Posted November 7th, 2013 by Shalyn with No Comments
For the last couple of years, tutoring has been focused mostly on academics – we’ve always wanted to make sure students are proficient in math and language arts, since those are the two subjects that kids in grades 3-8 are tested on for ISTEP (Indiana Statewide Testing for Educational Progress). To reach this goal, we have created a ton of curriculum around these two primary subjects, including our Tutor Toolkits and ISTEP practice cards.
In addition to being good at math and language arts, however, we have always encouraged our students to be creative. Art has always played a large role in our summer programming, including the SEAT (Summer Enrichment, Arts, and Technology) program this last summer and the Know My Story program with Bunky Echohawk the summer before. We have always encouraged our students to participate in art during the summer and after finishing homework during tutoring because the arts play an important role in cognitive development, school success, and effective learning:
With all of this knowledge of the importance of arts education for academic and social success (and two program team members with an arts background), we knew we had to find a way to include art in tutoring in a more formal way.
That day is here!
Kris, our Program Assistant, has been hard at work creating new Creativity Kits that will be used during the tutoring hour. Similar to the Tutor Toolkits, the Creativity Kit is a portable container with various cards with activities to complete; all of the materials needed to complete the activities are contained in the kit itself.
For now, there are eight activity cards, each of which includes brief information about an artist and an activity (with directions and an example picture!) that relates to their style of art. Each month, a new card will be added. Students will be able to create clay figures that show movement, upside down drawings, and even learn about the printmaking process through an Andy Warhol iPad app, all while learning fine motor skills, math concepts, and different styles of art! So far, our students have loved the activities and the tutors have loved participating as well. Check out some of our students’ work:
Posted October 9th, 2013 by Shalyn with No Comments
The week of September 23rd-27th officially marked our first Science at Tutoring Week! During that week, three DOW Agroscience Ambassadors volunteered their time and worked with our students and tutors to perform hands-on activities related to DNA and chemistry.
Phenotype bracelets: Students learned about phenotypes – physical traits – and created a bracelet using colored beads as code for different characteristics, including hair color, eye color, and gender. Afterward, students and tutors were able to compare their bracelets to find out what characteristics they had in common!
DNA extraction from strawberries: The DOW volunteers taught our kids about DNA and how it is found in every living thing. Students were able to extract DNA from strawberries by following a series of steps and were then able to observe what DNA looks like to the naked eye. They even got to take their DNA home with them!
Instant snow: Students learned about chemistry and polymers, large molecules made up of smaller repeating units called monomers. They added water to an instant snow polymer and watched as the powder transformed into “snow.”
Our students LOVED the opportunity to perform hands-on science experiments. Throughout the week, we heard kids say things like, “Science is awesome!” ”I didn’t know science could be so cool!” “Can you come back again?”
The best way to explain how our kids felt about the experience, however, is to let them tell you themselves. Check out some of the letters our students wrote to the DOW volunteers:
Excited by what you see? Learn more about other groups who’ve given in creative ways.
Posted September 26th, 2013 by Shalyn with No Comments
Thanks to you, our Open House Celebration last week was a huge success! Over 85 tutors, donors, and supporters attended the event – it was so nice to catch up with old friends and to see some new faces! In addition to touring the new space, our supporters attended an interactive presentation about our program and the challenges our kids face, created cards of encouragement for our students, and shared what they were passionate about for #PassionProject!
To make our debut even more exciting, Larry Blackerby from RTV6 stopped by our office to celebrate with us. In addition to touring the new space and meeting our volunteers and supporters, he presented a generous donation to School on Wheels on behalf of the Scripps Howard Foundation. Check out the news story from RTV6 below!
Thank you RTV6, the Scripps Howard Foundation, and all of you for attending the Open House and supporting our kids!
- Learn more about our move.
