This session was based on “doing my best” which at first seemed like an obvious prospect. We all know what doing our best means but it always seems to be the simplest prospects that are the hardest to explain. How do you explain the definition of “doing your best” without simply saying “do your best”?
Lynda (my co-mentor) and I had developed a clear understanding of the girls’ personalities; we knew the shy girls or the hyper confident girls. We began the session with a question to the girls about a time they did their best.
Many hands immediately shot up and they were all confident and excited to offer their examples. Many of the girls used examples for school, some trying their best at maths or handwriting. One of the girls said she did her best at a football try out and succeeded by getting into the tournament.
I remember as a child being very poor at maths and at GCSE level I was predicted to fail. I explained to the girls that I stayed in school late every day and revised to try and get my head around the sums, I ended up with a B in maths due to trying my best.
Our challenge was to create activities that involved all of the girls and didn’t necessarily put them in an uncomfortable position. We were recommended a “balloon game”. We stood the girls in a circle and had to pass a balloon around the circle without using our hands. We tried arms, knees and feet but eventually we added the rule that it had to be behind our backs.
The aim of the activity was to pass the balloon around the circle as fast as possible. We timed it and of course, got faster each time. We showed the girls that we were improving with practice and they got more excited each time we improved, some wanting to continue to beat our score.
We spoke to the girls afterwards about how practice makes perfect and that the more they tried at this game the better they did. Lynda and I spoke about how this related to their previous experiences of trying their best.
We also incorporated their role models into this discussion to show how even their role models had to do their best at some point to become as successful as they are now.
Lynda and I spoke about how the last few sessions have had the girls speak or acting in front of people. Though we have quite a close knit group we decided to have a calmer and quieter exercise for some of the girls that aren’t too confident in talking.
We asked each girl to draw a picture of the time they worked hard and did their best. We had handed them some quotes about working hard and some girls decided to draw a picture inspired by the quotes, many girls drew pictures of them working hard at school work.
For the last few minutes we asked them to fill out their booklets. All of the girls wrote about how proud they felt once they had learnt something new.
One of my favourite answers in the booklet came from a girl who wrote:
“When I learn something new I feel amazed because there is not much logic out there in the world.”
I’m looking forward to next week because week on week I’m seeing the girls improving in confidence and “doing their best”.