Saturday, November 14, 2015

PTA Reflections: Explaining the Judging Rubric

For years I have been trying to explain to kids how to reflect on the reflections theme and for a couple of years trying to explain to judges how to judge it.  So here is a simple example of the rubric.  In reflections "interpretation of theme" is worth 20 pts.  
Pretend the theme was "YUMMY!"
Lets see some examples.

You get four points if your art has a concept clearly communicated.  This student's Artist statement was "trees inspire me"  it is clearly communicated, but not related to the theme.  Score 4 pts

You get up to 8 pts if your art is related to the theme, but perhaps not clearly communicated or clearly related.  This student's artist statement is "I love the state fair, everything there looks yummy".  This picture clearly shows a funnel cake stand, but the artist statement doesn't make that connection, and the picture isn't mainly about food or yumminess..   Anyway, its close to the theme, but unclear, if they mentioned the funnel cakes I'd give a 10.  Score: 8pts
You get up to 12 pts for having a solid theme based concept that is clearly communicated.  Artist statement.  "I think donuts are  yummy."  Here it is:
score 12pts.

You get up to 16 points for having put a little more thought into your concept.  This student has put all their personal favorite yummy stuff into their art and it is clearly communicated.  "I think lots of different things are yummy." Score 16pts.
Finally you can get the perfect 20 pts for having a concept that is full of meaning, purpose, and integrity.  I still don't know what that means, but I tell kids and judges to look for emotional response, originality, human connections, deep thought, anything that really sets it apart.  This student really thought about the theme in a deep way.  Artist statement:  "Yummy really depends on your point of view.  Are you a fish or a cat?"  Wow, this is a 20pt project!

Saturday, August 22, 2015

How To Combine Dens For Cub Scouts?

Cub Scouts is designed for dens of approximately 7 boys, but if your entire pack has closer to 7 boys this post is for you.

To have a combined den, you need one den leader for about every three boys or else rambunctiousness tends to be a problem.  If you combine dens and then the group grows a bit, you'll need more help.

In a combined den, the boys won't earn their rank every year, it will take longer depending on how many ranks are combined, so if you can't accept this, don't combine dens.  I would suggest starting to get used to the idea of not getting a rank exactly on the boys birthday.  It makes everything else easier.  

My pack simply did not have enough adult leaders to pull off three dens.  We should be thrifty with the time and energies of our adult leaders, so the simplest solution is to combine dens.  

As I just said, I try to find simple solutions, so when a boy who is earning lots of adventure badges but not all the required ones for his specific rank has his birthday, I write down his birthday as the rank completion date, buy the patch and save it.  If he moves, I would give him the patch before he leaves, since the new place won't understand combined dens.  If he stays in our den he will easily complete the requirements for each rank during his time in cub scouts, when he does, I'll give him his patch.  The boys don't mind waiting because they are earning cool badges each month.  The parents and leaders are confused, but I just say be patient, its a combined den, he'll get it eventually!  The boys still graduate from the title of Wolf to Bear or Bear to Webelos on their birthdays.  (If your small pack uses school years to divide ranks, write down the last day of the school year as his complete date.)

Besides the rank advancement issue, combining dens is really easy.  Make a list of what adventure badges each boy in the pack has already earned.  Then make a list of what needs to be done.  Alternate between the different ranks the best that you can.  I would recommend doing more Webelos and Arrow of Light badges at first, so that any boys who are about to leave Cub Scouting have the best chance possible of earning their Arrow of Light.  Any cub scout can earn their Arrow of Light even if they didn't earn their Wolf or Bear.  They need to earn 9 required Webelos/Arrow of Light adventure badges plus 5 elective Webelos adventures.  In a combined "Wolf-Bear-elos" den you would offer at least 3 required Webelos adventures and at least 2 Webelos electives a year.  If you are trying to help a boy earn his Arrow of Light you may offer a few more Webelos adventures and electives the first year to help him out, but the variety of adventures would even out in the future.  The older boy who wants to earn his Arrow of Light in a combined den right after it combines will need a little extra help to get it all done.  Here is what we do outside of den meetings to help get all 14 adventures done for the Arrow of Light.  After a year this won't really be an issue anymore.   

Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure:  this adventure is assigned to the 11-year old scout leader to teach.  He does it every January for the boys turning 11 that year.  The Webelos and 11 year old scouts do it together.
Webelos First Responder: Can be taught in one day if you go to the fire station.  This can be a one day badge for Webelos only.  If you only have one webelos, have his family go through the badge together and then visit the firestation for a family activity.  Look to see when your local firestation has its openhouse each year or perhaps you have an EMT as a friend or relative of one of the boys in the pack...
Webelos Duty to God and You: We do a yearly children's program at church.  If the sunday youth leader (primary president in our case) discusses how the program teaches duty to God and what the boys can go and do as a result, they have finished this adventure.)
Arrow of Light Duty to God in Action: We have a church "Faith in God" pamphlet with lots of activities the boys can use to complete this adventure.  We recommend the boys and their families work on this together.
Webelos Electives:  Our boys go to "Webelos Woods" which is an overnighter where they can earn three elective adventures in one day!!!
Parents:  What are the professions of the Webelos' parents?  There is a good chance there is an adventure they could easily teach their boy at home in their area of expertise.  Also, if the boy does two team sports during the year, he is very close to earning his Sportsman Adventure.  See how many he needs to get outside of den meeting and then put them on the calendar so they don't all have to be done last minute.

How to Combine
Step 1  List all the required adventures for each age group except the Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure.  Divide this list by three.  Try to divide the adventures up by type so they get the same curriculum as a regular den.  It doesn't divide perfectly, but it is close.  If you split up the den in the future just give the boys credit for what they have done and finish what they have remaining.

Required Adventures by Type for each rank:

Webelos/Arrow of Light
 Suggested Month
Outdoor Adventure
Wolf Paws on the Path
Bear Ferns Feathers Fur
Webelos Walkabout
Outdoor Adventure
(day camp)
Wolf Call of the Wild
Bear Necessities
Arrow of Light Camper
Participatory Citizenship
Wolf Council Fire
Bear Paws for Action
Arrow of Light Building a Better World
Leadership Development
Wolf Howling at the Moon 
Grin and Bear It

(Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure**)  you could substitue Webelos Aware and Care which is a good leadership adventure.
Personal Fitness
Wolf Running with the Pack
Wolf Paws of Skill (actually an elective)
 Webelos Stronger, Faster, Higher
Wolf Finding Your Way (actually an elective)
Bear Claws
Webelos First Responder

Webelos Cast Iron Chef
Character Development
Wolf Duty to God Footsteps

Bear Fellowship and Duty to God

Webelos Duty to God and You

Arrow of Light Duty to God in Action


** "Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure" should be done each year even in a combined den.  Webelos can meet with the 11-year old scouts to complete this.

Pack Plan Sample

Required Adventures
Year 1
Year 2
Year 3
Outdoor Adventure (hike)
1.Webelos Walkabout

1. Bear Ferns/Feathers/Fur
 1. Wolf Paws on the Path
Outdoor Adventure
(day camp)
2.Arrow of Light Camper

2. Wolf Call of the Wild
 2. Bear Necessities
Participatory Citizenship
3.Building a Better World

 3. Bear Paws for Action
 3.Wolf Council Fire
Leadership Development
4. Wolf Howling at the Moon
4. Bear Grin and Bear It
 4. Webelos Aware and Care
Personal Fitness/Other
5. Webelos Stronger Faster Higher
 5.Wolf Running with the Pack
5.  Wolf Paws of Skill
Scouting Skills
6. Webelos Cast Iron Chef

6. Bear Claws 
 6. Webelos First Responder
Elective or Character Development
7. Bear Duty to God (Religious Knot)
7. Wolf Duty to God

 7Webelos Duty to God
12. Arrow of Light Duty
 to God

“Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure” by 11 year old scout leaders in January.

