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My Second to Last Week :(

Hey everyone!

So this was my second to last week at Bronzeville. It was a little intense because on Tuesday I did an assessment with the kids and that took up a lot of time. It was also intense because on Thursday I decided to do a Reader’s Theater with them, which are basically children’s stories in script format. That was chaotic because everyone wanted a good part and there weren’t enough of them.

So, yes my last full week was pretty crazy. The students will be performing their reader’s theater on Tuesday, so I will be taking plenty of pictures to keep as memories. 

It’s been so great working with these kids. But sadly, I only have one day left with them. It’s crazy how far they’ve come from when I met them at the beginning of the semester. I can already see many of them coming out of their shells and becoming more confident when they’re reading out loud and in social situations in general. 

I’m going to miss them! I’ll post about my last day next week and add some pictures as well! 

Until then!

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Another Week at Bronzeville Buddies

Hello all.

So this week was pretty standard. However, I found out that the new volunteer who started with us (His name is Eric) is a student at Loyola University Chicago! It’s fun to have a fellow Rambler in the program! 

I DO HAVE SOME EXCITING NEWS! My boss, Cary, came with me on Tuesday to give the students a fluency test. These basically count how many words the students can read per minute. The scores of almost every 3rd grader that we have went up by TWENTY WORDS! So that made me feel really awesome and happy with everything I’ve been doing! It’s really awesome to see the impact that you’re making on people’s lives when you sometimes feel like you’re not doing that much! 

Anyway, other than that, not too much happened this week, aside from the monsoon that was occurring on Wednesday and Thursday. Thankfully, Bronzeville didn’t have to cancel on Thursday and they weren’t flooded. 

I’ll keep you posted about next week! 

Until then! 

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Hectic Few Days

Hello all,

So this week was somewhat hectic due to the fact that

a.) I had a new volunteer starting Tuesday to replace Dirk, who is going to be missing too many days this month to continue with us, sadly.

b.) I got super sick during Buddies and it continued until Thursday night.

So, Tuesday was really awesome (until I got sick) because I went to another Open Books program to see a group of high school students launch their newly published anthology. Some of the students read their stories out loud, and they were very emotional. There were a lot of tears and hugging going around, which was really awesome to see. I was so impressed by these high school students who were so willing to share their stories, all of which deserved to be heard!

After that, I told one of my fellow interns about my throat feeling swollen. I’d been feeling a little achy and having a swollen throat all day, but it was starting to get annoying at this point. So she told me to go get Emergen-C at WalMart, which are packets of Vitamin C that you put in water (They’re really gross).

I got some before Buddies, but at Buddies I began to feel worse and worse to the point where I was dizzy. However, I couldn’t leave because I had a new volunteer, Eric, who was coming in that day.

I watched him interact with his buddies, and he seemed to hit it off very well with both of them, which was AWESOME! 

After I got home, I rested and went to CVS to see what was wrong. They said I wouldn’t be getting better until at least Thursday, which was not news I wanted to hear.

I didn’t have Buddies on Thursday, so I emailed my boss and informed her that I couldn’t come in since I was still feeling awful. Finally, Thursday night around 7:00, I started to feel better. Now, I’m all cured and ready to rock these last few weeks of Buddies! 

Sorry my week was so uninteresting!!! Hopefully next week will be better! :)

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Research Week!

Hello everyone!

This week was really awesome because I got to do some research for Open Books about intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation and reward systems that we could use for the Buddies program that would help enhance the students’ intrinsic motivation.

Intrinsic motivation is doing something because you want or desire to do it. Extrinsic motivation is doing something in order to get to a reward. Research has shown that there are types of extrinsic motivation that can harm intrinsic motivation, which harms the students’ chance for success. Therefore, we were trying to find an incentive system that would help foster motivation.

It was really interesting to research and I felt like I was really doing something productive. My boss wanted me to compile a sheet with the info I found so she can pass that out to interns and volunteers next year. So we’re hoping to find an incentive program to incorporate with all of our Buddies sites! 

For me, it’s really exciting to be a part of this project because it’s really going to be helping the interns out by giving them a uniform incentive system, which will make it easier for the interns who come in at the middle of the year. It will also help the students because there will be instructions on how to foster intrinsic motivation while using an incentive system!

Basically, all day on Tuesday and Thursday my desk just looked like this: 

I used so much notebook paper with all the research I did! It was really awesome!

That’s all for now folks! Catch ya next week!! 

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Dealing with the Distraction of Spring Break

Hello everyone!

