Categories
Parent Resources

EAGLE BUCKS – INANE TRANSACTIONS OR DEEP LEARNING?

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

EAGLE BUCKS – INANE TRANSACTIONS OR DEEP LEARNING?

Laura Sandefer

February 19, 2014

Everything we touch in a day has an economic or monetary story.

Rewind. As a child, my parents didn’t discuss money with me. This was not very helpful. As a young adult, I opted to take my college Economics class on a Pass/Fail basis. This was even less helpful. “Passing” is far from mastering. I set out into the world as a happy, visionary woman believing she was terrible at anything financial.

Fast forward. I survived just fine on my own albeit with some ragged moments of financial decision-making. And now I am married with children. I want to do this chapter of parenting better for them. I want us as a family to talk about money frequently. I hope my boys will feel empowered in this important, and unavoidable, realm of living as a human on planet earth. I want them to be free of debt, save money and make complex financial life choices handily.

Acton Academy plays into this hope. Inspired by an idea from my ever-entrepreneurial husband, Jeff, our young geniuses created their own economy at Acton Academy. The currency is the Eagle Buck. The students themselves are the regulators, bankers, customers and owners.

On the surface this system may appear simplistic – even crass. Are we focusing purely on external motivation? Are we paying for good behavior and taxing bad behavior? Is this all too base an answer for the complexity and beauty of human behavior?

Come listen in for a while. In the engaging interactions amongst our learners during the school days, you will hear talk about inflation, supply, demand, cost, value, fiat money, savings, debt, fairness, distribution. Without knowing it, they are learning real world Finance and Economics. Not a textbook, expert or lecture in earshot.

The Eagle Bucks system is a game in economics with real life consequences. Like any good game there is conflict, anger, annoyance, joy, frustration, competition, laughter, punishment, reward, accomplishment, angst, learning. In this game there is the opportunity for our young people to understand more fully themselves and their peers; to learn to negotiate and seek justice; to weigh costs and benefits; to experience accountability.

Terry Heick in TeachThought shares insights into this concept of gamification and learning: http://www.teachthought.com/learning/how-gamification-uncovers-nuance-in-the-learning-process/

Understanding real life choices in terms of economics is a reality our children may not face now but undoubtedly will in their futures. I have pushed back on Eagle Bucks at times because it is hard and feels emotionally distracting. So did talking with my Dad about money.

More Posts

Subscribe and follow our adventures!

Categories
Parent Resources

HEARING FROM THE HEART AND MIND OF AN EAGLE

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

HEARING FROM THE HEART AND MIND OF AN EAGLE

Laura Sandefer

February 7, 2014

[The following is a contribution to my blog from an Acton Eagle who wanted to remain anonymous. It is written in response to my question, “What do you want your parents to understand most about your life and learning?”]

Life itself is a big challenge. And middle school is just another part of it. I’m not just talking academically, I’m also talking about life at this age. I’m not here to say that Acton Academy is perfect, challenging, and life-fulfilling because then I would be lying.

Acton Academy is a messy, hard way of learning. It throws messy challenges at you that equipped you for real life situations and make you a wiser being. It gets rough. But in the long term, it’s good for me.

I spend my life juggling school, sports, social, scouts, and family like an amateur jester. I’m only good at juggling three things at a time. It’s a stretch to do five, but I manage. And it seems to repeat itself over and over, the cycle of my life, the juggling, if you will.

I often get bored of life. I often get bored of school. I often wonder if I can run away and live in the jungle. But I’d probably get eaten by a bear. My point is, is that for me, life seems to be moving at a slow, unexciting pace. I’m not saying my life is bad, I’m just telling the truth.

Although life is moving slowly and is challenging, I love my school and love my life. I love how God created humans so magnificently smart. I love the earth.

In conclusion, I’m in a slump, (not moving anywhere, stuck) but life is not a bad thing, and school is not a bad thing. They’re both rocky, sometimes boring paths and that’s just how they were made. And that’s how human beings grow, from experience and mistakes on the rocky path of life.

More Posts

Subscribe and follow our adventures!

Categories
Parent Resources

GET THE FULL STORY

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

GET THE FULL STORY.

Laura Sandefer

February 5, 2014

Subscribe to both the elementary school and middle school blogs :

http://actonacademy.tumblr.com/

http://eaglesofacton.com/wickedly-open-ended-challenges/

More Posts

Subscribe and follow our adventures!

Categories
Parent Resources

AND FROM THE EAGLES THEMSELVES

Acton Academy Mesilla Valley

AND FROM THE EAGLES THEMSELVES

Laura Sandefer

February 4, 2014

[I  invited the Acton Academy Eagles to be guest writers for my blog. The question I posed is: “What do you want parents to understand about your life and learning?” Today I share the first of such gifts – unedited – from our heroes.]

Hi. I’m Mason Dickerson, and I am a lover of art, music, paintball, boardsports, and film. Especially film. My dad is a director, so I think I got it from him. It’s sometimes all I can think about. I even founded the Acton Middle School Film Club where we meet once a month to watch and discuss a film I chose. I plan on being a cinematographer, if not a director or a film critic when I get older. So why am I going to a school for entrepreneurship when I love film? Why not Lamar or Mccallum, where my love of art could be more exercised? Because here, at Acton, I am learning life lessons. I don’t need to go to an art school. I can learn everything I want to know about film by myself, through my dad, or through one of the apprenticeships we do at Acton every year. That’s been going over great for me. Here, I am learning what it will be like in the real world. We are gaining skills or writing, collaboration, discussion skills, and more. The projects we have may not tie directly into my passion, but at Acton I try to find meaning in all of our projects, so that I can further understand how to approach my future career. Acton is all about finding your calling, whether in owning a big oil company or a NFL player, and I like that a lot.

More Posts

Subscribe and follow our adventures!