Many thanks to Kathy Larson from Bloomer for this terrific guest post!
I started the Homeschool Club with the thought that I would like to reach a new group in the community. Bloomer has a local homeschool group that meets twice a month. I talked to several of the moms and we agreed that the kids might need some experiences with public speaking and working in groups that I could potentially provide them with at the library. I agreed to host the Homeschool Club the second Friday of the month. We typically get 20-25 kids with the local group. I put it in our monthly newsletter and on our website calendar each month. I’ve had one family join who does not participate in the local homeschool group, but I haven’t actively looked for other homeschool families.
Each month I plan a different activity for the kids. The first several months, we worked on public speaking--
the kids brought an All About Me poster to present in front of the group, next they brought in something they loved, collected or were passionate about and they talked about that in front of the group, which went even better, once they got rolling with questions for each other. After some research about teaching public speaking, in November, I had kids come prepared to answer the question "Would you rather live in a library, zoo or museum for the rest of your life?". They worked in groups to make posters. After the posters were finished, each member of the group presented their reasoning to the rest of the kids (this worked out awesomely).
In December we did reader’s theater skits of The Three Little Pigs and The True Story of the Three Little Pigs. We practiced each skit once, made three houses for a backdrop in groups, and then they performed the two skits for their parents.
|Three Little Pigs dramatized|
In January, I had them work on a STEAM activity in a group. I initially had them line up by age, they had to do this themselves with no adult help (until the end). Then they counted off by fours so there would be a variety of ages in each group.
|winning group--18.5 inches!|
We went over expectations for group work, and then they were told the plan. “You are going to get a bunch of marshmallows, small & large, and some spaghetti noodles. Your job, AS A GROUP, is to make the tallest tower you can make in 20 minutes. I saw this idea on a few different Pinterest pages. The first thing I gave them was colored pencils and paper. They were instructed to draw out their plans. After they all had individual plans I had them talk as a group about what ideas they were going to use in their group plan. After they had their plans, I gave them the materials they would need for the project. After 10 minutes of construction, I reminded them that it was a group project. Many of them were working by themselves. When there was five minutes left, I told them that they MUST remember it is a GROUP effort.
At the end of the 20 minutes I used a yard stick to measure their structures. The group with the tallest structure (which had exhibited the best teamwork, perhaps coincidentally) talked about their structure and process. I asked them questions from the group cooperation sheet. I also had them say what they liked about the other group member’s ideas. I had each group talk about their structures with similar questions.