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Winter Groups Session 2013: Week 3 Recap

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Cottonwood Groups
Lowry Groups
Tip of the Week

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Feb. 4, 2013 - Winter     Session begins

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 the weeks of Feb. 18, Mar. 25, Apr. 1Apr. 22, 2013- Last week of groups
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Tuesday Groups: Cottonwood Creek
Lightening Bolts (k-1)

Mr. Roman and Ms. Jho’leen 

Throwing some love at each other

The Bolts played ‘restaurant’, ‘dragon tails’, ‘cupid’s arrow’, and ‘capture the cone’.  This week, we thought we’d try a game of pretend restaurant where each child traded off as the chefs, waiters and customers.  We discovered quickly that this group is more in sync during physical play.  In fact, the only time every group member was fully engaged during restaurant, was when they began throwing food!  The cooks were throwing (pretend) food to the waiters and the waiters were throwing food to the customers!  They much preferred “crazy restaurant” to “appropriate restaurant”.  For this group, we’re going to keep our pretend themes a bit more physically active.  Our Wednesday group had a completely different experience with restaurant.  (See The Cars for details).

 

Light Saber Snakes (2nd-3rd)

Mr. Luke and Ms. Carly

The Light Saber Snakes played “name roulette” in which two facilitators hold a blanket up between two teams. When they blanket drops, the two people standing on each side of the blanket must shout out the name of the other person.  Whomever says the other person’s name first, wins a point for their team. This ends up being a very quick and funny game that most children enjoy.  There were a couple of kids that struggled with the pace of the game and got upset when they couldn’t blurt out the name before their opponents, but this is what they’re here to work on!  We remind them that it’s not a big deal and that we’re here to have fun and enjoy friends.

Next, children played a game in which they had to guess which of their friends were standing in out in the hallway. Ms. Carly would tap random children (who had their eyes closed), and if tapped they had to quietly go in the hallway. Those remaining in the room then opened their eyes and had to figure out which of their friends were missing. Although sometimes this was a struggle, the children were always able to come together and figure it out. This was great game that demonstrated teamwork, a skill the Light Saber Snakes continue to build on!

Finally, they played a questions game during snack time in which the children were separated into groups, and asked to fill out a form asking questions such as: the name(s) of siblings, if they liked cake, and their favorite animals.  Kid’s had to guess which form belonged to which person.  This game allowed the children to get to know some facts about each other. The group really seemed to bond this this week and worked really nicely together to achieve goals.

 

The Cougars (4th-5th)
Mr. Mike and Ms. Toni

The Cougars kept their paws dry and played indoor games. Activities were geared towards becoming more comfortable and open with each other. To get started, The Cougars played  ”name and fact roulette” in which two facilitators hold a blanket up between two teams. In the first round, when the blanket drops, the two players standing on each side of the blanket must shout out the name of the other person first to score a point for their team.  In round 2, they had to shout out their opponent’s favorite thing to do (which they had shared  during opening circle). Round two was a bit more difficult but they laughed A LOT and clearly enjoyed the challenge!

Next, The Cougars played ‘truth or dare’. Truth is a good way to learn more about each other, but the vast majority picked ‘dare’.  Dares were either very physical or extremely silly and everyone had a great time. Cougars were dared to run around the gym, do jumping jacks, or chin ups on a bar! The Cougars did an excellent job encouraging and cheering on their friends while they did their dares.

Then the group played ‘blindfolded shapes’. They were given a rope circle to hold and then were blindfolded. They had to work together to make the shape that was called out. This game definitely brought out some leadership qualities in a few of our Cougars who frequently directed the rest of the group.

During snack time, the group split into boys and girls. The boys had a blast playing ‘would you rather’ in which they give 2 choices to another player about what they’d rather be doing, have as a possession, etc. For example, one player asked, “would you rather have 100 sisters or 100 wives”, which led to a hysterical conversation about the benefits of each choice!

