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Tonight is our last meeting before Advancement and, as always, we’re a mixture of sad that Brownies is ending, and ready for a break.  But we are going out with a bang (or a pop!) with a really fun Bubble Meeting.

6:30 Arrival Game – play your favourite game of the whole year.  They picked Captain’s Coming.

6:40 Circle Inspections

6:50 Circle Time

7:00 Program

All together (while the stations were setting up):

  • Talk about what an experiment is.  Listen to instructions, observe what’s there, predict the result, do the activity, and report the actual results.
  • Make Bubble Solution – Compare it to Commercial Bubble Solution.

Then split the girls into three groups.  Circulate through the stations (about 8 minutes per station)

  • Station 1 – Make individual wands in different shapes (circle, square, heart, triangle) and then blow bubbles to assess if the shape of the wand impacts the shape of the bubble.
    The answer: it always makes a sphere.  From Bubbleology.
    Supplies – Pipe cleaners/Chenille Sticks and a pan of bubble solution.
  • Station 2 – Make a rectangular frame (String with two straws threaded through to make a rectangle).  Also to assess whether or not the shape of the wand makes a different shaped bubble.
    Answer: It always makes a sphere.  From Bubbleology.
    Supplies – straws and string, with scissors. And a pan of bubbles.
  • Station 3 – Make Paper Cone bubble maker and Make a Bubble Snake.  Not an experiment – but super fun.

7:30 Bubble Party.  Have fun making bubbles.

7:45 Our favourite songs campfire (Tall Trees, Land of the Silver Birch, Littlest Worm) and Closing at 8.  Done!

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Getting a group to quiet down when you need to is tough and there are lots of ways to do it without losing your voice (or your mind).

  • Guiding has “the Hand” – a Guider puts her hand up and as people notice it, they put their hand up too and wait quietly for the leader to speak. Eventually, everyone is silent (but it is less effective with younger girls).
  • Schools use other methods like clapping … the leader claps a pattern and the girls are meant to repeat it twice.  OR the teacher says “hands on top” and the kids put their hands on their heads and reply… “that means stop.”
  • I’ve used “Brownies, Brownies, where are you?” and the girls respond with “Here we are, here we are, how do you do?”  Technically this is supposed to be reserved for Circle Time, but it works!

  • There’s always the option of a whistle – but that’s a desperation move for us. It should be reserved for emergencies.

This weekend, I had a chance to see how some other talented Guiders manage groups…

  1. Snowy Owl Danielle (aka Wicked) amazed me by getting 50 girls to shush in seconds at the beginning of a big campfire. She shouted WATERFALL! Everyone put their hands up over their heads and swept them down to the ground while saying “SHHHHHHHHHH” (like water). And we were quiet. It was magic!
  2. The next technique took a little longer and is sort of like “the Hand”.  The Guider who wants attention speaks in a normal voice.  “If you can hear me, touch your nose.” (Guider touches her nose too).  “If you can hear me touch your ear”, and so on.  Eventually, everyone is following quietly along (thanks Guiders Julie and Katherine for an excellent campfire)
  3. I was telling my friend Guider Lisa from Halifax about Waterfall. She said she uses her normal voice and calls “If you can hear me, clap once.” Then “if you can hear me, clap twice,” “If you can hear me, clap three times.” And so on. The clapping gets everyone’s attention and eventually everyone is following along.

We play Brown Owl’s Rules at the beginning of the year to show new girls the ropes…I have added these to the game. How do you let girls know it is time to be silent?

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Last week our second year Brownies went to visit Guides and the first year girls invited Sparks to be honourary Brownies.  The split is necessary in our neighbourhood because the Guide unit here is huge and their space isn’t big enough for all of the Brownies to go to Guides.  We also like that it gives our younger girls a chance to be the leaders.

Here is a two meeting plan for a really nice Sparks visit Brownies bridging meeting:

Meeting One (Key to Active Living – Say No, Key to Guides – Moving up (2nd year girls), Key to Guides (1st year girls) – Helping Sparks)

One week before the bridging meeting we all had  a lesson on teaching.  The idea is that the first year girls would hone their knowledge on an activity, and then work out how to teach it.

6:30 – arrival game

6:40 – Brownie opening activities

6:55 – Program

  • Say No discussion – how can you say no to someone who suggests you do something that is wrong  or that you don’t want to do?  Girls into 4 groups 6 each. Each group gets a skit to act out. Practice. Remember to face the audience and speak clearly and loudly.  We did this as “on the spot” no practice skits.
    • Some kids are playing at the playground. Your friend tells you that you should go and push one of the kids off the monkey bars. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are getting popsicles at the store. One of your friends tells you to steal a chocolate bar. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are playing outside. Everyone decides to go into one friend’s house, but you don’t have permission. What do you do?
    • You and your friends are selling cookies in the neighbourhood. Someone you don’t know asks you to come inside to wait while they get some money to buy some cookies. What should you do?
  • 2nd Year Program – go through the Moving up bit of the book – when you’re done, join the first year girls as stand-in Sparks.
  • 1st Year Program
    Group 1 – Teach a Game (they picked Ladders– even though the Brownie teachers did a good job, the wiggly Sparks had trouble sitting still while they explained it)
    Group 2 – Teach a craft – Hawk Owl provided an option for a paper weaving craft and a glue and drawing craft.  The paper weaving won.  (I’ll have to ask her for instructions)
    Group 3 – Teach a song – My group chose to teach Sparks Quartermaster Store.
    The girls explained the song “This is a song about a man who goes into a store without his glasses – spectacles are what glasses used to be called – and he sees some strange things”
    Then then sang the verse – sang it line-by-line, then invited everyone to give it a try.

