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Jessica Torres is a Middlesex Community College student completing a Human Services internship here at Green Street this semester as a teaching assistant in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. She will be making several blog posts and reflections during her time here for an inside look at our AfterSchool classes.

Working with Ms. Renee

By: Jessica Torres

miss. renee class

Over my two months volunteering at Green Street, I really enjoy the Beads, Baubles, Boxes, and Beans class with Ms. Renee. The kids always have so much fun doing the projects she designs. We have decorated masks, jewelry boxes, pumpkins, bookmarks, and more.

Spending one day a week in this class, I have noticed Ms. Renee’s passion for and dedication to her instruction and most of all, to the students. She makes every class exciting for the students and knows just how to keep their attention. She knows how to bring the class from more rowdy state to a nice and calm level when needed.

One technique I have noticed that she uses to redirect a student when they are having a hard time is to nicely tell them it is time to be quiet and pay attention to the instructions. She says it in a funny high pitched voice though and that makes the students laugh yet lets them know that they need to listen at that moment. I admire this approach because it shows that you can use a positive, humorous approach to help students get focused or redirected.

I also admire how Ms. Renee is very open minded and always willing to listen when a student is very upset about how their project came out. The student will point out all the negative things they see with their finished product but Ms. Renee points out all the unique things she sees. This always seems to make the child feel a lot better and helps them to see the good in their situation. Art is unique and the students all get to show that in their own ways with Ms. Renee’s guided techniques and positive approach.

Our Discovery AfterSchool Instructors share stories from their classes in this guest blog series Discovery AfterSchool Stories. For more information on our AfterSchool Program, please visit – http://wesleyan.edu/greenstreet/youth/afterschool.html.

By Katie Murray and Justin Ali

Justin and KidsIn Science Club, this semester five energetic young scientists have explored animals, the environment, phase changes, and chemical reactions.

During our first meeting, we studied density and tried to mix water, oil, and molasses only to find out that their differing densities caused them to stack on top of each other.

The next week, we switched gears and went on a short field trip to Green Street’s outdoor garden to collect flowers, seeds, tomatoes, and herbs so that we could dissect them and map out the parts of our plants.

We spent several weeks looking at phase changes and defining liquids, solids, and gases. We mixed baking soda with different liquids in order to see which combinations reacted to form a gas. We found out that baking soda and vinegar made lots of bubbles and created a chemical reaction. Later on, the students made oobleck to explore how cornstarch and water interact to make something that is not quite solid, but is not completely liquid either. One week we even made some tasty butter out of heavy cream to show how energy can sometimes be used to induce phase changes and turn liquids into a solids.

Science Club is a lot of fun to teach because the kids come in each week excited to experiment, learn, and watch science in action. We love teaching this class because it helps dispel negative views that science is too boring or too difficult to be fun and opens the door for students to become interested in exploring and learning how things work.

Katie and Kids

Jessica Torres is a Middlesex Community College student completing a Human Services internship here at Green Street this semester as a teaching assistant in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. She will be making several blog posts and reflections during her time here for an inside look at our AfterSchool classes.

By: Jessica Torres

This week, I noticed that the group of children I am with had a really great time in their classes. They showed a great deal of ownership in the projects and activities.

In Sign Language, the children had to spell out their name in sign on their own. Two students in particular, Ariana and Jesaidy, were so happy because they had been practicing at home and we’re excited to show the rest of the class they could do it. After this activity, we started practicing how to use sign language to sing a song we will be performing soon. The idea of our first performance makes for a good goal the students are looking forward to and inspires even more at home practice.

In Environmental Science, Miss Katy came up with a game to learn what types of animals are omnivores, herbivores and carnivores. First, the children had to pick the name of an animal from a bucket and act the animal out so that their friends could guess what type of animal it was. Second, Miss Katy set up different stations – one had meat, one had plants, and one had fruit. The children had to decide what animal belonged in which station. The animals included giraffes, and pandas, and bears, oh my! They all were excited for this game because they got to move around the room and work with their friends.

Jessica Torres is a Middlesex Community College student completing a Human Services internship here at Green Street this semester as a teaching assistant in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. She will be making several blog posts and reflections during her time here for an inside look at our AfterSchool classes.

