge in the time allotted they earn their ES Tribe 15 minutes of free time.

In Civilizations, the Eagles are learning about: The Early Greeks- The Mycenaeans

The Red Tide came to the Studio! The challenge was: If your team does not complete their Krill Level challenges and Under the Sea Jeopardy worksheets by 1:50, your whole team will move down a level for the session AND If your Krill Level card is not earned by debrief, your whole team will move down another level. The Blue-ringed Octopus are safe from Red Tide!!! (they were the only team that made it!)

When asked: What did your team do that led to your success? They said:

“We chose to stay focused.”

“While one person printed something the other person went and set up the experiment.”

“We had a positive attitude.”

“We worked together as a team.”

During Parent Coffee, Ms. Kerry read, Have you Filled a Bucket Today? By Carol McCloud. She asked What can you do here at Acton to fill one another’s buckets?

Your call to action is to reflect on your own choices that you make today and think to yourself if you are being a bucket filler or dipper. 

Congratulations to Badges Earned this Week:

Noah – Spark Literacy 4
Amadeus – Piper Mountain 1 Typing Badge
Samantha – Chocorua Mountain Reading Badge
Teddy – Character Traits Badge


Eagles are getting more excited to run discussion Launches themselves and we had a group of 3 learners take on the challenge this week. It is awesome to see Eagle’s caring deeply about a subject and getting excited to find out the opinions and thoughts in their peer’s heads. Sophia even took on the extra challenge of doing a practice launch with the middle studio before going in front of the ES. The MS Eagles had really great feedback for her and were all super engaged in the topic. 


Core skill time this week was met with a slump of enthusiasm. Attaining this week’s needed sea creatures and Quest completion to enjoy fun Friday time was a long stretch. There was a lot of focus and frustration on Friday morning as the Eagles tried to rally and catch up on their Quest work. Only 1 Quest Team completed all the challenges needed and earned the fun trip to the Gilford playground and trails. 


An Update from Mr. TJ

This week our launches were surrounding employment and the relationships between the employer and employee especially. The Pathfinders generally seemed to agree with the idea that employers and employees share responsibility for the relationship. You need to foster a good relationship with your boss and an employer needs to foster a good relationship with their employees.

We forged ahead with the apprenticeships this week. The learners are learning how to write a professional email, as well as what the best methods for communicating their needs and desires as far as employment is concerned.

The learners are starting to write the story of their lives or an obituary for themselves. Many of the Pathfinders are struggling with this process. It is hard to think about your life and come up with the most salient points.

The tight deadlines are definitely creating a lot more focus in the studio. The increased reward vs. consequence has definitely made the studio kick into overdrive when the time comes.

Two badges were handed in this week. I will be finalizing them over the weekend and have a solid decision on whether they were earned or not Monday.


So nice to be back after a week of adventurous health curveballs. Thank you for all the kind texts and support, it’s wonderful to be part of this Tribe. Measure Monday brought some sea creatures to the studio that were too big to measure with a ruler, so tape measures were needed instead. The Sparks named the creatures Big Fish, Mini Fish and Seahorsey. Unfortunately not much measuring occurred, rather playtime and a grand adventure under the sea with their new friends. The sea creatures decided to join the Spark studio for the week so next Monday they can be properly measured and observed.  

Tea Time Tuesday brought an extra friend to the circle to enjoy the camaraderie and time telling practice. We enjoyed two new flavors that had not been tasted before. Ask your Sparks what kind of tea they tried and if they liked them. Their time telling skills have come so far and they easily met the challenge. Looks like next week I need to step up the difficulty level. We have stuck to increments of 5 minutes but it seems to be time to leave the comfort zone and enter the challenge zone. The Spark studio had a challenge delivered that turned some learners into crabs needing to complete a puzzle only with their pinchers, ask your learner who they turned into a crab with and how the challenge was. Writers workshop in the afternoon brought more under the sea exploration, learning about coral reefs. The attitude of the Sparks during this time mirrored the angry tidal waves sweeping through all of the E.S. studio this week. Distraction, resistance and victimhood entangled the learners with the strength of an aged octopus. Its tentacles reached far and wide and was sure to leave no eagle unscathed. Ask your learner how their quest books went this week. Did they find their rhythm or were they swept away with the tide?  

Wednesday waseca time started off slightly sluggish but as the Eagles found their groove and their focus, pages started to be completed. Waseca seems to be one of those funny activities that engulfs a love hate relationship, “aww, waseca time , I don’t want to do it!” 30 minutes later, “I love waseca, look how much work I did !” This is another great check-in point with your learner, asking them what level they are on and what words they are leaning on their unit. Adult excitement is so crucial during this growth period, recalling their successes really helps build their momentum to keep their Hero’s journey going and facing new trials, adventures and showdowns. Wednesday quest time tested the Sparks yet again. They did enjoy some crafting time making jellyfish that crept silently upstairs to sting Ms. Mary and Mr. TJ who were completely unaware. Who knew jellyfish could be so sneaky! I’m sure this will be a great memory from this quest, the time everyone stung the guides.  

Thursday music class started with loading up into Ms. Rachel’s and Ms. Mary’s van and heading to our favorite outdoor sanctuary spot, Ahern Park. Ask your Sparks why they went and how it will help them experience music in the blustery sunshine. Art with Ms. Marlilee was filled with movement, paint, creativity and teamwork. Building a coral reef takes a lot of paint and a lot of energy. Core skill time again was met with a slump of enthusiasm. Afternoon quest time found 2 learners ahead and enjoying the soothing comfort of the ocean. They worked on some separate challenges and finished them with ease. The rest of the tribe continued to persevere through their quest books and some found focus while others still floated around waiting to attach themselves to something solid, much like the wandering of a traveling sea anemone.  

Friday morning launch with parent coffee was a great team building experience. Filling each other’s buckets and learning how we can either fill or dip into someone’s bucket. Such a hands-on way to learn this skill. The importance of being positive or negative is a skill that never ends and takes a lifetime to master. Everyone needed this great reminder of each other’s inner well and how important it is to fill. Friday core skill time felt the pinch of the crab claws closing in. Every Eagle had a lot of work ahead of them to gain the fun friday freedoms. Some big daily bonuses were set to make it attainable. Two learners heard the call of dolphins cheering them on. They were able to complete their challenges and enjoy some extra morning free time. Three other learners were working hard to escape the 12:30 deadline. One Eagle chose to work through the beginning part of his lunch, he found focus and determination and quickly gained his creatures to add to our growing ocean wall. Unfortunately 2 eagles were swept away and did stay back at the studio to keep working. Make sure to ask your Spark what the name of their quest team is and which levels they have accomplished. What was your Eagle’s favorite part of the ocean this week, did they enjoy its calming peace or did they get swirled around from the strength of a whirlpool? 



April 29th: Parent Coffee – 8:15am

May 13th: Field trip to Odiorne Point State Park: Eagles need to be at school by 8:15 am sharp!!! (Pick up will be at/after 3:30pm).

May 16th: Renewal paperwork due for next year (I will be sending this out to each family over the next week)


When you log into Journey Tracker you will be able to see the Quest challenges under Weekly Tracking (on the left) and you will see if your Eagle has submitted their work or not. (Second row down, titled Quest).

Here is Laura’s Blog on Learning Science at Acton. Science is what Quests are for!!

Book of the month: The Way of the Warrior Kid by Jocko Willink. This is a great book for your Eagle to read or for you to read with them! (I personally got so much out of it!!)

A member of our ES tribe has moved on to their next Journey and we Bryce and his family all the best!


ALL ES PARENTS (does not include Spark) – During your Daily Journey Tracker Check-ins with your Eagle, PLEASE ask them why they haven’t been doing their Quest Work?? We need you to hold them accountable & set consequences, – they have had 6 hours and 45 minutes to get all of this work done this week!

At the studio we are holding them accountable by initiating “High Tide” which means that on Fridays, any Eagle who has not completed their Quest Challenges, moves down a freedom level.

We think this is SUCH A FUN Quest – Jaques Cousteau Marine Biology! However, this might be the “failure exhibition” that we warned you all about during your family interview! Your ES Eagle was given school work to take home this weekend – it is up to them to try to catch up.


We had a “move up” ceremony for Amadeus who moved up from the Spark studio to the ES studio this week! It was a big celebration!

Congratulations to the Badge earners this week:

Lillian – Chocorua Writing Badge
Wyatt – Chocorua Typing Badge


An Update from Mr. TJ

We are starting on the apprenticeship quest. Apprenticeships serve as an opportunity to learn from a master in the field. This is an earned opportunity. If a learner does not live up to the expectations of completing this badge they will not be invited to engage in an apprenticeship.

To pair with the Quest theme, in this session we will be simulating a workplace in the studio. Deadlines are stricter and sometimes change based on the needs of the client. Will you get it done in time? Completing these “tight deadline” challenges will result in accolades and bonuses. Failure will lead to being “fired”. If you are fired you cannot earn anymore points for the rest of the day. That means it is going to be harder to earn passion day, and potentially other benefits.

This genre is all about reflection on personal values. This gets kicked off by reading and reflecting on poetry that is both profound and respected.

In this session, during Civilizations, we are going to begin working on topics surrounding Islam and the Middle east.

This week the most interesting discussion was about the nature of value in society. Does society value a Kardashian more or a plumber? How does society express value? Since the Kardashians are extremely wealthy does that mean that society values them more than the person who makes sure your house isn’t full of poop? It was a super interesting discussion.

This week the Pathfinders took control of Physical Development again. Please ask your Pathfinder what they will launch about regarding health and wellness.

Badges were handed out this week. Make sure you ask your learner what they got for badges from the last session. (Every Pathfinder received at least one Badge!)


Ms. Jessica has been out sick most of this week and the Sparks have missed her. But they were able to spend their days with a mixture of Ms. Mary, Ms. Kerry and Mr. TJ and they kept their focus during Core Skills. 3 of the Sparks were “caught by the jellyfish” this week which meant that they needed to complete a core skills challenge in order to unlock free time for their studio! They all persevered and conquered their challenges!

Tea time Tuesday was with Ms. Kerry this week and the Sparks had fun dancing and telling time with their arms!

They went on a fun walk to the Library with Ms. Jewel and picked out a BUNCH of books about the ocean for the rest of the studio to use when they do their deep dive question of: What is your greatest question about the ocean?

Ms. Kerry read the book: Who would win: Hammerhead vs. Bullsharks? Then the Sparks looks through all of the books and they each picked 2 sea creatures that they thought would have a good competition.

Because the Sparks did their Quest challenges this week, they earned a Friday trip with Mr. TJ to Bartlett Beach and the pyramid playground!

WEEK 33 (04/04/22) Exhibition


April 11- 15th: April Break

April 29th: Parent Coffee – 8:15am

May 13th: Field trip to Odiorne Point State Park: Eagles need to be at school by 8:15 am sharp!!! (Pick up will be at/after 3:30).


This blog is a must-read . Spoiler-alert…. it is pretty blunt and a little harsh, but it gets right down to the Journey that we are all on as families at Acton Academy.

Here is a video I recorded for you about the importance of Exhibition and how to give your Eagle feedback that will reinforce their learning at Acton!


Exhibition on Thursday was a success! Thank you parents for coming to support your Eagle and for such a delicious pot luck dinner!

Friday morning arrival was a nice end to the session.  Seeing the results from the surveys and all the comments from guests is always a big highlight of each exhibition.  Without the input the Eagles would not know where to improve and where they need some more focus.  It also fills their wells of appreciation with one another and a lot of time for warm and cool feedback.  We had many more surveys this time so we had many more comments to propel a nice feeling of satisfaction. The Eagles scores on the surveys were better than last time!


Our core skills block on Monday unfortunately did not give way to the quiet, serene scene we have been witnessing in past weeks. It was more like the twirling of a cyclone and the blustery winds of a hurricane. However by the end of the 2 hours some Eagles had been able to hunker down in proverbial storm cellars and find peace and solitude in some core skill activities and pull it together for a nice debrief. It was a nice pleasure to have four E.S. Eagles join and see what we talk about and how we accept some warm and cool feedback to better our work and goals for the following day. Debrief is such an important time for Acton Academy students. It gives such great opportunities to check yourself and have some great constructive criticism so you know just what you need to change or continue on the next day. Having daily debriefs for the Sparks is really going to help them prepare for the E.S. Studio. It is really fun to hear them discuss their positives and negatives and rally together.  


The Eagles had a discussion around Being Mindful of Your Words and Growth Mindset vs Fixed Mindset. 

They were asked: Is there potential for growth if you have a fixed mindset? 

“No I don’t think so. Well, if you just keep thinking I’m good enough, then you’re never gonna want to get better and most likely you will do something good enough but never get anything better from it.”

They worked on making their survival handbooks this week and putting together all of their work for the Exhibition. 

How can you become smarter:

“I can get smarter if I keep working on things that I’m not good at.”

“I think I could get smarter if, well, I think everyone can get smarter if they work really hard and don’t just do click click click and guess what the right answer is.”

During Writer’s Workshop all of the Eagles worked on binding together their Survival Handbooks! Hopefully your Eagle showed you their Survival Handbook at the Exhibition – it was a culmination of all of their hard work for 6 weeks of quest challenges. They Eagles were given a couple videos that showed how to measure and create holes in the chipboard and in the papers as well as bind the journal pages together, however some of the Eagles chose not to use this resource and to figure out their own way on their own.

The Eagles enjoyed a belly breathing meditation on Wednesday. It was a nice calming activity in the studio!

The Friday before vacation brings the studio deep clean and reset.  This is another time in the studio that reminds onlookers of a raging sea of tidal waves and wind gusts strong enough to capsize a large vessel.  This is where so much real life learning happens.  It is unscripted and completely unpredictable.  Some Eagles are revved and ready to get it done, others are side tracked and resistant.   Ask your Eagle how it went.  What jobs or areas of the studio did they help reset? After the hard work and receding tide swept through everyone enjoyed a fun afternoon out in Meredith.  Ask your Eagle which group they chose to spend their free time with.  Did they learn about tributaries and geese at the Lavernak Trail? Did they learn how to “ride an edge” at the skatepark, or maybe play puppy-dog at the playground?  Whichever they enjoyed it was a nice end to the session for all. Thank you to Aaron , Rachel and Dave for helping drive!!

Congratulations to Badge earners this week:

Wyatt Piper Mountain Typing Badge 2

Nolan Piper Mountain Typing Badge 1

Have a wonderful break – we will see you on Monday the 18th! Theme next Session is Jacques Crousteau’s Marine Biology!


