Thursday, April 29, 2010

Garden Time Lapse

I say it all of the time! I have the coolest staff ever!

I received an email today with a link to a youtube video. I thought it was a video An had found on someone else's garden...until I recognized the "Plant" mural and the fencing...and realized it was our own garden! Danielle and An came up with a way to create a time lapse video to watch the garden grow!

I'm hoping we can perfect it a little and make the time lapse over a longer period of time so it will really show how quickly the lettuce, peas, chard, broccoli, onions, garlic, potatoes, tomatoes (yes, we really have all of that!) grow.

For now, enjoy the video An created for us!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Thank you, ARAMARK!

Great partnerships are what makes our organization work so well. A couple of weeks ago a group of City Year staff came in early Monday morning to prep many of our sites at Roseland for a group of 100 ARAMARK volunteers who would arrive on Thursday to paint murals on some of our walls and add a new plot to our already thriving garden. The volunteers also took on the huge task of painting the entire inside of the gym/community center as well as creating raised flower beds for the church across the street.

I have to commend Danielle Evans, Children's Education Coordinator, and Tameshia Rudd-Ridge, Digital Connectors Coordinator, for spending so much time and effort on this project. All day Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, Danielle and Tameshia worked with the City Year group to choose the designs and create the spaces for the ARAMARK volunteers to work. By the time Thursday morning came along, Danielle and Tameshia were up and at work ready to go by 6:00 a.m.

You can see most of their work in the above video, though the video doesn't really show how void of design our walls really were beforehand. My favorite part of the video is at the very end. As the ARAMARK and City Year workers finished up, the kids began coming in from school. I walked up to the After-School Academy to see the kids walking up to the group of ARAMARK people, hands extending to greet with their typical formal greeting.

Kudos to ARAMARK and City Year for spending their time getting to know us and creating murals, bookshelves, and garden plots to help us continue making our program great!

Whispering Wednesdays

As I took a potential volunteer on a tour through the Connect U computer lab yesterday, I was greeted by Iesha with a nice firm handshake and good eye contact (as usual). However, as I continued walking into the lab and talking about our programs, the kids quickly shushed me.

"You've got to whisper, Miss Janet!"

"Why?" I whispered.

"Because it's Whisper Wednesday!" they whispered back in unison.

I loved it! It was so quiet in Connect U. Mr. An (our IT specialist who oversees Connect U) explained that it was Miss Katrina's idea. So I ventured over to the library to check them out as well. Sure enough, they were all as quiet as mice. Katrina was sitting on the floor with two kids leaning on her, eagerly listening to a book she was reading to them, three other kids were sitting at the table doing their homework, and a few others were in a different section quietly browsing for their next book to read.

Since September 2009, the library has sold over 170 books to the Roseland Community. The kids love buying the books (for 25 or 50 cents) and building their home libraries. When I used to walk over to the library, kids would often be running around, talking loud, and distracting each other. Katrina has done an amazing job. These days, the library seems more like a library. Kids sit around and read or do homework. When story time comes around, 15-20 faces look eagerly at Miss Katrina as she reads and does activities with them.

Building a community around reading...does it get any better?? :)

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ms. Tameshia's Wild Class

Check out the "Wild Self" avatars created by some of our After School Academy students. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

"Miss Tameshia is stuck in the computer!"

Over the past few days, I've been dealing with a nasty stomach virus (gastroenteritis) but of course I didn't let that stop us from having Digital Connectors. On Monday and Tuesday, I held class from my couch via Skype.

As Mr. An setup the webcam for Digital Connectors, he allowed some of our After School Academy students to speak to me on Skype. Iesha, was walking in the hallway when she heard my voice. She was completely confused because she hadn't seen me all day and she didn't see my car. She quickly ran into the computer lab (Connect U) to investigate where my voice was coming from. She soon realized that my voice was coming from the computer. Then she grabbed Mr. An and exclaimed "Miss Tameshia is stuck in the computer!" She even offered to jump in and save me.

Soon after, Ta'Kyra and Amaryee (Kindergartners), asked how to spell my name. I quickly spelled it out for them. Within a matter of 3 mins, I saw a piece of paper held up to the camera. Unsure of what it said exactly, I asked Ta'Kyra to read it to me. "Tameshia, I hope you feel better tomorrow!", she said. It wasn't spelled correctly but it's the CARING that counts.

As the Digital Connectors filtered in, I continued to speak to Ta'Kyra and introduced her to my family including the dog. I wanted to sure her even more with Skype, so I had her pose for a picture and then shared my screen with her. I showed her the picture, I had just taken of her. Completely amazed, she asked Shannon (Digital Connector) to help her take a picture of me with their webcam. Mr. Phillip and Mr. An had a hard time pulling them away from Skype.

During our Digital Connectors class, I conducted a scavenger hunt of Web 2.0 tools. I created a video and had the students re-create it. I watched what they did via screen share and answered any questions they had.

Thanks to technology...I was able to conduct classes while I'm at home sick!

Monday, April 05, 2010

Building Butterfly Houses...

On Saturday some of the ASA youth attended the Kids Workshop at Home Depot. The project for April, building Butterfly Houses.

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Joshua Lathan asking the questions...

When they came...

Dallas Fire-Rescue