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  • “Accountable talk” makes discussions productive

    K-Kids club meetings are a great place for elementary school students to lead and participate in group discussions. Advisors can encourage meaningful discussions by introducing “accountable talk.” This is a way of sharing ideas and opinions that also requires members to listen fully and to follow up their own thoughts with reasons and clarification.

    Here are a few ways to introduce accountable talk:
    • Define it. Explain that accountable talk is a way of speaking and responding to others in a respectful and thought-provoking way.
    • Offer examples. Give each member this handout and explain that they can use it as a starting point for responding to a question or sharing an idea.
    • Practice. Pose an easy question to the club (e.g., what is the best holiday and why? Or, what’s a hobby of yours?) and have members respond by practicing this new format.
    • Use it. Encourage members, especially club officers, to use accountable talk at every meeting and club discussion. Review the handout before every discussion and remind everyone to use it.
    Advisors will know that accountable talk has been successful when members start using the language without being prompted or reminded.

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  • Advisor reflection tool

    For many K-Kids clubs, the end of the school year is just around the corner. What were your successes? What have you learned? Which relationships were important? Before school is out, take a few minutes for the K-Kids advisor reflection tool. Use it to document this year’s club performance and to plan improvements for next year.

    Benefits include:
    • Improved co-advising. Faculty and Kiwanis advisors can fill this tool out together or individually, but sharing notes is important. Doing so prevents communication issues between advisors and missed opportunities for the club. 
    • Reminders for next year. While the K-Kids year is fresh in your mind, review the club’s experiences. You and your fellow advisor can note important responsibilities and outcomes you don’t want to forget. 
    • Smooth transition. K-Kids work hard to make an impact in their school and community. When you retire as a K-Kids advisor—whether next year or years down the road—set them up for continued success by providing insight for an incoming advisor.

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  • Teacher Appreciation Week

    National Teacher Appreciation Week is May 1–5. This is a perfect opportunity for K-Kids club members to recognize outstanding faculty advisors, as well as teachers who make an impact on them daily. Here are a few way for members to show their appreciation:

    • Work with members to plan and host a recognition event, such as a breakfast or lunch.
    • Encourage members to create and send thank-you cards. 
    • Craft creative gifts with a note that can be worn by teachers using a safety pin. For example:
      • Buy a measurement-themed gift and include a note with the words: “You totally RULE: Thanks for making this year so great!”
      • Buy a drink item and include a note saying: “You’re are so refreshing!”
      • Buy a small potted herb like thyme, mint or sage and use the name of the herb in a fun way, like: “Your thyme is invaluable!”
    Check out the official K-Kids Pinterest board for other fun, easy examples and share your stories and photos by tagging @KiwanisKids on Facebook and Twitter.

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  • Preparing for next year: New officer elections and training

    For many clubs, the end of the school year is right around the corner. To make sure you have time to transition new club officers and provide training, be sure to hold elections no later than two months before the end of the year. On pages 32-39 of the K-Kids and Builders Club advisor guide, there is an outline of the election process and guidelines for officer training. To ensure a smooth transition process, have incoming leaders shadow outgoing officers.

    After the elections, share the results with your club’s sponsoring Kiwanis club and introduce the new officers. Engage Kiwanians to facilitate the officer training—draw on the strengths of these adult members to make the training more impactful.

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  • Order branded K-Kids T-shirts through the Kiwanis T-shirt Shop

    Who needs a graphic artist or professional designer? Not you! Now you can visit the Kiwanis T-shirt Shop and create your own T-shirt like a pro. Add your own club name, choose from a variety of great graphics and fabulous colors, and make them your own! These are perfect for personal, just-for-me-tees, or making a statement at your next community service or fundraising event. All designs are brand compliant so you can strut them with pride.

    Currently, K-Kids has three great graphics to choose from. Sizing guidelines are available. Once an order has been placed, allow 5-7 business days for production.

    This past November, the K-Kids club of Connolly Elementary in the New York district won the Best T-shirt Design contest. Their winning design is available in the Kiwanis T-shirt Shop for all K-Kids clubs to purchase.

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  • Don't miss out on K-Kids contests

    Congratulations to K-Kids at Walker Elementary in the Missouri-Arkansas District for winning the Best Poster for a Cause! The club was awarded a US$100 shopping spree to Kiwanis Warehouse.

