During breaks we try to involve and engage the kids students (age 4-16) in different manners off the mat and bring that back to the mat. One theme we’ve been following through with each break especially during the summer and winter breaks are the RWP program we’ve established. Here is what we mean by RWP:
R = Research / Read
W = Write
P = Present
Students start with researching or reading about a topic. The research can be a very simple conversation with a parent, friend or family member or an excursion to the library. Once they’ve gathered some information they write a little summary to present to their peers and parent’s in attendance at class on that day. The presentation lasts about 30 seconds to 60 seconds a student and we typically have 1-3 presentations a class during the summer months. It’s an engaging activity that allows the students to express themselves in a different way amongst their jiujitsu peers.
All of these projects are optional. No one is forced to do anything they are not interested in, but they are reminded that it does influence how they earn their stripes on their belt. While some topics are related to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu or Martial Arts, we open things up to other topics as well. Our first topic was on Memorial Day and our second topic on the describing what “Never Give Up” means. Students can bring in a picture to go with this topic. This is always fun to share with everyone, including the adults. In the past, we’ve covered topics like; Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champions, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Legends, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Grand Masters, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Self Defense, How do you think strong, What is July 4th, etc. Some topics are open to interpretation and other topics are very specific and require the students to go online or to the library to find out some information. As a result, students are able to showcase their different skills. In the future I would love to have a study lounge for the students to hang out before or after class to prepare their presentations.
Most importantly, we want to engage our students in activities off the mat that promotes and develops reading, writing, and presentation skills. These are skills that they will be able to utilize for the rest of their life, and the more we practice the more comfortable we will become when asked to research a topic, write about it, or even present it. Public speaking is a skill no one is born with, and not practiced very often in schools. We hope to challenge the students comfort levels and get them feeling at ease when speaking in front of a crowd of people.
A new element to our RWP program we began doing this summer is for the students to ask questions at the end of the speech. Doing so has been a great addition to the entire presentation process. I’m excited to hear all of our interesting presentations this summer!
Think Strong Be Strong