Submitted by Sarah McDonald
Making the connection as a Girl Scout
Discover, connect and take action are the new buzz words of Girl Scouting. How can you help your girls make the connection from what you did in the meeting to them realizing they have earned a badge.
Where we started
Last year one of my Girl Scout leaders came to me and asked how could we help the girls in reflecting on what they learned at the meetings. Over the past year we have refined this process and we think it is helping the girls connect.
At the first meeting of our 2nd year of Daisies, we started with a simple half sheet of paper with the question — What did you learn today? Our first mistake was the question. Our first meeting we did a flower craft focusing on the girl scout law, and introduced a new member who would be joining the troop. The girls responses varied greatly — some of the girls wrote about meeting our new friend, some just put the law and others wrote what they learned in school that day. Our question was too open and too broad of a question.
Refining the process
The next time we changed the question to — What did you learn at Girl Scouts today?
The question was better, but still a little unfocused. We did use this question for most of the year. We would try and have the girls fill it out at the end of the meetings, but sometimes it went home as homework. And we did try and send extra sheets home for when they attended a special event or did an extra activity. It was interesting to see what they picked up on from the meeting, but we still felt something was missing.
Keep in mind last year we were doing this with girls in first grade. We have attention span issues and we have girls that don’t sit still well. The girls would use their best guess spelling, and their handwriting isn’t always the best, but we know they were learning. Again I know we think that our little girls aren’t ready to step up to the challenges, but you will be amazed at how much they are ready for the challenge.
We did keep these sheets and added them to the girls scrapbooks of the year. This was a way for us to use the pictures we took at the meeting along with what they wrote about to see where we needed to fill in more at our meeting.
Finally on the right track
Toward the end of the year our leader decided to make the sheets a series of questions about the event or meeting. First this allowed us to direct the questions to see if they learned something from the meeting. And second it allowed us to focus questions about specific badge requirements. Especially stepping up from Daisies where there aren’t as many requirements for learning the petals to Brownies where each badge has 5 steps to earn them, we can see if they understand what they just earned. And finally it allowed us to see what tended to be their favorite parts of the meeting or activity, ie crafts, swaps, snack, and activity. We have seen that we have some very food focus girls when their favorite activity at a meeting always seems to be the snack. And we have others that love the crafts or special activities we do.
Why Reflection Questions are Great Addition to Meeting
The questions we use help us stay focused to make sure we cover what were suppose to in the meeting. Also we can see as we move along in our first year as Brownies we know that the girls are learning and earning their badges rather that check off that we think they understand.
I know this seems like it adds a step to your meeting prep. But we are are learning and evolving as a troop ourselves and we hope that we are teaching our troop to discover and connect so we will continue to grow.