The groups of "potholes in my lawn": were not only rated the best and most favorite from the clients, but through therapeutic observations of the 700 groups, the groups that were presented were the most effective in helping to change lives.
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Potholes in my lawn(175 & more effective group activities for troubled adolescent & teens)
By Kenny Attaway
AuthorHouseCopyright © 2010 Kenny Attaway
All right reserved.
Chapter OnePothole 01: getting acquainted and building trust (1-10)
dedicated to: Erick. S: one of the thee friendliest people i ever met
Group #1: tell me your name & I will tell you mine!
Tag/purpose: for: new students/participants to become acquainted break the ice and not be a square bob
Importance and rationale: Information shared or given by the participant can vary, but the objective of the game is for the students and teachers to obtain new information; which is why it's important for the information to be mixture of actual facts and silly facts.
Number of students needed/suggested: depending upon the atmosphere and mood of the class, the group could range from 1-100 students, but for time effective reasons the group/exercise should be limited to 1-45 students.
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 80-85%) most students are very uncomfortable for the first day of class/camp, but when mixing a sport
Items/materials needed: one 3X8 card (per participant), marker or pen and stop watch (some cell-phones have timers/stop watch applications)
Instructions: have all participants stand in a large circle and write their names on a 3x8 index card in a acronym form "example K.E.N" while the others have to come up with a good/positive word for each letter of the person's name "K.ind, E.asy-going & N.ice", but it has to be done within 10 seconds.
Cognitive note: ice breakers are usually uncomfortable for students in the initial stages, but serve as not only an ice breaker for use of the student, but the facilitator as well.
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: have all the participants shake hands and open the forum to what information given was shocking, funny or helpful. Forum should be no more than 10 minutes long.
Group # 2: getting to NO me
Tag/purpose: for new students to become acquainted (ice breaker) getting to know me!! Or there will be No me
Importance and rationale: although the activity will most likely become a little wild and messy; these kinds of activities are essential in assuring that the students get to know each other, in a fun and entertaining manner.
Number of students needed/suggestion: depending upon the atmosphere and mood of the class, the group could range from 1-100 students, but for time effective reasons and boredom the group should be limited to 30-35 students.
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 100% fun) most students are still very uncomfortable for the first day of class/camp, but enjoy the art of guessing and getting to NO each other at that level.
Items/materials needed: pen, paper and ready to go students
Instructions: Each participant is to write four facts about him/her on a sheet of paper; with one fact being silly, serious, expected and noticeable (meaning clothing, shoe, and hair color). After the participant writes the information (secretly) the facilitator is to rip the paper into four parts, create a guest who worksheet of several questions and have the participants work through the sheet in seeping information from each other. Example: who's hair is red, who's father name is Bill ... etc
Cognitive note: serves as an ice breaker, but also as a creative way for not only the peers to get to know each other, but for the group facilitator to get to know the students as well.
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: have all students and campers shake hands and open the forum to what information given was shocking, funny or helpful. Forum should be no more than 10 minutes long.
Group #3: these are my favorites, but you may like them 2!!
Tag/purpose: for new students to become acquainted/ third ice breaker of five and to for students/peers to develop interpersonal relationships with each other and single out friendships.
Importance and rationale: although if used correctly the first few ice breakers should work like a charm, but for the most part they are simply ice breakers for the moral and mood of the class. My favorite's kind of group is essential.
Number of students needed/suggestion: the range of students could be up to 50, but stats show that groups of this nature should be done with no more than 26 students; for the interpersonal mood becomes complex if the size of the class is too large.
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 90%) Older students (12-15) tend to like the group much better than the younger groups due to the feeling of creating an allegiance many young teens like and develop.
Items/materials needed: pen, paper, worksheet 3 (back of the book) and ready to go students
Instructions: Each participant is to fill out the worksheet completely and later discuss their favorites / worksheet with the peers and facilitator in the class/camp.
Cognitive note: "These are my favorites, but you may like them 2" from the years of 2005-2010 was responsible for assisting more than five sets of best friends to get acquainted in the therapeutic classrooms. Note: they all still very close friends.
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: Have the students that have the most in common sit together and further discuss their shared liking for a few moments or whatever time is allotted.
Group #4: happiness in a "flash"
Tag/purpose: for new students to become acquainted / ice breaker 4 of five and for peers continuing to get to know each other and finding some calm when upset.
Importance and rationale: one of the biggest occurring times and acts of violence (verbally and physically) in the classroom normally occurs when an adolescent or teen is upset, mad and angry and can't find resolution or comfort. Not finding comfort/sanctuary in a "flash" can become dangerous for some.