Black Girl Linguistic Play at Green Street

By: Jessica Torres

This week, contemporary dancer Camille Brown brought her production Black Girl: Linguistic Play to Wesleyan University. One of her dancers came to Green Street to run a special dance assembly for our AfterSchool students. I participated in helping the children learn different dance moves in the workshop using dance moves from Black Girl: Linguistic Play.

To start, guest dancer Beatrice had all the children introduce themselves by doing their favorite dance move. Some of the children were too shy but their friends encouraged them by showing off their own creative moves. After introductions, Beatrice had all the children spread out and face the mirror in the room – it was time to dance! We had a guest drummer, Jocelyn, there too to help get us moving.

Move 1 – Put your arms up and move your hands up and down.

Move 2 – Add in shrugging your shoulders.

Move 3 – Put your legs together and shake your knees.

Move 4 – Step one leg front, step it back into place, and then clap once do the same with the other leg.

Move 5 – Skip sideways with your right arm up and wiggle your finger, switch sides and repeat with left arm.

Move 6 – Whip and nae nae (a current popular dance move).

Once all the children learned each move, we put all the moves together. The children were laughing and having fun as we danced altogether.

Beatrice and Jocelyn really knew how to get all the children involved. I can truly say it was a fun experience for the children and for all the teachers and myself.

Jessica Torres is a Middlesex Community College student completing a Human Services internship here at Green Street this semester as a teaching assistant in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. She will be making several blog posts and reflections during her time here for an inside look at our AfterSchool classes.

Week Two – Dolphins, Flowers, and Shaving Cream

By: Jessica Torres

shavingcreamMy second week at Green Street was even better than my first. In Sign Language class, the kids enjoyed an activity about their favorite animals. They drew a picture of their favorite animal and the teacher looked up how to say each animal name in sign language. The children were really interested in saying the names of the animals using their hands instead of their voices. They also did a good job memorizing their friends’ favorite animals using sign language too. I can admit that I thought it was cool to learn to sign my favorite animal, a dolphin.

In Environmental Science, we took a field trip into the gardens at Green Street. The kids each picked different types of leaves and small flowers from outside. Once back in the classroom, we learned a few facts and examine the leaves and flowers.

In Beads, Baubles, Boxes, and Beans Class, I had so much fun helping the children create a small canvas using paint and shaving cream. The children were amazed at how the shaving cream with drops of paint inside instantly stained the canvas with different bright colors. I spend time on Pinterest looking for different kinds of children’s art crafts or projects and the shaving cream technique was a new one for me.

At the end of the week, Ms. Sandy and Ms. Cookie let me know that they really appreciate the help I am giving to the Spanish-speaking students. They also said they appreciate that I take the time out to help with little tasks such as fixing the table and chairs once the children have left for the day. These comments made me feel good and helped me realize that my work at the Green Street does not go unnoticed.

Jessica Torres is a Middlesex Community College student completing a Human Services internship here at Green Street this semester as a teaching assistant in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. She will be making several blog posts and reflections during her time here for an inside look at our AfterSchool classes.

My First Week as an Intern

By: Jessica Torres

IMG_2116My first week as an intern at Green Street was both exciting and nerve wracking. Although I had previously volunteered at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center, for some reason, working there this time around made me more nervous. My first day, I felt out of my element. I was unsure as to how I should help the staff members or if I should take initiative and help children in a way that I felt was necessary. I observed how other experienced teaching assistants gave a helping hand and it gave me a little push.

My second day at the Center, I was determined to step out of my comfort zone. Although I was nervous, I made sure to interact with the children as they came into the building and ate their snack. I wanted to get to know them and make them feel comfortable because I knew they must have been a little nervous too.

I felt like a true part of the team when Ms. Cookie asked me to read the class schedule and the class attendance roll call that day. I was also given the opportunity to help two new girls attending with translating because they can only speak Spanish. At first they were a little shy but by the third day working with them, the girls felt comfortable with me. They made jokes and let me know whenever they needed something. Being given the opportunity and responsibility to help these girls made me feel more comfortable and involved.

I’m excited to see what comes next.

We had three amazing college students work with us to deliver the Girls in Science Camp at Green Street and serve as role models for the campers. This year, those young women were Josephine Ho, Mackenzie Schlosser, and Victoria Barr. In this six-part series, they share their experiences and favorite moments of the week.