From Mr. TJ

This was the final week of Guns, Germs, and Steel. This week the Pathfinders learned about and discussed the Black Plague and the Magna Carta. The chaotic destruction of the known world during the plague and the Magna Carta’s bright light of hope.

This week was focused on preparing for the Exhibition. Discussions were info dumps and pep talks. As many of you saw at the exhibition the Pathfinders have worked hard on this quest. There were definitely some tough spots and some challenges though it seemed everyone pulled through.

Genre this week was the final drafts and greenlighting of the final drafts. The Pathfinder with the most funding at the end of the pitches was AVA with a staggering 10.5 million dollars of funding!!! Congratulations Ava!

The Pathfinders practiced their ironing skills! They had left their lab coats in a big pile in a box and discovered them to be intensely wrinkled. They also ironed their “professional” clothes for the event and took their appearance to heart this Exhibition.

On Friday the Pathfinders joined the rest of the Studio for a field trip to the Lavernak Trail and Meredith Community Skate Park and playground. 

There are going to be a lot of badges in the next couple of days so keep a sharp eye on the journey tracker to see the achievements that your pathfinder has earned.

Ask your Eagle: Did you have anything specific you would like to have changed about what you did this session?


Ahhh Monday, springtime air, sun in the sky and a returning Spark from a month off. All that equals giggles, laughs, and playtime in the minds of our youngest learners. Hearing of beach adventures, driving for 2 days and no school work for a month left a taste of envy in some Eagle’s mouths. We still have some big goals that Spark’s have set to accomplish before the end of session and our week off and I wanted each Eagle to have as much time as we could get to meet these goals so we did not do any of our theme days. 

It’s been really fun seeing the Spark’s start to read to each other and start to really enjoy this time of the day. Following D.E.A.R. there was a lot of Exhibition preparations to work through. Hearing past feedback from prior Exhibitions helped set the studio in the right direction for what they needed to plan better for, this time around. Even though lunch had only been about an hour before the meeting the taste of yummy mac and cheese may have derailed their focus a tad and conversions about what we would be enjoying tried hard to distract from the tasks at hand.  

Ms. Kerry had a thoughtful morning launch about growth mindset and the power of “yet”. We may not all be at the same place and that’s ok, we aren’t there yet. Understanding that each Eagle has their own speed, strengths, and weaknesses is crucial to the tribe building. No one has it all right, and everyone has something to keep focusing on, and we all know that it’s ok. Tuesday was met with a taste of disappointment that we were not enjoying our beloved tea time. It was a chance to really gauge how much or how little the theme days have been loved. Core skill time was still a little unfocused and not so much in everyone’s challenge zone but remember that’s ok. Tuesday quest preparation was a chance to practice hole punching, lacing, and knot tying. The Spark’s handled this activity very well and showed patience and ease with the skills. They stayed focused and everyone completed their task so efficiently they earned some extra free time.  

Wednesday core skill time found some focus and some milestones were achieved and skills practiced. Some big daily bonuses were put up and many worked hard. The Spark’s all seemed to want to exceed the marble bounty this week, and the daily bonuses give a great opportunity to work hard in their challenge zones and feel a big sense of accomplishment afterwards during debrief. The Spark’s showed such perseverance this week in their goals and continuously met the expectations for exhibition prep that Wednesday we all decided to head to Opechee for an impromptu play time. It was really fun to see the difference between the 5 year olds and 6/7 year olds. The sixes were climbing and swinging as high as they could and pushing their spatial awareness. The fives spent a lot of time enjoying pretend play on the fire truck. They had an elaborate game of the fire truck breaking down and traffic and fog issues. “Oh no, we lost a gear!” “That’s ok I’ll jump into the engine and put a new one in!” “oh no, I can’t see to drive to the fire, the fog’s too thick!” “It’s ok, I’ll look out with my super binoculars. ”Oh no, we have an oil leak!” “ I’ll grab the tool bag and patch it up. You grab the extra oil and dump it in, but wait till I stop the leak. I don’t want oil all over me.”

Thursday….music, art, and P.E. and exhibition day! Well I’m sure all of you know how much excitement there was.  The Sparks helped make some of the food for the potluck.  Peeling and slicing carrots and cucumbers, learning how to take the “guts” out of peppers, slicing slippery tomatoes, and washing and slicing lettuce gave time to practice all those fine motor skills and patience with a knife (we used kids knives).  Making some extra mac and cheese also helped heighten the anticipation of food later on.  Our P. E. class turned into a nice walk through downtown and the Riverwalk trail.  After returning, the studio felt the time crunch of expecting guests.  Last minute prep sometimes means last minute chaos but I am always blown away at how, last minute, they pull it all together.  This exhibition had some extra planning time so the atmosphere around the studio had a bounce of confidence and  spring of eagerness.  The Sparks planned out a fun activity to share with their family and friends and lots of artwork and music creations to show.  

After the hard work of cleaning and studio reset on Friday, everyone enjoyed a fun afternoon out in Meredith.  Ask your Eagle which group they chose to spend their free time with.  It was a nice end to the session for all!

WEEK 32 (03/28/22)  Blizzards, Solar Flares & Alien invasion


Thurs. April 7th, 3:30 pm: Exhibition – It will be a potluck!! More details to come.

Thurs. April 7th: MS STUDIO: 2pm-3:30pm | ES STUDIO: 3:30 – 5pm – It will be a potluck!! Sign up sheet link here.

April 11- 15th: April Break


Here is Laura’s blog on how we use rituals at Acton and how you can bring some into your home life.

Here is the Mountains & Badges Explained poster (revamped)

Here is a link to the Acton Academy Parent Reading List – looking for your next good book? Check out our list : )


The Eagles experienced a mock “blackout” on Wednesday when we shut off the power for half of the day. They were challenged to light an LED light with lemons! Afterward, when asked: Has modern technology increased our capacity for learning or detrimentally affected our situational awareness? The Eagles were very insightful. They said that they want to spend more time outside, without technology and that could feel good effects from being without technology for half the day. They observed that sometimes technology can make you “zone out” and not be aware of the world and what is happening in real life around you. They didn’t like the thought of that. Here are some of their answers:

“Ruining It because nowadays all kids do is stay inside and play video games and I think it could help you not to be in front of a screen all the time. Kids need to be outside more. It helps you with your handwriting and being more aware and stuff like that.”

“I think we should not be inside doing all the things that need electricity or screens. My mom said it can damage your brain.”

“I don’t think people should be in front of a screen all day. If we hadn’t been we would not have learned how to make the splints and everything to survive in the woods. If something happened we would be mad because we wouldn’t know what to do.”

Ms. Kerry left the Eagles to ponder this conclusion: “Modern technology has afforded us many luxuries and the ability to have knowledge at our fingertips. As long as it is viewed as a tool, it can continue to be valuable in that respect. As soon as our dependence upon it becomes too great, however, our ability to be anti-fragile is compromised.”


This week much of the studio had some disruptions and rough patches.   Bickering and sibling-rivalry-like tendencies were seen from most. But remember that’s ok.  We need the gritty, we need the bickering, we need the arguing.  It’s not all sunshine and roses. It will give way to strong foundations and a stronger tribe.


On Monday the Eagles had a discussion about multitasking and if it makes you more productive or not. They did an experiment:

Multitask: Say to yourself A1, B2, C3 all the way through the alphabet and I’ll time you. 

This took 50 seconds for 2 Eagles and 1 min 38 seconds for the majority to be finished. A few of the Eagles never completed this task.

Focus: Now, quietly say the ABC’s, A to Z. Then count from 1-26. Stand up when you are finished. 

This took less than 10 seconds for a couple Eagles and all but 1 Eagle completed this task by 40 seconds. 

Bottom line – you are 2-5x more productive when you focus on one thing at a time.

During Jumanji/Natural disaster Quest this week they learned about hurricanes, blizzards and solar flares. They read the story  I Survived Hurricane Katrina. and Can You Survive a Global Blackout?

The Eagles created a Wall of Excellence and came up with the rules of how it will work. They discussed how work can be nominated for the wall, must be peer reviewed for excellence and that the work will rotate every week.

During music the Adventurers were challenged to write five descriptive sentences about a different kind of piano playing and learn Yankee Doodle. Ask them what they thought!

During our cloudy walk to gym, we spotted some geese. Ms. Sherry prepared a challenging obstacle course. The learners did flips and flops and jumps and rolls. Ms. Sherry upped the challenge with pairs completing the course together.

Friday morning’s launch brought some April Fools fun. Ask your Eagle how their ‘Brown E’s “ were.

On Friday we read Could You Survive an Alien Invasion? And in the afternoon we had a mock alien invasion!!! Ms. Kerry exclaimed: Oh no! It looks like we are in the middle of an alien invasion! It is not safe here! Is there a place nearby in which we can get some cover? Somewhere the aliens won’t see us? How about Ahern? Hurry everyone! Get your gear on and meet at the gate!  

Factions gathered together to construct shelters to house their group during an Alien invasion. 

Groups had one hour to build a shelter before “night falls.” Each faction had an Emergency shelter checklist and access to supplies such as a tarp, rope, and cardboard.

The House Competition did come to an end with the Cantaloupes taking the crown. They will be enjoying some pizza time on Monday and a short break from studio maintenance duties.

Thank you to the parents who helped transport everyone to Ahern on Friday!!

Congratulations to badge earners this week:

Vivian – Piper Mountain 1 Typing Badge


An update from Mr. TJ

The Pathfinders are dialing in their diagnostic skills. I look forward to see what they have in store for the exhibition. This most certainly has been a challenging quest for them.

The discussion this week during Civilizations turned the focus to the relationships between the islamic empires and the other empires that expanded throughout the world. This includes the Mongols and the most expansive empire that ever existed.

This week during a launch there was a discussion about the right to control your own health and why people have that right. Since your health effects other people why should you be allowed to control how you manage your health and because most people are not doctors and do not understand medicine and health as deeply as a doctor, how could they ever fully understand the long term repercussions of their actions? It was a really interesting conversation. Don’t worry, they all believe you should control your own health. The real question is: why is that so important to our society? Why does it matter that we control that?

Mr. TJ has been running PE this week because the Eagle failed to stepped up to run it. I am sure you have heard about Mr. TJ work outs. Lots of sore bodies.

The Genre pitches are coming together. I am curious who will have the most convincing pitch and earn the “money” needed for their research project during the exhibition.

Conflict continues. This is not necessarily a bad thing. Conflict allows individuals to see each others true colors. That can give context to behaviors that are seen in the studio. It also provides a practice place for Eagles to learn how to approach different people and how to stand up for themself. Ask your Pathfinder: What is the hardest part of dealing with the conflicts that are happening in the studio?


The studio seemed much quieter this week. We have had so many natural disasters strike that the absence almost made the feeling of unknown and impending doom. However Friday’s morning launch may have presented an opportunity for foreshadowing of the afternoon.  

Measure Monday was an opportunity to pull out a worksheet that the Spark’s have been progressively improving. When we first started learning how to use a ruler we only started with measuring to the nearest inch. The Sparks are now able to measure inches, half inches and quarter inches. Next week we will end our session with learning how to measure with eighths of an inch.

Tea “TIme” Tuesday threw the Studio a silly challenge. Usually there are always two different teas to smell and decipher the difference. This week both teapots had the same tea. It was so fun to watch as they took breath after breath to try to determine the difference. Their faces were quite perplexed, when they were told it was the same they all had quite the laugh. Each said they were trying so hard and thought they were very similar but did not expect them to be the same. The core skill block following was super productive and the youngest learners of the studio continue to surprise everyone with the determination and drive to attain milestones and badges.

Waseca Wednesday again followed the past progression of increasing independence and understanding. Two Sparks used their momentum of the morning to set goals to finish their waseca levels by the end of the week. Wednesday afternoon quest time shattered that calmness of no natural disaster hitting. A solar storm caused a massive C.M.E. to hit the Earth and caused a global blackout. The studio lost power and all means of communications. The internet was out and the studio was plunged into darkness. The Eagles had a great hands-on experiment to see how a lemon could conduct electricity with the help of a few pennies, galvanized nails and some alligator clip leads. Ask your Eagle how it worked and what happened.  

Thursday of course brought great fun and challenges with music and art classes and an adventurous obstacle course during gym class. During music the Sparks escaped the lava flow while counting beats with their homemade jingle sticks. During our crazy shake song, some learners shook their jingle sticks so hard, they started falling apart! When they were asked “what did we learn about shaking our jingle sticks?: Answers included “it was noisy and fun!” and “I need to make my bells tighter so they don’t fly off!” The Eagles discussed what excellence is and what it should look like in each other’s work so they can start showcasing their work on the Wall of Excellence.

Friday morning’s launch brought some April Fools fun.  Ask your Eagle how their ‘Brown E’s “ were.  Ms. Kerry may have provided the aforementioned foreshadowing of our afternoon with a read aloud of “How to Survive An Alien Invasion.”  After lunch during the quest launch the studio was again bombarded with another adventure.  An Alien attack on the world.  We very quickly evacuated the studio and found solitude in the forest at Ahern State Park.  The Eagles were challenged to build survival shelters that met the following criteria: must be sturdy (does not wobble), must fit their entire team inside, must shelter from prevailing wind, must keep rainwater out, and must have warm bedding.  The next hour was spent foraging for supplies and using their ingenuity to build as a group.  Each team was given a tarp and 4 short ropes.  Some teams got off to a rough start.  After some squabbling the teams found their strides and got to work.  It was a lot of fun seeing each group present their shelters to the tribe.  Some groups found that too many cooks in the kitchen made for a messy time and others found amazing perseverance when their structure toppled over with only 5 minutes left to the competition.  Most of the rain held off and the Eagles enjoyed getting back out of the studio and roaming the wilderness. 

WEEK 31 (03/21/22)  Tornados and First Aid


Thurs. April 7th, 3:30 pm: Exhibition – It will be a potluck!! More details to come.

April 11- 15th: April Break


Would you like to dive deeper into equipping yourself for your Acton PARENT Hero’s Journey? 

Here are 2 documents that will hopefully answer most of your questions:

Elementary/Spark Studio

Middle School Studio

Here is short, cute blog on how to incorporate surprises into every day life as an Acton Parent. Laura’s Blog.


Thursday brought excitement as usual and the tornado delivered two more challenges. One for a Locke’s Hill learner and one for an eagle struggling on some quest work. Both Eagles persevered while feeling the pressure of their comfort zone transform into mega challenge zone. They both achieved the goal and felt a sigh of relief and pride following. The studio has been so shaken up during this quest that many have felt the pressures and reflected afterwards with delight and satisfaction that they did not give up and helped move the Tribe forward.


