Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Strategy Tuesday! Spotlight on Sara Smith at Girls Inc. of Alameda County


Background

NOV-2010[4]

Here’s the second of five strategies for this Strategy Tuesday.

The strategy comes from Sara Smith, an awesome AmeriCorps member with Girls Inc. of Alameda County in San Leandro, CA.

Below, you’ll learn how Sara taught her students how to turn around days that aren’t going so well.  Please let us know how you use or adapt this strategy for the children you’re working with!

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About Girls Inc. of Alameda County
The organization is dedicated to inspiring all girls to be strong, smart, and bold.  In 2007, Girls Inc. of Alameda County served 7,000 girls and their families through year-round academic, enrichment and skills building programs, as well as counseling services. The purpose of these programs – specifically designed for girls ages 5-18 – is to expand girls’ capacity for confident and responsible adulthood, economic independence, and personal fulfillment.

We’re fortunate to work with the organization’s AmeriCorps program, which is made up of the following components:

GIRLStart: 
AmeriCorps members deliver a dynamic and structured after-school literacy program for girls in grades kindergarten through third.  The members also provide one-on-one and small group assistance to students during the school day.

WOW!:
AmeriCorps members deliver an afterschool enrichment program that has been designed to increase 4th and 5th grade girls' levels of engagement with their families, physical fitness skills, literacy skills, and self-esteem.

Super Stars: 
AmeriCorps members deliver a dynamic and structured after-school literacy program for a co-ed group of kindergarten, first and second graders.  The members also provide one-on-one and small group assistance to students during the school day.

Strategy #2!

Reflecting to Recapture Focus & Positive Energy
(Learning to Turn a Day Around)

Created by: Sara Smith, AmeriCorps member with Girls Inc. of Alameda County 
(America Learns Network member since 2010)
girlsinc
Topics: Behavior  
Grade Levels: Fourth – Sixth  
Arrangements: One-on-One; Small Group; Large Group  

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Situation:

My group was have a rough day with their behavior management.  One girl was sent home, and another was removed from the group for the day.  There were lots of conflicts and they were having trouble following directions.

The most frustrating part was it was the day we had planned a special cooking project in celebration of the three really good days they had previously.  I was feeling discouraged that we might not be able to do the cooking project because the group wasn't earning it.

   
Step 1:

I gave them one last chance to show me they were ready by taking some time out for reflection. 

Each girl was given her journal and asked to write about something positive she did that day.  It could be before school, during school, or so far in the after-school program. 

   
Step 2:

Then, they were asked to write about how it made them feel to do something positive.

   
Step 3:

Next, we took about five minutes to quietly reflect on that feeling and try to mentally return to that place in our minds, despite what else might have happened during the day.

   
Step 4:

We talked about how reaching a certain consequence doesn't mean you should feel bad about yourself and that you can still turn your day around.

By the time we were done, the girls' attitudes were completely different and they were clearly ready for the activity.  Several girls stated that they felt like a weight had been lifted off their shoulders.  We completed the cooking project, and they did a fabulous job.  They really enjoyed the project, and we ended our lesson on a very positive note.

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