Service Learning 1:
I was fortunate enough to continue working at the same location and with the same kids as last semester, allowing me to continue building relationships and trust with the kids...and getting a bit more respect from them as well.
The first day was mostly getting reaquanted with the place and the kids, just helping them with homework - they were going over adding/subtracting fractions... something I still suck at - and then enjoying some kick ball!
Service Learning 2:
When it comes to homework or educational activities there a few things that get these kids exctied. Food, early recess, and timber wolves tickets. Yeah, that threw me off as well. Appearantly they were learning about sports commentary and were having some famous sports announcer (I "should" know, but I'm not big enough into sports to know announcers) come the following monday to talk about it. I helped the kids create and edit mock sports cast to be read for this announcer. All kids got to go to the game as a field trip, but the few kids with the best sportscast got box seats, food, and some periphenalia! woot woot.
Service Learning 3
I've been with the 5th graders this whole time and have really gotten to know most of the kids, a few of whom I am appearntly their "buddy." As I've gotten to know the kids I've also gotten to know the staff better. The team leader for 5th grade is a guy named Matthew. He's your average joe; long hair, tattoos, black fingernail polish, the occasional tie-dye shirt, etc. But this is his second to last session with the kids. He has taken a new job in White Bear to work with mentally disabled children. I am curious to see if there will be any transition period for the kids, or if they don't care too much about who is teaching them, as long as they get their snacks and 'choice time.'
Today I took each child into the hall individually to ask them some questions from an end of the year survey ACES requires all students to answer. It is interesting to talk to them one on one and seeing their reaction to questions like "do you ever feel the need to hit people to get what you want?" and hearing what each wants to do when they grow up. There are a few kids who are extremely bright! I hope they don't get dulled by the sequential process school sets as a norm.
Service Learning 4
Today the kids were being educated on renewable vs non-renewable energy. Sustainability seems to be the hot topic these days. To demonstrate the cost of coal mining and cost of fixing the land mined the kids (and we got to participate too) in a cookie mining activity. The chocolate chips = coal. Three different brands of cookie represented different states, each costing a different amount and containing a different amount of chips. Like I said before: food, early recess, timberwolves tickets. In other words, they were pretty well behaved for this exorcise.
Service Learning 5
Today was the first day Mathew wasn't at ACES, and the kids did ask where he was, but they all went on as usual.
In continuation of their series on energy, ACES brought in a couple of speakers from District Energy. They put told the kids what they use to create energy (mostly trees actually...), where they supply energy too, and how they heat/cool buildings (water mostly). These kids are sharp enough to know that these guys didn't have the best social skills.. The speakers had a hard time finding a balance between talking to these 5th graders like they're 5 or like they worked at this energy plant too.
I am nearing the end of my time at ACES this semester and was offered a paid position there next semester. I'll have to give some thought to that. While it is very rewarding, both for myself and the kids, it is a time requirement that I don't want to take away from school. We'll see if I have decided anything before my last service blog.