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Chenoa was a Middlesex Community College intern last semester and we asked her to share some of her experience with us. It has been wonderful watching her grow and learn more about working with kids in our Discovery AfterSchool Program. Here is her first guest blog.

If you’re interested in signing your child up for Discovery AfterSchool classes, our fall semester registration is open and we have many fun classes in art, math, and science. Classes start the week of September 12, 2016. Call us to set up an appointment or fill out the application materials online and send in to us.

A Change in Perspective

Before starting my internship at the Green Street Discovery AfterSchool Program, the only experience I’d had with kids working at Russell Library in the Children’s Section. My attitude towards kids was usually one of standing in the background and observing. I was never the disciplinary type because I didn’t have confidence in my abilities to play that role. I also don’t remember a lot about my childhood. Because of this, I had a really hard time relating to kids. I wasn’t able to remember what it was like in certain grades or when I was even their age. I felt like kids would pick up that and realize I didn’t know what it was like to be in their shoes.


For the first week as a new teaching assistant, I stayed on the perimeter of the group to observe. When the kids would act up every now and then, I would say something like, “Guys, are you listening to what the teacher just said?” I had to go out of my comfort zone of normally being an introvert to having to be more assertive. I quickly realized, that this technique of being on the perimeter and trying to be assertive from the outside was not effective. So after watching a few “how to get children to listen to you” videos via YouTube, I realized that a huge reason as to why the kids weren’t listening to me was because I was not on their level – literally.

So, I became a part of the class, participating in activities with the kids. And the kids started listening to me. I used consistency, persistence, and also assertiveness so the kids knew that I deserved the same amount of respect that they gave other authority figures. And they knew I would respect them too.

I became a friendly face, and ear, they could confide in. Every now and then there would be a kid who was normally well behaved but for some reason, didn’t want to participate. I would pull them aside and by simply listening to them talk about what had happened that day helped. I would listen and would ask a few questions to build rapport with the kids. I wanted them to know that they could confide in me and that if they didn’t want to confide in me at the moment, I was ready to listen to them if that changed. Through listening to what some of the kids told me, I started to put the pieces together as to how the kids deal with things in school or how it effected their day.

Once I started participating and listening, my empathy towards these kids grew. I started to understand why kids acted certain ways and also what things I could do to help them feel better and get back on track in class. My impression now is that, while there are some kids who are going to act out due to issues at home or in school, there are a lot of kids who just want someone to talk to where they can be themselves. I went from having a more cautious view of kids, to tearing up on the last day of the program. At the Solstice Performance, I saw each one of the kids I had worked with go on stage and really shine. These kids grew on me. And for once in my life, I finally started to feel, and maybe even remember, what its like to be a kid again.

Check out the completed calendar of Science Safety workshops for the 2016/2017 school year.   We will be hosting a new workshop in August for custodial maintenance, so save the date.2016-17 CSSN calendar Draft Final

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: Peter Van Siclen


The Green Street African drumming ensemble has been learning a lot this semester. At our Student Showcase, they will wish family and friends a relaxing summer by performing the Liberian folksong “Take Time in Life”.

In addition to djembes, bells and rattles, students will also play saxophone, piano and sing!

Lovette JohnsonOn Saturday, May 14th ,  long-time artistic collaborators, Jocelyn Pleasant and Lovette Caesar-Johnson will provide an exciting program of African drumming and dancing at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center from 11:00a.m.-12:00p.m.   This FREE community workshop will draw upon the rich rhythms and celebratory songs of West African cultures.  It’s a family-oriented program that will be both entertaining, informative and energizing for young and old.   Come dance with us as the drum beats speak!

Also,  before or after our community dance workshop on May 14th, stop in to chat with us about our upcoming fall AfterSchool program.  We will be holding an open registration day for the Green Street Discovery AfterSchool program on that same day from 10:30a.m.-1:00p.m.  During our fall AfterSchool program, we’ll be offering a wide assortment of arts and science classes on Monday through Friday for children in grades 1-5, as well as, an inspiring Friday offering for middle school students, WesleyanBound.  This unique class provides a fun, valuable opportunity for students in grades 6-8 to gain exposure to the college experience through weekly treks to Wesleyan’s campus in order to meet student leaders and faculty, to tour art exhibits, science labs and sports facilities, and to visit college classes and performances. Our classes will fill quickly, so be sure to bring your $25 deposit to ensure your child’s fall class choices.

