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Saturday, September 27, 2014

Traffic Jam

  • Something for each participant to stand on plus one extra - I've used foam squares, put X's on the floor with tape, etc.
    How To Play
     The participants stand in a semi-circle with one marker on the ground that each participant stands on. Put the extra marker in the middle (you do not need an equal number of participants). All participants should face in-wards toward the empty marker. The object of the game is to get the two sides to pass each other, ultimately switching sides by moving strategically from one marker to another.

    • Only one person can be on a marker at a time
    • Participants can only move to an empty marker
    • Participants can only move forward - if the group gets struck, everyone has to start over
    • Participants can skip one person going the opposite direction, but s/he cannot skip someone going the same direction (to walk around the other person, the participant can step off the marker and walk around the person to step on the empty marker)
    • When the group gets stuck and has to start over, have the participant at the front marker move to the last marker so there is a new person leading every time
    • Have the group do it without talking. Be strict about it, and when they start to get frustrated, allow them to talk. Process the differences after the activity
    • Once the group gets it the first time, have them do it while holding their breath. If someone breathes (exhales or inhales) in the middle, make them start over. This takes precise knowledge and planning. After, process the difference  between just doing what you are told and knowing your place/role.
    • Try the activity with two lines in a "plus sign" formation with one empty spot in the middle

    ·      This activity works even if you have odd numbers. First move a person forward into the empty space. Then the first person from team 2 goes around to the empty space, and the second person from team 2 steps forward. This pattern continues (team 1 moves one person, team 2 moves two people, team 1 moves three people, team 2 moves four people, etc.) until all people are moved. After all have moved, the pattern is reversed: five people move four, three, two, one.
    ·      Hint: There are three “unspoken rules” that if followed, will solve this puzzle. First, at every juncture, there are only two possible moves: one will get them stuck and the other will not. Second, participants from opposing team should always be alternating on the spaces. If one team has two in a row, they have created a traffic jam. Third, for the first half of the game, when they arrive at a juncture, always move the person that is positioned closer to the outward tails of the semi-circle, not the person closer to the center. After all participants have moved, the pattern is reversed.

    Lessons Learned
    Process with the group throughout - talk them thru their frustration, ask how their current solution is working, help them listen to each other if they are struggling to do so, etc.

    Problem Solving: At the beginning of the activity, participants often say this activity is impossible, but by the end, they feel great! When the group makes unanimous decisions, they usually make fewer mistakes. Some problems get solved much faster if you focus on the process or how you are interacting, rather than focusing on the problem.
    • How did it feel to accomplish an “impossible” task? 
    • Would you be given a task if there was not a way provided to accomplish it?
    • What steps were taken to get the activity done?
    ·      Communication:
    •       Whose ideas were important? (every suggestion)
    ·      Teamwork:
    •       How many people did it take to do this activity?
    •       How difficult would it be to accomplish this task if someone was not cooperating or doing their part?
    ·      Frustration

    •       What was more rewarding, the fact that everyone is standing in a different place or the process that brought you there? How does that relate to your life and other projects you are involved in?

    Picture Credit:
    First picture:
    Second picture:

    Tuesday, September 23, 2014

    No-Outs Dodgeball

    The rules are the same as dodgeball, but there are no outs!

    • 10-15 dodgeballs
    • 5-8 cones
    Set Up: Split the court in half and spread the balls on the half-court line evenly. Use the cones to create a line on both halves of the playing field. When a player is hit, they have to stand behind the line of cones on their side of the court and cannot cross it. They can still throw balls to hit the other team to get them out. If a player who can still cross the cones catches a ball, a player who was stuck behind the cones can become unstuck. If any player (including those who are stuck behind the cones) catches a ball, the person who threw the ball is now stuck behind the cones. The team left with players able to cross the cones wins.

    Here is a drawing of how the court looks when set-up:
    The triangles represent the cones and the circles are the dodgeballs.

    Lessons Learned
    Communication - did those who could cross the line give balls to those who could not?
    Keep trying - even if we get "hit with a dodgeball", we can still do our best and help others
    Work with our limitations

    Picture Credit:

    Thursday, September 11, 2014

    NCTRC Study Tips

    The last post was about NCTRC Application Tips so I figured now would be a good time to share some study tips and resources.