    This month, K-Kids accepted entries and votes for the Best Speech or Oral Report. A winner will be announced at the end of this month and awarded a US$100 shopping spree to Kiwanis Warehouse, a premier online wholesale distributor.

    Interested in more contests? Here’s what’s coming up:

    Best Scrapbook (either online or hard copy): Due April 1
    K-Kids club members can highlight their club and their accomplishments by creating a scrapbook. Scrapbooks must be divided into the following sections:

        1. Heart to serve
            Share photos of club members displaying their passion to help
            others.

        2. Call to lead
            Share your most successful service project. Include two to
            three sentences about each of the following: Explain the need
            your club discovered. Explain the plan to help. Share photos
            of the service project in progress. Explain the impact of the
            project (Example: We collected books for 100 people). Share
            what club members learned.

        3. Courage to engage
            Share a fundraising project your club conducted to earn funds
            to address a cause. Share an advocacy campaign your club lead
            to engage others in a cause. A cause your club educated others
            about.

    For more information, view the complete rules.

    Annual Achievement Report: Due April 1
    K-Kids club members can complete this online form with the help of club advisors. This is a self-scoring report that shares which activities the club accomplished. Points are earned for each activity the club has completed. The more activities clubs conducts, the more points they earn. Depending on the number of points earned the club will be honored as a Distinguished Club or an Honor Club.
    • 15 points or more = Distinguished Club
    • 10 - 14 points = Honor Club
    A banner patch is mailed to the club faculty advisor the following September.

    Leadership Award: Due April 1
    The Kiwanis Children’s Fund’s Leadership Award recognizes outstanding K-Kids leaders. K-Kids faculty and Kiwanis advisors are encouraged to nominate club members who demonstrate outstanding leadership skills. One award recipient is honored within each Kiwanis district. Award recipients receive a US$100 gift card and medallion.
    Nominations are to be submitted to your district administrator, who judges club submissions, selects the winning entry, and scans and emails the winning entry to Kiwanis International’s lpyron@kiwanis.org by April 15. Find your district administrator by contacting lpyron@kiwanis.org.

    Best Club Impact Video Contest: Entries accepted April 3-14
    Share how your club is making a difference by entering the best impact video contest. An advisor or a club member films the club completing a service project using his or her smartphone and uploads a 2 minute for viewing. For more information, view the complete rules.

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  • Celebrate Earth Day with an environmental service project

    Focusing on an environmental service project is a great way for K-Kids members to focus on a global topic in a local way. As a club, ask members: What is a problem Earth is facing? What environmental issues do we have in our community? What can we as a club do to make a difference on Earth Day?

    Need help with ideas? Here’s a few to get you started.

    Recycling
    • Start a trash recycling program at school
    • Hold a used clothing drive and donate the items to a consignment store
    • Run a campaign to reduce school cafeteria food waste
    • Create grocery bags from t-shirts
    Endangered Species
    • Learn about invasive plants and the challenges of controlling them
    • Raise money for an animal on the endangered species list
    • Educate others on the science of climate change
    • Advocate for cleaner oceans
    Beautification
    • Start a composting program at school
    • Plant trees and flowers in a public area
    • Clean up a busy public area
    • Create a garden program at school
    For even more environmental service project ideas, check out ideas from the United States Environmental Protection Agency.

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  • Think before you serve: 4 elements of thoughtful planning

    High impact service occurs when volunteers are fully invested in the project, when the experience positively affects both the volunteers and beneficiaries, and when the results last longer than the present. Every service project can achieve high impact service. Before the club starts on their next service project, have members incorporate 4 elements of thoughtful planning:

           1. Self-discovery
               A great way members can learn about themselves and what
               project they can help with is to self-identify what abilities
               they each offer the club. During a club meeting, focus on
               personal reflection and discuss these questions as a club:
               What skills have they mastered that they enjoy doing? What
               skills do they still need to master to be successful later in life?
               How might their strengths help the club achieve their goals?
               How might the club strengthen skills not yet developed?
               Check out this month’s K-Kids journal pages for worksheets
               on self-discovery.

