At Buckeye we deep dive each trimester into an intensive exploration of an arcing theme, aka the Arc. Sometimes these themes encompass more than a trimester. Our students move through interdisciplinary studies of useful subjects chosen using the democratic process, which inspires their natural curiosity and innate desire to learn.
Exploration: our seeds define success and what skills and understanding they want to acquire during their trimester. They analyze and contextualize the subject asking why is it important? How will these skills serve me in my life and goals? What steps do I need to take? What tools do I need to take them? Which experts can I access to help me through the trimester in order to ensure success?
Using a digital journal, these tasks and goals are outlined so that our kids, co-learners and parents can monitor their progress and record their achievements.
Expression: our seeds jump into the deep end of their chosen subject using a multitude of tools, experts, experiments, collaborations and interpretations. They test their theories, they compare their resources, they define their position and in the final phase they articulate them.
Exposition: in the final phase of our trimester, the seeds share their exploration through demonstrations, written commentary, presentations and celebrations. Communicating their discoveries integrates work and develops confidence, agency and social-emotional growth.
Public speaking is often sighted as peoples’ greatest fear. At Buckeye our seeds have the opportunity to speak publicly throughout their journey in a safe caring environment that allows them to overcome this fear and find their unique voice.
Throughout the trimester and phases we celebrate creative expression and play as natural paths to discovery and mastery. Our co-learners help the seeds learn to prioritize, manage their projects and time while cultivating agency to handle obstacles, mistakes, decision making and surprises.
The very first arc we did at Buckeye was a problem we posed to the seeds.
Your co-learners are stranded on a deserted island because a pirate has stolen their ship, your job is to find a way to safely get them home!
Our seeds got together and decided they were going to build a boat so they immediately went to work researching and testing boat designs.
During the Exploration Phase they
During these Exploration Phases, our seeds develop core STEAM skills along with powerful competencies like project management, collaboration and growth mindset.
Taking all they learned from their Exploration Phase our seeds move into Buckeye’s Expression Phase where they put their new knowledge to work by creating something centered around whatever aspect of the arc they are passionate about; it can be a performance, a structure, an art object or experiment.
During our first Expression Phase ever at BFS our kids made their declaration to build a boat that would carry our co-learners to safety - in their declaration they presented:
They were approved and set out to build what would be a masterpiece… COWTASTROPHE.
The final phase of each trimester is Exposition, where our seeds celebrate their milestones with our wider community of family and friends through presentations and demonstrations.
During this first Exposition night, our seeds launched our co-learners on Cowtastrophe which would go on to carry the entire school, it was a triumph and Cowtastrophe will go down in the annals of Buckeye as a bright light.
Our co-learners serve as supporters, sounding boards, extra hands and question askers. Rather than giving explicit directions or direct answers, our co-learners use multiple tools to help our kids discover their own direction and conclusions.
At Buckeye, we use this fundamental rhythm of Exploration, Expression and Exposition to help our seeds develop the agency to go from Dream to Do.