May 1, 2008

Service Learning - VOA High School

Lets start out by saying that I worked at the VOA High School last semester helping adult Somali people with their math skills. They needed to be able to pass a test in order to graduate from this school. So...this semester I wanted to do something a little different but I wanted to stay at VOA High School because I felt comfortable here - with the people and the building.
I started my service learning a little late because of schedule conflictions and other situations but eventually I got it all sorted out along with the help of VOA HIgh School. I wanted to help some of the younger people so I decided to work there during the day when there is a different age group attending school.
My first time going to volunteer this semester I went there and the school was locked because what would you know, it was President's Day and they didn't have school.
The next time I went, I just sat in the tudor room and helped anyone that needed help but then I decided that I didn't want to just help random people; I wanted to do something more specific.
I talked with the principal and he suggested helping the social studies teacher - Ben with his classes. For the most part I tudor anywhere from 1.30 hours to 3.00 hours. I help Ben with two of his classes and they differ a lot in types of people, content, and pace. The first class I help him with are all students who have just arrived here and are still learning about the branches of the government. Not only do I help them with their work, I also help them pronounce hard words like: judicial, legislative, and executive. You never realize how hard those words are to say until you have to help someone else say them I guess :) Ben has worksheets printed out every week for them to work on and if they need help then I help them arrive at the answer without actually giving them the answer. Then I help them spell it out.
The next class that I help him with is a more advanced class. They are currently learning about different court cases and how to summarize them. He does - what seems like - silly little exercises to teach them what things are but it is probably the easiest way to do it since there is a language barrier. When he tought them what the term versus meant, he had two of the students arm wrestle, but it worked. He also seperated the class in half and treated one half unfairly to teach them what segregation is. These little activities work. So what I help with is, he prepares for them to read different, famous court cases every week and asks them questions about them - the who, what, when, where, why. I help them answer those questions if they need any help. But there have been some changes in the past week. It is difficult for Ben to teach this class day to day because there are a lot of students in different situations and just don't come to school, so he is preparing a current event for them every day where they have to answer the who, what, when, where, why.
All and all, I help Ben with the students that don't need as much help so he can concentrate on the students that are a little bit behind and can help them catch up.

April 30, 2008

Blog Prompt #8 and #9 - MDG Criticisms

I had to leave before the last presentation so I can't say anything about it - it could have been the best project ever but I guess I will never know...
Beware...I don't remember exactly who was in which group and what goals they were but I do remember some specifics...
So, I decided that I'm going to do this blog on the honors presentations just because at that point I knew that we had a blog prompt dealing with the presentations so I was able to take better here it goes.
I took notes on all five presentations today but there was the most to say about the first and second presentations.

First - Goal 8 by Kelly and Broc
Goal 8 is todevelop a global partnership for development. This partnership did their's on Somalia.
I didn't really have anything bad to say about this group. I thought it was very well done especially after listening to my classl - NOTE: I'm not saying the projects in my class were bad but I have something to compare it to. This group didn't have a lot of text on their slides which made it easier to listen to the important information that was being said. I mean it's hard to read and listen at the same time so not having a lot to read made it easier to pay attention. Another thing I liked about their presentation was they didn't read directly from their slides. The text on the slides was just a brief summary of what was being said. The group kept their slides very uniform by having a common beginning slide that appeared at the beginning of every section or part of their goal. Having this made it extremely easy to know where they were and was an easy reminder of what was going to be said. The best thing about their presentation, I think, was that they had an actual example of the $100 Laptop there to show everyone and it was awesome to see it in person.

Second - Goal 7 by Angie, Anthony, and Laura
Goal 7 is to ensure environmental stability. This group did their presentation on improving Minneapolis slums through sustainability.
What I liked most about their powerpoint was how simple it was. There wasn't much to read at all which made it easier to focus on the talking but at the same time there were pictures to look at. I liked the fact that they gave examples of buildings around the country that are green and at the same time, cost less to build. After seeing a lecture on Ralph Rapson and his buildings at the Central Library - it was interesting to see a project on one of his buildings. I think he'd definitely be happy with the changes! As the group was talking about their new, proposed solutions, the slides were standard with the pictures on the bottom - to again keep things uniform.


April 3, 2008

Blog Prompt #7 - Title Pages

Here are the title pages that I came up with...they are pretty simple...

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March 26, 2008

Blog Prompt #6 - Presentation Documents

My group has decided that a Word Document would be more sufficient and more professional so I looked up some images of architectural portfolios and the way they are layed out. I like how simple some are but there are others that are more complex but simple at the same time. Although there will be a lot more text on our pages, it is still an idea on where to start desiging for this project.





Blog Prompt #5 - How the Built Environment Affects Me

The built environment definitely affects me. Everything around everyone affects everything. The way buildings are designed affect me. If they are built poorly, it is going to affect me; I probably wouldn't be able to navigate the building in a common fashion. Minneapolis is a lot different than the city I come from; not only is Minneapolis different, but Minnesota is different from Wisconsin. The people are different and the buildings are different. Our biggest city is Milwaukee but it's nothing like Minneapolis and St. Paul. The capitals also differ. St. Paul has many skyscrapers whereas the tallest building in Madison is the captial building. It is a "city law" that no building can be taller than the capital. When I moved up here for college the environment definitely affected me. It was a lot different than Wisconsin up here.

