At West Powellhurst, I began my foray into leading small groups by co-leading a Friendship/ Interpersonal Skills Group for second & third grade girls. My supervisor and I worked together to identify students for the group, and took turns leading the group in 40 minute sessions for six weeks.
It became clear that many students in the primary grades were experiencing changes within their family structure, and some were having difficulty with the transitions. Thus, a Changing Families Group was formed (See the letter to parents). The referrals became so numerous that it transformed into two groups of 6-8 students; one group was for first graders, and the other was for second graders. The group centered around a booklet about families, and included activities like:
The fifth grade teachers and I collaborated to develop a Leadership Group for Boys. This group of 8 boys met for eight weeks for approximately 40 minutes. I used the Operation: Breaking the Boy Code curriculum by Poppy Moon, which I highly recommend. The group learned a group oath centered on admirable attributes and had the opportunity to earn stickers with each letter as they were caught showing these attributes. Other activities included:
One fifth grade teacher also requested a group for girls in her classroom, and together we created a Girls' Book Club that would encourage members to interact and engage in discussions. The six girls and I met for six weeks for about 40 minutes. They chose to read A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle, and we created an illustrated brochure for the book. The girls read the book very quickly so we then shifted to the following activities:
creating shields like the ones the boys had made, with symbolism (sample 1) (sample 2)