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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 – “Learning from Unexpected Results”

by Josephine Ho

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One of the first words that was introduced to the campers was “hypothesis”. The emphasis on making a hypothesis was notable throughout the camp. Instead of being spoon-fed information, the campers were encouraged to discover science in a very real way.

The camp did not only allow them to discover science in a memorable way but it also helped them develop a sense of curiosity, which could eventually turn into a love of learning. I was happy to see that the girls were encouraged to make mistakes and to understand that science isn’t always perfect. When the campers did not get any DNA from their DNA extraction session, without prompting, they came up with possible reasons why the extraction did not work for them. It was reassuring that they understand from a very young age that a hypothesis could be wrong and that scientific experiments do not always produce the results that we desire.

What matters the most is that we learn something from those experiments.

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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 – “Helping Each Other Learn”

by Josephine Ho

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The campers from this year consisted of girls from different grades (4, 5, and 6). Naturally, some of them were more advanced than others. This gap created an opportunity for older girls to help younger ones learn.

As a teaching assistant, I was delighted to have a glimpse into the thought process of the campers as they explained difficult concepts to each other. It was a wonderful experience both for me and the campers who were on the receiving end of the teaching. More importantly, it was a great way to know if the campers have grasped the topic at hand.

An activity that deliberately encouraged teaching and learning among campers was the Taboo-like review game that we played on the last day. The campers were split into two teams. Each team sent one representative who had to guess a word from the vocabulary that we learned throughout the week. The rest of the team members were in charge of helping their reps guess the word by explaining the word with scientific facts; no clues on the component of the word was allowed.

Although we did not manage to go through a lot of words, the session was an eye-opener for me. I saw how certain concepts could be explained simply with a 6th grade vocabulary.

 

It’s almost time for Discovery AfterSchool and we have Liberty Bank to thank for our scholarship pool this year. The Green Street Teaching and Learning Center of Wesleyan University was awarded $3,000 for the 2016-2017 school year to support our AfterSchool students. Liberty Bank is a long-time supporter of Green Street and we appreciate their continued support every year!

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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.

During the month of September, we will be displaying the work of Litchfield artist Suzan Scott.

graphite and gouache on Yupo paper, 7 x 10 inches, 2014

graphite and gouache on Yupo paper, 7 x 10 inches, 2014

Both a constant observer and interpreter of the natural world, Scott’s artwork represents the poetic intersection of her interests in art and science.  Reflecting back over her creation of this series entitled nightwatch, Scott remarks:  “As daylight fails, our world changes; the things we know to ‘be’ withdraw; colors fade, shapes merge, edges blur, sky slips into dusky ‘not quite black’ hues, and stars, invisible by day, pierce the dark. A parallel world emerges, one that is vast and deep, mysterious and primal, set in darkness –  the world at night.”

Scott’s alluring and magical nighttime interpretations  of this “parallel world” of the dark will be on exhibit from Sept. 1-28 with an  opening reception on Thursday, September 1 from 5-7p.m.  The gallery is located at 51 Green Street and is open accessible to the public from 9a.m. to 3p.m. on Mondays through Fridays.

 

Chenoa “Dakota” Summer 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 final 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.

Looking At Myself After Green Street

The first day I started at Green Street, I was out of my element. There was usual commotion that came from being the first day of the semester and also a half day schedule. However, I felt a bit terrified in this new environment and I went home that first day exhausted and overwhelmed. I remember thinking that this might not be the right kind of internship for me. I even went to my advisor to express my doubts. She told me to stick with it for a few weeks and to talk about how I was feeling with my supervisors and the staff. If it still was not the right fit, we would work something else out. Luckily, after that first day, and the first week, things improved and I took away three important lessons.

One, I quickly learned that I distanced myself from the kids because I didn’t know how to work with them. I would stand on the perimeter in class and think that the kids hated me because they didn’t want to listen to what I had to say. It wasn’t until later when I realized the reason that they didn’t take me seriously was because I wasn’t on their level physically and wasn’t participating with them. Once I starting participating with them in class they grew to see me as a friendly authority figure. To maintain that respect, I found that being consistent but also kind and good-humored was very important in working with children.

