Tag Archives: activities

Art of War Art Battle Wrap Up

20130511-211331.jpg

The Art of War Art Battle was a success! My frat brother (right) and I (left) are the bookends in the photo. We teamed up with the two lovely ladies from CORE to hold a joint fundraiser. I mentioned in an earlier post that I was starting an organization – Creative Dreamers with my boy.

The art battle was a great way for us to introduce ourselves to New York City. I still don’t really know what to say about the event that hasn’t been added in previous posts. I’ll say that it turned out far better than anyone could have imagined. The visual artists were amazing and their original pieces were unique and great quality, the music acts showed up and showed out, the DJ was playing great music, the crowd was live and engaged, overall everything came together in a great showing of creativity and passion. I’m super proud of my group. Here are just a few pictures from the night. I have a tendency to fall behind the scenes and work work work – which is why you’ll only see me in a handful of pictures in the album. But I promise you I was there mingling and trying to keep things running smoothly for the guests and volunteers. Check out the rest of the pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/ArtofWarArtBattleSpring2013

Thank you to everyone that came out and supported the event! It was a labor of love that took 4 months to plan and implement from day one. My team met once a week to plan out each step of the event from the venue, the artists, the music, the photographer, the videographer, the graphics, personal investments, supplies, themes, etc…

Why did I do this event – I’m not a fan of being in the public eye, or the center of attention. But as I grow this platform or Skool Haze and Creative Dreamers I think its important to get comfortable putting myself out there and facing challenges and my weaknesses head on. Hosting my own event has never really been something I’ve wanted to do, which is exactly why I felt I needed to put my modesty aside and see what I could do when I pushed myself. I challenge my students all the time to do something they never thought they could do, and this was my version of that challenge for myself.

What was hard about the event – The hardest thing about the Art of War Art Battle was planning for the event every week. The planning itself wasn’t hard, and doing the work of finding and communicating with artists and volunteers wasn’t hard. But the event took a lot of effort to plan each week. At times I questioned whether I added too much to my plate, especially as the event drew closer. I would say the last week in preparation for the event was the most stressed I have felt throughout my entire time here in NYC.

How did I cope with the added pressure – Honestly, I just dealt with it. I don’t know if it’s the athlete in me, or the frat boy in me, or the determination within me. But I hate feeling like I don’t want to do something. I always feel like I’m missing out on something better and greater, which is a no-no for me right now. Once I realize I don’t want to do something because it’s challenging I usually am able to take that energy and direct it specifically at the challenge itself. I think it helped that I had a team of 3 people I was working with. It seemed like it was a challenge for all of us, but we were in it together to see it through.

Why I’m sharing this , Why would anyone care – Well I don’t know if anyone cares. There’s a good chance that some don’t. But, I think its important that people see that this is something I actually thought played to a few areas that I’m actually self conscious about. This event was a support for the scholarship which is something that I’ve wanted to do forever. I wanted to make sure that the scholarship became a reality and not just another thing on my own bucket list that I let sit dormant for decades without even attempting to make it happen. My hope is that you will see this, think about something you’ve always wanted to do in your life, and get energized to start making it actually happen. Whether its going back to school, finding a new job, starting your own organization, talking to someone you’ve been avoiding for a while, saving money, whatever that thing is that you’ve been holding off on doing……. DO THAT SHIT!

What I learned in the process – Well, I learned that with the proper planning and energy I can put together a super nice event. I learned that I need to be willing to drop the shy/modest card when trying to have a successful event/program. I learned that details are important when trying to put together an event with other people. I learned that my teaching/nonprofit/and pr skills come in handy when thinking of recognition, presentation, communication between event staff and volunteers/participants/guests/sponsors. I learned that it feels good to push myself and come out with something better than I could have even imagined. I learned that people LOVE to watch art be created live, LoL. I learned…. that me and my group work very well together, regardless of the behind the scenes disagreements we faced. I learned that facing a challenge could reap amazing results.

What are our next steps – Well, right now we’re continuing to build up Creative Dreamers Organization. We’re also thinking about our next steps in regards to programming and events. Overall, more challenges and more activities geared toward empowerment. And of course we’re still fundraising for our Creative Dreamer Award.

Lesson Plans: Usain Bolt Invention Project

Interestingly enough I think today was one of my better lessons. It was very free. Extremely free even. I knew what we were going to do – I would opened with some quick videos of Usain Bolt!

Wednesday I showed the kids this –

usaidap

And they had the nerve to not understand why lil homie in the back was so excited for that moment in his life right there. Imagine if Usain Bolt gave you dap before he won the 200m Olympic Gold medal in London. That’s a once in a lifetime experience right there. They needed to be schooled!