Step 2
List all the possible elective adventures. Pick five elective adventures to offer in your combined den for each year of your plan.  Choose at least one each of Wolf and Bear and at least two Webelos.  If you know they will get electives at Cub day camp or Webelos camp or some special event, save those adventures for later.  I left one month free to make up, work on religious knot, or another adventure if so desired.

(This is my annotated list with stars by the ones I was thinking about proposing to the den leaders for the pack plan.  Choose based on what you know about your leaders and boys.)

Cub Scout Elective Adventures (I categorized them myself just to help me sort them more easily)
CC=Culture/Community, STEM=Science, Technology, Engineering, Math
S=Sports 0=Outdoors 

1.     CC Wolf -   - Collections and Hobbies  
2.     CC Wolf -   - Cubs Who Care   
3.    CC Wolf -   - Digging In the Past* dinosaur theme lots of fun
4.     CC Wolf -   - Hometown Heroes   
5.     S Wolf -   - Paws of Skill * (plan for year three when we don’t have a sports adventure)
6.    S Wolf -   - Spirit of the Water maybe a fun summer adventure?
7.     STEM Wolf -   - Adventures In Coins   
8.     STEM Wolf -   - Air of the Wolf*  cool ideas
9.     STEM Wolf -   - Code of the Wolf*  very easy to teach
10.  STEM Wolf -   - Germs Alive! health education  
11.  STEM Wolf -   - Motor Away *
12.  O Wolf -   - Finding Your Way* (taught at daycamp)  
13. O Wolf -   - Grow Something (springtime?)

1.     CC Bear -   - Bear Picnic Basket- recipes, cooking fun, shopping
2.     CC Bear -   - Beat of the Drum- crafty, Native American Culture
3.    CC Bear -   - Roaring Laughter-Comedy super easy to teach
4.     CC Bear -   - A World of Sound –music around the world, hands on
5.     CC Bear -   - Critter Care   
6.    S Bear -   - Marble Madness *
7.     STEM Bear -   - Baloo the Builder* fun  (Home depot?) (day camp)
8.     STEM Bear -   - Forensics  *
9.     STEM Bear -   - Make It Move * 
10.  STEM Bear -   - Robotics, very cool*(order bristle bot kits ahead of time, university robotics lab?) 
11.  STEM Bear -   - Super Science, good, not quite as cool as robotics  
12.  O Bear -   - A Bear Goes Fishing*
13. O Bear -   - Salmon Run    boating and swimming (best done with families)

1.     CC Webelos -   - Looking Back, Looking Forward (history)   
2.     CC Webelos -   - Fix It (home repairs)
3.    CC Webelos -   - Project Family* (completes three Faith in God activities) 
4.     CC Webelos -   - Aware and Care   (similar to wolf cubs who care)
5.     CC Webelos -   - Art Explosion* (completes one Faith in God activity)
6.    CC Webelos -   - Build My Own Hero  
7.     CC Webelos -   - Maestro!   
8.     S Webelos -   - Aquanaut (best done at a camp)
9.     S Webelos -   - Sportsman (good for athletic boys to do at home)
10.  STEM Webelos -   - Adventures in Science* 
11.  STEM Webelos -   - Build It* (great if Dad does woodworking to do at home)
12.  STEM Webelos -   - Earth Rocks! *(offered at camp)   
13. STEM Webelos -   – Engineer (offered at camp)
14.  STEM Webelos -   - Game Design (very cool, good to do at home though if programming on a computer)  
15.  STEM Webelos -   - Moviemaking* 
16. O Webelos -   – Castaway* (might be offered at camp)
17.  O Webelos -   - Into the Wild   
18.  O Webelos -   - Into the Woods (offered at camp)   

3-Year Plan Sample (fill in the elective adventures you propose doing, you'll probably change it every year, but at least you have a plan to start with)

