Several months ago, my organization and Professional Association hosted a Boys & Girls Club of America National training event. We had a Power Hour session scheduled and as the session was supposed to begin, we were informed that the trainer was unavailable. I thought to myself, what is the mantra you tell your staff every day? Adapt or Die. So, a fellow director (Amber) and I decided, “Hey, we are cool…we can do this.”
This really ended up being one of my favorite sessions. We divided the room into veteran PowerHourians and new PowerHourians. Yes, I made that word up and am inexplicably proud of it. I even like waited for a laugh or vote of confidence after I said it…everyone was just like,
Anyway, I had the veterans list off their top challenges associated with Power Hour. Newbies could also contribute by sharing their fears for running the program. Today, we are going to look at 5 challenges that BGC Powerhourians face on a regular basis. Next month, we will look at the remaining 5, so don’t forget to subscribe!
So here are 5 challenges from our list:
1. It is difficult to get members to bring their homework to the Club. “It is always something. Like Johnny says I don’t have homework when everyone else in his class does. Or Sarah says she forgot her homework or something.”
2. Not all Staff members are smarter than a 5th grader. Staff members don’t always know how to help members. “My staff are not trained teachers so it is sometimes really difficult ensuring they can actually help members”
3. We cannot always keep members on track. “Halfway through Power Hour, most of my kids are bouncing off the walls, are bored, are distracting others, it is just so hard sometimes.”
4. Members these days need incentive or reward for almost anything. It is difficult to provide incentives, rewards, and recognition during Power Hour. “Like, nowadays kids need to be incentivized. When I was young if your teacher said do your homework, you did it…no questions asked. But it is like we need to adapt to these times and make kids excited about homework and achieving goals.”
5. Relationships with schools and teachers are not always the best for improving grades. “Sometimes I feel like the school tries to force a wedge between us. We are all on the same team and I wish there was a way to show that to teachers.”
So, there you have it. These are some challenges that I know faced several Powerhourians on a regular basis. So, now, it is time for a Power Hour Rehab! We were going to come up with solutions to these challenges and make Power Hour a high demand program for members at a ton of Clubs. So, put on your hard hats and let’s get a fixin’!
1. CHALLENGE: It is difficult to get members to bring their homework to the Club. SOLUTION: I have a secret…sometimes kids lie. I know, mind boggling right? Kids will say “I don’t have homework today” or “I finished my homework already.” After all, when members see other kids playing in the Games Room…that seems more fun than doing homework right? Ok, here is the solution. First, make sure you keep schools, teachers, and parents up to date with communication regarding academic activities at the Club. Second, keep a record book or sheet for members in Power Hour. We have to teach kids responsibility. So, if a parent comes to you and says, “my kid is never doing homework here,” you whip out that record book and show that a) that child never comes to power hour or b) that child always says he/she doesn’t have homework. Finally, provide incentive for members who complete homework or reach important milestones during Power Hour. See challenge 4 for more information about this!
2. CHALLENGE: Not all Staff members are smarterthan a 5th grader. Staff members don’t always know how to help members.
SOLUTION: Sometimes the staff members in charge of Power Hour do not have the tools or training necessary to teach a kid common core mixed balance theory mathematics. And that’s OK. Because when a kid needs help with homework and the Power Hour staff is at a loss, here are some great ways to allow other people at the Club a chance to shine.
a. Junior Staff or Junior Leaders
Utilize these lovelies to help members with homework. Chances are, they are older and know how to help! It also gives the Junior Staff meaning and importance. Kids like to help.
b. 1 Members
These are what I call the “advanced members.” These members know a lot and can help teach other members. When I was a teacher, I used to divide my kids into different groups. 1s are your high functioning, academically successful kids. 2s are you above average academic kids. 3s are your average academic kids. 4s are your kids who struggle academically. When you put members in groups like this, you give them the opportunity to help one another. When all your 4s are sitting together, it is difficult to get anything done. When all your 1s are together, they are not challenged.
c. Other Staff
When I can’t understand my computer, I call for my Tech Lab staff Alisha. She knows everything about computers and has a passion for technology…makes her a perfect fit for the Tech Lab right? Anyway, this type of utilization of staff can help immensely during Power Hour. Tag out a staff who has a strength in an area you need assistance with.
d. Teacher Training
This is a great way to improve relationships with schools. Invite a teacher to come train staff on how to teach common core math or site words or reading. This way the teacher can see how the Clubs prioritize learning and they can share vital information with staff!
3. CHALLENGE: We cannot always keep members on track.
SOLUTION: My best advice: Model Power Hour like a classroom. If members have consistency with expectations and environment, they will be more likely to follow the protocol for Power Hour. Here is a great structure to follow:
a. As members enter the room, give them a task (i.e. get homework out, answer the question on the board, etc.)
b. Begin the hour with an energizer, exercise, video, game, or something fun. Some ideas presented by the Powerhourians during this training were: Kid President videos, a game that gets energy out like freeze dance, or a quick game of simon says.
c. Go over the goals. For example, “remember everyone who completes their homework today during Power Hour gets a PH sticker. Once you reach 10 stickers, you get to choose from the prize chest!” OR “I am looking for members who are working really hard today. They might just get chosen as Member of the Week or Powerhourian of the Day or line leader for snack.”
d. Work the Room. Walk around providing recognition, help, and guidance.
4. CHALLENGE: Members these days need incentive or reward for almost anything. It is difficult to provide incentives, rewards, and recognition during Power Hour.
SOLUTION: This one is tough for me. When I was growing up and a teacher or parent told me to do something, I did it. There was no, “Well what do I get out it?" Or "Do I get candy if I finish my task?” But, times are a changin’ and I have found that we can be more effective if we adapt. Providing incentive, recognition, and reward is crucial for Power Hour and here are some easy, inexpensive ways to make it happen:
a. Powerhourian of the Day
b. Member of the Week
c. Sticker Charts
d. Prize Box
e. Notes Home
f. Program Completion Party or Graduation
g. Classroom Management (Classroom Dojo)
Find out more about these recognition opportunities in the Love is not Candy blog post!
5. CHALLENGE: Relationships with schools and teachers are not always the best for improving grades.
SOLUTION: This is a tough one. Sometimes it feels like schools do not understand that we are on the same page. We both want kids to be successful. We both want kids to be great students. Some great ways to bridge this gap are:
a. Communications: Always keep your schools and teachers up to date with happenings at the Club. This includes calendars, events, recognition, etc.
b. Teacher of the Week: This idea was shared at the Power Hour training and I am in love with it. Have kids nominate a teacher from a school represented at your Club. Send over Teacher of the Week or Teacher of the Month certificate with an explanation of why he or she won. Invite the teacher to the Club. This gives you the chance to show off your program, increase awareness about the Club, and allows the teacher to see how much he or she is appreciated!
Next month, we will look at the remaining 5 Power Hour Challenges and Solutions! Don't forget to subscribe and ask questions if needed! You can also make comments on the main page!