Spending time at the Boys and Girls Club of Westminster this semester was a very fun and culminating experience. I enjoyed spending time with the kids and teaching them about different fairy tales. Although there were some challenges, the Boys and Girls Club service learning project was successful and fun experience for not only me, but the rest of my group members as well.
Although I did a service learning project instead of a final exam, I learned a lot. Actually working with kids, teaching them, and learning how they function has taught me a lot more than just sitting down and studying for a test would have. I actually had to be a teacher for four weeks. I prepared lesson plans and activities with my group, which actually was not a very easy task. My group learned very early on that teaching the kids like they were in school was not going to work. We went to the Boys and Girls Club on Friday afternoons. It was clear that the kids were full of energy and eager go home for the weekend after being in school for a week. The kids did not like the “traditional” lesson plans, and actually complained at times that “this is just like school.” So after our first time with the kids, we added more learning activities into our lessons so that we could keep the kids entertained. More activities kept the kids active, occupied, and attentive, which is exactly how we needed them to be.
There were also some other obstacles like the kids fighting with each other over different things. For example, the first time we worked with the kids we did activities based around the story Little Red Riding Hood. As a prop, we brought a red cape with a hood so that the kids could use it to dress up when we asked them to act out the story. As it turns out, that was not as good of as idea as we originally thought. The kids ended up fighting over who was going to wear the cape and when and for how long. It was very hard to get them to pay attention to anything else but the cape. Another time we did a lesson about Hansel and Gretel. We brought pictures that when put in order told the story and had them arrange the pictures as an activity. It took forever to get them to do the activity that we had planned because all the kids could focus on was who was going to go first, and who was right and who was wrong.
If I were giving advice to new first year students doing a project at the Boys and Girls Club, I would definitely stress that they have good plans with good activities, but also have backup lessons and activities just in case things don’t work out as they originally planned. Sometimes if a lesson backfires you find yourself wasting time trying to come up with random lessons or games on the spot. That can be pretty hard especially when you have 5-7 kids bouncing around. Also, use your time wisely. Try not to waste time on things that the kids won’t enjoy very much. The experience becomes so much better when you can actually enjoy the activities with the kids and see that they are enjoying them as well. Have fun with the kids, let them color, and give them treats. (:njjju
I would definitely do this project again if I had the chance to. I had a lot of fun taking a break from my campus responsibilities and working with kids. I think I enjoyed the coloring activities just as much as they did. There are very few things that I would change or improve. If doing something like this again I would just make sure to always do things that the kids will enjoy. It is hard to keep the kids engaged if you don’t teach in a way that will keep them attentive. If the kids are bored, you are to. Other than that, the time I spent at the Boys and Girls Club was very enjoyable and successful.