Thursday House Competition (studio maintenance) was tough following all the fun of the day. Many Eagles were too distracted and had to go back and finish their jobs after Namaste unfortunately missed out on afternoon free time. It’s the tough times though that will help shape their futures and remember what it means to value a sacred place and show care and respect for it.  


In the Jumanji Quest this week the Eagles encountered a TORNADO!!! Would you rather have to escape from an oncoming tornado or tsunami? How come?

“I rather escape from a tornado because your car goes faster if it’s a lower class tornado.”

“I would rather escape from a tornado because a tsunami moves faster.”

“I don’t think you can drive faster than the wind.”

“I rather escape from a tsunami because if you hear from it you can escape to another place.”

Ask your Eagle what they learned about tornados this week!

This week, the entire Tribe acted as 1 player trying to make their way through the Jumanji game. Each milestone that is earned gave them a turn at rolling the dice and having the Tribe participate in the danger and/or timed challenge. If the Tribe was able to reach the center of the game board and call out, “Jumanji!” by Lunch on Friday, they will unlock Friday Fun Fun Time! At any point in time, if the Tribe loses all 3 of their life tokens, the Tribe must go back to start, and begin anew. 

Wednesday’s morning launch brought another spiraling tornado to shake up the day. An E.S. eagle was delivered a challenge from the blowing winds and flying debris. He needed to complete a big section in his Waseca workbook to earn the studio 20 minutes of free time. He accepted the challenge and went right to work, leaving the launch time to start and use every minute available. The E.S. Eagle successfully completed the challenge and the studio all enjoyed their extra free time. 

Businesses need to constantly stay ahead of their competition and current trends to stay relevant and profitable. There is a useful tool called a S.W.O.T. that can be used to brainstorm with this in mind. The Eagles made a SWOT grid together.

The Eagles also learned how to dress a wound and how to make a splint. These were their challenges on Wednesday:

*Practice how to apply pressure to wounds and how to wrap wounds with an ace bandage (compression bandage).

*Practice how to make a splint out of sticks

*Post a picture of your S.W.O.T. Analysis Worksheet and keep it in your expandable file folder.

On Thursday the Adventurers LOVED music class with Ms. Rachel. They accepted the challenge to search for musical treasure that the visiting Pirate had hidden around the grounds. It was tsunami conditions, but they persevered and jumped over the lava flow to safety inside. After learning 2 new songs in 3/4 time, the Eagles continued their creative journey by writing songs.

They continued their yoga practice at the Downtown gym and made paper mache creatures during art.

During Parent Coffee Friday, 2 Eagles, Cody and Wyatt, led an intriguing discussion about whether or not listening to music while you study is a good thing. It was a great launch and showed their understanding of asking thought provoking questions and a clear manner of delivery.  They included a group vote and two videos.  When asked if and why they listen to music the Eagles answered:

“I’ld listen to music because I feel like music helps me not be distracted so I can’t hear people when they try to talk to me”

“I’ld listen because it blocks sound”

“Sometimes music distracts me and I cant hear hear the directions”

“If it’s music that you like a lot a lot a lot it might distract you more than a lot a lot a lot”

“Music helps me with quest because it like gets me like more awake so I can focus more on it and it helps my brain understand more”

On Fun Friday half of the Eagles took a nice leisurely walk in the sun to the Avery Dam. This was the dam that they had imagined “breaking” and flooding the studio last week.

Congratulations to Badge Earners:

Lillian- Piper Mountain Reading Badge and Piper Mountain 1 Typing Badge


An update from Mr. TJ

During Civilizations this week the Pathfinders had an introduction to the Islamic Empires. Their effects on the world and the paths they followed.

This week I asked questions of definitions and where and how we could define important ideas. If we are good people just because we are moral or if following all of the rules is what makes us a good person. Defining exactly what it means to be a doctor. Much less simple than it would appear on the surface.

We did a banger of a workout on Thursday. A lot of effort went into it. I am proud of how hard they pushed themselves. We used everyday objects for lifting like beams of wood and 5 gallon buckets.

During Medical Biology Quest the Eagles are playing diagnosis games this week in the MS. They are getting practiced at knowing how to use the information to diagnose conditions and issues.

More revisions and starting to practice pitching all of the work they have done up to this point. We are going to start working on the tone next week.

A decent amount of conflict this week. I do believe it led us to be stronger in the long run. I also spent a day on mute. This is a reminder that searching for answers to your questions is as much an internal struggle as it is an external one.

The Pathfinders were fighting distraction this week. Ask your Eagle about the methods they used to create more focus.

Congratulations to Badge Earner:

Partick- Arithmetic 3


Monday’s journey meetings were such a great time to check in with each Spark and their families. It gave time for moments of greatness, showing mastery and setting goals. Many of the Spark’s have kicked their hero’s journey into overdrive the past couple months and the evidence was substantial to support their determination and drive.  

Tuesday Tea “Time” brought clock bingo cards. They had 30 seconds to recognize the time set on the model clock and search their bingo sheets for the matching time. The clocks were very small on their bingo cards so it forced focus and patience. At the end we had 3 bingo winners. They each were allotted 5 extra minutes of free time during their core skill block. It was quite interesting to see that only one eagle chose to use the time, the other 2 were too focused on their work to even remember they had earned extra time. 3 sparks never even used any of their free time at all.  

“Waseca” Wednesday already had the sparks set for their morning so I set a goal of achieving 2 full waseca workbook pages to be able to participate in the extra free time. During their 30 minute time of waseca the Sparks seemed very distracted. I sat observing to see how they would defeat the monsters and see if the challenge was accepted and persevered through to attain. Even though it appeared to be a rough start each Spark decided to continue working on the challenge way past the expected 30 minutes. It may not have been pretty but at the end, the accomplishments were worth the tidal waves of distraction and resistance. 

Afternoon quest time was all about basic first aid in the wilderness and how to make a splint with only the supplies on your body and the land. Many eagles learned new skills and genuinely enjoyed the exercise. Afterwards a great meeting introducing the benefits of a S.W.O.T. Analysis. Be sure to ask your eagles about it. It was a great way to see where you need to focus your goals.  

Music this week with Ms. Rachel was so much fun. The Sparks learned the history of the crotal bell and made jingle sticks. They used their creativity to make not only beautiful instruments, but also artistic designs. Ask your Sparks about the instrument they made. Art with Ms. Marilee was full of cutting and gluing and will be finished next week. Gym class was also full of energy and flexibility lead by Ms. Sherry and Ms. Rita. See if your Spark can show you some new yoga poses from class. 

The Sparks struggled this week with some focus distractions and entering into more intense challenge zones so they were each given an individual challenge during their core skill time.  If they achieved the challenge it would count towards however many marbles they were short in their jars this week.  We had one Eagle that had set a goal to increase his khan percentage and 3 Sparks that wanted to achieve some golden bead success.  They all finished the core skill block with time left to enjoy morning productive time.  They decided to open up a dig kit and search for gemstones.  After lunch, free time was such a great adventure walking down to the Avery Dam in downtown.  We spent time climbing trees, watching the dam, seeing a dead bird, tossing rocks and lots of other great times.  Ask your Eagles about the dam and what they saw and what types of observations we made.  Concluding the day many Eagles realized it would be best to start the house competition early.  It was really great to hear how the Eagle’s have grown and developed a strong sense of respect and holding the studio sacred.  I thought the spring time warmth and sun would distract them, however each team prevailed and accomplished all their studio maintenance job with efficiency and accuracy.  

Congratulations to Badge earners:

Finnian Locke’s Hill – Math Badge
Margaret Locke’s Hill – Math badge

WEEK 30 (03/14/22)  Floods at Quest & Medial Biology


NO SCHOOL MONDAY! We have Journey Meeting all day : )

March 25th, 8 am: Parent Coffee

Thurs. April 7th, 3:30 pm: Exhibition – It will be a potluck!! More details to come.

April 11- 15th: April Break


Do you know what the Mountain “levels” mean in the studio? Not having grade levels is a new concept for all of us and hopefully this poster will help break it down for you! It is a work-in-progress and I welcome any feedback! : )

Here is Laura’s blog on Letting Children Make More Decisions

Link to 2022/23 school calendar.

Link to sign up for Survivor Summer Camp (last week of June).

Book of the month recommendation is

 Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish


The ES & Spark Eagles all held themselves up to high standards this week at the Downtown gym with their belongings. Last week a world class example was given so they could see how to show respect for a place of business. One unexpected Eagle even took it to the next level and attempted perfection and set an amazingly high standard for the tribe. When the Eagles arrived back at the studio some leprechauns placed wonderful character callouts all over the entrance door to the coatroom. Each eagle had been asked to say one positive sentence about their tribe and the leprechauns wrote them onto shamrocks for all to enjoy.  


2 Eagles have expressed that there is too much noise in the grey table room during SILENT core skills. 

Which of the promises are being upheld during that time?

“I promise to be helpful to other Eagles.”

Which of the promises are not being upheld?

The Eagles named off many.

Would it be more helpful to only allow Eagles whose assigned seats are there to sit under the table during DEAR or would it be more helpful to give out a strike to any Eagle who receives 3 warnings during SILENT core skills for breaking the guardrails and/or the student contract?

A huge majority of the Eagles voted to give out a strike. Anytime an Eagle receives a warning, the Eagle who gives them a warning will put a check next to his or her name on the whiteboard. When an Eagle reaches 3 checks, they will be notified that they are receiving a strike for not upholding the contract and/or guardrails during silent core skills. 

Sparks will be held accountable while they are transitioning to and from their Spark room. They are expected to follow the expectations of a silent work area during silent core skills. If they ever get too loud in the SPARK room, an Eagle will open the door and ask them to please quiet down. This will serve as a warning, but not towards a strike count. 


This week during Quest the Eagles learned about floods and how to escape, survive and clean up after a flood. Over the weekend, Opechee Bay flooded into the streets surrounding Acton and into our studio!!!! When the waters receded (went back down) our levels were swept away! In order to get our levels back, your Tribe must earn milestones to get chances to roll the die on Friday after Core Skills Debrief. If a 1 and a 6 is rolled, the levels will come back! Ask your Eagle if they rolled the right numbers on Friday!

In Civilizations, the Eagles learned about The Return of Assyria – The Library of Nineveh. King Ashurbanipal mistreated a lot of people, but also founded one of the greatest resources for education the world has ever known. Did he do more harm, or more good, in his lifetime?

” More harm because he was taking over cities and that wasn’t nice at all”

“I think he did more good because he like collected books and he made the first of a library for people to get more learning and um, they can learn more things that they didn’t know from the library that he had, so i just think that’s a good thing to do, because he was helping other people learn and grow and they will probably rule one day, he worked hard to make the library”

The Eagles discussed how a positive mental attitude can be one of the most challenging things to maintain when in a survival situation, but as you will remember from the Survival Rules of Three it is your most acute need. They talked about how panic is a dangerous state to be in during a natural disaster. They played a game where Ms. Kerry showed them a picture for 60 seconds and afterwards they had to tell her all the things they remembered from the picture. They also worked on using their sense of smell and had to identify mystery scents in bottles. They also had to identify mystery noises with their ears. AND they discussed your 6th sense of intuition and the “gut feeling”. 

Thursday will always be the day of chaos and waves. Think of a rolling tide just sweeping through the beautiful beach, that’s Acton every Thursday. The amount of energy and free spirits that over take the studio are impossible to transcribe into words. It really is a day of happiness and fun. P.E. time adds to the freedom. The nice walk there and back is such a great time to teach extra life skills and kindness. Waving to strangers, getting big trucks to honk real loud, and giving high fives to others walking on the side walks. 

This week the Eagle learned how to use Montessori bead chains. Mr. TJ gave a lesson to everyone and the new, hands-on material was a BIG HIT! Ask your Eagle if they have tried the bead chains yet.

Friday morning the eagles walked into the morning launch with all of the amazing character callouts spread around the circle. It gave ample time for each to read one aloud to the tribe so each could hear the positive words from one another. There were a few consistent traits; friends, helpful, and fun. It was a great opportunity for the tribe to see how important comradery and support is to everyone. Friday was all about fun. The natural disaster quest has shaken and rocked the studio so much for the past few weeks the eagles all wanted to regain their freedom levels that had been swept away with a flood. Every eagle that attained a milestone this week would get the opportunity to roll a die hoping to roll a 1 or a 6. Well with much cheer and excitement the lucky numbers were rolled and the stability of the studio was regained.


An update from Mr. TJ

This week we talked about medical ethics during the morning launches. The most interesting was the discussion surrounding the cost of healthcare and whether it is a right or a privilege. The Pathfinders believe that it is a right.

We have been doing mindfulness Mondays. This mindfulness practice I hope will expand into the rest of the year.

During Quest, the Pathfinders were working on their experiments this week. They also started working on blood types and diseases.

During Genre, it was time to start revising and perfecting their pitches this week. When you only have one shot it matters what you say. We are continuing to explore the Ethos, Pathos, and Logos governing their ideas.

In Civilizations, the Europeans have spread into the tropics and Africa. The experiences in Africa and the expansion of European colonies had a myriad of consequences for the world. This week the learners discussed those repercussions and how they would handle the challenges that came to fruition because of the actions of both parties.

A bit slower on badges this week though it appears that many of them are starting to hit their stride in math, grammar, and reading.


Natural disasters are still rumbling and shaking up the studio. Each week a new event has changed the status quo for the eagles. Probability was introduced this week so that each Eagle can work towards their fun Friday time. Each eagle needs to achieve a milestone to earn a roll of the dice. The dice needs to land on either a 1 or 6 for the eagles to regain their freedom levels.  Monday mornings also bring faction group check-ins and weekly goal setting. Each spark set a goal to achieve by Friday, be sure to check in with them and see if they are staying on course to hit their goal. So many Spark’s have completed their Spark badges and are onto Locke’s Hill badges. The increase of difficulty has brought back some of the monsters. Resistance has been peeking around the corner quite a few times and the distraction monster has been trying to cause a ruckus but has been defeated quickly by the constant support of one another. The Spark’s have really begun to understand the studio contract and what it means to hold oneself and others accountable. Monday quest time continued to surprise the eagles with new natural disaster challenges.