Number of students needed/suggested: unlimited (but smaller groups) normally work better & faster.
Average rating of the group (100%)
Items/materials needed: two 3x8 index/flash cards (per student) & pen/pencil
Instructions: participants are to gather in a circle and discuss things, gestures, saying and different kinds of jokes that bother them or cause displeasure, then place the "NO's and "Don'ts on side A of the 3x8 index card. After gathering all the NO's and Don'ts on side A, the participants are to discuss and write out all of the things that makes them happy; such as grandma's cooking, shopping, eating, dancing, a favorite rap song, etc. Following the discussion among peers and other participant, each participant is to write/make a copy of the original information from index/flash card number. Index card two should be given to the facilitator/ teacher for the index card to be placed somewhere safe and "incident ready" on an oversized key ring; for participants/classmates to use "in case of an emergency"; such a participant being sad or upset. Index card one (original) should be carried by the participant on a daily base to use outside of the classroom
Cognitive note: the happiness in a "flash" cards should be reviewed for changes at least every three months (at least) if used by an eight to ten month program.
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: none
Group #5: Pass the P's ...
Tag/purpose: ice breaker 5 of 5 is for the students to continue to build some form of connection in hopes of "liking" what one choose to do over the weekend to possibly take part in.
Importance and rationale: the very first and second "Pass the P's (plans) was designed or to be implemented to continue to build and bridge social relationships for the participants (adolescents and teens) that may not know each other. Although the vast majority of adolescent and teens usually find their choice of hang out buddies and friends; passing the p's can help greatly if used correctly.
Number of students needed/suggested: 1-45
Average rating of the group (participant rated 88%)
Items/materials needed: ready to go participants and facilitators
Instructions: participants are to gather in a circle and discuss their weekend plans.
Cognitive note: Having the students to discuss their possible weekend plans not only assist in building friendships in the class, but to assist you the facilitator in knowing who's most likely going to be the most troubled students of the bunch depending upon their weekend activities. No Friday activity should be too long; for most students are eyeing the clock closely to get their weekends started (trust me)!!
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: Have all participants shake hands and open the forum to what information given was shocking, funny or helpful.
Group #6: CC's//and no I repeat ...
Tag/purpose: weekend review & discussing rules of the program (always a Monday)
Importance and rationale : "At some point and time in the program/camp it is a must that rules/principals of the program are laid out and established, but prior to the rules discussion always discuss the weekend and review of passing the P ... (Paper, puppet or plans) it gives the participant time to speak on the things he or she is proud of like seeing a relative, shopping at the mall or any other fun thing.
Number of students needed/suggestion: the range of students could be up to 50, but stats show that groups of this nature should be done with no more than 26 students; for the interpersonal mood becomes complex if the size of the class is too large
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 90%) Believe it or not most troubled adolescents enjoy discussing the rules or principals of the program for it gives them a sense of direction and expectations; even if they struggle with following them.
Items/materials needed: Rules of the program laid out on a very bright or visual board; along with a handout of the rules for each student, a perky ready to go teacher/facilitator and well rested students.
Instructions: For the first 15-25 minutes of the double group the students should be allotted time to discuss their weekend and if the plans went as desired. Following the discussion of the weekend the teacher/ facilitator should review/outline the rules of the program to assure that there are no surprises and the students know what's expected of them.
Cognitive note: watch the reactions of failed weekends vs. great weekends (as planned and how each participant reacts to certain rules/ morals of the program.)
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: give each students a copy of the rules discussed and please, please, please ask and allow each participant to ask any questions and briefly reiterate rules of the program. It's not uncommon for one or two students to somehow get lost or "pretend" they didn't know or didn't hear what you said.
Group #7: a war of morality
Tag/purpose: to teach the students the difference and importance of the rules verses morals.
Importance and rationale: as we all know rules are often broken by adults and children across the world. Rules are universal on many occasions; such as no eating in class, no fighting, etc, but again they are generally broken by one who does not understand the rule or does not respect the rule, but morals hold a much stronger weight.. Unlike rules; which changes from place to place, a moral goes wherever you go?
Number of students needed/suggestion: the range of students could be up to 100 but stats show that groups of this nature should be done with no more than 35 students due to the content and time needed to conduct.
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 76%) Students generally understand and like the group later into the program and life. Not as fun, but needed.
Items/materials needed: A handbook of morals from various cultures, teacher should have a list of their own personal morals (it builds character of the teacher), pencil (not a pen) and paper.
Instructions: Give the students a 20-25 minute lecture on the power, understanding and need of having morals applied to rules and where, how and why morals and rules were made-up. There are a number of books (see worksheet assistance #7 for help). After the lecture place the rules and some morals on a board/chart and open group for discussion and allow the students to cognitively digest and place information as needed.
