ACA Explorers – Blog

ACA Explorers – Introducing The Scholar/The Playing Cards

This weekend I had an inspired idea.


We often ‘gameify’ the activities, allowing students space to compete against themselves and others (as long as they aren’t being pushed into it).  The ACA Explorers Passport continues down that path of rewards-based gameification.


Another side to gaming is collecting.  Being a curator of sorts.


Pokémon started as a video game.  And found another huge success in its trading card game spinoff.


And while there were many who did play and compete in the actual game, many stayed as collectors, even selling certain cards (at one point) for hundreds of dollars!


Why can’t ACA Explorers use that to our advantage?


The Scholar Explorer Card
The Scholar Explorer Card

And that’s not even all.  The secondary goals (read: likely to occur) would be:
  • for the students to be exposed to the new values that correspond to each Gallito
  • the ACA Method and which parts correspond to which Gallito
  • the Gallito themselves (The Scholar, The Philosopher, The Scientist, The Explorer)
  • exposure to any extra English in a different context (written out, playing card style)

The ACA Explorers Playing Card: Potential Uses

This is definitely an area to brainstorm upon.  Michael was quick to point out that there was a “1/100” suggesting what? That there are 100 of these bad boys?  Not quite…

The Scholar Explorer Card
The Scholar Explorer Card

Idea 1 – As A Means To An End (AKA What’s Currently Being Implemented)

Basically, this idea has the goal being to cover the primary and secondary goals listed above.  To

1) get them excited about the idea of being an ACA Explorer

2) get them used to thinking about each gallito character (The Scholar, The Philosopher, The Scientist, The Explorer)

White Board of The Scholar Lesson
White Board of The Scholar Lesson

3) expose them to the ideas/values of each Gallito, and to get them to put in their own words what that means to them

3* was the focus of the Test/Mastery/Being Put On the Spot challenge at the end of the day’s class (video recorded for extra ‘on the spot’ Mastery pressure)

  • which allowed them to ‘win’ The Scholar card
Mary Jo with her The Scholar Explorer Card
Mary Jo with her The Scholar Explorer Card

How It’s Being Implemented

Currently: The plan for the following week is the plan to use the cards to lead up to being pledged into being an ACA Explorer.

The Scholar is done.

So Monday is Christmas Day so we’ll probably have a special day for that.

  • Need to make sure to tell them about the exchange.  That to level up, i.e. get The Philosopher card, you have to give back The Scholar one.
  • Then, once they complete up to the final The Scholar stamp in the Passport, they get the card back, and Level One accomplishment is the four being put in a frame and given to the ACA Explorer at a small ceremony of sorts.
  • Also, would be nice to have


The Philosopher.  Values: Honesty and Judgement.

Concepts and ‘Actions/Exercises Needed’: Good Judgement/Bad Judgement.  Philosopher. Honesty.\\

Maybe some kind of discussion on the ideas.  What is good judgement?  What is bad judgement?  What does it mean when someone says its bad to judge?  Why is the judge on Caso Cerrado so loud?


The Scientist.  Values: Perspective and Prudence.

Prudence.  But not in tea totaling.   Prudence to me is about responding not reacting to emotions.

Overall, probably the most difficult for me, as if suggesting two values being able to encompass all that a title of The Scientist could represent.


The Explorer.  Values: Courage and Creativity.

The most open-ended.  We should do a play.


Idea 2 – To Collect and Curate

In this situation, we extend the cards and the designs themselves with more characters.

I could see this being an eventuality as it sets up all sorts of fun and interesting possibilities for more motivation and learning.


Imagine a ‘second level of evolution’ for the Cuatro Gallitos, say perhaps what a Level Two Passport would look like.

Special cards for special holidays.  Or to recognize certain specific achievements.  Or the values themselves.

Idea 3 – Let’s Play!

Who wouldn’t want this idea to flesh out?  Say, getting to the point where you have enough trading cards, that they legit become playing cards.

The Scholar Awards Ceremony Today

See Molly’s Post for a more in-depth perspective

We gave out four of these cards today.

Four of The Scholar Playing Cards
Four of The Scholar Playing Cards

Doing it in a way that I think worked out well.

Michael (Miguel) with His The Scholar Card
Michael (Miguel) with His The Scholar Card

Of course, there was a relatively new girl who didn’t get one who was a bit bummed out (she is quite capable and has really impressive pronunciation), but, from the encouragement of Mary Joe, we added her name to a special, secondary list, of those that, if they kept showing up to classes, would eventually be ready for the first test.

Test/Mastery/Being Put on the Spot

We video recorded each of the four students ‘eligible’ for the privilege of winning a card.

  • Eligibility list of four names written on white board
    • Pre-praises those four, regardless of if they ‘pass or not
    • Allowed Sophie to be included on a separate list
  • Video recording and live improvised oral exam
    • Gave them exposure to Mastery like exercises and pressure-to-perform
    • Creates motivation for students in the future when re-watching old videos to see progress
    • Some other students (mostly the group of travieso boys) did come by and try to mess around, but mostly because they were jealous
      • The cooler you make ACA Explorers and their values, the better


We’ll see who shows up next week and see how this idea is working out.

And whether or not we really do have as great of a group of ACA Explorers as I think we do have.

Making it cool to express these values.  One corner of the park at a time.

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