May 8, 2008

Summary of Volunteering

I have volunteered all school year with Commonbond Community. The first semester I did adult tutoring because there were not enough kids who wanted a study buddy to work with. This semester I was a study buddy with a student named Omar who is in 7th grade. He is a friendly student with a brother and lots of friends who also attend the study buddy program.

We would meet for an hour each Wednesday and try to finish any homework he had while reserving time to play a board game or computer game at the end. I always liked when he had math homework because thats where I felt I could help the most. One thing that makes math easier are the little tricks. Small division or multiplication tricks make math easier and teachers dont always mention these. Besides math, I would help Omar with science and English classes. When we were done with homework we would play games Omar like to play two player flash games online. I would try to suggest the word puzzle games or something halfway educational but we would usually end up playing racing or tank games.

Working with Omar gave me a one on one experience with a student that I dont normally get. I got to find out his likes and dislikes. Omar really liked to read books. Action and Horror books mostly and there were some days that we would switch off reading aloud. I also helped Omar write a poem that we were both quite satisfied with. This is the poem:

Aquatic

Under the deep blue sea,
The whole world is darkness to me.
Stuck down under the sea I can hardly breathe,
More aquatic creatures than I can believe.
I see a shimmer of light,
It is a golden sight.
Shining in this eerie blue darkness,
I wonder what the scientist sees?

Even though I wasnt completely certain about how the service hours related to this class, I was glad that we did it. Last semester had an education project that related to our volunteer community and I thought it was unfortunate that we didnt have a similar project. With the world as the focus for this semester's project in the UN's Millennium Development goals I thought it could be combined with our service easily because so many of the students we volunteered with had parents or grandparents from another country. It would of been interesting to learning about the countries combining their knowledge and our research.

Volunteer Journal Recap

A recap of the journals that I've been taking throughout volunteer work.

Continue reading "Volunteer Journal Recap" »

Blog Prompt #9

Goal 4: Reduce Child Mortality

This was goal 4 from the honors group who presented in class. They were off to a rough start because they had technical difficulties in getting their video started. After watching the video at home I see that it was a video to provoke emotions rather than give information. The video is well done but it seemed similar to something put together by an anti abortion campaign. Regaurdless it would have made a good intro.

The presentation went over what is happening in Sierra Leone as well as steps to reduce child mortality including: better nutrition, vaccines, hygiene, better water and bug nets. Along with these were a list of organizations and what they are doing to help. Finally the presentation ended with steps that you or I could take in helping these children. These included internet donations, jobs and internships oversees, and a game that donates bug nets.

Overall the presentation was done well. It is too bad their video didnt work. At the same time I think that the video contrasted the sometimes light hearted attitude of the rest of the presentation. The video had some serious toned music playing while showing diseased disfigured and poverty stricken children. Very serious stuff. There were parts of the presentation that showed Blood Diamond Movie poster and popular celebs assisting the cause. These seemed a bit forced and light hearted along with suggesting a computer game. That is really my only complaint, and thought the presentation was well done.

Blog Prompt #8

Goal 8: Develop a global partnership for development

The group that had goal 8 in our recitation were the first ones to go and did a wonderful job presenting their research. They didn't specifically say whether or not their project was compiled into a physical document but they had a power point to go along with their 12 minute presentation. The information was presented by each group member who had their speech written out on note cards. This helped them stay on track with time and seem very organized. I heard them practice their speeches four times because I was an hour early to class, each time was about 12 minutes.

The presentation was very focused from the beginning. The mentioned the effectiveness of using ground up or bottom up methods of dispersing funds to help stimulated economies. They provided several examples of techniques being used today and their effectiveness. One example, was the process of letting citizens become cell phone sellers to their towns. These methods were contrasted with more traditional top down methods where large sums of money were used to make factories to stimulate economies. These were followed by examples were these huge investments ended up failing and factories became abandoned. They also related economic development to first meeting the basic human needs of food water and so on.

The ideas and solutions presented by this group were very practical, laid out well and convincing. Because they were reading their speeches word for word, it seemed a little lifeless but that wasn't the point of the presentation and it helped them stay on track with time (which other groups had a hard time doing.)

April 2, 2008

Blog Prompt #7

Here are the first four titles I made for the group projects.

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The top right was the first I made which I was going for very simple but didnt like how it turned out.

The top left I like but thought that the title as a whole was a little to centered.

The bottom two were done with crayon. For the right one I wanted there to be lines from notebook paper but that didnt show through. I was most pleased with the bottom left. I thought the crayon matched well with the education theme.

March 12, 2008

Blog Prompt #6

So far our group has gathered all of our information and put it into a pdf file format. These are ideal for viewing on the computer and also for printing out. Power point presentations and videos are good for audiences, websites and interactive power points are good for when the viewer needs to interact, but both of these arent really necessary for our purposes. One thing I found that I thought was very cool were pdf magazines. There were a lot of really well done ones but I'll start by showing one that was crap.