Two, I learned that I have a lot more endurance than I thought I did. At the end of the first week, I was completely exhausted. As the weeks progressed, I would still be tired by the end of the week but I would give all I had each day and it paid off. Despite juggling five classes and the internship, I was still taking initiative and would follow up with my supervisors if I had questions or concerns. In fact, I learned a lot about the kids from asking my supervisors how to address behavior and also how to reach them better.

And three, the last thing I learned was how quickly I could grow despite being at this internship for only a matter of weeks. This growth was more apparent to those around me then it was to myself until the end of the semester. This was evident when I was presented with the award of “Most Valuable Player of the Green Street AfterSchool Staff.” To my utter surprise, every single kid in the room clapped for me, even the ones who I thought didn’t like me much. And it wasn’t just any regular old clap; it was an extended round of applause! This specific moment, among others, at Green Street’s Discovery AfterSchool Program will always stick with me.

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 second 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.

Learning From Others

At Green Street. I was assigned to three different classes based on my interests in music and art – African Drumming with Mr. Peter, 3D Art and Math with Ms. Renee and Sing From the Heart with Ms. Liz. What I learned from working with these instructors will help me work better with children and also with people in general in any service field.

PatienceAfrican Drumming is a popular, inherently loud, class hosting a wide range of students with differing interests, abilities, and energy levels. Mr. Peter, had a huge amount of patience. No matter how long it would take, Mr. Peter would wait until every single person was paying attention. He would also ask me for my input, which was awesome because I got to help create a positive learning environment and it boosted my own confidence.

Confidence – In 3D Art and Math, I would watch the different projects the kids were working on like working popsicle stick Ferris wheels or cereal box castles. Sometimes I’d try to help a student who wanted Ms. Renee to help them instead of me. Ms. Renee would tell them that if I was trying to help them, that I deserved the same respect they gave to her. That boosted my own confidence and also helped set the stage for how I could assist the kids with future projects.

Fairness Sing From the Heart was on Fridays and we all know the end of the week is tough as we wait for the weekend. Ms. Liz was really good at creating a fair classroom. What I mean by this is that if there were kids who weren’t listening, they wouldn’t get to have the things that they wanted (like solos). But those who were behaving did get those prized parts. This taught the kids that they can’t always get everything that they want, and I think that’s an important lesson to learn. It also helped them learn to work as a group so everyone could succeed. Some students who wanted to sing felt inhibited because they didn’t have the confidence like the popular kids to perform in front of everybody. If I noticed this during a class, Ms. Liz and I as a team, would try to boost the child’s confidence and eventually they had their moment where everybody clapped for them.

By working with these teaching artists, I was able to build my patience, confidence, creativity, and also my ability of being able to judge what was fair for the situation at hand. These additions to my professional tool belt will help me on my journey of helping others. Most importantly, I think that the kids learned some of these things too and that is a reminder that we have things to learn from every experience, if we look for them.

B_Klingher_LilyDuring the month of August, the Green Street Teaching and Learning Center of Wesleyan University will be displaying the work of Connecticut teaching artist, Beth Klingher.

After spending ten years teaching math in New Haven public schools, Klingher continues to work as a teaching artist in schools throughout Connecticut where she is known for exploring the connections between math and art.  Her exhibit at Green Street, Art in Pieces, highlights her mosaic art.  Each of her imaginative mosaic constructions is a symphony of visual and tactile materials–  glass, ceramic, stone, and pottery.  This lively exhibit of abstract geometric designs, stunning undulating landscapes and playful patterns of color is a joyful concert for the eye that is not to be missed.

Klingher’s  Art in Pieces  will be on view from August 4- 24th with an opening reception on August 4th from 5-7p.m.  The  gallery’s summer hours are Monday through Thursday from 9a.m.- 5p.m. and Fridays from 9a.m.- noon.

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.

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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

Drumming

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!

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