So, For today’s lesson I opened with a few video clips I found during 1st period’s English class on Vimeo. I had of course forgotten to find clips on youtube these movie links:

Usain running the 200 Final in London Olympics – http://vimeo.com/47280401

Usain doing a quick documentary of his 100 meter gold medal run – http://vimeo.com/46634479

I also reviewed this picture and compared Usain’s speed to the animals shown here.

article-0-06178293000005DC-934_634x234_popup

Interesting Media clip of the day: After watching the videos the kids were in awe of Usain and seeing him in action against some of the world’s best athletes. I walked us through the previous 5 world record holders and through all of the animals. By this time I had honestly forgotten that I was supposed to tie this into the first slide. Luckily, when I shifted back to the powerpoint we returned to the slide with the gif file. Then, the kids were able to see why the young man was so excited to share that moment. Usain Bolt gave him dap before one of his big races infront of thousands of people. That’s really freaking dope!! LoL.

Launch: Finally after realizing and admitting I had wasted far more time than I thought I moved on to our launch:

Screen Shot 2013-02-02 at 1.23.49 PMJW Invention Launch

What goals do you want to accomplish before you graduate high school? What do you think will be the first step you need to take to make this happen?

After what was scheduled for 5 minutes drifted into 6/7 minutes of writing or so I asked them to share out. 2 of the 6 students volunteered which was cool. I never forced them to share if they didn’t want to. But I always created the space for those who did want to share for the day.

Project: At this point I directed the students back into their Invention Projects. They complain constantly about not wanting to do the boring work in the class. So, I decided to let them create an invention that they could use to do their classwork for them. The invention could be anything they wanted as long as they tied its features to the tips and strategies we’ve learned in the class. For example: closed syllables, open syllables, tapping, marking, ect… In reflection, I was wayyyy to lax on pushing them on linking their invention to an actual skill we’ve learned. And next time I plan to use an example to show them the kind of features/evidence I expect them to create. But overall they were really engaged and I was able to individually check in with each of them to set them on a path to decent projects.

The students were responsible for creating an (a) illustration of their invention along with a description of the inventions features (b) a narrative/commercial explaining and introducing their invention to an audience and justifying why we should purchase it. (c) a student on self/teacher on student grading rubric for the project (d) a marking/syllable worksheet that they would use to show their invention worked. Which was really just a ways of me saying….Yup. I’m still making you do worksheets, too. LoL

Intro Invention Slide Illustration Slide Narrative SlideGrading Rubric

This entire assignment is inspired by a project from last semester’s TAL 855 class that I currently have an incomplete in… Yes I’m that far behind, and no I’m not really sure why that’s my current crisis I’m trying to figure the fuck out right now. I got chewed out by one of my professors on Monday. It was deserved… but it still felt like crap. She letting me turn in my reflection assignment that I had no idea I was so late on until 2 weeks ago go figure. As I’ve stated many times grad school is a wreck right now. And I’m still probably under-exaggerating how bad it really is.

Halfway through my lesson my principal comes in with two guests. I can’t remember if they walk in and walk out. Or if they walk in and sit down unexpectedly. But at some point I realize they had probably listened to me ramble for 90 seconds and had actually sat down to stay for a bit… and had no idea what the hell I was talking about. So instinctively I grab a set of worksheets for the two visitors and my mentor to explain what the lesson was about. I didn’t realize it until later on, but I literally jumped in and treated these people like students in my classroom. I gave them the quick 30 second explanation and directions, asked them if they understood, got an affirmative and even gave them both 2 starbursts each, like I had given all of my students without missing a single beat.

(Quick Sidenote – I actually normally only give my students healthy snacks. Earlier in the year a student laughed that I was giving them starbursts/candy in class because I was essentially treating them like babies and fattening them up on candy every single day for giving simple answers and participation. From that point on, lets call it October/November, I’ve been only giving fruits, almonds, and granola bars to students every few now and then when I decide to bring them snacks. I’ve even brought cups for them to go get water before. This was the frist time I decided to go with candy, and it was because the students really had been participating a lot recently and truly deserved a treat for once. Students love dry almonds from Trader Joes in the individual packs and Spanish crackers from the bodega across the street. Food can really calm a brooding classroom of children.)

Anyways I dont know what message that sent… But here I am a young black guy. Teaching this class in an aloofly-organized way. So caught up in the act of teaching my brown and black students and mentor in my classroom that I automatically engaged other visitors into the learning that’s trying to take place. We acknowledged these two white professional visitors as guests, we wanted them to be a part of our experience as well. They eventually left after probably 3 minutes max. One of the students alerted me that they didn’t even take their starbursts. I looked over, first noticing their absence, then realizing that they hadn’t taken the handouts I had given them either. I halfway hated seeing that… I mean you stepped into my classroom to see something… you should really take the worksheet I give you with you so you can continue to process even after you’ve left. Especially if I take my time to pull you into what we’re doing also! Anyways… the students swiftly asked to get the starbursts they left behind and I obliged… LoL

———-

 

Somewhere within the last 20 minutes I did a few marking examples on the board for the students who needed a little practice while doing their projects. Interestingly enough my two female students who almost went to serious blows 2 weeks ago in class were the only two interested in my mini lesson. It was so crazy how well they communicated about the work with each other in a friendly way just weeks after I literally had to pick one of the girls up and carry her down the stairs in order to diffuse what was almost a sure fire nasty fight in the 2nd floor stairwell. I ended up carrying one of the girls away from the fight to diffuse the situation. And now these girls are best buddies in class… That’s the craziness teacher deal with every minute of everyday.