           2. Personal observations
               Members better understand why service needs exist when
               they learn more about the world around them. Encourage
               members to be more aware of their local area by talking
               with their family members and fellow peers about what’s
               happening in the world. What issues stand out to other
               people? Why might they exist? What may help solve
               them? Discussing current events as a club is also a great
               way members can relate to what’s trending in the news
               with their own community. 

           3. Community assessment
               Community voice is essential to bring about change and
               solve problems. Members should make sure the voice
               and needs of the community are included in the
               development of the service project. Interviewing
               community or school leaders is a great way for members
               to do this.
    They will not only get a clear idea of what
               projects within their area need the most help, but get a
               sense of how best to help.

           4. Selection
               Choosing a service project as a club with many members
               is not always easy. That’s why it’s so important for
               members to learn how to talk with one another respectfully
               and decide which project is best for their club. Implementing
               parliamentary procedure, having a series of presentations,
               or hosting a debate are all great methods for members to
               use to choose the service need that members want to do,
               can do, and community will benefit most from. 

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  • How K-Kids benefits elementary schools

    Every person has leadership potential, and K-Kids clubs provide a forum for young leaders to unlock theirs. K-Kids helps students accept their own identity as a leader, enhances their knowledge of how to be a leader who is others-centered, and develops their ability to move an idea into purposeful action.

    Here’s a few reasons why K-Kids is great for all elementary schools, and why you should ensure your club continues in the future:

    Elementary school students want to help and can focus on others. K-Kids provides a way for students to channel their energy into a positive and productive purpose. The club allows members to serve others and to contribute to their school and community. 

    Elementary school students are learning right from wrong and seek to understand ethics.

    K-Kids is a safe place for youth to begin to learn about the outside world and the bigger issues at hand. Members internalize the club experience and can more clearly identify values.

    Elementary school students are self-reflective and are forming their own thoughts and opinions. K-Kids gives members the opportunity to feel good about themselves as they improve the lives of others.

    Elementary school students’ minds are expanding and they love to learn and plan. K-Kids provides opportunities to serve in leadership roles, learn parliamentary procedure, and apply abstract concepts to think outside themselves and impact others. Members take what they learn in the club and apply it to real-life.

    Elementary school students need to move and play. K-Kids members learn by completing service projects they choose themselves. They decide which hands-on experiences they want, and how to do them.

    Elementary school students want to experiment and seek the opportunity to try new things. K-Kids allows youth to take their interests and passions and explore them further through service.

    Elementary school students are social. K-Kids allows members to engage with peers and build relationships. Members work together to accomplish shared goals. K-Kids members practice effective communication skills. Advisors serve as positive adult role models who can intervene with group dynamics when necessary. The sponsoring Kiwanis club can have a great impact as well. 

    For more information about how K-Kids impacts members, check out the online advisor education course K-Kids 201: Knowledge. Tools. Strategies.

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  • Utilizing every member: K-Kids committee ideas

    The Standard Form for Club Bylaws states that the K-Kids club should establish the necessary administrative and service committees to fulfill its local needs. A committee consists of a group of people, who together accomplish a task or goal.

    Standing club committee ideas include:
    Kiwanis Family Relations Committee:
    This group works to coordinate inter-club activities with Kiwanis, Builders Club, Key Club, Circle K, and Aktion Clubs in the area. Kiwanis family activities include: educating members on what Kiwanis family clubs exist, writing notes to clubs, raising funds for the same cause as another club, serving as a special guest at another club’s meeting, presenting about past club activities and achievements to another club, and attending a club functions.

    Public Relations Committee: This group is responsible for developing communications to promote the objects, goals, programs, and achievements of the club to the school and community. Communication ideas might want to include: writing or presenting school announcements, developing a club web site, writing news releases to send to the local newspaper highlight the club’s service projects, and designing and maintaining a bulletin board within the school.

    Subcommittee ideas: Photography, newsletter, stewardship. 

    Other committee ideas include:
    Set Up Committee: Helps club advisors set up the space before each meeting or activity.

    Clean Up Committee: Helps club advisors clean up the space after each meeting or activity. 

    Recognition Committee: Creates special awards to honor individuals who demonstrate outstanding service to the community and school, including students, teachers, administrators, and club sponsors.

    Social Committee: Plans social events where members gather for fun and fellowship.

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