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Roots Mastery Board





I had this idea for a Roots Mastery Board, a tool for facilitators to use to study their implementation of the four roots at their ALC.

We often talk about how everything we do comes from the roots, but in my facilitation I sometimes found it hard to connect the dots and trace the things we were doing day to day back to the roots.

The idea for the Roots Mastery Board (RMB) is that once a week the facilitators at an ALC would meet up to have a little changeup meeting just for the roots.  There are four swim-lanes, one for each root.  You’d put ideas into the Awareness column, including ideas you’ve gotten from other ALCs that you haven’t yet implemented, etc.

There are of course many things that would appear in multiple swim-lanes, but for that you could just make multiple stickies, because an implementation could be mastered for one root but not another.cmb-for-roots-02


Here’s an example of something that would be on the RMB – spawn points. Spawn point is an expression of the 4th root.

Some other things that could go on the RMB include:

  • 1st Root
    • Playing games
    • Having conversations
    • Reading
  • 2nd Root
    • Kids direct themselves
    • ALFs ask kids what they want to do
  • 3rd Root
    • Positive happy culture
    • Use of CMB
    • Kids hold offerings
  • 4th Root
    • Set intentions at spawn
    • Share reflections at spawn
    • Blogging
    • Conversations

The 4th root could even be broken down into 4 separate columns, one for each step in the Agile Learning Cycle.


Please comment on this post with your ideas for what can go on the RMB and I’ll add them to this post.

Facil-Prac Board Makeover

Went over the Facil-Prac Call Board today and did some cleanup.

Gone Forever

Saw some really old cards that have been sitting on the board since back when all ALC Network things happened on that board.  Some real gems include:


Ongoing Topics/Projects

I went through and archived most of the cards in the Facil-Prac Call Board. Since we used to use this board for virtually all virtual project management, some of those cards are still relevant and have been moved to the Ongoing Topics/Projects column on the ALC Network Call Board.


This Should Be a Blog Post

There are a bunch of great topics that ended up in a column To Be Documented over the last couple years. Those items have now been curated and are waiting in a column named This Should Be A Blog Post in the Facil-Prac Call Board. Please look through this column and blog about that stuff!  Because of course you’re always looking for things to blog about. You have tons of time to write blog posts and just no material to write about. Well, here you go. Material.

Seriously though, if you have a card that you added to that list, Please move the card to your personal Trello board so that you might one day blog about it. Or archive it.


Reoccurring Discussion Topics

There’s a bunch of stuff in a new column called Reoccurring Discussion Topics. This column us pretty explanatory.  These cards can remain here and collect notes as the issues are discussed.


The New Flow

I observe that we’ve seen the need for constant and meticulous documentation of facilitations discussions go down. But, I still think some things can do well to transform into blog posts. . . so I’m going to outline this new process – which whoever Coherence Holds for this call going forward can decide to implement or not.

Column 1. Reoccurring Discussion Topics

If people run out of stuff to talk about (as if), check out this column for some discussion material.

Column 2. Discuss This Week

There is tons of new stuff to talk about each week, and it can get recorded here so folks remember to bring it up during the call.

Column 3. In Discussion

This is being discussed right now! We can also put an RSVP card in here. Which for the time being can be helpful, just so that we can get a sense of how many people want to get on to this call each week. It might fill up and need to be split into multiple calls.

Column 4. This Could Be a Great Blog Post

Even though good blogging comes from spontaneous energy most of the time, there are definitely some things that could turn into great little reflection nuggets. Even just little tweet, a little tweet kind blog post of just a couple characters.





ALF Weekend Spring 2016


This is a short post about participant’s reflections on ALF Weekend Spring 2016


You can see a full list of the cool projects we worked on here in the ALF Weekend Spring 2016 Notes Doc.


Here are some wise words from @abbyo

Gratitude for all the work our self-directed facilitators did.
Upgrades include a hard scrum a week in advance so that people can plan around sessions that are important to them, as well as stepping up our language-that-moves-things game (so cards don’t get on the board unless they have CHs, dates, and times)

Here are some wise words from @tomis

Reflection: I think we may have a WIP problem with ALF Weekend. Next time, I think it would be nice to try a different approach. It feels like we’ve been doing ALF Weekend more like a digital Open Space conference, where we schedule all these conversations (which are important convos), instead of viewing it like projects that we want to complete. I’d be into having people self-select one topic/project, determine what “done” is, and then schedule work sessions throughout the weekend with your team members until it is done. Rather than having five or six topical conversations that all remain open after the weekend, we’d have maybe two projects that get fully completed.?

