Monday, June 15, 2009

University of Values--Getting started

We started small. Thirteen of our nineteen kids showed up on the first day. The small group allowed the teachers to spend time getting to know their kids and getting used to the program--a true luxury in a world where "numbers" are often the measure of success.

Watching kids intrigues me. Seeing kids excited about learning reminds me why I love my job. Aviant and Justice provided that reminder yesterday.

As we watched a short video on paper recycling, Justice and Aviant couldn't keep their hands from shooting up with new thoughts and ideas. When I suggested that the teachers show the video, I had hopes that the video might inspire our group to have a recycling team. But Aviant took it a step further. He explained that he lived in the Roseland neighborhood and they could collect paper from their neighbors. Other children offered to bring boxes from home to collect the paper. Some suggestions were made to put a sign up outside the program so that people would know to bring their paper to us so that we could recycle it.

We talked about having a competition between classes or maybe just to set a goal for the program to weigh the paper each time and see how much paper we could recycle this summer.

Already, the kids are strengthening their critical thinking skills, which may even lead to developing math and other academic skills.

The teachers are learning, too.

Lauren couldn't figure out how to engage one of the kids in her class. He kept wanting to play on the computer. But when they went outside, he noticed her camera and was intrigued. He wanted to help document the process. She now has the opportunity to teach him about digital photography, documentation, listening, and observing.

The teachers are carefully noting how the kids respond to different activities and scenarios. As a result, the teachers are learning to be more prepared, how to create expectations, and learning to listen to the kids to figure out where their interests lie.

I am excited about the possibilities from the kids and the teachers! Keep up the good work, team!
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