We loved this post by guest blogger and Guider Melissa and wanted to share it again as a great anytime, anywhere activity to try with girls.
One meeting a year in our Brownie Unit, there is no singing. There is no chatting, no talking about the challenge we are working on, no asking each other to pass the markers or the glue.
It looks like a Brownie meeting, but it doesn’t sound like one. It doesn’t really sound like much at all.
This is our silent meeting. There is no talking, but there is a lot of learning. At this meeting, we help girls develop teamwork, problem solving and communication skills through silent activities.
Silent meetings are about building cooperation and collaboration, but they are also about diversity. By trying to express themselves without talking, girls learn that oral language is not the only way to communicate.
We want our girls to grow up as strong communicators. But we also want them to grow up as strong listeners, listeners who engage with those who don’t communicate in the ways that are most familiar to us. Silent meetings can help girls learn that it doesn’t matter if someone signs, or talks or uses a speech production device – that person is worth listening to.
Helping girls understand that what they have to say is valuable no matter how they say it is what Guiding is all about. Maybe one meeting spent in silence is the best way to communicate that.
Here are some of the silent meeting activities we’ve done:
- Without talking, have the girls put themselves in alphabetical order, or in order by birth date or height.
- Play charades.
- Perform and rehearse silent skits.
- Put the girls in pairs. One partner has a series of instructions. She needs to communicate those instructions to her partner without talking or writing.
- Have a puzzle treasure hunt. Before the meeting, write down a series of words, each on a different colour of paper. Cut out each letter and hide it in your meeting place. Make sure there is one letter per girl. Each girl finds one letter, finds the other girls with the same colour paper and determines the word their letters spell, all without talking.
- Learn the promise in American Sign Language (ASL).
- Communicate messages through communication boards that use symbols or letters.
By guest blogger Melissa Moor. Melissa a law student at McGill University in Montreal and a member of the Canadian Guider magazine editorial committee. Check out some of her previous blog posts: How Guiding Prepared me for Law School; Bringing the Sangam Spirit to your Unit: Ideas for a Sangam-themed Meeting; Girl-Centred Planning.