Here are some wise words from @rochellehudson

With low attendance, it didn’t make sense to have a big scrum — er, set the weekend — before the whole thing kicked off. It *does* make sense to try and schedule most of the sessions ahead of time, especially “key” sessions that are demanding or pulling most of our attendance. I *think* (since this is what ended up happening anyway) most of that work could be done virtually (people marking their attendance in various slots, and moving cards ahead of time based on where they see a time & attendance “fit”) — especially with the low volume we had overall. 
I don’t know if this would still work if our numbers grew to even 15+ for a full weekend.
I also think we could go for shorter spurts — maybe 3 or even 2.5 hours at a time — 2-3 sessions back-to–back — with breaks in-between. It seemed like most people wanted a break after two consecutive sessions.
It was good to finally look over the input from the Network Visions Questionnaire, which is a project that was started at ALF Weekend Fall 2015. To summarize & get the information out there & easy to read, I will work on presentation based on key concepts and takeaways of the ALF Visions with Drew.
I attended the discussion part of the Holder conversation, but not the work of putting the peer review together.
Annual Report
This is the one session I CH’d for this ALF Weekend. I had a bigger-than-expected turnout, because a lot of our schools are non-profits, or want to become NPs. We started working on a list of Network accomplishments, and I encourage additionally interested parties to check out the template Trello board for starting an AR here (ask to be let in).
Grant Applications
Tomis and I did some very preliminary work on grant apps. I have another write-up (like the one I used for our Annual Report Trello) that I plan to turn into another board for grant applications. 

Reflections from @liam

I’ve written a separate post about my own participation which you can read over here (Slack me for password).

We had relatively low attendance, and those that participated worked primarily remotely and had other things going on that weekend.  Including me.  One of the take aways from the last ALF Weekend was “In-person events are the best way to experience an ALF weekend, if possible.”  So we failed there.

Half the people participating couldn’t make the Set the Week meeting we had the Thursday before, so it ended up being kind of pointless.

We scheduled waaaaay too many things to work on, so we ended up jumping around starting a bunch of projects without creating much finished work.

More. . . .

If you have reflections you’d like to share, post a comment and I’ll include it in this post.

Agile Unschooling Reflections

Endor and its home-base Open Space AVL spent all of fall 2015 in limbo transitioning between locations, so, we experimented with an online-ALC, Agile Unschooling to keep things going.  I called it Agile Unschooling because it was open to the broader Unschooling community, not just the Endor community.  I visited NBTSC that fall, the “summer” camp for teenage Unschoolers, and welcomed people to join UA from there.

People registered to join AU via the Endor website.  Registrants were asked to read over the Agile Unschooling READ ME document before signing up.  The READ ME doc was intended to be a living document that we would edit as the program went on, acting as a kind of charter for other groups to start their own Agile Unschooling or Online ALC Groups.  Take a look at the READ ME if you want to learn more about the actual processes we used day to day, or if you want to start your own online ALC meetup.  You can also take a look at our CMB here.

There was this two fold intention in creating AU.

1) to share the ALC Roots, tools and practices with the Unschooling community (as an adult Unschooler myself, I see huge value in keeping it ALC when Unschooling).

2) to create an outline for what an online ALC could function like.


My long term intention is to create a new ALC Net framework – for Unschoolers.  Agile Unschooling would be a parallel network, and network website, to the ALC Network.  The branding might be closer to “ALC Online” or something, we will see.





Here below is collection of reflections from our last meeting that I frantically wrote down as people shared them.

What Worked and What Didn’t


  • Liked hearing about what other people were up to, like hearing about the bullet journal for example.
  • The cycle of reiterating things and keeping good records.
  • The cycle worked nicely.  Having a schedule was nice.


  • Wasn’t sure how people came together and what their commitments were, felt like some people were forcing themselves to participate.
  • One of the reasons the group fizzled was that people weren’t invested enough in each other’s projects.  People need to be invested in each other enough to like reach out to each other unplanned during the week..
  • Would have loved some kind of physical meet-up.  Would tell another group that it would help to have limits on things, know in advance what the peremeters/goals are, hold in like “sessions” so that people have an easy out if they want to leave the group.  Sessions are like 20 weeks long and then people meet up physically or something.
  • Joining from Australia was really difficult.
  • Also the 8 or 9 people is too many, 7 could be the maximum.
  • Having college stuff made it hard.  So timing got difficult.

Advice to Future Groups

  • Being consistent really helped.  Once I started missing meetings I stopped caring about the intentions I set.
  • Would like more accountability.  Smaller group means greater accountability since there are fewer things to remember.
  • How to resolve the issue of people not caring about eachother – checkin about only one thing at a time, and possibly not checkin about other things until that first thing is finished.
  • I would tell myself back in time to not have such anxiety about meetings.  Overall this will help you become a more productive person.
  • Get to know your group mates – take time to talk to them outside of the group
  • Share the rolls of CH – have clearer rolls – make sure that everyone tries to explore the rolls of CHing because you learn a skill set by doing that.  Try new and different things and failing the and reflecting on them is the learning.
  • I would be better at checking in with people to see if they wanted to leave.
  • Would blog more!  Blog more!  Document more!  Set aside more time for AU related things.

