Session 1. Week 2. Year 23/24

Contracts, systems, tools… oh my!


Week 2 of the Build the Tribe Quest was full of culture-creating and community-strengthening moments.  Heroes played the contract games and had an opportunity to create new promises and experiments with tried and true promises.  They voted on which promises to place in “the lab” and which promises to add to their future covenant.  At their upcoming Exhibition of Learning, heroes will present and sign their final contract in front of family and friends.


Heroes and Guide also signed the Guide-Hero Contract, after the promises were shared out loud.  Heroes care the most about their Guide keeping the following promises:  

  • Never answer questions, but affirm. 
  • Deliver on Guide promises.  
  • Encourage you to be intentional.


Character Callouts, a new system, brings joy at the end of the week, inviting affirmation and causes for celebration. Every Friday, heroes follow a script – I SAW ____ (name) DO ____(virtuous act) THAT’S WHAT I CALL ____ (character trait) and then applaud for each character callout. Heroes recognized one another for showing: generosity, helpfulness, kindness, perseverance, a sense of adventure, and a sense of humor.  It was a great way to end their 2nd week.

Heroes practiced setting goals that are specific (S), measurable (M), achievable (A), relevant (R), and timely/tough (T) during their Core Skills time.  Heroes read books and made great progress in Lexia and Khan Academy, two of the adaptable software programs we use.  Setting S.M.A.R.T. Goals daily is a way for learners to take charge of their learning and work at their own pace.

At Empowered Minds, we celebrate birthdays in a very intentional way because everyone deserves to be celebrated for their uniqueness. During Writing Workshop, heroes practiced writing birthday notes for Midnight the Panther because it was his birthday. Their notes include a greeting, a personal and specific affirmation, an expression of gratitude, and a closing. Heroes wrote their notes and read them aloud to Midnight and discussed how they compared to the mentor (model) text.

We are so fortunate to be within walking distance of Durham Central Park.  For Discovery Studio it’s a 15-20 minute walk and a favorite place to go.  What a great way to be curious, connect, explore, and have fun.
Here’s to more adventures next week!


The Discovery Studio Blog and Spark Studio Journal provide context, insight, and an occasional love note for parents and caregivers.  We hope you arrive curious and leave with inspiration for your own Hero’s Journey.


Spark/Montessori Studio


“The greatest gifts we can give our children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence.”  Maria Montessori

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Empowered Minds: An Acton Academy  ©️ 2023