This week was a tough one since it’s the week before spring break at Bronzeville, so the students were really hyped up and ready to goof-off. I got plenty of sass and attitude today when I went to go get them from their classrooms. However, many of the volunteers were able to get them to focus and apply themselves, even though they didn’t want to. That was great! 

The week itself was somewhat uneventful aside from one of the students, Donovon, told me I looked like Miley Cyrus when I put my sunglasses over my eyes. I didn’t know whether that was a good or bad thing, but he assured me that it meant I was cool. So THAT was awesome!! But other than that, the students were great as usual and we had at least 2 volunteers absent both days as usual. 

Hopefully, after next week when Buddies meets again after Spring Break, the kids will be less sassy and more focused on reading. We’re trying to build up more excitement for the volunteers as well as the students, since this is the time of year that they both start burning out. So hopefully, that won’t happen at Bronzeville Buddies!

Next week, I’m going to be helping my boss get stuff ready for the summer program they’re doing at Open Books where 40 kids get to write and PUBLISH their own fantasy novel! How cool is that!? Fantasy is one of my FAVORITE (actually, it’s probably my favorite) genre of literature, so that made me so excited! I’m going to be polishing up my research skills by researching potential guest speakers who are fantasy writers and writing activities for the students. I’M SO EXCITED! 

Alright, that’s all for this week folks! Talk to you next week! 

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Back at Bronzeville Buddies!

Good morning everyone!

Well, my week was interesting for a number of reasons. We started back up at Buddies on Tuesday and the kids were so excited to see us there! They were in a really good mood and a bunch of them flew through a few books, which is AWESOME!

On Thursday, I met the nicest cab driver in existence. I only use my debit card when I take cabs, but I got in and the driver informed me the entire system for that company was down. I told him I only had $10 (*Tip* I heard you should always carry at least five to ten dollars with you in the city in case you get mugged. So that’s why I had so little money.) He said he would take me to Bronzeville, scan my card to get a reciept and then he would take it to the bank to get money for it. However, the entire ride he was telling me about the issues he was having with his company and how he just needed $5 grand to go to school. He was laughing and joking about it though and didn’t make me feel uncomfortable at all. We got to Bronzeville and I gave him $10.50. I offered him my card and he said “no that’s okay. I’ll just cut you a deal. You pay only $10 on the condition that you have a great day!” HOW AMAZING ARE PEOPLE? I thanked him profusely and then I left feeling so happy.

I also have some pictures for you guys! Yay! I hope you enjoy them. 

This is Dirk and his buddy Markus. They make a fantastic team!! And check out Dirk’s Open Books t-shirt!

This is Mallory and her buddy Cameron and another volunteer’s (who couldn’t make it that day) buddy named Ryanea. 

This is Emily and a stand-in buddy (her buddy couldn’t make it that day, so we selected another student to come in and fill her place) who’s name was Cortez.

This is Peggy and her little buddy Shomari. Shomari is very shy when he has to read out loud, but Peggy is helping him get better every session!! 

That’s all for this week folks! Until next week! 

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Just another week at Open Books!

Hello everyone,

This is delayed, I know. My apologies. But there wasn’t very much to report this week considering I was at the office all day. I did start tackling a project with some other interns, though, so that was fun! What we’re trying to do is have our book leveling system be more accurate. Basically, now our book leveling system is stickers of different colors. Each color signifies the age group that the book is appropriate for. For example, light orange means first grade. 

So, since we’ve had some issues with that because a first grade book can also be another color, such as dark orange or light green, we’re trying to use the Fountas and Pinnell format. 

This format assigns a letter between A-Z for each age the book is appropriate for, but it’s much more specific because there are about three-four letters for each grade level.

It’s kind of complicated to explain on here. But I did that all Tuesday since I had no Buddies this week due to the ISATs. I also typed up some poems and short stories for the field trip booklets. This week I have Buddies though so I’ll keep you all posted about what happens!! 

Thanks for reading! 

:)

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Dr. Seuss Day!

Hello everyone! 

Wow, I meant to post earlier, but as always spring break got the best of me. Saturday was the start of spring break for me, but before I could pack up the bags and head home, I went to Open Books for Dr. Seuss Day, which was a TON of fun and a huge success! 

I got there and in the back of the store, the Wishcraft Workshop of Chicago was setting up their table. They are an after-school program for kids where they encourage them to be creative by doing crafts. It was awesome! 

After that, I was working. First I was greeting people, then I was working at the coloring station where they were serving cake (which was DELICIOUS by the way).

It was so great to see all the kids running around and enjoying themselves, as well as the adults who seemed to be having fun! My cousins, aunt and mom came to see what Open Books was all about, since I have two little cousins who would enjoy themselves. They were SUPER impressed, which made me feel AWESOME. 

