Saturday, 9 May 2020

Gems of Guiding

Despite my excitement for the Discover-a-Challenge gemstone badges when they were first released many years ago, I have never had a Guide complete a single one of these badges. Although, we could do some of the challenges at Guides, it's really designed as a badge to complete at home. I've always had trouble with my unit accepting any sort of "homework". It makes planning difficult when only half the unit completes a challenge, and then everybody is at different stages.

I stopped giving my new members Guide handbooks as well, since nobody was bothering to look at them. So no-one in my current unit had ever previously seen the gemstone badges.

With no face-to-face meetings, I decided to my unit a weekly email with activities and updates. I broke the Topaz gemstone into four parts and included one part in the newsletter over a month. The first week, I included it was mostly as a filler, but the response I received the next week was so wonderful that I kept doing.

In that time, almost everybody had started their Topaz gemstone, and four have completed it!!
The level of work has been really fantastic as well!

I think this badge has been the perfect thing to keep the girl's off their devices after long days doing home-schooling. It's not too overwhelming to complete and is something that most won't need any assistance with.

Here is part one that I put in our newsletter.

And here is some art from challenge number one.

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Thursday, 30 April 2020

Still so much to learn

Things I have learnt during our online meetings:
  • Turn off the chat and share-screen features at the beginning of the meeting.
  • Teach your unit to use the mute feature, and ask that they keep themselves on mute unless called upon.
  • Have the girl's teach each other. With members using various phones, laptops and other devices, I don't always know the answers. When we were originally figuring out settings, I had them teaching each other how to find different functions such as giving a thumbs up or changing their backgrounds. It's been a great way for them to share their knowledge and also makes things easier on me!
  • Things will go wrong, and that's okay.
  • Programmed activities will take longer than usual (and honestly, this is no different than our regular meetings).
  • Try to keep some of your regular unit traditions when possible. We all wear Guide uniform and are continuing to sing our opening and closing songs, even though our timing never matches up.
  • Have some quick activities ready to go in case you need a filler or a change of activity, just like at a regular meeting. Things that have worked well for us are Pictionary and a Kim's game. 
  • End every meeting with a reminder on properly turning closing down Zoom, not just walking away from the iPad or closing the laptop screen.

What advice do you have for online meetings?

Tuesday, 28 April 2020

Girls online

Somehow, almost 5 years have gone by since I initially ran the Free Being Me program. How is that possible? Some of my former Brownies who completed the badge are now my Junior Leaders!

As always, reusing a program is always an experience. Things this time around have definitely been.... different. We've had quite a few challenges and interruptions this term (even prior to isolation), which put us a little behind on the planned schedule for FBM.

Anyway, I was a little apprehensive about moving the program to our online meetings, but the meeting went so well! It has renewed my excitement for the program, and I'm looking forward to figuring out how we can best work through the other activities using our online meeting format.

We're halfway through session three, and I'm continuing to take things slowly to make sure the program gets completed properly with everybody participating. Not ideal, but it's better than no-one gaining anything from the experience.

Our first activity was airbrushing and it was run almost exactly how I originally ran it. The actual activity in FBM is only a 10 minute activity, but I rounded it out to about 30-40 minutes. I'm so glad I did this again, because we had some really great discussions.

Zoom (the program we are using to host our meetings), allows users to share images and video. This was fantastic as every member had the airbrushing images appear on their screens. We had some great discussion, first playing a "spot-the-difference" challenge with the images and then answering the "Talk About" questions in the FBM program (page 25 of booklet).

We finished the meeting with a craft activity. I had emailed everybody a template to print and they provide their own magazines and colouring-in supplies from home.

The activity was to fill the figure with images that describes your personality. Some examples included: mountains for love of adventure and a bow-tie for silliness. There were some really creative final results!

I'm still working on everybody sending me photos of their work after meetings, but at least I get to see it during the meeting.

- Brownie Guide Leader

Monday, 27 April 2020

A few activities for Anzac Day

During our pre-ANZAC Day meeting, we discussed our plans for the 25th, watched a short video, discussed the meaning of Anzac Day and did a Kim's Game.

Here is the video we watched:
I stopped it right before the activity instructions at the 2min30sec mark.

These were the basic questions we discussed as a unit:
  • What is ANZAC Day?
  • What does it stand for?
  • What do we do on ANZAC Day?
  • What can YOU do on ANZAC Day?

The Kim's game was put together by Girl Guides Australia.

The unit had one minute to look at the images below, and then had to recreate the grid exactly - using images, words or a mix of both. After going over the answers, we asked them some questions too.

Examples of the questions:

  • How many Anzac biscuits are pictured? (No-one got this correct!)
  • What colour is the slouch hat?
  • How many notes can a bugle play? (The answer is 5)
  • What object is in the middle of the Australian Military Forces badge? (This was a tricky one too!)
  • Which direction are the man and the horse facing?
  • What animal is seen in the image of ANZAC Cove?

Credit: Girl Guides Australia
 Kim's Game image answers:

1.    There were horses in the war, so they are remembered too
2.    ANZAC biscuits
3.    Poppies grew in the fields in France and are a reminder of the fighting there.  They were among the first plants to spring up in the devastated battle fields.
4.    The Australian Army Badge, with the rising sun behind the crown for whom they were fighting.
5.    Painting of ANZAC Cove, Turkey
6.    Australian Slouch Hat
7.    Bugler playing the last post
8.    Flags of Turkey, NZ & Australia
9.    ANZAC Day March

Happy Guiding!