Girls in Science Camp Reflection – “Light it Up! Learning About Circuitry”

by Victoria Barr

Girls in Science_2On Thursday during the Girls in Science Camp, I helped Dr. Candice Etson teach our campers how to build their own circuits using breadboards and lights. First we showed them how to wire a light bulb to a pack with two D batteries; once they understood how their breadboards worked, we let them play with LEDs. We gave the girls six LEDs of different colors as well as one multi-colored LED, which they could wire differently to create up to eight colors. Dr. Etson also asked them to measure the voltages across and currents running through both types of lights—these results helped them to understand how LEDs are more energy-efficient than traditional light bulbs.

Girls in ScienceAlthough electronics can be a very challenging topic for anyone, the girls showed great understanding of and enthusiasm for circuitry. One requirement for this part of the day was that everyone stay extra quiet and attentive since electronics can be dangerous when handled incorrectly, but the girls were the most focused they had been all week! Watching them all experiment individually was extremely satisfying, especially when one camper figured out how to expand the number of LEDs she could hook up by wiring one part of the breadboard to another.

We had three amazing college students work with us to deliver the Girls in Science Camp at Green Street and serve as role models for the campers. This year, those young women were Josephine Ho, Mackenzie Schlosser, and Victoria Barr. In this six-part series, they share their experiences and favorite moments of the week.

Girls in Science Camp Reflection – “Measurement & Bacteria Activities”

by Mackenzie Schlosser

Girls in ScienceI was Dr. Erika Taylor’s assistant for the camp, and we focused on learning about measurement and cells. The first set of activities we did served to get the girls acquainted with the metric system and the ways in which we measure temperature, volume, length, and weight. For temperature, the girls learned to make hypotheses and read a thermometer for containers or water, ice, hot water, and dry ice water. We measured the length of the hallway in made up units like notebook lengths or the heights of individual campers, then calculated the final length in centimeters. Being able to give scale to and calculate the things we study is important and it helped the girls think more scientifically.

Girls in Science_2Once we learned how teeny tiny bacteria were, we moved on to where and how they grow. This activity was fun. Everyone got a few petri dishes of media and got to swab anything they wanted so they could make hypotheses about how much bacteria would grow. I picked my shoes, bathroom scale, phone, keys, and watch. The girls picked things like grapes, the toilet, the floors, and a tree. After letting them grow overnight, we got to see which cultures were largest. It was great to give them a taste of what we study and show how bacteria are everywhere.

During the month of October, we will be host the exhibit, Two Sisters: Woven Together with Photographs and Quilts.  Two sisters, Roslyn N. Carrier-Brault, fine art photographer, Middletown, CT and Jan N. Unghire, Quilter, Sweet Pea Quilts, Ivoryton, CT, will share in an artistic collaboration featuring the disparate yet intertwined media within which they each work.   The exhibit will run from October 6th through 27th with an opening reception on Thursday, October 6, 2016 from 6-8 p.m.

R_C_Brault_Out on the Limb_26x34_digital collage J_Unghire_Painted Quilt w_Assorted Panels_64x57ink on quilted cotton

 

The gallery is located at 51 Green Street and is open to the public from 9a.m. to 3p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

 

 

We had three amazing college students work with us to deliver the Girls in Science Camp at Green Street and serve as role models for the campers. This year, those young women were Josephine Ho, Mackenzie Schlosser, and Victoria Barr. In this six-part series, they share their experiences and favorite moments of the week.

Girls in Science Camp Reflection – “Young People Have a Lot to Offer”

by Mackenzie Schlosser

Girls in Science_1I haven’t spent much time teaching girls this age, so I was initially a little nervous for how the week would go. I’ve done chemistry demonstrations for high schoolers, and we’ve always been conscious of the level of science education they had so that we would pick experiments that wouldn’t go over their heads. For the girls in science camp, we discussed so many exciting and advanced topics. We talked about DNA, nanoparticles, light, and many other things that I didn’t learn until at least middle school or high school.

I wasn’t necessarily surprised, but it was a fun experiment for me to see how quickly they all learned what we were teaching. I think this is a good lesson for everyone. Just because people are young, doesn’t mean they aren’t highly capable. Many adults try to dumb things down for younger people and think they’re immature. Working with all these really clever girls proved to me how important it is to challenge young people and hold them to high standards. More often than you’d think, they can meet and exceed your expectations.

Girls in Science_2

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