Tea “Time” Tuesday is really becoming a highlight with the E.S. studio as well. It has really given the Spark’s a chance to help teach the older eagles and gives them a great boost of confidence before starting their core skill block. It gives them time to practice writing, manipulating the clock, teamwork, sensory time and of course smiles. Writers workshop was fun this week as well thanks to the beautiful weather. The Sparks have been reading a book about real survival stories of natural disasters, we read a few pages and then enjoyed an hour of free time outside running around. The yard was super muddy so it made for some fun adventures.

Waseca Wednesday just as last week is continuously building their reading and writing skills. We had 2 Sparks finish their red sections this week. The repetition of the units is starting to be grasped and understood better so they do not need so much instruction. The best part of this time of week is the constant support from the pathfinders. At times you can see the apprehension to help because of their own academic goals however each time they understand their commitment to the younger learners and they engage them so well with patience. It is not only helping the younger eagles, many lessons have been taught to the pathfinders as well.

Quest was exceptionally fun with 4 stations set up by Ms. Kerry. Ask your Sparks all about it. The activities ranged from memory skills, touch, scent and listening. Mr. Tj even joined the Spark team for some fun.

All of the Spark’s achieved their big goals for the week: 15 marbles and 1 milestone. They now have 3 different colored marbles to help reach this goal; blue for attaining a quiet studio during core skill time, green for character callouts and gold for work completion, focus and perseverance. Make sure to ask your Spark’s every Friday how they did!

WEEK 29 (03/07/22)  Tsunami in the studio!


March 21st: Journey Meetings. You can schedule your time for ES here.

March 25th, 8 am: Parent Coffee

Thurs. April 7th, 3:30 pm: Exhibition – It will be a potluck!! More details to come.

April 11- 15th: April Break


I thought you might enjoy this week’s video about our Middle Studio and my reflections. (This is a marketing video but with a real story : ) )

Here is Laura’s blog about DEAR time and how it effected her family’s life together.

Link to 2022/23 school calendar.

Link to sign up for Survivor Summer Camp (last week of June).

Book of the month recommendation is Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish


Below is The Gritty from Monday. By Friday the studio was completely turned around and the Eagles were accomplishing SO MUCH work and helping each other stay on track! 

The Eagles finished their week very strong! 10 Eagles were able to achieve milestones this week. In order to completely block the tsunami, 13 milestones were needed. Since the effort was so high on Tues-Friday, the Eagles were split into their teams and had to discuss what could be used as a natural barrier to lessen the destructive effect of a tsunami. Each team correctly identified that trees and plants can be used to lessen the effect of the tsunami’s destruction. Because of this, they were allotted some extra Friday freetime to enjoy in the afternoon! 


Silent Core Skills was a disaster on Monday in the ES! It was full of distractions and resistance! Ms. Kerry asked: When I watch and see that no one is following through to hold others accountable or choosing to hold themselves accountable, it makes me believe that you do not care about your learning or your Tribe’s potential to progress. Why does this not matter to you? What could you do that shows that you care about being here and having the opportunity to learn.


“I just think this was a bad day and no one could get focused, I just think it was a really bad day and I think we all have days like that.”

“I think it was one of our bad days and I was being very very passive and I realized people were being distracting and I was just being passive.”

“I couldn’t get focused because when you get really good sleep it helps you get focused and i didn’t get really good sleep yesterday. “

“Just so you know for next time, if someone still isn’t doing something please don’t repeat it it feels kind of mean for some people like you want them to feel bad, I know you’re not trying to do that on purpose but if you could try not to do it next time.”

“I heard you giving warnings to an Eagle that was distracting you. He kept being distracting. How come you didn’t follow through with holding him accountable?: “” I thought it was funny and started laughing and then I forgot about it.”

“Do you want your words to be worth something? ” “Yes, I should proceed with the system and follow through with it and keep trying.”

“No one here wants to give out consequences. I’m sure everyone here just wants it to be good. Just follow the contract.”


Quest and Writer’s Workshop this week were all about tsunamis. The Eagles learned what a tsunami is and different survival techniques. They even created a tsunami simulation in water bins, with a beach and land created with little houses on it. They used cardboard to make a big wave that took out all the houses and the land.

At one point this week, Ms. Kerry played a tsunami drill noise. “Eagles, choose what you would do if you knew a tsunami was about to hit the studio in 1 minute!!!”

During Civilizations the Eagles read about The Phoenicians – The Founding of Carthage.

The Eagles watched a video on getting into “flow” and discussed the 5 factors that contribute to FLOW

1. Intrinsically Rewarding (you enjoy what you are doing)

2. Clear Goals and a Sense of Progress “It helps if you are setting the goals yourself.”

3. Clear and Immediate Feedback “Knowing what you’re doing and where you’re going.” like what comes next after you finish your Chororua reading badge.

4. Match of Challenge and Skill (Working in your challenge zone as opposed to your comfort or panic zone)

5. Intense Focus (limiting distractions)

What could you do or ask your fellow Tribe members to do to increase your time spent in FLOW?

“If you’re trying to be quieter than usual, that would help be less distracting.”

Why would you want to be in FLOW during Core Skills or Quest?

“So time could go by faster.”

“So you could focus better and learn more stuff that you didn’t know.”

“So I can do better at the stuff I’m already good at and the stuff I’m not good at yet. I experience this when I play the guitar.” 

This week, it will be imperative to achieve and allow others to achieve a state of FLOW! 

Ms. Kerry asked “Earning how many badges per year do you think shows that you are working hard in your challenge zone? “

Surprisingly 10 Eagles said just 2 badges were good enough! There were 4 votes for 3 badges/yr, 3 for 5/yr, 2 for 10/yr. Some Eagles included family badges and learn to be badges in their count

Used the example of 24 badges a year, asked the tribe if I only did 2 a year it would take her 12 years to get through E.S. if a Spark learner is 6 it would take her till age 18 before completing E.S. at only 2 badges/yr.

Do you want to be 14 when you move to MS? “no because by the time you would get through high school you would be an adult”

At 3 badges/yr: “I wouldn’t want to be 12 because by the time you get up there you would want to be that old because i think you can’t be 19 up there”

“actually it would be different for everyone because everyone isn’t 6, and everyone needs to do a different amount “

How do you figure out how many you need to do a year? “I want to be 10 or 11 so I need 4 more”

“You could use your badge board and do what we are doing to figure out your own”

Do you have to earn all of your piper mountain badges before heading off to chocorua or all of your chocorua badges before starting on your Washington badges?

Reminder- Acton does NOT have grade levels-but it is still expected that you are working hard and putting in the effort!

On Thursday the Eagles enjoyed music and yoga. During art they made paper dragon-animals that are now hanging off the Jumanji vines in the circle room! : ) 

Friday brought the last opportunity to stop the tsunami from hitting Acton. The 13 milestone tally needed to erect the impenetrable wall was unfortunately seeming out of grasp. However, peer support and enthusiasm quickly helped change the tide and accelerate each Eagle’s accountability to the tribe and a sense of pride overcame the studio. You could literally feel the focus as you walked through the studio. They were able to greatly diminish the damage caused by the tsunami and they saved the studio!

Congratulations to:

Sophia for earning her Learning to Be Badge – Character Traits Badge


Weekly check in from Mr. TJ

We had a surprise PD (Physical Development) challenge this week to help our learners get back into the swing of having PD twice a week. Researching pro athletes and how they trained themselves to be great.

During Quest the Eagles worked on Sepsis and SIRS this week. Learning the challenges of diagnosing and treating diseases like sepsis and SIRS. These issues can cause a lot of trouble for doctors and the Pathfinders learned that in the game Septris from Stanford.

Genre challenge this week was: Persuading someone that the disease you are researching is the most important one can be a challenge especially when you only have 5 minutes to make the pitch. This Genre will improve the persuasive writing skills of the learners and develop an understanding of what the limits of medical research funding are. 

During Civilizations: The expansion continues. Western Civilization expands into the Americas and the world will never be the same. The learners all seemed to agree that a measured hand when dealing with either side of the conflict was the best possible response. There seemed to be a lot of Trust but Verify going on in the discussions. 

Example:  I would let the guy go through the city peacefully but also have my army keep an eye on him and if they caught him trying to get information for his army for a potential war that they would have an advantage I would have my men kill him because I would not want the other army to have an unfair advantage.

On Friday we launched on passion and finding passion. A refresher to help us remember why we are here and what Passion day is intended to accomplish.

Question to ask your Pathfinder this week: How long did you keep Ron alive?

A big congratulations to our Badge earners this week:

James for Arithmetic Part 2
Braydon for Arithmetic Part 1


“Measure Monday” started our week off learning about half inches and quarter inches. I placed 10 different items from around the studio to practice measuring. The tribe had only been working on measuring to the nearest inch, this activity helped each Eagle be able to measure much more accurately. Some of the Sparks had a hard time at first, but by the 10th item they had it figured out. To complete the activity they needed to compare measurements and figure out which was the longest and shortest, and write a number sentence adding two of the objects together. Core skill time followed with the continuation of focus from last week. It has been so enjoyable in the spark studio to see how much each Eagle has grown and is identifying their own motivation for their hard work. No one can do it for you so this is a big skill to build. Gaining the understanding that each Eagle is responsible for their own education has been such a joy to watch grow inside each of them. This week we have raised the marble tally to 15 marbles to attain fun friday. The E. S. studio has the goal of reaching 13 milestones for tribe to be able to enjoy the fun friday surprise. The Sparks had a big week: 15 marbles, 1 milestone and quest completion. On top of the 15 marbles the Sparks are also responsible for the E.S. challenges.

“Tea time Tuesday” is seriously the most tranquil time in the studio all week. The Sparks welcomed two E.S. Eagles to join this week. Some of the Sparks needed to give a quick course to E.S. Eagles on how to use an analog clock. It was very impressive to observe the Sparks giving the lesson. After, they needed to search around the spark studio for 10 clocks, write down the time shown on each clock and then meet back as group. Each Eagle then was responsible for choosing a clock to show the tribe and work them through identifying the time. Ms. Kerry was able to stop by and enjoy a cup of licorice tea and observe their teamwork through the activity. Tuesday afternoon during writers workshop the Spark’s were able to take another quick adventure to the Laconia Library. They really enjoy the quick escape. The pleasant librarian gave a quick lesson on how the books are arranged and what each category is for. We asked for help on finding books about the natural disasters we have learned about. We spent time on the boat and pretend to play through a tsunami and what we would do. It was so much fun making water waves, splashing and sloshing sounds, rocking the boat and climbing to higher ground. I love watching their imaginations take flight! 

Waseca Wednesday is still increasing confidence steadily in the sparks. They do not need as much consistent help from the M. S. eagles and they are finding their groove. Wednesday’s core skill block was also fueled with focus on this week’s milestone challenge. The Sparks’ increased marble requirement combined with fun Friday goals has helped propel the studio into a complete learner driven atmosphere. Each Spark has been very coherent in their choice of using their free time during core skills. They had in the past not held themselves accountable to their free time minutes. This week each used a white board to write the time to pack up their free time work and return to their goals. Each S accomplished hard work this week pushing themselves out of their comfort zone and into their challenge zone.

Thursday is always full of energy to the max. The Sparks start their day off with Ms. Rachel who always brings a fresh perspective to learning music. Her implementation of sandpaper blocks and train adventures has allowed the Eagles to see that music is everywhere and can be fun and productive. Art class as well is one of the Sparks’ favorite times. Ms. Marilee is so talented and brings a vast amount of patience and guidance to help push the Eagles into their challenge zone with focus and detail working their fine motor skills and patience. After lunch the walk to the gym was exceptionally nice this week with wonderful warm weather. Ms. Sherry at the downtown gym worked the Eagles through many different yoga poses and explaining some of the history of yoga. The Eagle’s enjoy when she challenges them to group poses. They really have to work together and it’s so much laughter and enjoyment.  

Friday brought the last opportunity to stop the tsunami from hitting Acton by earning 13 milestones. The sparks all rallied each other on till the end. One spark needed to borrow a little extra time to achieve her second milestone of the week. She needed a little bit of goofiness to keep her on track. I and 2 other sparks made up a silly song and danced around the studio to support and motivate her. It was so much fun to laugh and giggle and dance through a challenge and see the pride arise following the completion of big goals.

WEEK 28 (02/28/22)  Jumanji and Biology


March 21st – JOURNEY MEETINGS (no school). Please fill out this JOURNEY TICKET to be able to schedule your meeting.

April 11-15th School break


I would like to Welcome Woodsom Family to our Community! We look forward to getting to know you and having you as part of our tribe!

Link to 2022/23 school calendar.

Link to sign up for Survivor Summer Camp (last week of June).

Laura Sandefer will be sharing with us her “Top 10 Acton Practices that Changed My Families Life”. This is a link to #1. 

Book of the month recommendation is Siblings Without Rivalry by Adele Faber & Elaine Mazlish


In the Spark room: There was an amazing amount of grit and determination in the Spark room to earn Fun Friday and accomplish their math milestones. On Friday, to wrap up our super amazing math week all the Sparks met their marble tally and their math milestones! What a huge accomplishment for our studio. Following core skill time 2 sparks still did not want to stop working. They have 100% been bitten by the self motivation bug. They asked Ms. Kerry for a second time this week to please stay in during their lunch period to continue working on more math! It was granted since they would be going on the fun friday adventure of free time at Opechee park.  


In the ES *** Due to the continued focus on “just getting points”, which continues to lead to dishonesty about the time spent and effort put in, the point bounty has been removed. On Monday afternoon, during Quest, an Earthquake and Volcanic eruption occurred. Fissures and chasms opened and swallowed up the Journey Tracker points! There is no point bounty this week!!!! Focus on the math madness milestone challenge and completing your Quest challenges if you desire to have extra freetime on off-campus on Friday afternoon.*** Next week there were still be no point bounty and the Eagles will be focusing on earning Milestones.


We welcomed a new Eagle to the Adventurer studio this week! Wyatt is learning all of our systems and traditions and has officially signed the studio contract!

Ms. Mary started the week off with a launch on goal setting. We went over how to break down a goal but also how the purpose of a goal is to “be appropriate in the moment” and what factors will try to knock you off track and how to overcome them.

This session’s Quest is Jumanji-themed and will include:

Learning survival skills

Immersing in Natural Disasters

Making a Hard Choice (Individually)

Surviving Natural Disasters by completing Survival Tasks (As a Team)

Creating a Survival Handbook/Journal

The Eagles were told: Just like Judy and Peter, you have discovered a game that will throw you into several survival situations over the course of this session. It is your job to navigate many natural disasters and survive the next few weeks.  

