Imagine that you are standing in a forest but all you can see is a one-inch view of the trunk of one of the trees. With that perspective you could come to some pretty wrong conclusions about what that fragment of a picture means. In order to see the entire forest you must back away and shift your view to a more far-reaching angle.
Your student's education is often similar to this forest example. It is often fragmented, with various subjects broken up into 50 minute segments that seem totally unrelated. Each subject is filled with boring textbooks, endless exercises in workbooks, followed by tests to see if they remember anything. Most students have no idea of the importance behind these segments and wonder if it has any relevance to their lives. They have never seen the forest, only tiny squares of bark, leaves, dirt, or sky.
What Ignites True Learning?
All information enters your student's awareness through the senses, and their bodies are configured in such a way that the emotions have first access to the incoming information, even before it reaches the brain. Emotions are the gateway to your child's learning. In that split second your student's emotions decide if they are interested or not. The brain hasn't even had a chance to consider the information rationally before it has been accepted or rejected by the emotions. "Emotions drive attention and attention drives learning, memory, problem solving, and just about everything else." Dr. Robert Sylwester
That is why you should start with the heart. Light it up! Create the inviting setting that stirs your student's imagination and ignites meaning. Inspire, invite, and romance them! Now they are ready to learn.
How Do EPIC Adventures Work
EPIC Adventures are structured differently than typical curriculum. Each adventure has several things in common.
They each start with a THEME. This is the central idea or main subject of the adventure. This gives us a clear view of the entire forest, using the analogy from above.
Each theme can be broken down into smaller parts. These parts are called COMPONENTS. An EPIC Adventure usually has between 3 and 9 components. There may be more ideas that can fit your theme, so you need to narrow it down to the ones you think are most important for your students to learn.
Each component can be further divided into multiple TOPICS. These topics focus on the details you want the students to learn.
Research each topic to identify the KEY POINTS you want your students to know. These are the most important facts and concepts for that topic. This is the foundation that your child will build upon. Remember you are trying to light a fire in your child that makes them want to discover more! This is where your child may see only only a 1 inch square of bark. But because he knows the theme, he understands where the bark fits into the forest.
INQUIRIES are the activities that will help your child understand, apply, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and remember the key points. There should be several inquiries for each key point. The inquiries should encompass all of the subjects and skills you feel your child needs: language arts, social studies, math, science, art, music, creative thinking, spelling, drama, and more!
Ten Brain-Compatible Elements
By creating an environment that is brain-friendly for your children, you touch on many of the brain-body compatible elements researchers have identified that are optimal for learning, such as a safe space for reflective thinking, movement around the room, choice by children, and ease of collaboration. Therefore, it is important to never overlook the impact of your learning space—or to overlook how students should be involved in that process.
Read here for more information on the 10 brain compatible elements necessary for learning. https://www.shineonpro.com/uploads/1/7/9/5/17951397/activity_guide_-_brain_compatible_elements.pdf