My kids always seem to enjoy dressing up for Halloween as a group. They reminisce regularly about the year they dressed up like this or the time they dressed up like that. This year’s dress up theme was inspired by a trip we took last March to New York City. My oldest daughter and I saw Mary Poppins on Broadway and from that time on we all knew exactly what direction we were heading for Halloween.
Over the years the kids have many fond memories of dressing up for Halloween.
Last year we had a Star Wars Theme. It was primarily inspired by our FIRST LEGO League team, as they chose the theme for their research presentation.
Here’s the whole team dressed up and ready to go.
One of the most important gifts I think I can share with my children and the robotics teams I work with is the joy of working on a well functioning team. I have had the pleasure of working in some very productive groups over the years and know first hand how positive an experience it can be. I strive to share some of the tools these groups have used to achieve their success. Some people aren’t as eager as other to embrace these tried and true tips, which is sometimes frustrating, but I don’t let that deter me from doing my best to help them see the benefits.
Working together isn’t always easy. It sometimes involves putting aside your own ego and doing what is best for the team. Focusing on what you have in common instead of how you differ is often a big part of a team’s success. My younger robotics teams use their team cheer to come together and celebrate when they overcome a challenge. It’s fun, breaks up the mood a bit, and brings them all together.
With my robotics teams I also utilize fun teamwork challenges, which the kids often refer to as “Waffles Challenges”. They serve to get the kids thinking, help switch up the atmosphere a bit and give us a concrete experience which I can use to relate back to as an example to help instill new teamwork skills.
There are lots of great resources on the Internet to help you come up with team building exercises. I like to switch things up a lot sprinkling in a variety of activities that focus on different areas of teamwork. Sometime we do physical drama type activities, as the kids seem to really enjoy them and it gets them moving. Other times they need something that is just going to help them blow off some energy, so we do a relay race or some such thing. Other times it is about communication and other times it’s more about reaching consensus, time management, etc. When my energy is really low I give the kids a doughnut challenge. It’s one of their favourites. There challenge is to find the box of doughnuts I have in the kitchen and figure out how they are going to share them. It’s easy, they get excited, and I benefit from a quick burst of energy from the sugar 🙂
As part of their research our FIRST LEGO League team studied the effect of handling food. They cut an apple in half and quickly passed one half around the circle to each of the team members (less than 10 in total). The other half was left untouched as the “control”. By the end of our meeting a difference was already quite noticeable. The half that was briefly handled was much darker in colour. The trend continued and over time the half that was handled got moldy. It’s kind of scary as it quickly showed the kids the importance of hand washing. I don’t think any of us will look at an apple again and not think of washing our hands. It’s a quick and easy experiment you can try at home with your own kids. Let me know if your results vary from ours.
Today our co-op finished off our Egyptian unit study. The kids all made their own cartouche using hieroglyphs. Each family made a lapbook as a review of what we learned. It had lots of interactive components the kids could customize to better reflect what they got out of the various lessons. Our afternoon ended with the sampling of another great dish, Falafels and a take-home game courtesy of one of the other co-op moms.
I always enjoy lapbooking with the kids. The fun interactive folders make a great memento and there is so much opportunity to be creative while encouraging the kids to develop any number of skills.
Yesterday new neighbours moved in across the street. We wanted to welcome them to the neighbourhood, so we put together a care package of home-made muffins that the kids made and a card that included our phone number, in case they ever need anything. It was easy to do, just used the printer, a sheet of scrapbooking paper and a bit of raffia to tie up the cellophane.