The girls snack time conversation was more serious.  They started off with ‘would you rather’ but one of our girls asked if they could talk about issues with friends instead.  They ended up having a great discussion on girl drama and cliques and every girl agreed that there were cliques in their schools and that even if they weren’t blatantly excluded, they didn’t feel welcome in those groups.  They also talked about how some of their friends seem more interested in being in a clique vs. being their friend and how sometimes they say hurtful or critical things behind someone’s back.  They had a very open discussion on how each of them feels about these issues and how they handle it. We were missing two of our girls, so we will continue the discussion next Tuesday.

The Cougars as a whole are really starting to open up.  They’ve done a wonderful job at including everyone and we look forward to them becoming an even more cohesive group.

Wednesday Groups: Lowry

The Cars

Ms. Jho’leen and Mr. Roman 

The Cars had a very smooth session this week! The clear favorite game of the week was ‘restaurant’.   Children traded off being chefs, waiters and customers. The children took their roles very seriously and ran a very good restaurant.  They did an excellent job taking and remembering orders and cooking the correct food!  Moreover, the children really enjoyed it and were extremely flexible and organized!  The way they pulled off restaurant with everyone engaged and working together with little guidance is what we strive to have every group look like by the END of a session!  These 4 and 5 year old’s did it having only been together for 2 weeks!  There was definitely some segregation between the boys and girls, which is expected and something we’ll be working on in the coming weeks.


Ice Cream Sandwiches

Mr. Luke and Ms. Toni

The favorite game for this group was ‘Pacman’! This is a game we introduce because EVERYONE, regardless of physical skills, can play it at recess on a four square court. There are five kids on the court at a time; four on each corner and one in the middle. The player in the middle yells “one, two, three, go” and then each player must find a new corner. They have to get there by stepping only on the lines. Whomever doesn’t have a corner is out and the next person in line goes to the middle.

The action continued with “freeze tag”, “hot potato”, and  relay races. We saw a few angry faces when some of the Ice Cream Sandwiches would lose, but a quick reminder was all it took to get them back into the spirit of having fun.

Ice Cream Sandwiches also played “Teach the Robot”. In this game, the group sits in a circle with one person in the middle who acts as the robot. Each person in the circle must teach the robot a conversational question. The robot can only respond with what they have learned from the others. For example, when just starting the game, a player can ask “What is your name?” The robot must reply “What is your name?” as this is the only thing they have learned. The player would then respond with their name, and the robot would have one question and one answer to use in the next round. The goal of this game is to become more aware of  ways to engage in conversation with peers. It also requires focus and recall.

 

To discuss individual goals for your child, please email Frankie: 
frankie@connectusnow.org or call 303-773-3960.  You may also speak with any of us after groups. 
 

TIP OF THE WEEK
Ending Power Struggles

Do you find yourself frequently arguing with your child and wonder: “Why am I arguing with a child?” 

Is your child relentless because they know that eventually they’ll wear you down?

STOP THE MADNESS WHILE THEY’RE STILL YOUNG!!!

If you continue engaging in power struggles with your child, remember that as they age, they’ll become even more skilled at wearing you down.
Try breaking the pattern using these steps:
  1. FIRMLY CLARIFY BEHAVIOR EXPECTATIONS-“We’re done talking about this.  You need to stop (whining, arguing, yelling).”   
  2. PROVIDE A WARNING-Get down to their eye level, have them look at you and say: ”your behavior is disrespectful and unacceptable.  If it continues, there will be a consequence” (state consequence: i.e, losing privilege, taking something away. etc.)
  3. PRAISE & REINFORCE-Positively reinforce change in behavior. “It’s awesome that you stopped arguing.  Let’s plan something fun because when you’re nice it makes me want to do nice things for you.”  OR….
    FOLLOW THROUGH WITH CONSEQUENCE-There should be no more discussion on the topic.  If you continue to talk about it, you’re reinforcing unacceptable behavior.
  4. IF NECESSARY, CALL IN REINFORCEMENTS-
    If they continue to argue, it’s because they know they can wear you down, so why would it be different this time?  If this is the case, please contact our office or talk to your child’s facilitators after groups.  There are several things we can do to support you and help change this pattern!

 

If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to call us at (303) 773-3960, or contact our Programs Coordinator, Francesca “Frankie” Becerra: frankie@connectusnow.org
Connect Us | P.O. Box 370901 | Denver, Colorado 80237 | (303) 773-3960