What is something about how you plan to teach next week that has changed significantly as you have gone through training?
I now plan on setting kids up for success through team building activities and community inspired action. Throughout my School-Overnight Program (SOP) observation, I had the opportunity to see collaboration amongst students just beginning their first full week of 4th grade. I have realized that an effective way to facilitate learning is by having students first participate and engage in activities that give them a sense of belonging within the group. This can be done at first with a simple name game, and then moving onto more challenging activities such as land navigation or activities such as the “Helium Hula Hoop” challenge. These challenging activities, or team-building activities as IslandWood calls them, require students to rely on one another’s ability to communicate effectively. One way that this was demonstrated to me was by my model instructor’s use of the Goal, Plan, and Action (GPA) method. The very small act but powerful act of strategizing before attempting another go at a challenging activity bolsters their integrity as a group of classmates. Strategizing requires a great deal of listening and the integration of new ideas.
Understanding that 4th graders are capable of student-directed peacekeeping while being confronted with certain challenges requires that the instructor patiently adjusts their outlook. By adopting this growth mindset, team-building activities provide the framework for the students to work cooperatively while learning. In addition to the team-building activities, I have learned that setting attainable community goals through mind-mapping allows students within their field group to not only feel a sense of familiarity with one another, but see how much stronger and resilient they feel when they work together. The community agreements are an excellent way to state implicit values that students all share, and can be made more effective when referred to at various moments throughout the student’s SOP experience.