As of right now, I can't think of anything else to write, but when I'm in a different mood I will add more.

March 11, 2008

Blog Prompt #4 - Architecture School

If I were completely released from a "structured" architecture program, I would be completely happy! It would be the best day of my life. Right now I am trying to fulfill my architecture classes while fulfilling my liberal education classes and it sucks. I have no interest in Journalism what-so-ever but I am taking it to fulfill some stupid requirement. It would be paradise to not have to go to a university. I am quite fond of the apprenticeship education style. I used to be an interior design major at some stupid little art school and within my first year I was already designing houses. Yes, I have designed a house already. Then, I decided to transfer to this lovely university because it is a great university for interior design. I was also still designing spaces like travel offices and dorm rooms. But then I didn't get into the program because I cannot stand fabrics. They suck! I just can't do it. So then I came to the architecture program expecting to design things other than helmets made out of bandaids. But oh was I wrong. We don't really design anything until later because this is a "theory" based program. I don't like that very much. I am a very hands on person and I need to be doing something related to architecture and not just talk about how great it is.

So...if I were released from this program I would go off and do my own thing. I would design buildings right away (since I already know how to) but at the same time I would still learn this history of architecture. I think it is fascinating. I would also draw as much as I can - - because I love to draw!

February 20, 2008

Blog Prompt #3 - Project

"Every human being should have the opportunity to make a better life for themselves. Unfortunately, too many children in the world today grow up without this chance, because they are denied their basic right to even attend primary school. A sustainable end to world poverty as we know it, as well as the path to peace and security, require that citizens in every country are empowered to make positive choices and provide for themselves and their families. This can only be achieved if all the children of the world are given the chance to learn in a high-quality schooling environment at least through primary school." - The United Nations Millenium Development Goals (Goal 2)


"Education is not only a fundamental right – with intrinsic value for human development and the quality of life. It is also the critical enabling right – helping children to develop the skills that help them to cope with life’s challenges and be active contributing members of society." - Save the Children

"As a teacher I feel I have a moral obligation to help the children in my classroom grow toward becoming full human beings and to feel successful. Teaching cognitive skills is not enough..." - Jean Medick

Picture 1: Universal Education…or not?
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Picture 2: Number of primary-school-age children not in school, by region (2006)
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February 16, 2008

Blog Prompt #2 - Social Design Issue


Yes this is a homeless person on the streets of the United States.
This is a problem that happens all over the world, even the Twin Cities.

Here are some statistics regarding homeless people in the Twin Cities and Minnesota:
There are about 3,000 homeless people in Hennepin County and more than 9,200 in Minnesota, a third of them children, according to a study by the Wilder Research Group.
• More than half of the homeless people said they'd been homeless more than once in the past three years.
• About 28 percent of homeless adults have a job.
• Nearly 40 percent of homeless people said they lost their housing because they couldn't afford rent. Mental health issues, chemical dependency, lack of education and incarceration were also cited as reasons for homelessness.
• One-third of homeless military veterans in Minnesota have served in combat; about 625 veterans are homeless on any given night, slightly down from around 700 in 2003.
• Nearly half of all homeless people in the Twin Cities are black and nearly one in five in outstate Minnesota is American Indian.

I know homelessness is a bad thing and I do feel bad for the people who have to live out on the streets but there are many jobs within the Twin Cities-they may not be the best jobs but they are something. Each homeless person should try to apply for a job every week and maybe their lives will become better.
Whenever I see a homeless person on the street it is always hard for me to want to give them money because I think they will spend it on alcohol or drugs...not what they really need to spend the money on like food.

For example...look at this picture...


This picture is amazing because it would be great if people were more honest with themselves and everyone around them.

I was watching Fox9 one night and they did a story on a homeless woman. Turns out she wasn't really homeless. The news reporter follwed her around all day...even to her HOUSE! Apparently this happens all the time and people do it just to make easy money. This is pathetic. There are real people who need money and a new life. There is no need for posers.

February 7, 2008

Blog Prompt #1 - Andy, Andy, Andy

When I came to class that day Ozayr started by saying "we are watching my favorite movie". I was kind of excited...until the movie started. It was my third time watching the movie so I was thinking, "great! What a way to spend 75 minutes, watching some nutjob!" The first time I watched it was in high school so everyone knows that I wouldn't have been able to appreciate it. Then I watched it last year in my interior design drawing class. So I was thinking wow this is lame...some guy playing with ice...but after being in 1281 last semester I was thinking, these natural materials must be really hard to work with. I started paying attention and started to appreciate what he was doing. I also started listening to what he was saying.

We were asked to investigate the idea of energy flow and transformation through the city. At first I didn't know what to write so I thought about it for a couple of days.

I reread the blog prompt and it said document the idea of energy, flow and transformation through the city. The Mississippi River was the main idea for all three of the ideas. The Mississippi River flows from the northern part to the southern part of the United States. There is a lot of history just within the Minneapolis/St. Paul area. The river flows through the city, creates energy for the city, and has transformed the city. Back before General Mills was officially formed, there were two separate flour industries, one on the east side of the Mississippi and one on the west side of the Mississippi. Eventually these two flour industries merged together and created General Mills. There are a lot of events that include the Mississippi River and is a major part of not only Minnesota, but the Minneapolis/St. Paul area.