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: Danielle Schmitt


For the last month, students in the Introduction to Photoshop course have been learning how to use the Shape tool in Photoshop. They have learned how to make geometric and organic shapes, how to change the size of the shape, how to rotate it, as well as how to change its style or color. Students first practiced using the shape tool and changing the styles.

Computer work

After they learned the basics of manipulating the shape tool, they were given a basic cityscape to manipulate by adding or subtracting buildings, adding additional symbols, and bringing images in from our previous digital collage project.



Computer art


Finally, students were asked to imagine an alien family and to put them in a background of their choosing. Students used their previous skills of using the shape tool to create an alien. With teacher assistance, they were able to copy more than one alien into the same picture. They then chose a background off the internet to add to their composition. Students put their aliens in places like outer space, a backyard pool, even a dance club!




Computer screen




Green Street 042916Visit FroyoWorld on Main Street in Middletown on Friday, April 29th between 5:00-8:00pm to help support Green Street! 20% of all sales will be donated to Green Street to support our youth programs.
Our Discovery AfterSchool Program serves primarily children in Grades 1-5 from all corners of Middletown, many from our neighborhood here in the North End. We also have a unique middle school class offering on Fridays called Wesleyan Bound where students are exposed to a college campus. They get to participate in workshops with student leaders, talk to professors, tour galleries and laboratories, and more.
It is never to early to start thinking about registration for Fall 2016 classes!  We will be opening registration in late May so stay tuned for more information or call us  (860-685-7871) to be put on a notification list and we’ll let you know when registration is open.

HOT Schools – Internship positions available

Connecticut Office of the Arts Higher Order Thinking (HOT) Schools™ in partnership with Wesleyan’s Green Street Center for Teaching and Learning is offering two internships to Wesleyan University or Middlesex Community College Students.

This is a unique opportunity for organized, tech savvy individuals interested in the elements of planning, developing, implementing and coordinating particular aspects of the HOT Schools program including the HOT Schools Summer Institute (SI). The SI is an intensive interactive arts education experience for 200 plus artists, teachers, administrators and parents engaged in school culture change through strong arts, arts integration, and democratic practice. For more information about the HOT Schools Program visit www.higherorderthinkingschools.org

To apply: Please send a resume and letter of interest to hotschools@wesleyan.edu by April 15th, 2016.

Arts in Education (AE) Conference Planning Interns

Duration: The AE Conference Planning Interns will work from May 31 – July 21, 2016

Description: Participating in event design, planning and implementation
• Research and compile relevant resources
• Assisting in creation of promotional materials
• Managing multiple data systems (school reports and plans, on-line registrations and surveys, etc.)
• Organizing materials and supplies for presenters
• Networking with educators, artists and presenters
• General clerical duties (copying, filing, assembling materials, etc.)

Qualifications: The candidate for this position should be a self-starter with strong writing skills, be proficient in using excel and Google docs and have general clerical skills. The position requires flexibility, strong interpersonal skills and an interest in working collaboratively. Drivers license and access to a vehicle preferred.

Payment: $10.00 per hour
May 31 – June 17 at 20 hours a week
June 20 – July 21 at 40 hours a week

Connecticut River Hartford #1_mixed media on birch wood_30x22 inches_2015

Connecticut River Hartford #1_mixed media on birch wood_30x22 inches_2015

In conjunction with the Wesleyan University’s Center for the Arts’ second annual Feet to the Fire: Riverfront Encounter, an environmental-arts festival to be held on May 7th on Middletown’s riverfront, Dr. Deborah A. Simmons, Ed. D. will show her latest mixed media work in A River Runs at Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.  The exhibit will open with a reception on Thursday, April 28th from 5:30-7:30p.m.  Simmons, an accomplished visual artist and a professor in Manchester Community College’s music studies program demonstrates her profound appreciation and reverence for the river’s beauty, history and environmental impact via intriguing mixed media works wherein she manipulates enlarged Xeroxed sections of navigational charts of the Connecticut River.  While the river, itself has inspired Simmons’ own curiosity about its history and aboriginal inhabitants, the resulting artworks provoke a sense of enchantment and wonder in the viewer— for these mysterious waterway locations of long ago.  A River Runs will be on view through June 1st.

