Tuesday, November 24, 2009

ASA Adventure

Picking up the ASA youth from school is an adventure. What you are about to see is just the first 5 minutes of the ASA, how the day starts by picking up the youth from school. Please continue to check out the ASA blog to see more about the everyday adventures at the ASA.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Education vs. Success

Last week in Teen U, the teens squared off for the battle of the month. The battle took place in the form of a debate. Their topic was whether or not money makes you successful. Divided into two groups, they were responsible for gathering as many resources as possible to help prove their points. All sorts of resources were used to ensure their team's victory. Some students spent lots of time searching the internet for information, while others conducted surveys in their community and at school. Over all, the debate was a great success and was the first of many more to come.

Shine on Jasmine

Terrance & Jasmine @ PVAMU

On Thursday, as I was getting ready to depart, a young woman and her aunt came to fill out the enrollment form for Teen U. It shocked me because Teen U isn't even open on Thursdays. It shocked me even more, that the next day, Jasmine, the young lady, was one of the first students there. Since her enrollment date, one of the only high school seniors in the Teen U program, attendance to Teen U has been constant. Although it takes a while for her to warm up to you; once she does you can see that she is certainly a shining star.

We originally planned a trip to Texas Women's University to attend on Saturday, November 21st. She was on of the first to return a permission slip. The Wednesday before the staff abruptly changed and decided to go to Prairie View A&M University for their annual Family & Friends Day. I received a phone call from her at about 11 o'clock on Thursday night from her pleading to reserve her spot and that she would turn in her permission slip the next day. Sure enough, Friday evening I had her permission slip and the next Saturday morning, she was here before I was ready to go to PV.

Once we got there, I saw her to slowly open up to not only myself, but other staff members, especially Ms. Janet. She's a senior and already so far behind in the process of continuing her education. She wants to do something in the medical field she told me while waiting our turn in the restroom. She is still very eager to visit TWU. (So, I'm pretty sure, we'll still be making a trip to Denton.) I know that she will begin to be proactive in this journey and I am glad to be apart of Teen U to be able to help her achieve her academic goal.

This is only the beginning of Miss Jasmine. I see her soaring above and beyond. One of the many success stories of Teen University in the making.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dr. Iesha

For the last two weeks I've been going to physical therapy to rehab my knee.

I'm a big believer in exposing kids to new opportunities and careers. So as I left therapy the first day, I asked my physical therapist if he would mind if I brought a kid with me the next time. He said he didn't think it would be a problem.

So...each time since, I have taken a different "kid" with me. Warzandrielle, a sophomore, was first. Hayzul, a 4th grader, was next. Brittany, a sophomore in college was next. Each of those guys seemed to enjoy the experience. Warzandrielle celebrated with me when I came home and told her my knee had healed enough for me to make an entire revolution on a stationary bike. Hayzul learned what a quadricep, a hamstring, and a calf muscle was. And Brittany decided that she just might want to change her major from Political Science to Sports Medicine.

So, tonight, when Danielle (our After-School Academy Coordinator) brought Iesha (2nd grader) to me, I thought she had asked someone too young. On the way there, I talked to her about what we were going to be doing. I asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up. She said a doctor. I figured at least that was a start.

Once there, as I worked on the bike and then the shuttle machine, I tried to give Iesha some similar activities so she could work the same muscles I was working. She did the exercises, but seemed just as content watching me and everyone else doing exercises.

After doing a few exercises, one of the therapists allowed Iesha to shut off the timer and asked if she was going to read the next exercise on the clipboard. Iesha, being as quiet and shy as she is, didn't respond. Feeling that it was ok for Iesha to look at the clipboard, I asked her if she was going to tell me the next activity. Next thing I knew, the beeper went off. Iesha took it upon herself to turn off the beeper, take the clipboard off of the counter, and begin to read me the next item on the list, "Is-o-met-ric..." she began.

She wasn't being silly. She was very intent on her job. She took on the role so well that I could see shock but a pleasant, surprised smile on my physical therapist's face as he watched her. He proceeded to ask Iesha what I was supposed to do next. Very intently, she looked at the chart and did her best to figure out which exercise was next and how to pronounce it. As we finished up, he smiled in a very pleased way and commented to her in a very genuine way, "We need to hire you!" He went on to say that child labor laws would prevent that, but I got the feeling that had Iesha been about 10 years older he would've hired her on the spot! When we left, my therapist very seriously asked her if she was going to come back.

As we got in the car, I loved watching the smile creep across her face as I told her from now on I was going to refer to her as Dr. Iesha.

Ask Iesha what she wants to be now and I think she just might tell you, "Phy-si-cal thera-pist." It's a big career with a hard name. We've just got to work on saying it.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

More Funny Bug and Funny Faces.

My class also played "Funny Bug" for KidzMath this week.
Here's what a few of the teams came up with:

My class also decided that they wanted to see how many funny faces they could make.
Here are a few of the faces they came up with.

Digital Connectors Begins

I can't believe its finally here!

Digital Connectors officially kicked off on Nov. 9th!
This week the 8 connectors spent time getting to know each other
by participating in silent interviews, ice breakers, and general discussion.
The connectors also spent time learning about their new mission as Digital Connectors as well the missions of One Economy Corporation, The Beehive, and Connectors Club.
We discussed topics in Leadership, Philanthropy, Diversity, Personal Development and Professional Development.

Next week, we'll be diving in to the topics such as the history of
Computers, Digital Literacy, Hardware, and Networks.