Each week you will learn different skills for survival and then will be thrust into a different natural disaster to test your survival abilities. Each natural disaster will come with a hard choice that must be made in order to survive. As you aim to survive these next few weeks, you will come across many things that you can use to create a Survival Handbook. You will present your Survival Handbooks at the Exhibition.  

We talked about family emergency plans and kits. Do you know how or where you would meet your family if roads and bridges were destroyed in an earthquake while you were here in the studio?

Wednesday quest time was an epic adventure of survival as the studio was hit with an earthquake. It rumbled, shook, and rocked the entire E.S. studio. When the quake stopped the Eagles all evacuated the building and met outside to determine what to do next. The options were to either stay and utilize the resources offered from the garage: water, shelter, materials to start a fire for warmth and tarps to use as ground cover or blankets, or venture out on your own with just a backpack, a few sips of water, a multi tool and a positive attitude. As the mock disaster was played through to the end, the Eagles that chose to leave the safety of Acton unfortunately stepped in a puddle with an electrical current running through it from a downed power line. The situation proved very beneficial to adequately survival options before making a plan. Since the studio was damaged during the earthquake, House Cleaning Competition time was canceled due to no running water, electricity and structural damage.

The Eagles talked about the power of having a positive mental attitude in a time of disasters and survival. They took time to calm their minds after trying to survive a supervolcano eruption and earthquakes by doing a meditation: Calm Kids Peaceful Earth Mindfulness, Relaxation, and Breathing

The Eagles returned to the Downtown Gym this session for Yoga! They also enjoyed music and going further with their piano lessons with Ms. Rachel and Art with Ms. Marilee.

Ms. Kerry is reading a choose-your-own adventure book to the Eagles called Can You Survive a Supervolcano Eruption? 

During Writer’s Workshop the Eagles had to write a story or a poem, with at least 7 verses, about the day a volcano erupted near your school. What would you do if there was a volcanic eruption while at school? Some streets are blocked by flowing lava and the electricity has gone out! How would you get reunited with your families? How would you survive?

During Civilizations, the Adventurers read about The Israelites Leave Egypt – The Baby Moses & The Exodus from Egypt They had some very interesting discussions. One question asked was: Imagine you believed the God or Gods you worship told you to move to a land, but you soon found the terrain was rocky and dry, and there was no rain and no food. Plants and animals were dying, and you could too any day now. Would you continue worshiping the same God or Gods? Why or why not?

“Even though it was rocky and dry and not good for plants or animals God may have sent you there for a good reason, he may want to keep you safe from something”

“I know he would send me there for a reason and keep us safe no matter what, he wouldn’t send us somewhere where we would die”

Was there a time that you were feeling down, annoyed, frustrated, or sad and you were able to change your mindset? What was it that you did or thought about that helped you be in a better mood?

“I was riding my dirt bike and there was a kid that cut me off. I was really mad. Then I got by him and felt better.”

“My first session here I was trying to do Quest and was not used to it. I could not get it done in the time we had for Quest. I became so frustrated. Then I thought I could learn from my mistakes and follow my hero’s journey and get better at my World Fact Book.”

The E.S. eagles also had a second part to meeting their math goal and quest challenges, they did not have to participate in the house cleaning challenge. It was very funny as we were walking back into the parking one eagle was expressing disappointment that as they walked into the studio they would need to clean. To their surprise the studio had already been cleaned and the teams made up the slack without them. It was a nice surprise for them to not have to return to the studio for more work, it was friday and they were officially done for the week. We heard that some Eagles that stayed back and completed the cleaning battle actually enjoyed having less teammates for the challenge. It gave way for more efficiency and quicker jobs. An interesting observation that we look forward to hearing about next week.

Congratulations to this week’s Badge Earners: 

Wyatt Piper Mountain – Typing Badge 1
Nolan Piper Mountain – Math


From Mr. TJ:

We are getting into Human Anatomy and Physiology this session for Biology 2. The focus will be primarily on the skills that doctors have in diagnosing diseases, understanding anatomy, and physiology, as well as growing an understanding of maintaining wellness.

This week during Civilizations, we got started on the expansion of European civilization. The idea that European civilization expanded because of three big factors: Guns, Germs, and Steel. These three factors allowed for the domination of European civilization.

Of our launches this week the launches on who was responsible for your health and who is the authority on your health were the most interesting. The Pathfinders all agreed that they were ultimately responsible for their health. However, there was a general agreement that doctors were the authority on health.

In Genre, this session the Pathfinders will be researching the disease and writing a proposal for funding that research on that disease. I would encourage you to tell your pathfinder about a disease that may have impacted your family. This could help give them direction.

On Friday the Pathfinders decided to join in the Friday Fun of the ES Studio and go on the field trip to Opechee Park. It was great to have the older and younger Eagles all having play time together. It really is such an enjoyable sight to see the older eagles play and just be kids still. The Pathfinders kept the group accountable while walking on the sidewalk there and back.

We are now a studio of seven because Patrick has joined the studio. We are excited to have his energy with us.

Questions to ask your Eagle: What disease are you considering researching? Do you know about ______ disease that _____ had? What are you most excited about this session?


Sprawling vines, twirling tornadoes, and a doomful rain cloud all welcomed the Eagles back from their week off. The studio had transformed into the incredible habitat of Jumanji. Adventure and thrill unfurled any sleepy eyes that weren’t ready for their return to the studio.The eagles were greeted by Ms. Mary, who ran a fantastic morning launch focused on goal setting. Ms. Mary worked the Eagles through breaking down their badge plans into goals and guided them to show how to make their goals attainable. Following the morning launch the Eagles all broke into their faction groups and helped set weekly goals. The sparks were also part of this activity and set weekly goals as well. Some of the E.S. eagles helped them write while others took the challenge and wrote out their goals independently. Core kill time was focused well following the big goal setting morning.

This week Ms. Kerry challenged the studio to attain a math milestone and complete all quest challenges to open up the mystery off-campus surprise for Friday’s productive time. Each Spark’s weekly goal page is posted in our studio so they can keep themselves on task while setting their daily goals on the board every morning. . Monday’s quest time was a tad precarious as the Eagles learned the rule of 3s. Eagles needed to determine if you could survive for 3 seconds, 3 minutes, 3 hours, 3 days or 3 weeks without food, water, shelter, air and most of all a positive attitude. 

“Tea Time Tuesday” was exceptionally tranquil. We only had three Sparks in the studio so we invited an E.S. Eagle to join in and practice some clock work and scent and taste experimentation time. It proved to be very helpful to our guest. We discussed maybe opening up a spot every Tuesday for an older eagle to join in. Telling time takes lots of practice on an analog clock and why not have them help conquer the resistance monster for this new skill. This week’s teas were very similar in scent and it proved to be quite the challenge to really focus and take slow breaths and think of what we were smelling. They turned out to be peach and pineapple! It took not only smelling but tasting before we could identify the difference. Peach was the preferred flavor. One eagle said, “ The pineapple just tasted like warm water after I tried the peach. It didn’t have much flavor at all.” 

During Music with Ms. Rachel, the Sparks made sand blocks as a musical instrument. They will also be making jingle bell instruments and then combine them the last week of this session. Next week’s sand block theme is trains.

Core skill time was again very focused. The Spark’s really enjoy the weekly goal from ms. Kerry and they continued to show their strong tenacity and grit to earn Friday fun. Writers workshop brought a small change of scenery for the Sparks. We only had 3 eagles so we decided to go and explore the Laconia Public Library. It was quite fun, we read an adventure book of 2 bears and pretended to be on the adventure with them, driving the boat and skipping over stones and climbing big mountains all to find a blissful river to splash and float in. One Eagle found a book whose main character had the same name and he over came fear. It was perfect timing since the Eagle had a few scary monsters of his own to conquer. We also read a rhyming tale of beachgoing bats, it seemed we had the sense of summer in our consciousness.  

“Waseca Wednesday” continued the past progression of finding independence, focus and holding oneself and others accountable. The resistance monster always seems to come out during this time. The thought of it beaming too hard rather than just trying it to find that they are completely capable is a skill we are working hard to achieve. Once they defeat their monsters the value they hold for themselves is clear on their face. Following Waseca time the sparks persevered with determination after this week’s math milestone goal. The spark studio was all math for the next hour. One spark finished his practice hundreds board in preparation to complete it without a number guide. Another spark worked super hard in her mission to defeat the resistance monster to the snake game, and 2 sparks conquered their 4-digit golden bead work. Following core skill time one spark decided she could not wait till Thursday to hit her milestone and asked Ms. Kerry if she could work through her lunch break instead. She had such grit, conviction and tenacity and was able to prove to herself that the right mental fortitude could help attain her goal much easier. She hit her hundreds board milestone with ease!

We had an EARTHQUAKE at the school. The Guides made some loud noises and banging and all the Eagles had to run outside. The electricity and internet went “off” for the rest of the day and the Eagles needed to complete their emergency kit sheets without technology. It was awesome how everyone got into it and many of the Eagles were jumping around shaking as if they were in a real earthquake : ).

Thursday brought back gym class. Always a nice opportunity to walk to the gym and enjoy the sights of Laconia. Art and music were also as usual full of energy. Even though our core skill period is very short on Thursday the sparks made great use of their time. @ sparks finished their 4-digit static golden bead work. Next they had a great lesson fromMR. TJ on 4-digit dynamic golden bead work. This is the last golden bead activity for a Lockes hill milestone. Also on Thursday one spark defeated the snake addition game, it had been challenging her all week. Thursday also brought a sparks drive to attempt his 100’s board with no guide sheet.  

Going to Opechee is always a nice change of scenery for the Eagles. They love playing at the skatepark, running and jumping and sliding and climbing. The M.S. Pathfinders all decoded to come as well and it was great to have the older and younger eagles all having play time together. It really is such an enjoyable sight to see the older eagles play and just be kids still. The Pathfinders kept the group accountable while walking on the sidewalk there and back.  All in all the week it was wonderful to see drive, motivation, grit and accomplishment. What more could we ask for out of these future leaders!

WEEK 26 (02/14/22)  Exhibition


Feb 21st to 25th – Winter School Break

March 21st – No School – JOURNEY MEETINGS

Summer Camp: Survivor Camp sign ups are open! We are only offering 1 week of camp this year from June 27-July 1. Click here.


Here is a video on how to find out what your Eagle’s Weekly Challenge is on Journey Tracker. (This is what they need to do to earn the “fun” prize on Fridays).


Valentines Day at acton academy was certainly full of love, of pancakes and maple syrup. The kitchen was full of bustle with whipping, whisking, pouring and flaptastic deliciousness. A typical day at Acton would have the Eagles all being responsible for themselves and independently performing tasks, but on this fun day the Guides were able to show the Eagles a role reversal. Taking pancake orders and filling juice cups. The Guides were very busy keeping up with the seemingly bottomless pits enjoying the camaraderie and fellowship of each other. “Measure Monday” in the Spark room was only measuring the girth of our full bellies and how high each one’s stack of pancakes was. Core skill time was slightly clouded by all the mornings previous fun.


Exhibition reflection:

The Eagles thought showing the toys went well, and the artwork display was nice. They also noted that having hands-on activities for their guests to use was a plus. The Da Vinci Bridge room was their favorite hands-on spot. 

The Eagles thought that the communication of switching from station to station could have been better. One Eagle suggested casting a timer on the TV. A few Eagles also thought that there was too much time given at each station, especially the boat station. How could you have used that as a teachable moment? What could you have taught your guests about buoyancy?

The importance of feedback. One survey gave all 1s for every category. How do we know what to improve upon based on this guest’s scores if they don’t leave any comments?

“We don’t know why they gave us those scores. If we don’t know what specifically to improve, what if we keep repeating the mistakes?” 

“What if we work to change something to make it better and that is not even what the person thought we should improve?”


The Eagles enjoyed their pancake breakfast on Monday! Mr. TJ led the whole studio in a discussion about the different types of love languages.

On Tuesday they had a discussion about teamwork and goals. First they watched videos of teams working hard together. This is what they said when asked who was the strongest tribe:

“The FI racing team because at a pit stop you need to work together to get wheels off and on and have to practice a lot. That takes a lot of skill and teamwork.”

“FI cars because they take A LOT of practice to master. I heard the tools are very heavy.”

“The rowers rowing against the tide looked like they were good at it and working together and stuff.”

“The windsurfers because it looked like they were struggling a lot and had trouble and then they had to fix it.”

During Writers Workshop the Eagles created their ideal school schedule. They then presented their schedules to the group. There was a lot of creativity including a hike up Mount Washington, playing football, and having lots of free time. We noticed that everyone kept DEAR in their schedule but added reading buddies.

During Civilizations the Eagles talked about Howard Carter discovering the tomb of King Tut. They also discussed what life was like as an Egyptian citizen in Amenhotep’s time. Does the belief that many gods control every part of your life comfort you, or frustrate you? Why?

“It scares me, because some gods could hurt you”

“Frustrate me because I believe in only one God and it would be hard because everyone else would think you were the weird person and be mean to you”

The Eagles finished reading Who was Sir Isaac Newton? and they worked on recognizing the elements of a hero’s journey:

Who were his guides/mentors?

“Royal society”

“Hooke- he made him fight and stuff.” Kerry : So, sometimes getting into fights makes you stronger? 

What obstacles did he face?

“Also Hooke because he needed to overcome him as an obstacle”

“The materials because what if he didn’t have all the materials. He was trying to make a telescope.”

Kerry: How can one be their own obstacle? 

“maybe by like testing their stuff and it doesn’t work so they would need perseverance.”

What was Newton’s character trait that made it harder for him?:

“Madness, because he was mad at Hooke. It was hard to control the madness and they ket fighting over their ideas”

The Eagles did an amazing job at studio reset and deep clean on Friday. They were all excited to do their jobs and they even cleaned out their bins and folders. 

We had a couple new children shadowing this week and the Adventurers were extremely welcoming to them!


From Mr. TJ:

I will highlight our launch on Monday this week. It was Valentine’s day so we discussed love languages and how we respond and react to the different love languages. We did not have time to do an extensive test though most felt confident in naming their own love languages. I heard discussions of what their love languages were extending through out the day.

We focused on Exhibition prep this week and making sure everything would be excellent. They finalized their biology experiments and prepared and studied for the Biology Bee.

The Eagle met with Ms. Marilee, their Art Mentor, and worked on preparations for an Art Show!

