Throughout our second week of school, I have been remained incredibly grateful for the smaller spawn point size, allowing me to get to know different students better. Before the year started, Jess, Melissa & I reconfigured spawn points, changing who was in each spawn point. I swapped siblings for two of my spawn participants, desiring to develop a connection to the sibling I didn’t get to be with last year. I also now have Ayan in my spawn point, who has never been in my spawn point for the two years we’ve been at our current Branches campus.
I find myself spending parts of every day now with Ayan, and I’ve really enjoyed this. It’s fascinating how simply switching spawn points has given us the boost we needed to get to know each other more. The spawn point really is the “preventative medicine” for our culture-setting. It’s the little family group within the big family. We practice listening and we each get a turn to be the focus of attention. We practice facilitation skills with a small group and feel out what that’s like. We play games and talk about our feelings. This year, I’ve even added a little “Spawn Point CMB” to our room, so if another person were to join our spawn point, they could read that and know exactly how spawn is run through what we are currently practicing.
For those reading who are starting ALCs this year, here are a couple activities we have done in spawn (and I would love for you to share back of what you are doing in your spawn point!):
- A couple of students really like the ritual of ringing a singing bowl before the opening of spawn point. When I do it, I walk around the room with it, suggesting the kids close their eyes as I ring the bowl above their heads. The tone of the bowl is vibrationally grounding.
- I also have waved a turkey feather over them, kind of fanning them. I always ask for consent before doing this. A couple kids ask for it and love it, some try it out and are fine with it, one says no – which is of course totally fine! The feather and bowl are just little ways to add ritual to spawn point. We do this to set the tone that the time we have together is sacred time. It has meaning and we aren’t just doing it because we have to – we do it because it’s important.
- A couple kids decided to make a sign-up board in the room, so kids sign up to facilitate 2 times a week (either morning or afternoon). If someone is absent, they protocol is to switch that name with another. I started the year with a different process to rotate facilitation and happily changed it when the kids came up with an idea they preferred!
- We’ve played a team challenge together: One person stands on one side of the room with their eyes closed. The other kids make obstacles all over the room, tossing books on the floor, moving furniture, etc. Then they describe to the person with their eyes closed how to cross the room to the other side, just giving verbal directions.
- We have passed around question cards that Jess made to go with a “get to know you” game.
- We have done feelings check-ins with our intentions or reflections.
- I introduced the idea of “clearing” to the kids for two different spawn points I facilitated. If we want to, we share something on our mind that we might be worried about, or a problem we have that may or may not need solving or that is simply on our mind. The point isn’t fix anything, but hold space for a person to share what’s going on for them.
Another team challenge I want to do after we get back from our camping trip is a Lego building challenge. You get two sets of identical legos. Split the group into two, one group builds a design with the legos. The other group is in the same room but in a place where they can’t see the design. Group one explains the design to group two, with the goal of having both constructions the exact same at the end!
This week I also discovered Mystery Science, a really neat website with interactive discovery-based science lessons for kids. Ayan was showing me some magic videos on his computer one day and when he closed the window, this site was still open on another window. I asked him what it was and he told me that he’s been watching the videos at home and really liked them, but wasn’t able to print out the activities to do.
The next day, I went through one of the lessons on my own and loved it! I appreciate how the title of each lesson is a fascinating question to pursue. I decided to make a poster to hang in the food room where I list a bunch of the questions and the kids could write their names under the questions they want to explore. I am excited to go through more of the inquiries with the kids!
I’ll have to wait until next week to do that, tomorrow a group of 19 is headed to Hanging Rock State Park for our Tone-Setting Camping Trip! I am really excited to spend three nights in the woods with the people I love. Tomis is coming with us, which I really appreciate. It makes a difference to have a male-bodied person come along.
Hopefully you’ll see blog post next weekend with pictures and reflections from that trip 🙂