"...in diversity there is beauty & there is strength." ~Maya Angelou
Summer vacation can be a summer that delves into the water slide, or the reading slide, or even the math slide...a summer where learning is paused; Or a time of continued learning, thinking about the future...our 'future possible selves'.
SEI presents the opportunity for students to think about and prepare for their many possible futures while working on skills and projects now. It was Malcolm X who said, "Education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today."
Through teamwork and collaboration, our endeavor will very much be a successful one. As Arthur Ashe said, "Success is a journey, not a destination." With this perspective, we can experience success every day that we work to our highest potential and strive for learning in spite of challenges that may appear. Surrounding yourself with people that will support you at all times, you will have a bright present and a bright future. We, at the SEI, hope to be part of that positive support for each of our students. The SEI team includes not only our students and staff, but our students' parents, and our generous sponsor (The University of Iowa, Center for Diversity & Enrichment).
Orientation on June 9th gave us a wonderful opportunity to meet each other and commit to this three-week journey which can positively impact our students not only for the duration of this 3-week program, but their lives throughout the remainder of their high school experience and beyond.
Week 1 –Classes
Mondays & Wednesday: Digital Storytelling
Week One was all about getting to know each other. Under the overarching umbrella of ‘Identity’, students shared characteristics that describe them as individuals and categories that highlight the different types of groups that they belong to. To follow up with the idea of belonging to a group (or not belonging to a group even when we assume we’re part of a group), we listened to and discussed a podcast about racial identity, where we learn about people who try to ‘fit in’. Podcast link above.
Also, as we begin to think about how we want to organize our final project (our photo book), we spent some time discussing some of the interviews and photos used in one of our main resources, the photo-documentary Humans of New York.
We enjoyed some steamy weather in communication skills, got to move into a bigger classroom space, and learned about different communication styles. Each student wrote a poem. We talked about being from a place tells a part of your story but adding the people people, places, ideas, and experiences complete the picture of where you are from. The student poems address this.
We also learned about ways people communicate, verbal, nonverbal, written, and video or images. The students practiced the art of reflection, listening to hear rather than listening to respond. They composed questions and will be using those to conduct interviews of a family member or friend. These interviews will be recorded. We have had a lot of fun this week and I look forward to next week!
"The art & science of asking questions is the source of all knowledge." ~Thomas Berger
Tuesdays & Thursdays: Science Fair Projects
We worked on understanding the importance of the Science Fair, developing our main question, procedure, and gathering our materials for our experiments. We have learned more about the formal process of investigating a question using the scientific method.
we are also developing our background research for our main question learning how to formally write using an objective tone in the third person. Overall, it has been a fun and productive week getting to know one another in the process.
We started the first instructional day observing how traditional introductions involve various steps of data collection, data analysis, and creating a narrative. We also used more scientific ways for introduction, such as students asked me questions to learn what they wanted to know about me. The collected responses provided a quick practice regarding planning of data collection, whereas I rearranged all the questions asked and answered them by creating a narrative about me.
We also created an introduction of our class together by drawing our 'faces' which was a data analysis activity. We learned how important it is to include the context of the problem along with the numbers. And to get an experience on data visualization which is highly contextual, every student is going to observe some element of their own life for a week and create their own data visualization.
Towards the end of the week, we had some initial experiences with computer programs for handling the data. We will continue using computer programs in the upcoming week.
An important lesson I learned was with regards to the 'Racial Imposter Syndrome'. This syndrome impacts people with mixed cultures, that feel they don't fit in their race/ethnic groups. They'e often judged for their physical appearance and assigned into a race group by others. It's sad that they have to sometime prove their identity by showing their family picture(s). Also, many who struggle with this syndrome can't speak the language of the ethnic group they are assigned to by others based on outward appearance but can understand the language very well.
I also learned that there are other teachers out there that will understand you and listen to your ideas and encourage you to maintain your curiosity.
I learned what my communication style is, and how to talk to people with different communication styles. I enjoyed looking at the different stories in the book Humans of New York.
I enjoyed starting the science project and I learned what questions I should be asking in an interview.
I enjoyed making new friends.