Year 1 (2015-16)
Year 2 (2016-18)
Year 3 (2017-18)
1. Code of the Wolf
1. Digging the Past
1. Motor Away 2. Paws of Skill
2. Robotics
2. Marble Madness
3. Make it Move
3. Art Explosion ***
3. Project Family***
4. Forensics
4. Adventures in Science
4. Game Designer
5. Castaway 6. Aware and Care
5. Make-up
5. Make-up
7. Make-up

***requirements also pass off Faith in God requirements

Step 3 On a calendar, fill in what required adventures will be done in what months keeping in mind the seasons, holidays, and school schedules, etc.  If possible avoid required adventures in the summer.  Then fill in elective adventures.  Also note if any adventures will be done at day camps.  With a three-year plan your Webelos will be missing a lot of required adventures!  They can get the religious ones at home and three at camp.  Then if you do a few extra den meetings to earn some extra adventures, hopefully they can still get the Arrow of Light.  By year two, there shouldn’t be any extra work to get Arrow of Light!!!   Filling in the calendar is messy, you may have to rearrange a bit before it is just right.  You can do this as a committee or on your own.

Scouting Year 1
Webelos Walkabout (Webelos Duty to God Webelos only)
Bear Robotics
Arrow of Light Building a Better World
Webelos Art Explosion
 Wolf Howling at the Moon (Arrow of Light Scouting Adventure (Webelos Only)
Webelos Adventures in Science
Bear Duty to God
Wolf Code of the Wolf, Arrow of Light Duty to God (Webelos Only) 
Webelos Faster, Higher Stronger
 Day Camp
(Webelos First Responder, Webelos Engineering, Webelos Earth Rocks)
Arrow of Light Camper
Webelos Cast Iron Chef
Make-up Den Meetings or another fun elective!

Tracking Sample after three months combined:
Cub #1 Webelos earned 
bobcat, wolf, bear, first responder and cast iron chef,  cyber chip, parents guide
Webelos walkabout, 
Bear robotics
Webelos Art Explosion
Cub #2 Bear earned
bobcat, wolf, bear necessities, bear claws,
webelos walkabout 
bear robotics (all but #2)
Webelos Art Explosion
Cub #3 Bearearned
bobcat, wolf, bear necessities, bear claws, cyber chip, parent's guide
webelos walkabout
Webelos Art Explosion all but #1, #2, #3
bear robotics 
Cub #4 Wolf
bobcat, paws on the path, hobbies and collections
webelos walkabout
bear robotics (all but #2)
Webelos Art Explosion all but #1, #2, #3
Cub #5 Wolf
bobcat, paws on the path, hobbies and collections
webelos walkabout
bear robotics 
Webelos Art Explosion

How will the boys earn their rank advancement???  
I want the simplicity of a combined den, but I feel bad that the 8 and 9 year old boys won't earn their rank advancement by their birthday without doing adventures at home, what can I do?

Have the pack offer birthday awards, 1-year awards, or achievement awards to 8-year olds and 9 year olds, they could have a ceremony, get a toy or treat, or even earn a special pack pin such as a paw print or a star.

Age Level Question???
 What about the age differences on the different adventures?  Since you have a small pack, help the younger boys as needed, let the older boys mentor and develop leadership skills.  In some cases a 3-mile hike will be too long for the younger boys, but for the most part combining three age groups works, examples of mixed age groups are 4-H (often 3 years at a time), Activity Day girls (four years at a time), siblings, girl scouts (they do two years at a time), etc.

Arrow of Light Question???
We are an LDS den and are combining.  Our Webelos need 14 Webelos adventures to earn their Arrow of Light and we will spend half the year doing Wolf and Bear adventures, will they miss out?  

Not if you plan ahead.  Do 6 adventures in den meeting.  Have the boys do their duty to God adventures at home as they are supposed to be done.  Many scouting districts offer a Webelos camp that does 3 adventures in one day.  Look for something like that for your boys because that would bring them up to 11 adventures.  Have the 11-year old scout leaders teach the "Scouting Adventure" badge, so that gets boys up to 12 adventures.  So you have to squeeze in two more adventures.  Look at the talents in your ward, see what the boys are already doing, see what parents or committee members can help with.