Thursday, August 28, 2014

Redirection: Boys & Girls Club Stories

We’re reflecting on the incredible contributions of our AmeriCorps Museum Educators over the 2013-2014 service year. These stories were shared by members of the team that facilitated a Museum Learning Club at the Boys & Girls Club on the Southside of Providence and provided engaging STEM enrichment activities to 190 2nd to 4th graders. 

One of our 2nd graders has trouble acclimating to lessons and is often reprimanded and scolded throughout the school day because of such issues. This day, he was acting out by knocking down the cup towers other children had made. I told him that I know how much fun it is to knock things down and we could do so together if he built his own tower first. When he responded that he didn't know how, I realized what the problem was and jumped on the learning opportunity. I tried several different methods until he finally grasped the concept of building cup towers, smiled and became completely engaged in the activity. A couple minutes in, one of his so-called rivals came over and he started to shoo him away. I suggested we could all build together and my heart melted as he handed his maybe-no-longer nemesis a cup and began teaching him how to build a tower the same way I taught him.

Meg Conery

We were facilitating Imagination Playground and our kids were a little restless. There was a lot of pretend play happening, some of it becoming chaotic and all of it becoming loud. Right as the activity was reaching the point where we were going to have to reel everybody back in, I heard a shout. "THE QUEEN IS HERE! ATTENTION! EVERYONE LOOK UP!"

It was like magic. I had tried to get everyone's attention to lower the volume or remind them to be safe without success, but a small girl with a big voice froze the room in an instant. She announced the queen's arrival and made all of the subjects sit on the floor. She hired the other kids one at a time to work on constructing the castle, channeling what was loud, undirected play into thoughtful, purposeful pretend play. Every time the castle subjects were off task, the girl would redirect her peers. It was incredible to watch their ability to self-regulate and establish peace in their blue foam kingdom.

 – Sarah Schnurr

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