Big Take Aways

  • Learning time management.  Going to something in your own house on the internet is difficult – so pushing yourself to do that kind of “self time managemnt” where you don’t even have to leave the house is extra hard.
  • Being social with the group is cool.  Super cool.
  • Seeing and recognizing that teens are keen and ready to do this stuff already.  Seeing people go into this work is really powerful – seeing teenagers step up their game is awesome and good learning.  Got a lot out of seeing how powerfully teens can run with this shiznat.

Where to Next

  • So much of what SDL is about is social – sharing your projects with other people.  Setting up a learning group at Teacher’s College.  This group is so different than other cultures of other learners.  Felt like my ideas were being attacked by other people.
  • Some kind of facebook group chat or something? (this. . . kind of happened.)
  • Liam and Lucy visit ALC NYC? (this happened!)



Feeling Accomplished

This week I really didn’t get all that much work done, but I did the work that I did with other people.  On Monday I met with @rochellehudson to work on some Endor stuff, and on Tuesday @drew came to visit and we work jammed all three of us.

On Friday morning Drew and I drove to Charlotte to visit ALCMosaic!  Got to see lots more ALFs here in CLT.  It’s great getting together with other ALFs from time to time because it reminds me that I’m a part of this whole cool thing – the ALC Network

Even though I didn’t move all that much into my Done column, I still feel accomplished because I enjoyed my week, and I enjoyed doing the work that I did.


Here are some pictures!

Having buckets of fun working on our shiny macbooks.

More buckets of fun at ALCMosaic!



Working With Other People

Since Open Space AVL, the co-working space that Endor had been based in last spring (and will again be based in when it reopens next month), closed this summer, I’ve been mostly working alone at home.


This week I’ve had lots of things to do in order to get Endor registrations back up, but working on it alone hasn’t gotten much done.  Yesterday I met with @rochellehudson and went over the plan for Endor 2016, and just that meeting to discuss a few things really re-invigorated me.


I’m really looking forward to getting Endor open again to have a group of awesome people to work with on a day to day basis.

Endor Agile Learning Cooperative

Things are moving along at Open Space AVL’s new building, the co-working and community center that Endor has called home since last February.


It’s looking like we will have a large area on the ground floor of OSA where Endor can live 24/7/365.  Which is hugely exciting.


Throughout Endor’s five year history, I’ve always played with different ideas of how Endor can be, and I’m pretty happy to have found, what I think, will be its legacy.  The Endor Agile Learning Cooperative.  A whole new kind of ALC.


Participants will be members of the collective and make all the decisions around enrollment and budget etc.  There will be a number of “advisers” to the collective, but no formal facilitators.


It’ll be difficult, but I think it’ll be very interesting as well.


More soon.

Shared Kanban Board, 2

This week two new people joined the shared kanban board, bringing the total number of users up to five.  The current users are:

Having more people regularly using the board has brought a little more life into it, obviously.  A number of us have started uploading pictures of projects to their respective Trello cards – the board has started to function a bit like a social network; this week I started participating in comment discussions on my own cards and others’.  In light of many people’s aversion to social networks, I’ve gotta say that this social network is really great.  It’s helping to build our community between bi-weekly video calls and the interfacing that happens is directly about intentions.

Shared Kanban Board

We set up a new kind of kanban board this week.  A shared board, but for personal intentions.

Three Agile Unschoolers, including myself, opted to try it out.  I thought it worked really well, or at least that it could work really well.

The shared board is on Trello, so we established a practice of assigning ourselves to our cards.  The board was set up with nine columns.

  1. Backlog
  2. Ongoing
  3. Monday
  4. Tuesday
  5. Wednesday
  6. Thursday
  7. Friday
  8. Doing
  9. Done

The Doing and Done columns moved down the line as the week progressed, always staying directly to the right of the current day.

I thought it was cool to see what other people were up to, in real time.  I probably work the most on a computer among the three of us, so I was definitely using it and updating it the most.  I personally didn’t comment on other people’s cards and stuff, but I thought having the option to was really cool.

This is definitely quite different than having a public Trello board, because no one really ever looks at anyone else’s Trello board.  If you’re just looking at your own board, it’s a different story.

I’m going to continue using this, and hopefully others will want to join in – making it more powerful.  It’ll be interesting to see how many people this can handle.