Using written proposals during Genre, the Pathfinders widdled it down to three people who got to do a showdown for the privilege to share their Biography out loud at the exhibition. The pitches went head to head and the winners were clear.

There have been intermittent moments of great achievement this session. I am hoping we will have a session of great accomplishments and that it will extend into the next session for Biology 2!

Questions to ask your Eagle:

Did you put your all into this session? Why or why not? Do you feel you are acting responsibly with your learning? Do you feel that you enjoy holding responsibility for your learning?


“Tea Time” Tuesday was run by Ms. Kerry this week. The Sparks had a great opportunity to guide Ms. Kerry through the activity and showed their clockwork skills off. Core skill time brought lots of achievements and focus as everyone is very focused on reaching their goals for earning productive time on Friday. Because the Sparks have to earn their chromebooks we track their daily goals and progress with their marble jars. Each week we have 10 marble counts to achieve the fun Friday freedoms. The jars are not to be represented as a reward, but rather as a tracking machine for visual conception of each Eagle’s focus, completion, and challenges. Each eagle is challenged daily with either a group “Daily Double” or an individual “Daily Double”. Be sure to ask your Spark’s each day what their challenge was and if they achieved it. You may be surprised when you hear all the determination and focus used to meet these daily goals.  

“Waseca Wednesday” continued to show progress from the previous week. As we continue each week the Spark’s will grow their confidence and continue to defeat the resistance, distraction, and victimhood monsters. Be sure to check in with your Spark about their progress within this activity. Core skill time following astonished me. I set huge goals for each Eagle and all of them achieved them. We had a longer core skill time and we used every minute of it. The excitement of the last trip to go ice skating helped drive the sparks to find their own inner values of personal success. Learning this skill now will help lay a strong foundation for further exploration into the E.S. studio and navigating the learner driven environment. 

Congratulations to Badge earners this week:

Jasper – Spark Math 5
Noah – Spark Math 2 and Spark Math 5

WEEK 25 (02/07/22)  Biology Field Trip


Feb. 14th Monday 9am – Our annual Valentine’s Day pancake breakfast (just for the Eagles – but I will need a few parent volunteers to help, let me know if you are interested!)

Feb 17th Thursday – 3:30-5pm Exhibition!

Feb 21 to 25th – Winter School Break

Looking ahead:
March 21st – No School – JOURNEY MEETINGS


Here is a link to a great PDF on how to use Growth Mindset language at home!

In case you have misplaced the link, here is the spreadsheet with Parent Contact info so that you can set up playdates and get together over break.

Thank you to everyone who could attend the parent lunch!


Music class for the younger group of Eagles this week was incredibly memorable!!! Ms. Rachel was pulling out all the stops on creativity with her reading of the Little Red Hen. She was dressed in creative farmer’s clothes AND she brought a live chicken! The Eagles had fun using their shakers and playing a music game all around the yard with the chicken. It was fun to see them so engaged.

Another highlight was the Middle Studio field trip to Meredith Place Veterinary Emergency Hospital. Deep gratitude to Beth VanHoose for welcoming the Eagles and showing them all of the behind-the-scenes secrets. The Eagles had SO MANY questions and loved being able to see Biology in action – how you would actually use this subject in a career out in the “real world”.


In the ES studio, the Eagles continue with their cleaning challenge. They broke into teams and competed in the Dust Buster Challenge to see whose team will be able to work together to efficiently clean their mystery area in the least amount of time.

The Eagles then watched the videos of each team cleaning to determine who would win. 

The Eagles witnessed many character traits during this challenge. They also observed one team’s goals turn to chaos. The 2 Eagles in that team who tried getting their off-task teammates back on track were called-out for their courage and ability to stay focused. Unfortunately, this team was disqualified since all 3 guardrails were being broken by the other, distracted, team members.


The Eagles worked on understanding what Excellence means this week. Especially in context of reviewing each other’s work. Some badges, such as math and typing club, use programs that track progress and mastery. With other badges, like reading and writing, as well as Quest & Writer’s Workshop challenges, your excellence is dependent on the amount of effort you put into it. Measuring someone else’s excellence means that you are taking into account a lot of factors about that person you are peer approving, in addition to understanding what the badge or challenge requirements are. 

During Newton’s Toy Workshop this week, the Eagles made marble runs! They created them with paper towel and TP rolls, strings, tape, sticks and other materials. Each Eagle had to use at least 3 out of the 5 simple machines (levers, pulleys, ramps, wheels/axles, wedges), plus any other innovations they decided to include in your marble run. It was really fun to see all of the creativity!

During Civilizations the Eagles talked about the Middle Kingdom of Egypt. The discussed the differences of putting money and resources into building armies or using it for more immediate needs of the Kingdom’s people. 

The Eagles also had a discussion about the Olympics and how they inspire people to reach for their highest potential. They talked about practice and hard work and also about making mistakes and does that mean you should give up? They all said NO!

They talked about how visualization can help you:

“Because if you are mindful and do meditation you will actually be able to be calm when you are going down the hill and stuff and it’s not only about winning” – 6 yr old Eagle

“If you’re calm and you believe in yourself, I bet you will go good”

 “You should try to finish your round you don’t know maybe you could get silver or bronze or you never know you still might get gold, you never know you should still try”

Another questions was:

Let’s apply a similar scenario to exhibition. Imagine yourself at exhibition and the winning presenter gets a special lunch out. You worked pretty hard over the session but get to exhibition week and realize there is very little chance your project is going to win. 

Do you: 

-go present and give it your best even though you know you won’t win, or;

-abandon your table and go play on the playground?

The Eagles conversation went like this:

“Maybe stay and show it off, yeah probably stay, because maybe some people would still like it!”

“I would stay and show if off in action, instead of not showing it and saying i don’t care”

“I would stay and show, I would still want to try because you never know!”

On Thursday the Eagles had the opportunity to play with a variety of toys that used different laws of physics. Afterward they debriefed on what laws of physics they encountered and how. IT WAS SO GREAT to hear their observations about gravity and acceleration, friction and magnets.

They started making their own toys on Friday. Ms. Kerry asked: As you embark on your challenge to create the next best toy/game or machine, do you feel prepared? 

“Yes, but a little while through…I was trying to build a rubber band gun, and then I didn’t make the trigger and spent a lot of time on it. Then I could build it. I didn’t feel prepared at first but now I do.”

“At first I was having trouble with the tape and then I saw the hot glue and that saved my time. Now I feel confident.”

On Friday, every Eagle who earned a writing milestone this week and at least 200 JT points by lunch on Friday were invited to leave Acton with Ms. Kerry half-way through lunch on Friday to go play ultimate hide and seek! Every week there is a “new game” of paints and/or milestones that your Eagle needs to earn to unlock the fun Friday surprise. Ask you Eagle when you pick them up from school on Monday: “What is this week’s bounty game?”


From Mr. TJ:

The launches on Monday set forward the questions of what we do with bodies after they die. The practice of using bodies for science and what is ethical and not ethical with their use. The example used was the Body World art installation that shows the inner workings of the human body through dissections and simply removing skin to see what is inside. The questions posed were: Is this ethical? Should you have to give specific consent to have this done to you? Should this “art” be offered for sale?

The opinions were mixed and some Pathfinders were willing to do all of it with the consent of the family and the person who passed. Ultimately a fascinating and fruitful discussion.

During Biology Quest this week the Pathfinders conducted experiments that were designed to help them practice the scientific method. They extracted DNA from multiple mediums and attempted to define what the most successful method would be. The DNA was extracted from Peas, Chicken Liver, and other food. This experiment was a challenge. They were required to work hard to accomplish the task in the allotted time. They also needed to work as a unit to find the materials and complete the experiment.

The final drafts of the Biography essays should be done this week and the publisher pitches are being written. This is to practice submitting documentation to show why and how the person you are writing about is worthy of the biography you have written.

During Civilizations the Eagles talked about The financial side of Christianity and the formation of the banks that are tied to the Catholic church. 

On Friday the Eagles jumped in the van and took a field trip to Meredith Place Veterinary Emergency Hospital in Meredith. Deep gratitude to Beth VanHoose for welcoming the Eagles and showing them all of the behind-the-scenes secrets. They looked at x-rays and surgical equipment and saw how the Vet would perform different tasks and tests. The Eagles had SO MANY questions and loved being able to see Biology in action – they saw, up close, how you would actually use this subject in a career out in the “real world”.

The focus this week has been sporadic at best. There have also been challenges of being willing to tackle social situations alone, and instead seeking a Guide to solve problems for them before even attempting to work them out on their own. The Guide is, of course, there to help and moderate but we are trying to have the Eagles practice their communication skills, problem solving skills and conflict resolution skills. If their answer is to always go to the adult, then this practice never happens. 

Parents should ask their Eagles: Do you feel you are able to solve issues on your own, or do you believe that you will always need help from someone older/more experienced than you? Are there certain issues that you feel less confident in stepping into than others? Why?


The sparks started their week off with Measure Monday.  Their first task was to find 6 objects in the studio.  One object that measured one inch, one object that measured 2 inches and continued up to 6 inches.  They needed to draw a picture of each item and write the name of it.  This was a great time to see them trying to sound out objects and work hard together.  After, they had a scavenger hunt of different length papers taped around the ES Studio to measure.  Some struggled with this task and had to try again but all found accomplishment once they focused.

Tea time Tuesday was canceled due to the weather giving us all a late start.  We also did not have core skill time after the delay because the studio has been working hard to defeat the monsters during studio maintenance. The tribe used that time to finish up the “beat the buzzer” deep clean contest.  The winners of the challenge got extra free time by not having to help with studio maintenance for Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday.  This activity brought so much understanding of working together and having leaders and being assertive and efficient.  It showed all the Eagles how to better work together and become a team.

Waseca Wednesday had big improvements from last week.  Some of the Sparks were able to work independently.   One Eagle was finally able to fight the resistance monster and conquer his fears and find enjoyment and accomplishment.  The joy of Acton is these moments when accomplishment and success spread throughout the tribe and help lift one another.  

Thursday music and art are always a blast. Music was quite engaging with the help of a “little Red Hen”.  Ms.Rachel provided so many sensory outputs and outdoor time to really connect the love and importance of music into everyday life.  Ms. Marilee brought love and joy with a Valentine’s Day theme watercolor project.  All to be displayed at the upcoming Exhibition.

Thursday afternoon quest time was another great experimentation time of physics.  So  many toys to play with while learning how to play important roles in fun and everyday tasks.

Friday ended our week with  toy making. The studio was full of architecture buzz and blueprint designs and contraptions and apparatuses.  The ideas and creativity of children is always a joy to watch.  

WEEK 24 (01/31/22)  Ice Skating begins!


Feb. 11th Friday – Parent Lunch 11:30-1pm at the Belknap Mill

Feb. 14th, 9am – Our annual Valentine’s Day pancake breakfast (just for the Eagles – but I will need a few parent volunteers to help, let me know if you are interested!)
Feb 17th, 3:30 to 5pm – Exhibition!
Feb 21-25th – Winter School Break

Looking ahead:
March 21st


I know that some of us may wonder: Is my child missing out by not being at a traditional school with the bigger class sizes and all those extracurriculars? Is my child even being taught at Acton?

These questions trickle into the minds of most Acton parents at some point along the way.

In this letter, one brave mom shares her story about leaving Acton.

I hope her words encourage you.


Thanks to Ms. Jennifer, Ellie’s mom, the Eagles are able to go ice skating every Wednesday in February! She was an amazing Guide and had a lot of fun activities to help the Eagles learn how to balance, stop, slow down and change direction. Most of the Eagles fell so many times and you could see the frustration starting on some of their faces. But not one of them gave up!!! They all kept getting back up and trying again and their peers cheered them on. It was wonderful to see the grit and determination! And thank you to Ms. Rachel for being our extra chaperone!


Ms. Kerry showed the Eagles video clips from Friday afternoon’s deep clean. Everything that was going on was so messy (interactions with one another, ways that you were trying to hold one another accountable, lack of organization,…) that your challenge this week is to beautifully orchestrate studio maintenance. 

She even showed them a clip of a conductor orchestrating music, to get the point across. 

M-Th were their practice, reflection, and revision days, and then on Friday (now Monday thanks to the snow!) they will compete in a deep clean challenge. If they are successful, they will unlock the Dustbuster Dazzler- a secret message that will reveal Fun Friday opportunities. 


During Quest this week the Eagles were launching projectiles! They were told “Gravity will be trying to stop you, so you’re going to have to find what’s known as a mechanical advantage, which means using simple machines to do the heavy lifting for you. You’ll be using levers and pulleys to launch a stack of pennies as far as you can.”

They watched Bill Nye the Science Guy- Simple Machines. They also had to first draw a picture of their machine before they were able to create it.

Which simple machines do you experience in your daily life? “Wheels -cars, refrigerator, robots”

Which machine do you think is most important? In other words, which simple machine do you think humans could not live without?

Eagle- “Well, actually you don’t need simple machines to live. You need food and water.”

The Eagles continued their discussion on learning to be respectfully assertive. When someone is acting in a way that you’re not okay with, which approach seems to be the most successful while also being respectful of others who are involved? If you are normally passive or aggressive in your initial response towards others, today’s challenge is to practice being assertive when confronting Eagles who are breaking the guardrails or contract. Ms. Kerry and Ms. Jessica role-played different scenarios and then they had the Eagles role-play. 

They did a Kid’s Workout session on Wednesday as a warm up before ice skating!

The Eagles had fun making eye creations with Ms. Marilee during Art and working on their piano skills during Music with Ms. Rachel.

On Thursday the Eagle’s had a Town Hall. “We should be able to chew gum at Acton. It helps you focus and relieve stress. We will not sell gum.”

The ES and MS decided that if someone leaves their chewed gum anywhere but in the trash, they will get a strike. Also, if gum wrappers are not thrown away, then that Eagle will lose their gum privileges for the # of days = to how many wrappers are left around..

Badges earned this week:
Sophia – Marshmallow Delayed Gratification Badge


From Mr. TJ:

This week we discussed many different topics around ethics in biology, specifically relating to humans. This included longevity, CRSPR, medicine, and medical research. We also had an impromptu conversation with my grandmother. We were talking about aging and longevity and she is 90 so I figured she would be a good base of information.

This week our Civilizations assignments were about the crusades. The crusades are so much more than they appear! I encourage you to talk to your Eagles about it.

Genre plugged along with fine tuning our hero biographies.

The Pathfinders have accepted a challenge to help lead the Spark Studio through Waseca once a week. It was fun to see the older Eagles mentoring and Guiding the younger Eagles through writing, reading and letter work. 

