I had a writing program this week. The group was writing stories with an ocean-theme to later be performed by a local theatre troupe. I was very worried as this type of activity is a little bit out of the norm for this particular program, which is usually more STEM-focused, and there was the added pressure of needing the kids to produce stories that I could send to the theatre troupe to perform. Before the program, I wrote down several PLIX mantras to set my intention and focus.
What went well? I scaffolded this program more than I do others. I started with a brief introduciton and we wrote a sample story together as a group. This worked really well because it allowed the group to get a feel for the possibilities, and it allowed me to explain what elements should be in a story, such as a beginning, middle, end, characters, plot, and setting.
What could be improved? I think that this type of program would work better outside of my standing program. The writing element seems to be a bit of a niche interest. I normally have a large group at this program, and this time I had a much smaller group. I’m wondering how I might design a program to fulfill this interest outside of the normal programs I host.
One of the mantras that I chose for this session was “I model curiosity and confidence.” During the program, I picked up a piece of paper and started to write my own story. I visited different groups and talked a little about the story I was working on. I ended up writing a story with one of the participants who couldn’t yet write on her own, so I abandoned my project, but I think that my modeling gave the young particiapnt a reason to approach me!
I certainly felt interested and engaged during this program because I love writing and I love working with kids on writing projects. I think that helped me to better model curiosity and confidence, which I tend to have less of when I’m doing STEM-projects. It was a good practice-ground for me to work on this specific facet of facilitation. I think that the participants had fun. I didn’t notice any strong frustations or confusions, and I offered a lot of different prompts so if they finished one story they could try writing another with a different prompt.
Hi Trisha! Thank you for sharing your worries and reflections. I’m delighted to hear that the facilitation techniques have been supporting interests and engagements.
It’s amazing to see that you are applying your creative learning facilitation to a writing program. You’ve been very thoughtful in your forum responses and creative in your play testing. Keep up the wonderful work, and do share your youths’ reactions to seeing their stories performed!
Hi all – I facilitated a Beautiful Symmetry program yesterday and everyone had fun! We used supplies from PLIX as well as a bunch of things we had at the library. I printed zines and put them on each table, and walked the kids through them as they came in (it was a drop-in program, so not everyone started at the same time). The kids were pretty solid on the concept of symmetry - one mentioned they discussed that at school - but also wanted to just make whatever they wanted, which was fine too. A few grown ups got really into it, as well (the clown face person thing was made by an adult). Here are some photos, including beads on pipe cleaners, paper airplane, and more. Someone also made an interesting 3D sculpture out of pipe cleaners, beads, and origami paper that was (accidentally?) symmetrical, but doesn’t look like I got a photo of that. What would I do differently next time? I’m not sure - the sample projects could have been displayed better, and I had intended to set up a laptop with the Scratch program someone else made running, but forgot.
@amitchell I love that kids were already familiar with symmetry from school and this program gave them space to explore at their own pace.
Thank you for running this and sharing their creations here!
Cool that there was such a variety of projects. I really like the clown face! Sounds like you created a welcoming space for intergenerational creativity.