The gallery at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center is open to the public Mondays through Fridays from 9a.m. to 3p.m.

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: Danielle Schmitt

Children’s Literature Edition produced these colorful and vibrant chalk pastel drawings. These works were produced in tandem with the book Snowmen at Night by Caralyn and Mark Buehner.  Students listened to the story and afterwards were asked to create what their snowman would do at night. Students used chalk pastels on black and blue construction paper to create vivid depictions of snowmen drinking ice cold cocoa and sledding down a hill.  Some students also attempted to show a definitive light and shadow source in their work. All students also learned how to preserve their chalk pastel drawings with hair spray to prevent the chalk from coming off their work.
Snowman1 Snowman2 Snowman3 Snowman4 Snowman5
These works are currently on display on the first floor hallway at the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center.

AfterSchoolBelieve it or not, it’s that time of year when we begin the process of creating the Fall 2016 schedule of classes for the Green Street AfterSchool program.  We are asking that everyoneeven our current staff of teaching artists, send in proposals for consideration.  This means that if you are currently teaching any class during the AfterSchool program (even long-established classes), you must make your interest known via our online survey in order to potentially continue teaching your current class (or, in order to propose any new ideas for classes).

Please submit your class proposal(s) in our on-line survey.

Please note that the Fall 2016 AfterSchool session runs from Sept. 12- Dec. 9, 2016.  Teachers will also be expected to attend a 2.5 hour-long staff orientation with a pizza lunch prior to the program’s start.   That training program will likely run from that training program will likely run from 11:30am- 2:00pm. on Sat., Sept. 10th.   Teachers are also required to attend the semester’s culminating evening Solstice performance on Friday, Dec.9, 2016, as well as to participate in any needed rehearsals earlier that week.

Green Street serves about 80 students per year through our AfterSchool Program. We are looking for class proposals in music, visual art, culture, languages, movement, nutrition, media, other arts disciplines, environment, science, and math. We would be particularly pleased to hear your ideas for classes that integrate art, math, and science in a fun, enriching, hands-on way that children may not be exposed to during their traditional school day experience.

AfterSchool classes are primarily offered for children in grades 1-5.   As of fall 2015, the only AfterSchool class that is offered for 6th-8th graders is our Wesleyan Bound class which occurs on Fridays from 3:15-5:15pm). The classes for elementary-age children meet once per week and are one hour-long (4:15-5:15p.m., Monday-Friday). We also offer a homework help time from 5:15-5:45p.m. on Monday through Thursday for children in grades 1-5 only.  Teaching one of these elementary level classes involves 1.5 hours of commitment per class including prep time.   Leading the WesleyanBound class for middle school students involves 2.5 hours of commitment per class including prep time.  Teaching any of our classes requires conversations with teaching assistants, staff meetings, at least one blog submission per semester, and also requires attendance at the evening Solstice performance (Dec. 9th) and at the Solstice rehearsals (during the week prior to the December 9th performance).

Community artists, educators, and Wesleyan students are eligible to submit a class proposal. Please understand that classes are contingent on student enrollment.  Compensation is in-line with experience. Work study students are encouraged to apply.  However, unlike working as a teaching assistant or as a homework tutor during the AfterSchool program, Wesleyan students should know that you are not required be a work-study student in order to receive payment for teaching an AfterSchool class.   The deadline for submitting class proposals is Wednesday, March 16, 2016.  Individuals are welcome to submit proposals for more than one class, although we would ask you to complete a separate on-line survey for each class proposal that you wish to submit.  We will notify applicants of chosen class proposals and have a finalized schedule of classes ready approximately sometime in late May.



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