Welcome to the second iteration of Power Hour Rehab! If you missed the first go-around and would like to see those challenges and solutions, please click here!
As mentioned in my prior post, 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 about 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 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 Power Hour Veterans and Power Hour Newbies.
I had the veterans list off their top 10 challenges associated with Power Hour. Newbies could also contribute by sharing their fears for running the program. In my last post, we looked at the first 5 challenges. Here are the last 5:
Staff cannot manage the multiple needs of members during Power Hour.“There are days like I just feel so overwhelmed. This kid needs help with 2nd grade math, another needs help with reading, another is crying because someone looked at her the wrong way. It is just a lot sometimes.”
When members finish, they distract others or members say they are finished so they can do something else.“I mean when some kids look outside the door and see others playing and they are doing homework, they just want to pretend they are finished or they try to reduce their boredom by bothering others.”
Parent expectations are not in line with the kid of services the Club provides.“Some parents think we should just be providing one on one tutoring with kids or that we need to monitor their kids each day to make sure they do their homework. It is not possible!”
Not everyone has homework.“Sometimes kids are put in our area and they don’t have homework. They become a real distraction for other members.”
Sometimes it is difficult to manage multiple member academic levels.“Sometimes you will have two kids in the same class with the same assignment and one kid can answer the question with minimal guidance while the other needs 10-15 minutes of explanation.”
These are all very real concerns for staff who lead homework time or Power Hour. But, the great news is…we have some real, attainable solutions for you! 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’!
Challenge: Staff cannot manage the multiple needs of members during Power Hour.
Solution: It is difficult to manage multiple responsibilities on a regular basis, however when it comes to Power Hour, there are some ideas that can help make the process of managing multiple member needs more achievable.
First, if you have Junior Staff or Junior Leaders, utilize them. Often, they are eager and able to help. Determine their strengths and pair them up with members who need help in those areas. You could even have Junior Staff in corners of the room. Corner 1 could be Math, Corner 2 could be Reading, so on and so forth. If a member needs help with math, they would go to the Junior Staff in Corner 1. If the JS could not help, then the member could come to the staff.
Second, have theme days for Power Hour. For example: Math Mondays, Tutoring Tuesdays, etc. On each day, Power Hour will focus on getting homework completed for that subject.
Third, try recruiting volunteers to help with homework time. You can contact local colleges or businesses. You would be surprised with the number of kind people who are eager to help kids. The more adults in the room to help with homework, the easier your life is.
Fourth, utilize other staff members. 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.
Fifth, invite a teacher to come train staff. 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!
Finally, utilize 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.
Challenge: When members finish, they distract others or members say they are finished so they can do something else.
Solution: On of my favorite solutions for this challenge is the Power Hour Kit. I was first introduced to this idea from amazing teachers in Lawrence, Kansas. They made tubs filled with academic related activities and when members completed homework, they had to choose an activity from the Power Hour Kit. These kids can be filled with word searches, crosswords, board games, card games, Legos, experiments, and more! See below for some of my favorite additions for your kits!
Challenge: Parent expectations are not in line with the kid of services the Club provides.
Solution: Grab a record book and keep it with you. In this book, you can keep track of who comes to your area each day. You can also keep track of what they worked on and if they had any behavior issues. Also, setting the precedent that members have to be self-sufficient and we cannot make them come to Power Hour is helpful. This is something your director can do. You can make Power Hour posters advertising when the program runs so parents understand that we don’t just work on homework all day. You can also send notes home to parents highlighting concerns, celebrations and more. Feel free to use this template!
Challenge: Not everyone has homework.
Solution: Sometimes members get put in your area because there is no other place for them to go. This happens all the time, especially at Clubs with stricter ratio regulations. If members do not have homework and they are in your area, it is important that they don’t distract other members. You can give them leadership roles to help or see challenge 2 and utilize a Power Hour Kit!
Challenge: Sometimes it is difficult to manage multiple member academic levels.
Solution: This is really difficult at times. Sometimes you have members who need little direction while other need more help to understand what they are working with. One thing that really helps is to make sure you understand that different members learn at their own pace and there is no one solution for teaching a kid how to learn something. Therefore, I think setting up your members in the 1-4 formation outlined in challenge 1 is such a good solution to this. This gives members roles where they can learn, teach, and become peer leaders. Sometimes as staff, we think we need to handle it all. In reality, there are so many capable members who are just waiting to shine.