    • Create a study group! 
    • Study a little each day
    • Most importantly, TAKE PRACTICE EXAMS! This is what will make you feel most prepared for the exam
      • Study the practice exams you took and look up any additional material that you have questions on
    • Answer the question based on which model they are asking about, not how you would respond

    Here is what I used to prepare for the exam:
    What study aids did you use? What tips can you share for those preparing for the exam?

    If you are confused about the application process, click here for some tips. Good luck!

    Thursday, September 4, 2014

    NCTRC Application Tips

    The application process to take the NCTRC exam can be confusing. So here are the steps to apply. Hopefully this helps answer any questions you have!

    1. Fill out the Application
      • Fill out by paper copy to fax, email, or mail in:
        • Mailing Address: 7 Elmwood Drive, New City, New York 10956
        • Email Address:
        •  Fax Number: (845) 639-1471
      • Fill out online (you will need to create an account): 
        • Create an account:
        • If you already have an account, sign-in:
      • *If you are still completing your internship, do NOT fill out page 3
    2. Pay to take the test: $400 if you've completed your degree, $425 if you are still completing your degree (completing your internship)
    3. Send in your transcript. You can do this through email or mail (typically email is cheaper so that is what I did)
      • *Do NOT send to yourself first and then to them. They will not accept it. It must go straight from the University to the NCTRC
        • The NCTRC contact information is under step one
      • *If you are still completing your internship, send in your current transcript, and later you will send in the one after your degree has been awarded
    4. Wait to get your acceptance letter to take the exam and study in the meantime!
    5. The letter will have two important parts:
      • "Degree:" It will either say "Awarded" or "Degree not awarded"
      • "Field Placement:" It will either say "Not yet verified" or "Verified"
      • *You can still sit for the exam either way, but you will not be officially certified until they have proof of your degree and your field placement has been verified
    6. Once your internship is complete, fill-out page three and send it in!
    7. If your degree had not been awarded, but you have now finished your degree: Request for your university to send your transcript to the NCTRC
      • *Check with your university to find out when the final grades and such will be updated on your transcript - for my university, our transcripts were ready one week after graduation
    8.  If your field placement has not been verified, you will need to send in these two forms:
      • *Fill out the portion labeled "Section to be Completed by Applicant" and send in to the NCTRC. They will forward them to your supervisors to fill out their section labeled "Section to be completed by Field Placement Supervisor." If you choose to fill it out and then have your supervisors fill it out without sending it to the NCTRC between, you will have to get it notarized.
        • The NCTRC contact information is under step one
      • Academic Field Placement Verification Form: 

      • Agency Field Placement Verification Form:

    9. 30 days before you will sit for the exam, a letter will come in the mail for you to set up your exam date, time, and place.
      • *If you have moved since filling out the application, simply call the NCTRC at (845) 639-1439 and tell them your new address.
    10.  Study, study, study! You're gonna do great!!!
    If you have any tips you would like to pass on, please feel free to leave comments!

    If you are looking for some study tips as well, click here, and good luck!

    Monday, September 1, 2014

    Penny Rafts

    • 10 straws per 2 people
    • Masking tape
    • 100 pennies
    • 1 pan with an inch or two of water for every 8 participants
    • One pair of scissors for every 2 people (Optional - do not have to use if you do not feel safe with your clients having scissors)

    Pair the students up and give them 10 straws and some masking tape. Tell them they each have 10 minutes (or allow the activity to go as long as they are enjoying it) to build a boat that can float. When the time is up, bring the groups together and have them all put their boats in the pan of water. Then have each group add one penny into their boat at a time until their boat sinks. The total number of pennies in their boat before it sank is their official total.
    If you have time, allow them to build a second raft and repeat the process.
    *You can make this competitive against each other or have them compete against themselves (compare how many pennies the first raft could hold vs how many pennies the second raft could hold).

    Lessons Learned
    Teamwork: how their team worked together and what made them successful
    Communication: the different ways they communicated with each other
    Problem solving: what techniques they used
    If you have them compete against themselves, talk about how they may not be great at something the first time but they can get better through trying (talk about endurance, etc.)
    Talk about what the pennies can represent: things that they must juggle in life and what might be heavier than other things (especially drugs, alcohol, etc.); pennies could represent the different coping skills they need to use and how to effectively use each of them
    Forgiveness: talk about how forgiveness can take a few of those pennies out of their raft and make life better

    Photo credit