Everyone had fun ice skating on Wednesday!

There was a family badge earned this week by Ava and her family! I also want to share that two of our Eagles have committed to improving their spelling and phonics skills by doing the highest level Waseca cards!


This week we added another fun theme day, Measure Monday. To start learning how to use a ruler we started with just inches. Each spark measured their hands, fingers and feet. It was so much fun watching and listening to them during this activity. “My feet are bigger!” “My hand is huge!” We then did a short worksheet to measure different length lines to the nearest inch. We will add in half inches and quarter inches and remeasure the lines during the next few weeks.

Tuesday tea time was, as usual, super fun. We made lemon tea and licorice tea. Before I reveal the flavors I have all the sparks close their eyes and everyone takes long slow breaths to smell the tea pot. We open our eyes and everyone tells us what their nose smells. Then they close their eyes again and repeat the process for the second pot. Some sparks also got adventurous and mixed their flavors together. As we sip our tea we talk about the smell versus the taste, are they similar, are they different, where on our tongue do we taste the flavor: in the middle, on the tip or in the back? It is so fun to see them all sipping and trying to determine where they are actually tasting. Such awareness being built and senses being used.

This was our second week of Waseca Wednesday. We moved our circle upstairs into the M.S. Socratic Circle room. It was a lot of fun to see M.S. eagles working with Spark’s. As the weeks go on they will need less and less support from an older eagle. It is intended to be done independently but to help get us going the Pathfinders will guide us on learning this activity.

Thursdays are always filled with energy since we start the day off with music class and art class. This week Ms. Rachel made shaker people that danced and moved along to a joyful song to the tune of country folk. The Spark Eagles all attained a stamp for following the directions and meeting the expectations. Ms. Marilee led them through a super fun art activity of folding paper and using oil pastels to create eyeballs! I’m sure a few made their way home to scare some family members. Some of them were quite realistic! 

A round of applause to this week’s Badge earners:

Jasper – Spark Math 4, Spark Math 5, and the Lencioni Family Badge
Noah – Spark Math 3, Spark Math 5

WEEK 23 (01/24/22) DaVinci Bridges


Jan. 31st – Family Badges DUE
Mask vote will close on Monday morning
Feb. 2nd – Ice skating starts! Please make sure your learner has a helmet (any kind will do) and skates, if possible. 
Feb. 4th – Parent Lunch 11:30-1pm at the Belknap Mill – PLEASE RSVP by Jan 31st so that I have a head count for food!!!
Feb. 14th – Our annual Valentine’s Day pancake breakfast (just for the Eagles – but I will need a few parent volunteers to help, let me know if you are interested!)
Feb. 17th – 3:30 to 5pm Exhibition!


Here is a video I made for you on the differences between the ES studio and the MS studio and what to expect as your Eagle moves up!

Here is a document from Ms. Kerry on the Breakdown of ES levels.


This week the Pathfinders dove into some really hard questions of ethics and morality surrounding the theme of biology. The discussions were very engaging and Mr. TJ honestly had trouble ending them on time. The Pathfinders worked hard to hone their ideas and opinions on each topic. The discussions were incredibly deep and thoughtful – if you had been a fly on the wall you would have never guessed the ideas were coming from Middle-School aged students. 

Mr. TJ would like to offer big daps to James for offering a beautifully simple, yet intrinsically significant, comment about the importance of biological life in the universe. “If there isn’t any life, then what is the purpose of the universe?” -James

ALSO – at Gunstock:

It was our last week of snowboarding/skiing. I am wholly impressed especially with the learners who were first-timers. It is challenging to learn to ski and snowboard and they really stuck with it, worked hard, and showed us just how excellent they are at learning. We found out that the Staff at Gunstock LOVED the Acton Academy children and were impressed with their respect and hard work.

Remember your Eagle has 6 half-price tickets on their Season’s Pass that you can use!! And further lessons you take are half off with the pass as well! Also, Tuesday and Thursday night skiing has FREE rentals to pass holders


The UGLY- Plagiarism? What’s that?

When auditing the ES Civilizations challenge, Ms. Kerry noticed that some of the answers looked as if they were copy and pasted from a Google search. After conducting her own research, she found this to be true. 

The Eagles were asked: Why does it matter if you copy someone else’s work? How come that is such a big deal?
“You’re using their ideas and thinking of your own.”
“You are basically stealing but not a physical object.”
“Stealing someone else’s work is wrong and that would be being a bad person. It would make them feel sad and mad at you and would be bad to do that. It’s rude too. Think of your own things.”

What are the consequences of copying someone else’s work?
“Going to the principal’s office. Dropping down a level.”
“Getting a strike.”
“Faction heads and getting a consequence.”
“Go to buddies and then faction heads and then figure out what consequence you can give them, like losing free time.”

Everyone must start over on this challenge – 1 because the instructions were not followed correctly and 2 because some of you plagiarized. 

They then watched a video explaining plagiarism and how to give sources credit if you do decide to copy and paste.


Ms. Kerry started the week with asking this question of the Eagles: We’re half-way through the school year. What are the goals you set for yourself about how many badges you want to earn this year? What have you and your family discussed for yearly accomplishments? 

This week when each Eagle met with Ms. Kerry, they took a look at each remaining badge and talked about the milestones they are working on now and ones they are interested in beginning next. Ask your Eagle which badge they are feeling the most resistance towards.

She asked: How could your family support you with achieving your goals?“They could give you badge or milestone challenges at home.”“My mom helps me focus on one part at a time.”“We use ABC cards at home that I do with my Dad.”“When I get frustrated and don’t want to do my work, my mom says to do it the way I like it- the way that I’m comfortable with.”

During the Newton Toy Workshop Quest this week, the Eagles learned about parts of physics such as density, vacuum, electrons, atoms and antimatter. The Learners were challenged to make DaVinci Bridges (which are bridge that have no glue or anything holding it together), and they had to hold a certain number of pennies without collapsing. It was a difficult challenge and the Eagles had to persevere and keep trying many times!

For Writer’s Workshop the Eagles worked on acrostic poems.

During Civilizations, Ms. Kerry read a story from Ancient Africa – Anansi and the Make-Believe Food. They also learned about deserts and the Sahara. 

They all shared fun moments or moments of accomplishment at Gunstock.
“Going on the race course and on jumps.”“Riding the chair lift for the first time.”“Riding down Panorama for the first time in a long time and going on the box.”“Landing a 360.”“Practicing my skidded turns and going on the chair lift.”

During Parent Coffee, the Eagles discussion was around excellence. Is excellence something you do, or something you are? What heroic trait is most important to be able to pursue excellence? “Courage because if you don’t have the courage you will never improve if you don’t try”

“Perseverance because if you persevere in your work and you make changes you have accomplished something because you persevered through it”

“Because if you fail and you try again and try more then that makes you persevere”
Friday after lunch a group of Eagles (Adventurers and Sparks) went to enjoy some outside exploration time around Opechee. The entire hour of jumping in the skate park, climbing on the playground equipment and exploring the lake was a complete and total reflection of what an Acton eagle is. They each showed such kindness, empathy, leadership and spunk. They supported each other’s choices, huddled up for votes, and encouraged bravery and conquering of fears. And to end the expedition we had 2 18-wheelers join in on the horn blowing fun of childhood. One chose to really give a serenade and the sight of 10 eagles jumping up and down on the sidewalk was priceless.  

Congratulations on Badges earned this week:
Cody – Piper Mountain Reading Badge
Samantha – Piper Mountain Typing Badge 1
Jasper – Spark Math 3 and Spark Literacy 7
Noah – Spark Literacy 1

Gunstock and Deep Discussions

Civ this week was getting one step closer to the enlightenment getting to the reign of Charlemagne. The topics that they focused on were Might Makes Right and unchecked expansion of religion in the communities. I do encourage parents to engage their learners in discussions/debates on these topics. I think you will be impressed with their level of skill.

The Eagles are still diving deep into Biology. We had planned to go to the Squam Lakes Natural Science Center this week, though, due to a staffing shortage there they were not able to accommodate our program. Luckily for us, Beth VanHoose hooked us up and we will be visiting Meredith Veterinary Emergency Room to learn more about Veterinary Science and Biology.

We are continuing to plug away at our Biology Hero Biographies. The Eagles even choose to create a “fake biology” of a made up character called Maria that they created during their Passion Friday. They had a ton of fun with the silliness of their own project but we saw how they were actually practicing the skills of Quest!

With a new Pathfinder joining us this week we did struggle with distraction a bit. I imagine that we will be seeing a return to normalcy this week.

Talk with your Pathfinder about their end-of-year goals regarding math and grammar.

Congratulations to:
Ava (and the Wright family!) for earning the Lencioni Family Plan Badge.
And Kendall and the Chase Family for earning the Lencioni Family Plan Badge.


What a wonderful week yet again in the Spark studio. It was heart warming to be welcomed back with smiles after my bout with Covid. I heard about how flexible and understanding they were while I was out and how older Eagles helped them throughout the week. This week we started Tea “time” Tuesdays. The Sparks greatly enjoy our tea time morning meetings so we began group work for telling time on the clock while enjoying our tea. It was a lot of fun and Mr. TJ was able to join and help with some history of how telling time has evolved.  

We also started “Waseca Wednesday” where the Lockes Hill learners will be challenged to complete 30 minutes of Waseca work before setting their own core skill goals. It was certainly a little bit challenging since it was the first group time for this activity. Many E.S. eagles and M. S. eagles helped guide them on their work and I know after a few weeks it will become more fluid. We started to slowly introduce the daily expectations for work while still allowing each Eagle to be in charge of their journey.

Skiing, of course, was a big highlight of the week. It was wonderful to see a large group of Eagles accomplish their skills from the bunny hill and move onto their first chairlift rides and travel down a bigger hill. The smiles and acknowledgement of accomplishment was so evident and the cheer for each other was enjoyable. The Gunstock staff certainly helped our eagles all fight the resistance monsters and work hard out of their challenge zones to persevere and gain such progress so quickly.

Thursday’s quest was a challenge for every single eagle. It was also a lot of fun. It brought frustration, disappointment, and most of all teamwork. The sparks experimented with their popsicle sticks trying to make the Da Vinci Bridges but were not having success. Once we all took some deep breaths and found a way to work together the mood quickly turned to excitement and accomplishment.  

The Friday mystery schedule was a fun change. No one knew what to expert but many had certainly worked hard to be able to achieve the fun. We had 2 sparks that however had not accomplished their goals throughout the week and learned the lesson on focus and the payoff of the hard work. One chose to work through his entire lunch time using his free time to accomplish all the activities he needed to unlock his Friday fun. It was truly a joy to watch him be so determined. He only had his own desire to work hard. The learner driven goal of Acton was shining true as he worked on a task and then found an older eagle each time for peer approval. To have the sparks learning this skill of peer approval before they start moving into the E.S. studio has also been wonderful to watch evolve and grow. They are learning how important this process is and no longer need to be reminded of this step.  

WEEK 22 (01/17/22) Elasticity and Rubber Ropes


Jan. 28th – Parent Coffee Friday
Jan. 31st – Deadline for Family Badges
Feb. 2nd – Ice skating starts! Please make sure your learner has a helmet (any kind will do) and skates, if possible.
Feb. 4th – Parent Lunch 11:30-1pm at the Belknap Mill – PLEASE RSVP by Jan 28th so that I have a head count for food!!!
Feb. 14th – Our annual Valentine’s Day pancake breakfast (just for the Eagles – but I will need a few parent volunteers to help, let me know if you are interested!)


Here is a great video by Mr. TJ on the Long Game here at Acton. This video will help you understand our thought process and how the Eagles move through their “grade levels”.

This is an amazing Blog titled: Feeling Lonely or Insecure as an Acton Parent? I HIGHLY recommend that you read it, I believe that it will speak to all of you in some way.


The highlight of the week was Braydon’s Ascending Ceremony! All of the Adventurers formed a receiving line and cheered him on as he walked to the front staircase. Mr. TJ gave a short speech about Braydon’s hard work and perseverance and that he was now ready to continue his Hero’s Journey by joining the Middle Studio. Braydon walked up the stairs to where the entire MS Studio was waiting and he shook hands with all of his new studio-mates. Everyone applauded!!!


In the Spark room, Ms. Jessica has added a few plants and the Eagles are learning about plant care. One of their duties everyday is to gently water the plants and dust their leaves.

This week, one of the Spark learners told everyone that they needed to put soap in the plant care water bottle. They then learned 2 important lessons:

  • how putting soap in the water spray bottle will harm plants
  • and the importance of speaking up when you think something is not right!


During their Civilizations discussion on Ancient China, Ms. Kerry asked: Would you share food with every visitor you had, every time, so long as they asked?

“No. What if someone just comes over and over multiple times and then you run out of food?”

“It would be more efficient to not share every, every, every, single time. It is waaaaay too many times. What if you want to be alone that night and eat by yourself?”“Yes. If I share with them, they will be nice back and share with you too.”“Usually when I go to Grammy and Grampa’s and when they come to ours, we usually have a lot of food.”

They continued learning about Sir Isaac Newton and his Hero’s Journey. During Quest, the Eagles watched a video about turning trash into toys. They learned about elasticity and made ropes from rubber bands. Then they had a competition to see who’s rope could hold the most weight. They also tested them to see whose could stretch the furthest distance.

The Adventurers enjoyed learning more piano during Music and working on their self portraits during Art.

A congratulations to the badge earners this week:
Braydon- Independent Learner Binder BadgeNoah- Spark Literacy 3Vivian- Lencioni Family BadgeFinnian – Spark Literacy 6

Deep Discussions

In Civilizations, the discussions have been getting deeper and deeper. The conversations started as surface discussions of the topics. The Pathfinders have really started to discuss and express their opinions effectively and respectfully. These topics can be contentious. This week focused on the Middle Ages and Constantine. Here is one question that stood out: Was the spread of Christianity positive or negative for civilization? We had some disparate viewpoints. These views were shared in a way that respected the individuals while expressing each of their true views.

The most interesting launch discussion this week was spurred off by Norman E. Borlaug. He was a botanist who bred wheat to be more resistant to subtropical climates. This eventually lead to the discussion of food as a fundamental human right. Also, the situation surrounding price manipulation for a good cause and the repercussions in the free market because of that. It got deep and let’s just say they care and they are motivated to make the world better.

This week Mr. TJ ran Physical Development doing a yoga flow that he finds very useful for preparing for and recovering from a day of skiing and riding.

