Two wonderful things happened during Leaders UNITE’s first day of the 2019-2020 school year volunteering at North Regional Library.
Today’s group had 9 students. Two of the students were arguing during the first twenty minutes of the club. I ended up assigning them to be in the same group for the group activity, and both girls were very upset by this, and continued to argue. They were doing The Newest App Activity. Although they began by arguing, I noticed that once the girls realized they had similar ideas for an app and created a name, the two started working extremely well together. They shared their paper, divided up the presentation, and continued to brainstorm together. When I pointed out how well they worked together after the activity, they high-fived and talked about what good partners they made. I even saw them talking after leaving the classroom. It was so rewarding to see what a thirty-minute club activity could do to make these students feel more comfortable and less hostile towards one another. I could also see how working and brainstorming together helped the students see that they were actually more similar than they previously thought.
Another student did not participate much in the beginning of the activity. However, once I asked that group a question about their app and he responded with a very thoughtful answer, he continued to become more involved in the process. I could see how he was able to draw on his style of thinking through the process of working out kinks in the group’s app, and the encouragement helped him continue to brainstorming and contributing to his group.
During the beginning of the club meeting, the students were unsure about the club, and some were only participating because of the free snacks afterwards. However, as the activity began and they became more involved in it, I saw them enjoy themselves. Afterwards, they told me that the club was surprisingly fun, and were happy when I said I was returning next week. The librarian even told me that they left the classroom talking about how surprisingly fun the club was. This made me feel so happy, since one of the goals of Leaders UNITE is to make classroom leadership more fun.
I am excited to continue working with these students for the 2019-2020 school year and can’t wait to see how these students continue stepping up as leaders during club activities!