I also got my picture on the cover photo of Open Books’ Facebook page. I’ll put the link at the bottom of the post for you guys to check out! They also have awesome pictures of the event! I didn’t want to take any of their pictures and post them here without giving them proper credit. 

This week, work will be semi back to normal. I won’t have buddies this week, so I’ll keep you posted about the stuff I’m going to be doing around the office.

Talk to you next week!

Here’s the link to the Open Books Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/OpenBooksOrg

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CRAZY WEEK!

Hello!

My week this week was a very insane one. I came to work on Tuesday as the snow/sleet storm was just beginning. While I sat at my desk proof-reading a booklet of poems written by a field trip group of sixth graders, I noticed how quickly everything was coming down. “Great,” I thought to myself, “I get to travel to the South Side in this weather.” 

As it continued to get worse, my boss came out of her office to tell me that Buddies was cancelled at Bronzeville today because parents were already coming to pick up their kids before the storm got really bad. I was somewhat relieved. That morning I’d woken up from a nightmare that six of my volunteers had said they couldn’t make it. When I got to work, by the time my boss came out to tell me it was cancelled, three had already emailed me saying they couldn’t come today. It was my nightmare coming true! But thankfully, Buddies was cancelled. I called four volunteers while my boss and another staff member called three each. Thankfully we reached everyone before they left to go to Bronzeville.

So I spent the day in our office proof-reading and typing up poems. It was really fun! I know that sounds like a drag, but I really enjoy hearing the stories these kids tell. A lot of them are similar, such as how one girl hated this other girl, but then got to know her and now they’re best friends forever (I think I got that same storyline about 100 times since I’ve started at Open Books). Some are really funny though! 

So, after that I was excited to get back to Buddies on Thursday. Thursday was not the best day for me though, since I got in the cab to take me to Bronzeville, and the guy took the longest route possible. I ended up getting there 20 minutes later than I usually do, but only one volunteer was there since the first session didn’t start for another 15 minutes (I try to get there a half an hour early, to set up and everything).

Only one volunteer had emailed me about being absent. However, another one just didn’t show up. That got on my nerves, but everyone was fine. ANYTHING is easier than having four or five volunteers gone and having to pair the kids up. 

Everything from that point on went smoothly. Except getting home, because I waited an hour for a cab that never came. However, Anna (who is a staff member and filling in for my boss because she had an emergency) just emailed me and said to go straight home since it would take even more time for me to go back to the office.

So each day was a little crazy! But it was still fun all the same! I really enjoy working at Open Books, it seriously makes my week to see the kids and everyone in the office. 

This Saturday I’m going to be working as well! I’m going to be helping out at the Dr. Seuss Day celebration down at the bookstore! Its free for all families and there is cake, coloring, acting, and reading! I’m really excited to go! Since I have next week off, I’ll post again on Sunday about Dr. Seuss day to make up for the next week! I’ll take some pictures to post as well!

That’s all for now! Until Sunday! 

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Week 6 at Open Books!

Hello all,

So this week was a very typical one. I had three volunteers absent both Tuesday and Thursday, so that made the week a bit more difficult. What’s been hard is that each week so far I’ve had a few people absent, so that makes pairing up the kids with other buddies a little chaotic. 

However, this week went well. There was some drama with one of my volunteers who saw something happen at the school and was very angry about it, but since it’s very a very confidential matter that the school is taking care of, I don’t want to disclose the information here. Let’s just say my volunteer was not happy about how they were handling it because they had to be confidential about it and keep her out of the loop. It was chaotic, but my boss and the teachers at the school helped me sort it out, so trying to calm her down was not just on my shoulders.

But other than that, my week was pretty good! Since some volunteers were absent, I got to work with two students, which was really fun. This is making me think about going to grad school for education and maybe teaching. Hmmm…I’m only 20, so I guess a have a little longer to decide these things. 

This internship is really great. I’m learning how to manage and communicate with people in a workspace and it’s really helping me out with my people skills. I have a few weeks off from going to the school because they’re doing testing and such from March 5-14. So that’ll be a nice little break.

Oh and another exciting thing! On March 2nd, I’m going to be helping out at an event at Open Books called Dr. Seus Day! There’s going to be cake, games, and all sorts of fun stuff. It’s totally free, and I cannot wait to see all the kids that are going to be there! My little cousin is also coming, so that’ll be super fun!

I’ll report on that, but after that I have spring break, so I’ll be taking a week off from blogging. Just so everyone knows! :)

Until next time!