Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Trip to Rockefeller Center

On a very crisp, clear Thursday, December 23, 2010, 16 students, with teachers Ms. Juanita Ruano and Ms. Kim Sievers, traveled to the island of Manhattan to see Rockefeller Center. The trip is part of the English Language Learner program at McKee High School to help English Language Learners (ELL) improve their skills in acquiring English. Part of the experience is immersing students in cultural events and landmarks.

One of the best ways to immerse students in NYC landmarks in the center of Manhattan is to have a "treasure hunt," which ranged from taking pictures, indulging in NYC traditional cuisine, and working in teams to gain points for reaching certain landmarks a la "Amazing Race" style from one point to the next.

The next step will be to see student reflections about their trip to several landmarks in and around Rockefeller Center in 2011. By the way, how did we pull off a trip for ELL students on December 23rd, cooperation amongst teachers within the ELA Department.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

ADL training at McKee

It is always so neat to see students participate in diversity awareness exercises in which they challenge their own judgments and perceptions. I had a chance to sit in the ADL session for 15 minutes (which is equal to 15 hours in human time). It was enjoyable to see the facilitator help the students draw conclusions from looking discovering and getting to know a piece of fruit is like getting to know and discover people in their community.

Pictures to come.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Big Brother-Big Sister Train To Help Underclassmen

A senior looked around and reflected on all that it took to matriculate through McKee. s she talked about the idea with her peers, they urged her to follow through with creating a high school version of Big Brother - Big Sister, McKee's version of upper classmen helping underclassmen through the twists and turns of the high school social and academic experience.

Senior Victoria Caldwell approached me and said there were a number of upper classmen, willing to go beyond their comfort zone and strive to be committed, role models dedicated to community service, and more importantly, steering ninth grade students towards engaging in positive activities. Students from all of the different CTE programs as well as athletes from various sports showed up to the meetings to indicate they were willing to be their brother's or their sister's keeper.
The students developed a PowerPoint presentation, designed their business cards, practiced the speeches they would do in front of different classrooms. As in the beginning of all organizations, at the creation of any new group, the students went through forming, storming, and continue to build towards norming. Already teachers have placed recommendations of under classmen who need a big brother or big sister. Several Big Brother-Little Brother and Big Sister-Little Sister pairs have started to participate in community service activities such as turkey give-aways to food pantries, and panel discussions on education sponsored by the New York Urban League. Starting Wednesday, as the students do their presentations about the purpose of Big Brothers and Sisters to freshmen classes, we will be taking a purposeful step towards performing the central mission of the group.

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