Original ideas and planning
Originally, I had planned to organize a summer activity in which we would make t-shirt bags. However, due to Coronavirus, school was shut down for lockdown and all face-to-face activities were stopped. I did consider doing this online but did not feel I would achieve my full leadership objective.
During the summer holidays I decided to set myself a deadline. By the end of 2020 I will have completed my arts leadership activity. I am keen to develop my communication skills and start do the activity however I decided it would be wise to spend the first half of term settling into my new school. After half term I spent time speaking to my teacher via email and face to face. I considered a Remembrance Day activity but felt a Christmas theme would allow me more time to plan.
One week to go
I have decided, since I am nervous about my speech, to type it out and send it to my teacher for his comment. This will also allow me to practice it out by self and then in-front of my friend Sophie. I did consider doing three activities, but when I tried out the popcorn garlands with my brother, more got eaten than was left on the decoration. So, I decided to keep things simple and just stick with the mini Christmas tree and wooden decorations. In my original plan, I said I would write up instruction cards but have decided against this as I do not think they will be needed. Instead, I have decided to make up some examples and talk about them when I introduce the activity. By doing it this way, I think it will be more engaging and give people an opportunity to ask questions straight away, if there is anything they are unsure about.
I have painted my examples to use for tomorrow and practiced my script to help me. I have finalized the health and safety checks, briefed those who are helping me and given a shot list to one of the teachers who has agreed to be the photographer. I am very excited for tomorrow and I am confident it will go to plan. For once I am actually feeling really organized. I have gone through my plan again and enjoyed ticking off all the things I have done. I am also very clear about what needs to be done in the morning. Becoming more organized, was one of the leadership qualities I was looking to improve and this has really paid off.
On the day
I woke up feeling rather nervous, nevertheless I was confident about a successful day. After lunch, at 12:30pm, I gathered my materials including paints, paintbrushes, pipe cleaners, newspaper, paper plates, pinecones, wooden slices, mini ceramic pots and water mugs. First, having taken down the signup sheet to know how many tables to lay out, I layed out the newspaper over two long tables along with a few paper plates with the help from my friend Sophie who was very supportive. People started to turn up at 1:50pm which I was very grateful for, since they were able to gather up others to ensure nobody was late to miss any instructions.
After everyone was sat down, Mr Guille gave a short introduction and then handed over to me. To ensure people would hear me, and to make me feel more confident, I stood up on a bench with Sophie who kindly held up the examples. My speech included health and safety key points, was based on an environmental message on the harm glitter does to our planet and demonstrated environmentally friendly alternatives using natural materials as well as explaining the activity. My earlier fears of no one turning up were soon replaced with concerns that we wouldn’t have enough materials to go around. Thank goodness I planned two different activities! I allowed everyone to collect materials from one table, but later regretted this as there was a sudden mad rush of people swarming the table. Nevertheless, they soon returned to their seats with Christmas music playing in the background to start painting. Midway through the activity, I handed out post-it notes for everyone to write their feedback on – although I decided to make this optional for anyone who was not willing to share.
The activity ran from 2pm – 3:30pm, however there were a few people who decided to stay a while longer to perfect their creations. When people were finished, they layed out their pieces in the drying area which I took a few photos of - see gallery above. Once everyone had left, I tidied up. I gave the paints and newspaper back to Mr. Guille to be reused, cleaned the mugs and returned them to the kitchen, and tidied away the other materials. After reading the post-it notes I felt very humbled and proud of myself since everyone said such lovely things about the activity. I definitely feel more confident speaking in public (I know my speech off by heart) and am really pleased that I spent so much time on my plan, as it gave me list of what to do at each stage. This is a skill I never knew I needed, but will really pay off over the coming years.