7:40 – Everyone plays the game – finish with the song.  Campfire.

7:55 – closing

Meeting Two

6:30 – Arrival game – once everyone was there, we did a round of Brown Owl’s Rules.

6:40 – Brownie Circle activities – split Sparks into the circles.  Have the first year girls teach the Sparks their circle songs.

6:55 – Program – Learn a Song and Learn a Craft (we’ll do the game for everyone at the end). Sparks are split into two groups.  They’ll get to do both activities – 15 minutes per activity.  Craft and Song teachers split up, game teachers join a group of Sparks.

7:30 – Learn a game – As I said above, Ladders was a little tough for the Sparks to sit still and learn.  But there are always lessons in failure – and our girls know that sometimes it doesn’t work.

7:50 – Short campfire – everyone sings Quartermaster Store together.  “Owls…eating paper towels” is our favourite one.

7:55 – Closing with Grand Howl for the Sparks.

And that’s it.  It is a simple program, but it really works!

Our neighbourhood Campfire last year.  (because it was a shame to not have a photo with this post).

Our neighbourhood Campfire last year. (because it was a shame to not have a photo with this post).

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In 2011 my unit and I (with the help of Guider Joanne’s comments on the blog) made up a game that helps girls learn our Meeting Rules in a fun way (kind of like a fun fire drill).  (edited Sept 2014)

Brown Owl’s Rules
Objective – to teach common signals and rules at Brownie meetings (but easily adapted to other branches)
You need – a large open space (like a Gym) and a whistle.
Game is an adaptation of “Captain’s Coming

Guider Commands/Actions (some are silent) – with Girl Reactions

  1. (Action) Guider puts her hand in the air – You’re quiet and put your hand up too.
  2. (Action) Clap Clap, Clap Clap Clap – Leader claps the sequence once, Girls join in for two more times through and then be silent.
  3. (Guider call) “Buddy Up!” – Girls catch hands with a partner
  4. (Guider call) “Someone Screamed!” – Girls go shhhhhh and put their finger to their mouth
  5. (Guider call) “Waterfall!”  Girls respond by putting hands up over their heads.  They sweep their hands towards the floor and they say “SHHHHHHHHHH” (like water).  And then be silent.
  6. (Guider says in a normal voice) “If you can hear me touch your ear”  (girls who hear touch their ear and quietly follow along).  If you can hear me, touch your eye… etc.
  7. (Guider says in a normal voice)If you can hear me, clap once” (clap).  “If you can hear me clap twice.” (Clap Clap) etc. Girls who hear clap along and are silent.
  8. (Guider call) “Why are you running?” – Girls start running around and respond “Because it’s a Game Brown Owl!”
  9. (Action) Whistle Blows (you’ll need a whistle) – line up in front of caller ready for evacuation.  Check to make you’re wearing shoes.
  10. (Guider call) “Brownies, Brownies, Where are you?” – Girls respond “Here we are, Here we are, How do you do?” and run to whoever sang it. (in a moment of fun, Snowy Owl called this, and then started running – she had 20 little girls running after her chanting here we are here we are…and it was awesome!)
  11. (Guider call)  “Make New Friends” – Make the Brownie sign and shake hands (left hand!) with the friends around them.
  12. North! (they run to the North side of the gym)  South! East!  West!  (so they get some running)
  13. Add any of the “Captain’s Coming” calls in there too randomly just for fun.  My favourite is “Rats on Board” (Stomp rats!)

Joanne also added these actions that will make the game appealing to the older girls. 

  • “Circle Time” – each girl finds two others and they hold hands and make a small circle
  • “Promise Sign” – each girl makes Promise sign
  • “Attention!” – each girl stands at Attention (could also add a salute)
  • “Going Camping” – Find a Partner, face each other, hold arms high and touch hands, to make a tent shape
  • “S’mores” – rub hand across stomach to show how good it was, and then rub hands over face to wipe off the chocolate and sticky marshmallow – keep repeating until the next “command”
  • “Paddle your canoe” – in groups of three – two sit on floor facing each other and extend legs with feet touching, the third person sits on floor between the open legs and pretends to paddle the “canoe”
  • “Hug A Tree” – two girls get together – must be of two different heights – and smaller hugs the taller (I really like this one)
  • “Go For a Hike” – group of two to four girls hold hands and skip a round in a clockwise circle
  • “Day is Done/Taps” – girls come together in one large circle and hold hands (could be the signal for the end of the game) – or actually sing it as the end the meeting …?
  • “Campfire” – three to four girls sit together in a circle and sing
  • “Fires Burning” through to the end – only once OR it could be the signal for a large campfire – and the small groups could be guided through to sing it as a round with each group given a signal as to when to start – and then move quietly into a larger campfire circle ?

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