Posted August 14th, 2013 by Shalyn with No Comments
The summer iPad program at Barton Center was a huge success! Our students loved working on the iPads, and our tutors loved the program too! Here are some thoughts and reflections on the program by our tutors and parents, along with some photos taken by our students:
All children should be given the opportunity to work with technology, no matter their background, home life, or socioeconomic status because all children deserve to be given equal learning experiences. School on Wheels provides this opportunity for children that otherwise may not be given these resources. It is a wonderful way to teach ownership and responsibility while learning and having some fun too. I’m very grateful for the generous donations that have supported the purchasing of one iPad per student for the summer and equally grateful to School on Wheels for opening the doors for these phenomenal children. And what I truly am most grateful for is the incredible experience, memories, and relationships I have gained throughout my School on Wheels journey.
- Wesley Warren, SEAT program tutor
During the summer program, the kids got better at reading, learned a lot about animals and made some awesome art. Jason has become calmer and more respectful and I am using the ticket system to get the kids to do chores. They loved this program and had so much fun here. The best summer program they’ve been to.
- Jillian, Barton Center parent
I loved using the iPads and was amazed at how the kids knew what to do. They all loved taking pictures for the bingo board! The art program was fabulous. I love the Apeels and hope that they and School on Wheels continue their partnership. I thanked Holly last evening for helping me to bring out my inner artist. I feel kind of bad that I probably had as much (if not more) fun than the kids did with the art.
- Melissa Seibert, SEAT program tutor
I think the summer program was a great experience for both the students and me. Using the iPads helped us all gain knowledge and experience with them. Working with Talia was awesome…she was always such a big ball of energy, made me laugh, and definitely made the end of my day brighter! Some days were harder than others in keeping her focused; but she learned and made progress from using the iPad and Ticket to Read, and she was always so excited to show me her “toys” that she made with the program. She loved the art program with Dave and Holly! My favorite art project that I worked on with her was the superhero toy that she made – a British superhero (from Britain of course) with wings.
- Tricia SanNicholas, SEAT program tutor
I thought the summer SEAT program was awesome. The kids, the tutors and the parents all seemed to really enjoy the program. The kids got such a kick out of using the iPads that they didn’t even realized they were learning. The tutors were so great working with the students on the new iPad programs, which was different then tutoring during the school year. The “Club House” theme coupled with the ticket incentive program worked great. The students understood the expectations, rose to the occasion and behaved well! Both Amazon John’s animals and the art enrichment programs were great. I thought it was nice how that the parents and families could enjoy the animal program on Mondays. Overall I thought it was well organized and engaged the students throughout the entire program. You know it’s a success when the kids don’t want it to end. Let’s do it again next year!
- Ieva Grundy, Salvation Army Barton Center Program Coordinator
Posted July 10th, 2013 by Kurt Melin with No Comments
I started tutoring in January 2010 after being referred to School on Wheels by a friend. I saw tutoring as a great way for me to give back to the community in a way I hadn’t before – by giving my time. What I didn’t expect was that I would get as much out of it as the kids. Since I started tutoring, Tuesdays have gone from just another day on the calendar to my favorite day of the week. I look forward to going to the Julian Center each week and working with some of my favorite students. Nothing beats the look on a child’s face the moment they realize how to solve a problem that they didn’t understand going into the session or finishing a book they thought was too difficult.
Throughout my 3+ years as a School on Wheels volunteer, I have tutored at many different locations. Most of my experiences have been with emergency shelters, where students can stay from two weeks to two months. Tutoring this year at the Julian Center was my first opportunity to work with a student for the span of a school year. Throughout the year, I got to know and work with one girl in particular – a kindergartner named Sarah. When we started working together in the fall, Sarah had a hard time sitting still and listening for more than five minutes at a time. By the end of the year, we could get through a whole hour of tutoring and her spelling and reading had improved drastically. Being able to see Sarah’s development throughout the school year while building a bond with her solidified for me that the time I spend tutoring is worth every minute.
To anyone thinking about becoming a School on Wheels tutor, I promise that you will get as much out of it as you put in. It was one of the best decisions I’ve made and can’t wait for tutoring to start back up in the fall.
Kurt Melin, 2012-13 Tutor of the Year
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