This first one is a monthly pdf magazine about art of all things (found at http://mystikka.com/mcmwinter2008.pdf). The text alone on the issues cover seems like someone threw it together quickly choosing random text styles.

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On th inside some pages have plain old solid colors for their backgrounds:

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Others might have a random border for no apparent reason:

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(a more clever blogger might have a marijuana related joke for this picture)


One magazine that really caught my eye was located here: http://www.phasecollective.com/

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Spring 07 magazine: http://www.phasecollective.com/phase03_play.pdf

The magazine shows off a lot of work from different artists. The pictures are all laid out in unique styles according to artists. When there is text to show the magazine uses a few eye catching techniques to liven up the page:

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Another magazine that I thought was styled very well for its content was http://www.bloodwarsmagazine.com/.
The majority of the magazine was collage of graffiti and popculture:

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There were some pages that were text heavy but pages like the one above grabbed your attention a little better.This collage style was the most inspiring and the use of maybe a beginning and end collage be something to try.


March 5, 2008

Blog Prompt #5

Explore through image and text how the built environment affects (supports or detracts) who you are. Speculate in terms of frameworks, clockworks, phenomena and oppositions.

Realistically I have spent about 99.9 percent of my life in a built environment. The most natural looking place I might spend time in on a normal day probably would look something like this...

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This scene is pretty much the "great outdoors" to me. There are a couple times each year were I make an effort to get away from city life. When I try to get away from it all, I'm still in a built environment. I go up north and I'm in a cabin. Roads go right from my downtown apartment to the cabins front door. At the cabin we take our environment with us. We go up for a number of days and bring enough of our environment with us to survive hunger and boredom.

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I go camping and set up tent at a campsite. Again the number of days are numbered and correspond to the supplies we depend on. Camping for me is just living in a slightly smaller home for a little while... modern day tents are crazy.

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The built environment affects who I am in just about every way possible. Couldnt live for more than a week without it. It fills my life with activity responsibility and opportunity. Instead of worrying about my next meal I can worry about finding a creative or recreational outlet.

February 27, 2008

Blog Prompt #4

“If you were completely released from the
constraints of the ‘architecture school’ program, what would
you do architecturally, artistically, bodily, lyrically, etc that
would still have an impact on your environment. Describe a
real or imagined place which might allow you to do this.
Explore through images and text

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First off I would only be taking four credits, so I would begin to worry about health insurance. With all my free time and no health insurance I would focus on the lottery. Focusing my brain completely on only four credits of school and the Powerball, it would only be a matter of weeks before cashing in the 143 million dollar ticket.

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Buy a yacht and travel the world for the rest of my life, or until I found a nice place to settle down. I would travel the world and attempt to eat and then collect a McDonald’s Filet O’ Fish wrapper from every country in the world. I would also take a picture of each McDonalds and publish a book featuring photos of them all. Life well spent.

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February 19, 2008

Blog Prompt #3

Propose a set of images, quotes and a playlist of songs that influence your values with
regard to your selected Research Project Millenium Development Goals.
Explain.

The project I’ll be working on is Universal education. First are a few education related songs pictures and quotes that inspired me so much that I would go through the trouble of copying and pasting them below:

Song: Hot For Teacher
Artist: Van Halen

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"I like a teacher who gives you something to take home to think about besides homework." -- Edith Ann

Song: A B C
Artist: Jackson 5

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A mind once stretched by a new idea never regains its original dimensions.
- Anonymous

Song: Bananaphone
Artist: Raffi

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"A teacher affects eternity; he can never tell where his influence stops."
-- Henry Brooks Adams


February 12, 2008

Blog Prompt #2

Find a social-design issue - here in the twin cities Document it. Become an advocate for it.

I work part time at a hotel downtown. It is right across the street from a building that provides things like welfare checks and food stamps. The building is called Century Plaza, not at all a generic name. The building often creates a somber, depressing atmosphere. People regularly have to wait outside for rides or just hang out outside to chat with others. The building itself fails to address the needs of the citizens who use this building the most. There is no relief from the elements and often times these people are disabled.

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There are many solutions to these problems. One solution I found particularly creative was this bus stop.

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The bus stop is protective lively and wheelchair accessible. Additions like this would improve the moods of the city goers as well as those driving by.


February 5, 2008

Blog Prompt #1

inspired by Andy Goldsworthy (and our discussions today), document and investigate, through text and image - this idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city.


I think I can relate two different kinds of energies that exist in both the city and in Goldsworthy's work. The first is static energy. There was an aspect to his work that spoke loudly without having any movement.

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It stood out in his piece with the ice with the sunrise in the back and the rock domes which sat still. These static structures where surrounded by moving energy whether it be the sun moving across the sky or rising tides or vegetation. I compare these elements to the buildings and environments of the city which are surrounded by movement as well. Human activity and weather cycles represent the moving energy in city locales. The combination of the static man made structures and energy moving around and interacting is essential in Andy's work and city life.