Quest has been focused on plant biology this week. The Pathfinders are also going to be starting their experiments to explain/express a biological idea.

This week was the first round of revisions in Genre. I really think the Pathfinders are diving deep into their individuals and I think we are going to have a great spread of ideas and individuals represented at the exhibition.

Braydon Moore Joined our studio this week. We are excited to have an infusion of new energy to the studio.

Please ask your Eagle this question: What is your experiment and do you have an idea of what the display will look like at the exhibition?

The Sparks worked on plant care this week! (See in The Gritty, above).

During Writer’s Workshop they worked together to write the ending stanza on our ABAB rhyming scheme poem. 

They enjoyed an Eagle Guest Reader- Patrick read, Superhero ABCs to the Sparks. Ask your Spark who their favorite superhero was from the book!

The Studio created well-wishes cards for Ellie, who has left us to continue on her Hero’s Journey.

Quest (same Quest challenge as the ES) crafted rubber band ropes that had to be between 15 and 20 inches long when not stretched. Sparks will focus on how adding weight to the ropes affects the length it stretches to.

During Music they listened to the story, Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe. Created two types of noise shakers. The Sparks (and Ms. Rachel) had a BLAST at music this week.

During Art they continued to work on their face shot photos. We are excited to show parents the final products at Exhibition!


The Sparks worked on plant care this week! (See in The Gritty, above).

During Writer’s Workshop they worked together to write the ending stanza on our ABAB rhyming scheme poem. 

They enjoyed an Eagle Guest Reader- Patrick read, Superhero ABCs to the Sparks. Ask your Spark who their favorite superhero was from the book!

The Studio created well-wishes cards for Ellie, who has left us to continue on her Hero’s Journey.

Quest (same Quest challenge as the ES) crafted rubber band ropes that had to be between 15 and 20 inches long when not stretched. Sparks will focus on how adding weight to the ropes affects the length it stretches to.

During Music they listened to the story, Pokko and the Drum by Matthew Forsythe. Created two types of noise shakers. The Sparks (and Ms. Rachel) had a BLAST at music this week.

During Art they continued to work on their face shot photos. We are excited to show parents the final products at Exhibition!

WEEK 21 (01/10/22) Boats, Cars and Cells


Jan 17th MLK Day – No Classes
Jan. 28th – Parent Coffee Friday
Jan. 31st – Deadline for Family Badges
Feb. 4th – Parent Lunch 11:30-1pm at the Belknap Mill


This is an amazing Blog titled: Feeling Lonely or Insecure as an Acton Parent? I HIGHLY recommend that you read it, I believe that it will speak to all of you in some way.

Here is a video on how to schedule Journey Tracker Check-ins with your Eagles.

If you are looking to buy at home Covid tests, the Walgreens in Tilton had a few! Call ahead as I am sure they will sell out soon.


(From Mr. TJ) The learners are crushing at skiing and snowboarding. I had worked in the snowsports industry for a long time and quite frankly it is rare to find a group that progresses at a rate like this. I would like to shout out to the whole school for working hard and progressing in these skills.

I also wanted to share a poem that Ms. Kerry wrote for the Eagles to inspire them with writing their own Rhyming Poems:

The yard is covered in January snows,Patrick and Teddy are gathering everyone to play Shark and Minnows.

Bryce and David are running around the yard,Braydon yells, “No puppy guard!”
The bitter cold sails in on an imaginary boat,Jasper runs inside to put on his coat.
Who’s way up at the top of the tree?It’s Amadeus hiding from all who can see.

Sophia, Lillian, and Samantha are down below,Practicing dance routines and singing songs to all who say hello.

Is that Finn or Noah that made the doorbell ring?Pop! Swoosh! Pretend it’s the end of spring.

Bode sketches bikes and dreams of practicing his reflex, He envisions being at Highland riding on his BMX.

PE and Forest Friday are back!That makes the Eagles happy, especially Vivian & Jack.
Margaret, Ellie, and Aliyah can’t wait to sit by the lake,They’re hoping to pick out a snack that they can take.

Trace plans a spot to build a new fort,He invites Cody along, what a good sport!
Zoom! Zap! Back to January our minds travel,Nolan wonders how all of this will unravel.


The Adventurers haven’t been giving each other many warnings and strikes lately, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, however we realize that Eagles are “getting away” with things and not following the contract. They aren’t holding each other accountable. Ms. Kerry asked them what was happening. They said they are choosing to be passive when others do something that they think is unkind or disrespectful and letting them get away with it because they don’t want the other Eagle to yell at them. Other reasons were that it is their friend and they don’t know what to say. They also pointed out that they have been getting better at working out disagreements on their own without needing to go to a Faction Head.We then discussed strategies and went over our judicial system again. 


The Adventurers had a morning launch on the importance of reading through all instructions before beginning a task. 

They talked about isolating variables to do science experiments and how to isolate variables on their cars to make them better. They raced balloon-powered cars and they created performance guides. They discussed the challenges they had in making their cars and in communicating with their partners.

This week they also learned about displacement and buoyancy. They made boats out of straws, glue, elastics, cups and popsicle sticks. The challenge was to see if your boat would float and then how many pennies could it hold before it began to sink?
They practiced ‘square breathing’ to use whenever they need help calming down or focusing. They talked about hearing and listening. They played a voice recognition game, then they were asked: Would you rather lose your hearing or your sight? How come?

“Hearing because I could still see where I’m going and wouldn’t need a walker or dog or anything like that.”
“If you can’t see there might be a hole that you fall into.”
“Hearing because you can still read messages and it would be a lot easier for life skills. You could still swim and walk normally. If you couldn’t see you would not be able to walk normally and it would be harder in life.”
“Sight because who would teach you to read?”
“I’d rather be deaf because I would be less likely to die. If you can’t see, then you wouldn’t know if anyone was coming after you!”

The Eagles watched a video and had a discussion about what being passive, assertive, and aggressive looks and sounds like — the goal being to equip our learners to be more aware of their responses to one another and how their response may be interpreted. 

The elementary eagles were introduced to finger numbers for piano playing — ask them to show you! We discovered our student-to-piano ratio was too high, so we will seek to improve this with more keyboards. If your student has their own keyboard, please have them bring it on Thursdays.

We talked about how Monday is MLK Jr. day. Ms Kerry asked What is something that you want to learn about MLK Jr. or Civil rights?

“I want to learn more about what he did.”
“I want to learn about his family.” 

After they watched a video on the Civil Rights movement, we asked them what they learned that surprised them. They said:

“That the people gathered around the capitol to fight for freedom.”
“What surprised me the most was that they didn’t even use the same bathrooms.”
“There was a lot more discrimination than I thought!”
“It isn’t fair that white people got whatever they wanted and the brown people kept getting punished.”

During Art the Eagles drew self-portraits while looking at pictures of themselves that Ms. Marilee printed. Music was fun with Ms. Rachel. Sparks experimented with shakers sounds by trying corks, beads, scrabble letters, rice, and pasta. Four students voted for rice, and two for beads. Next week we will create and decorate our own shakers to use for the rest of the session.

A call out to all who earned Badges this week:

  • Jack Piper Mountain Math Badge
  • Lillian Piper Mountain Math Badge
  • Finnian Spark Literacy 7 Badge
  • Noah Spark Literacy 6 Badge
  • Lenoncini Family Plan Badge


Biology Quest

This week during Quest, we got to do skits for Quest where the learners performed a skit from the perspective of a cell following a certain process. These were rather entertaining and I (Mr. TJ) even got to participate.

Our biology hero biographies are plugging along. The Pathfinders continue to learn about cells and the differences between plant and animal cells. They also researched what is a protein and what is an enzyme. I look forward to getting to look over the rough drafts this weekend.

Civilizations this week was looking into the “Dark Ages” and their effects on society. Also were they really “Dark”?

The launch this week that was most notable was on Monday, our launch was run by Zoe. I am impressed with the quality of the launch especially since she was remote while giving it.

It centered on plagiarism and what is the fine line that defines it.

The studio has been struggling with energy this week. Between missing our friends Zoe and Kendall and other Pathfinders being in and out it has made it difficult to keep our energy high. I will say that the Pathfinders have found a way through it. 

A shout out to Ava for earning her Deep Book Badge!


This week was a great continuation of learning to use our goal board and exploration of physics during quest time. Or course we can’t leave out the amazing growth on the ski slopes.

The sparks are really starting to be able to utilize the goal board to keep themselves on track. When I see one of them straying and losing focus it has been great to direct them to the board so they can refocus themselves. This week the expectation for productive time was increased from five marbles to seven marbles. These are distributed during core skill debrief each day. It is a great time for them to recall their work and have a chance to talk in front of their peers about their accomplishments. I will roll the marble across the floor saying, “you are 3/7ths of the way to productive time.” Ask your spark about what they did to earn their productive time each day. It will be a great way to show them how important their goal setting is and to recall what they did.

Watching them all build cars during quest time was also so much fun. Problem-solving, teamwork, and excitement were all about the studio. Each built a working car and had a blast testing them down the ramp.

WEEK 20 – Jan 3, 2022


Jan 17th MLK Day – No Classes
Jan. 28th – Parent Coffee Friday
Jan. 31st – Deadline for Family Badges


Here is a link to next year’s school calendar! 
Here is a link to a Video made by Jeff and Laura Sandefer for the owners of Actons. It’s called “Why “kids” is a dirty word” (you might have to download it to open it)A FEW ASKS PLEASE:

  • Next Wed. skiing is supposed to be very cold, please consider sending a neck warmer for your Eagle that day!
  • Ms. Rachel is hoping to do a music experiment next Thursday with the Eagles and is in need of 10 empty plastic peanut butter jars and some dried beans or gluten free cereal.
  • We are looking for keyboards to borrow for this session if you have any at home or know of anyone who would lend!

The Pretty:
Wednesday was our first day skiing at Gunstock!! It went fantastically, the Eagles had so much fun and we saw a lot of grit and perseverance of getting back up every time they fell. 

Mr. TJ went around and asked all of the employees at Gunstock whom we made contact with, and asked them if the Eagles were kind and respectful. Guess what the answer was? YES! 

Our Eagles embodied the Acton spirit. They were seen as a Tribe, working on their individual goals, but also showing support and encouragement to their fellow Eagles. 

For showing such strong positive character traits, such as being courteous, hard working, energetic, encouraging, and perseverance, all Eagles earned 30 Journey Tracker Points to go towards the 200 point bounty needed to earn productive time on Friday.

The development of positive character is an integral part of the Hero’s journey – way to soar at Gunstock! 

The Gritty:
The Adventurers were not holding each other accountable for studio maintenance this week and the studio fell into a disaster-zone. On Friday morning, Ms. Kerry walked through the studio with all of the Eagles and had them point out things that needed to be fixed. They then initiated a deep cleaning of the studio and could only go to free time once a “Mystery Inspector” signed off that everything was clean. Pic of “Mystery Inspector” to the right……


The Adventurers started the Quest of Newton’s Toy Workshop! On this quest, Eagles will play the role of a toy designers. They’ll start by learning all about basic concepts in physics by building different contraptions and conducting experiments.

This week they learned about the force of gravity by making race cars and ramps with a partner. They also learned about concepts in physics such as potential energy, kinetic energy, and velocity. They also learned about thrust and momentum and watched a TedEx on mini rocket-ships. 

During Writer’s Workshop the Eagles learned about poetry. Ms. Kerry read a couple Shel Silverstein poems from Where the Sidewalk Ends. 
During Civilizations the Eagles learned about Ancient China. They contemplated the question: Is the principle of a dynasty fair or unfair to a civilization? Does your answer change if the ruling family or leader is great and fair, or cruel and selfish?

During Town Hall, the Eagles wanted to discuss: Being able to eat snack inside (during Core Skills) when it’s below freezing or raining. This PASSED and the Eagles came up with the following rules:

  • 2 at a time
  • Use timers
  • Anyone who does not have a desk/table is welcome to find an unused seat at the gray table
  • Snack is a time to eat, not to talk
  • Must wash hands before and after eating as well as clean area with Norwex
  • Library is a mask zone for those who don’t feel comfortable having someone next to them eating inside without their mask on, can continue working on their Core Skills

During Art, the Eagles painted cardboard snow-globe pictures! During Music they worked on piano basics of moving their fingers up and down the keys and loud and soft sounds.

Congratulations to Braydon for earning his Mount Washington Math Badge!! And to Sophia for earning her Mount Chocorua Reading Badge!!


Welcome to Biology!

We will be covering a whole heap of topics this session from cells and evolution through plants and animals ending on human bio. This session will be a challenge and we will come to see some struggles. Thanks for the support you offer your learners. 

In Genre, the Pathfinders were learning about biographies and defining what that would look like. They are going to be writing about Biology Heroes this session. Two learners have approved subjects, Jane Goodall and Louis Pasteur. Two very interesting and influential scientists.

Ask your learners what they are most excited about for biology and what they find most awe-inspiring about biology.

Congratulations to Ava for earning her Grammar badge!!


The spark learners were so eager to get back to routine after the holiday break. Monday morning we introduced some new activities in the studio. The motivation and determination of these young learners not only shocked me but also shed light on just how much they are embracing their own Hero’s Journey. Each set big daily goals for themselves and they all met and exceeded each and every one.

The daily goal board has helped them to each see their accomplishments and strive to attain more checkmarks. Each spark is in charge of this process and leads their own learning path each day. We had two sparks that decided to push their challenge zone to the limit and each accomplished not only a milestone but an entire badge in just one core skill block of time. These accomplishments not only helped propel them but serve as a great encouragement to their peers.  

Quest this week also bought lots of enthusiasm. Each spark needed to design a ramp and meet two different challenges, the ‘longest distance achieved’ and ‘most accurate’. They all worked their fine and gross motor skills having to cut through strong cardboard and find the end of that pesky packing tape roll after each cut. They experimented with different ways of adjusting their ramps and helped each other through the challenges.  

We enjoyed hot wheels inspired productive time and Thomas the Train jumping to further our exploration of gravity, force, and momentum. We ended our time this week by experimenting with different styles of ramps and speeds in the snow. Each spark tried sledding on their bottoms, their knees, backward and tandem all with the goal to see which tactic would gain them the most speed and distance. They also worked together to add height to the sledding hill with the help of some shovels and good old-fashioned manual labor.
This week was a wonderful way to start the session, with lots of determination, focus, and joy of learning!

Congratulations Noah for earning his Spark Math 4 badge and to Aliyah for earning her Spark Math 5 Badge!