This session was right before Thanksgiving, so we started out by discussing what we’re grateful for. Family, friends, and food were some common themes! Next, we began reflecting on the meaning of identity, and, more specifically, who we are and what matters to us. We explored these concepts through individual identity maps. The science activity focused on “oobleck,” a substance known as a “non-Newtonian fluid” because it’s hard to categorize as a solid, liquid, or gas. We followed up with a discussion about those phases of matter and other examples of non-Newtonian fluids (ketchup, quicksand, etc.) At the end of the session, we sat in a circle and participated in a confidence-building activity. Students in the middle of the circle were given prompts -- “Tap someone who is adventurous,” for example -- and tapped the heads of people who they felt exemplified that trait. At the end of the activity, the students described feeling pleasantly surprised by the qualities their peers saw in them.
During our third Halford session, the 4th grade sisters practiced improving their confidence while public speaking through a fun activity. Each 4th grader was given a random trinket, something like a small coin purse or a stuffed animal. They had to give a speech to the other Little and Big Sisters about why they loved the item more than anything, even though they didn’t necessarily actually feel that way. The little sisters then went around and gave feedback and constructive criticism on their presentation skills, like eye contact, excessive movement, and vocalization. The 5th grade Little Sisters analyzed magazine advertisements and deciphered how women are portrayed in the media. Each 5th grade sister received an advertisement and, along with their big sister, filled out a handout that asked them to describe the piece they had received and whether its portrayal of women was positive or negative. If negative, they were asked to draw a new advertisement that would depict women in a more empowering way. For our science activity, all the Little and Big Sisters were asked to build a structure that would contain the egg and make sure it didn’t crack when being dropped off the balcony. They had to make the structure from only cotton balls, newspaper, foam cups, and tape.