I got them to come up to the board and construct their own marked up examples from memory and with no pushback. One of the girls even gave detailed explanation about vowel marking as the other young lady openly listened and processed.

I supplied the class with colored pencils, markers, gel ink pens, construction paper, glue, scissors, and story cubes to help them express their creativity in whatever way they could. At the end of the day I went to my mentor’s room to debrief. She expressed that she enjoyed the class, and almost felt sad to leave. She especially liked how I had one of the girls so involved in the lesson. She noted that the same young girl was very insecure about her English abilities during the first marking period. She plans to spruce up her notes and send them my way within the next few days. perhaps I’ll post them for you guys too.

Lesson powerpoint – JW Invention Lesson Ppt

There was an additional worksheet that I copied out of the students Just Words Workbooks.

Insomnia Thursdays: Yes, I’m up right now…

This might seem OD, but yes I’m up right now. Its 3AM, the Friday back from christmas vacation. School started back Wednesday, January 2, 2013. I’m already back to being knee deep in activity. Productivity definitely isn’t the right word to use here.

Either way, I’m figuring it out. I just thought of a few games I want to try in Just Words and Rewards, my two reading intervention classes. I’ve been trying to think of ways to get the students to understand that they can help each other learn how to correctly decode and read. I’ve had them do writing activities to test out their ability to metacognate (to think about what they’re thinking about) on what they’re doing while spelling. I think having them think about their thinking in their heads was confusing them. So instead I’m going to try to have them say what they’re doing as a part of the game in order to get points. I’m hoping that the competition of the game will help peak their interest. While the rule to audibly tell the class how you’re translating the sounds into written letters while spelling will help those students that still have gaps in their knowledge. This way they can discreetly fill in those gaps while still participating in the game.

My frat brother and I are having what I intend to make an important meeting tomorrow after work. I want us to start a business together. So I’m trying to prepare a few speaking points to make sure I cover all of my important ideas. We have a solid business energy between the two of us, and I want to make sure we capitalize on this as much as possible while we can and while we’re energized to make moves.

The grades were due today for the first grading period in second trimester. I’ve gotten pretty good at calculating grades. I’m lucky though, my intervention classes have a fraction of the benchmark (grading categories) that the other traditional classes like Math and English have.

I finally finished an IEP that was about 2 months late tonight. Along with an email to my principal, special ed coordinator, and special ed coach thanking them for their patience. As well as the lessons I learned about being more aggressive in seeking teacher feedback, and continuing to view my IEP’s as priorities just as I do my daily lesson plans.

keeping-black-boys-out-special-education-jawanza-kunjufu-paperback-cover-art

I’m reading an AMAZING book that has already impacted my teaching practice and I haven’t even had it for a week yet. Keeping Black Boys Out of Special Education by Dr. Jawanza Kunjufu. Literally a work of educational art in my opinion. I’ll be done with the book in a day or two and then I’m off to read either The Harvard Business Review’s Guide to Getting the Right Work Done by the Harvard Business Review Press or The Envy of the World: On Being a Black Man in America by Ellis Cose. I’ve decided to focus on reading again. For some reason reading makes me feel high on knowledge which in turn makes me feel energized to knock out work even when I’m too tired like right n…

Stay tuned for a review of Dr. Kunjufu’s book by the way. It really has changed the scope I’ve used to view this work in a huge way in less than 7 days. It’s humbling to read another Black man’s words about what can, should, and will work to help influence change in our young black boys out there. Even if his ideas are wrong, which I highly doubt, I truly just appreciate being able to read this man’s ideas to allow them to contribute to my educational tool belt so it’s called. I plan to reach out to him via email to learn more about what he feels we educators can do to help train our young boys to grow into positive men.

This is the year to take it to the next level! I’m speaking it into existence, and pushing myself from behind to make it my reality.

*Edit – I know what you were thinking…. where were the book order links… that’s why I added them for you 😉 Yikes, I should really start proofreading as well, LoL

Google Survey Tool

Click image to enlarge

Here is a tool I found explaining how to make a Google Survey. I’m personally more used to using SurveyMonkey. But my co-teacher suggested Google Survey. So I figured it would be cool to learn another online tool for my own personal toolbox.. Here is a quick little site I found that describes how to create a Google Survey.

Enjoy.

http://www.workhappy.net/2009/05/using-google-docs-to-make-a-survey.html

I’m using the survey to get feedback from our technology class on the content, speed, and their time with teachers in our class. Check the screencap to get a peek at the questions I decided to use. I’ll see how the students do with this. Depending on the feedback we get I may try to incorporate these on a regular basis.