The DigiCon Crew researching famous philanthropists.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Shine On: Ladaysha

Last Thursday afternoon, I took my students out to water the garden.
Little did I know...I would be getting a lesson in gardening.

I thought it was simple.. grab the hose and spray the plants.
Ladaysha, one of our garden apprentices, quickly showed me there was more to gardening than just "grab the hose and spray the plants".

She explained to her classmates that we needed to check the rainfall catcher. She made sure we picked up the trash and anything else that didn't belong in our garden. After, we collected all of the things that didn't belong she instructed everyone on the proper techniques of watering the garden. Not only did she teach us how to water the garden she came up with a strategy for each person to have a turn to water the garden. "You can stand right here, Tytiana will water first, then she'll pass it to you, and then you water your section". I was really impressed by this. I was already anticipating having to devise a plan for each person to have a turn to water.

Ladaysha continued to impress me. Hakim, one of Mr. Phillip's students, joined us in the garden. Hakim was anxious to pick peas and peppers. Ladaysha said "Hakim...let me show you how to check to see if the vegetables are ready to be picked". She took a few minutes to give Hakim one-on-one instruction on how to pick the veggies. She then allowed Hakim to pick a pod of peas. His face lit up with joy and excitement. He was incredibly proud of the 6 peas he picked. So proud that he asked for a ziploc to hold his peas so he could show his mother.

Seconds after his mother walked in the door....he exclaimed "Mommy, look what I did...I picked peas from the garden. Will you cook them for me? "
She was just as excited and proud of him.

Kudos to Ladaysha for teaching everyone about the garden!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Something Beautiful Continued.

This week we finished our discussion on
"What can we do to make our community more beautiful?"

"We can clean up all the trash outside and then put trash cans around
so people can have somewhere to put their trash when they're outside".

"We can put benches at the park for the mommies to watch they're kids play at the park".

"We can build a new park!"

"I can help people plant gardens!"

Our next step will be working on a plan to implement the things the students
would like to do to make their community more beautiful.

“Funny Bug”

How awesome for kindergarteners, 1st graders, and 2nd graders to work on their math skills by creating silly pictures!!!!!!!!

That is what “Funny Bug” is all about. This week, our kinder – 2nd did just that…“Funny Bug” is a math activity from KidzMath’s series. The players create a funny bug picture by rolling two dice, adding the two numbers, and drawing the body part for that number on the their funny bug. The thing is, the body parts can be drawn any where on the body.

The math skills that they learned were all centered on how to count from 1 to 12. By using dice, the youth in the ASA learned to add numbers (for example, 3 + 3 = 6). Some of the beginners had to count the dots on the dice to add the numbers.

Social skills were learned too. While playing the game the youth in the ASA learned to consider all the ideas
before making a decision
and how to be respectful of one another’s drawings.
Creating pictures, silly pictures by using math, it does not get any better than this...

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Does Money Make You Successful? The Battle at Teen U

Last week, Crystal, one of the teen participants at Teen U stated that "Money means you are successful!" Who would have thought that this one statement would have caused such an uproar. Terrance allowed them to divide into groups--those who think money makes you successful or "the dark side" and those who believe that having money does not determine your success, "the light side"; they brainstormed about reasons to support their opinions. Unfortunately, the teens did not get a chance to debate their sides.

On Monday, I began a lesson about leadership. I felt it to be appropriate because I see TONS of leadership displayed amongst the teens just not implemented in the right format. Again, I divided them into 2 presidential campaigns and had a mock presidential debate between candidates--Reshia (Warrenreshia) and Bay Bay (Warzandrelle), who happen to be sisters. At the conclusion of a VERY lengthy debate, we held elections and Reshia won.

After seeing how enthusiastic the teens were about the "debate", Terrance decided we should crank up the success debate once again. The setting was very socratic and professional; at some points the teens got EXTREMELY rowdy, but it was beautiful to see them so passionate about an activity. It was hard to not get persuaded to one side or another.

I know that once the computers for Digital Connectors get internet access and they are able to research actual facts to support their opinions, the teens will only excell in the debate process.

I can't wait!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009


Each Wednesday, Ms. Katrina and I deliver the KidzLit curriculum at the Roseland Library/Bookstore. The curriculum not only provides reading enrichment but also engages the children in fun activities that increase comprehension as well as development in the areas of caring, manners, respect, service, and various other values.

Today's book was "Something Beautiful" by Sharon Wyeth. The book is about a nameless little girl whose struggling to find something beautiful in her neighborhood. Initially, she can't see pass the poverty, homelessness, litter, and crime. By the end of the book, the little girl discovers something beautiful all around her neighborhood despite the other issues going on. I'm not going to give all the juicy details of the book so you'll have to stop by and check it out.

One of the activities today, asked the children to answer
"How would they help make the world more beautiful?"
Due to lack of time and other issues, only one student completed the activity.
Here's what she wrote:

"I would make the world more beautiful by helping other people grow gardens so they can always have food, clean trash off the streets, recycling, painting old doors and walls, and giving the homeless people homes."

Over the week...I'll be sharing more of their ideas/thoughts on how they can help the world become more beautiful.
Our next activity will be planning a "beautification" project for the Roseland Community.
Stay Tuned.

Monday, November 02, 2009

My Favorite Poem...

My favorite poem is "Life doesn't frighten Me" by Maya Angelou.
I like this poem because ....

1. it rhymes.
2. I like the pitcures.
3. She's brave.
4. There's nothing that frightens me.

Written By: Niesha