Cognitive note: never push any of your morals on the adolescent; although they may typically be much younger than you, they are young intelligent minds that if given a road map, love and patience can discover what's morally right and wrong for them.
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: have each participant think out or research any old or new moral and consult briefly on conceptualizing morals and applying them to rules. For example "I will not fight (rule), because I may hurt my friend or peer physically and emotionally and hurting friends is morally wrong."
Group #8: Just POINT to the goodies
Tag/purpose: creating a fun, educational and rewarding point/token system to assistance students in earning goodies for hard work.
Importance and rationale: Discovering and using a great point system is essential in keeping your program afloat; especially after the implementation of rules and moral (group #6 and 7). Many students will need an incentive and point systems work great if used correctly.
Number of students needed/suggestion: Point /token systems can be worked out in any number of students, but for group sizes of 30 or more the facilitator should have two mature students to help along with an adult assistant.
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 90-95%) Students typically love earning and receiving some form of goodie for hard work, but more important picking and choosing their own rewards.
Items/materials needed: A list of the class rules, oversized cardboard, marker, glue, ruler, a ready to go teacher/facilitator and assistant.
Instructions: facilitator and participants are to design a quick and easy reward system based on the class/camp's rules. Example: you receive ten points for walking the halls quietly. Cognitive note: never push any of your morals on the adolescent; although they may typically be much younger than you, they are young intelligent minds that if given a road map, love and patience can discover what's morally right and wrong for them.
After group questions, forum, worksheet or homework: have each participant think out or research any old or new moral and consult briefly on conceptualizing morals and applying them to rules. For example "I will not fight (rule), because I may hurt my friend or peer physically and emotionally and hurting friends is morally wrong.
Group #9: life is a movie, and now ACT right
Tag/purpose: role-play and modeling appropriate behaviors, gestures and etiquettes in the classroom and a community setting.
Importance and rationale: Parents, guardians, teachers and any other adult with the task of teaching and educating children to teens and teens to adults have their hands full. Adolescents can be mean, hurtful, irrational and forgetful to common gestures such as thank-you, hello and holding the door for the next person to come through. And after 10 years of being in the field and working with children I have learned that it is not them intentionally being mean for the most part, but often forgetful.
Number of students needed/suggestion: the range of students could be up to 100 but stats show that groups of this nature should be done with no more than 20 students due to the content and time needed to conduct and should have at least 1-2 female students or adults for role play purposes.
Average rating of the group: (participant rated 100%). Students love to play various roles; especially of the famous, then again who wouldn't.
Items/materials needed: A very bright lamp, cue cards/boards, pen, paper, and movie prompts (table, chair, flowers,) various items depending upon time, room size and class size and a very excited teacher/director.
Excerpted from Potholes in my lawn by Kenny Attaway Copyright © 2010 by Kenny Attaway. Excerpted by permission of AuthorHouse. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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Table of Contents
ContentsPothole 01: getting acquainted and building trust (1-10)....................1
Pothole 02: having a new kind of fun (11-15)....................13
Pothole 03 : removing stress and anger (16-25)....................19
Pothole 04: rising above steam (self-esteem issues) (26-30)....................31
Pothole 05: family feuds & affairs (31-40)....................37
Pothole 06: our community is important (41-45)....................49
Pothole 07: removing stress and anger for fun (46-50)....................55
Pothole 08: my world's tears project (51-55)....................61
Pothole 09: knocking out our behavioral problems (56-60)....................67
Pothole 10: parents just don't understand? (61-65)....................73
Pothole 11: making the best of little (brain teasers)/team-work (#66-70)....................79
Pothole 12: pursuing happiness ... the right way (71-75)....................85
Pothole 13: asking for helping and receiving (76-80)....................91
Pothole 14: behavioral planning & consequences (81-85)....................97
Pothole 15: feeling abnormal? &getting back to the basics (86-90)....................103
Pothole 16: reminding me of empowerments (91-100)....................109
Pothole 17: dangerous minds & crimes (100-115)....................121
Pothole 18: responsibility and empowerment (116-125)....................137
Pothole 19: self-discovery and building "esteem" (126-135)....................149
Pothole 19: friends and the social clubs (136-145)....................161
Pothole 21: the "A" Team: art of teamwork (146-155)....................173
Pothole 22: behind the music "do this for fun" (156-160)/ team-work 2....................185
Pothole 23: take your time, don't rush to get old project 161-182)....................191
Pothole worksheets (needed for some group/exercise)....................215