Thursday, December 15, 2016

KIPP - Preparing for the Holidays (cont.), December 2016

December Hours - 6
Total Semester Hours - 34

Our first week back after the Thanksgiving break and we were back to making a "replacement” Christmas tree. Apparently, a child had thrown a tantrum in the hallway and decided to take his/her frustrating out on one of our elegant Christmas trees. Once again, I implemented the “Right-Triangle” method to produce a new Christmas three; it came out great, of course.

We set out to deliver supplies to the various classrooms. We used ‘The Checklist’ indicating what supplies each classroom was supposed to receive to make the appropriate deliveries. Classes got some arrangement of tissue boxes, glue sticks, pencils, Lysol wipes, and large paper canvases.

As we made our way through the halls, it was nice seeing the Christmas trees we had produced last month. The trees were decorated with “ornaments” that had the names of the students. It appears the trees had served their purpose.

As we visited each classroom it was interesting to see how the personality of each classroom was different. Some classes were very high energy, while others had children sitting quietly reading, and yet others were snoozing away during Nap time. The teachers were incredibly friendly as we entered the classrooms, and very appreciative to have their supplies restocked.

During a later visit at KIPP we again assisted in alphabetizing and filing documents in the student folders. It’s always a nice experience to work in the filing office, as we are accompanied by one of the KIPP administrators, Danielle. She is very pleasant and we also engage into conversations regarding pop culture, good movies, and fun things to do in New Orleans.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

KIPP - Preparing for the Holidays, November 2016

November hours - 10
Total hours - 28
***NOTE*** - December post contains final semester hours

Out of our several trips to KIPP this month, my personal favorite was the Friday right before Thanksgiving break. We were to be split into two groups for two separate tasks. Fortunately for me, I arrived early and was given the chance to select which task I preferred. I has to choose between being a “Tree-Maker” or a “Refrigerator-Emptier.” Though, I never acquired an aptitude for arts and crafts, being a Tree-Maker still seemed better than helping rid one of the communal refrigerators of expired food.

THE TASK - The teachers needed trees composed of construction paper. The plan was for students to make paper ornaments with their names on them, to then decorate the trees. I admit that initially I was fearful that our trees would be subpar, especially considering the importance that children place on Christmas in general.

We were provided green and brown construction paper and various tools: scissors, glue-sticks, etc.

PRODUCT INSTRUCTIONS -  trees about 7 feet long with a “small trunk.”

I would argue that this description of the final product was vague and insufficient. Thus, I did not feel too guilty, when our prototype-design was declined. We made a typical tree with a cloud-like green portion, about 4ft in height, with a 3ft, brown trunk. 

Interestingly, all the Tree-Makers (including myself) failed to acknowledge that “holiday trees” are pine trees. Thus, they should have triangular top portions with a very small trunk. We altered our design accordingly, and used Figure 1 (below) to guide us.

The tricky part about the updated design was how to go about creating the “zig-zags” for the "layers." Unsurprisingly, I had a stroke of innovative brilliance, and created what I later came to refer to as the “Right-Triangle Method.”

RIGHT -TRIANGLE METHOD - Starting from the bottom of the green paper, we made right triangles along the sides, and topped the tree off with a large isosceles cut. My RT method was moderately effective at creating that layered look we desired.

I was very proud of the 5 trees we produced. The teachers seemed very pleased with our final product, and more importantly, I think the trees will pass the inspection performed by the harshest critics—the kids.

Figure 2 - Me throwing away some of the green paper scraps

Figure 3 - My engineer team implementing the "Right-Triangle" Method

Monday, October 31, 2016

KIPP Experience - I Lead Us To Excellence - Oct. 2016

A group of Pharm. Students and I returned once again to KIPP Elementary/Middle School to support the teachers and faculty in any way we could.

One Friday afternoon, Steven and I assisted with preparing the gym for the school’s Pep Rally, which was scheduled to occur later that day. Steven and I helped set-up tables, chairs, and speakers. As we walked through the halls, it was apparent that the children were extremely excited for the event, and their excitement manifested into their unruliness.

During another day, a group of us were stationed in a third floor office (see picture below). Within the office were filing cabinets containing student files. The files were labeled with each student's grade level. The problem was the grade levels corresponded to last year’s class, and needed to be updated.  

With our substantial brain capacity, we were able to collaborate and formulate an efficient assembly line. I, of course, was declared "Leader" of the assembly line. 

Pictured Below - Steve, Samantha, and The Leader

Here I can be seen passing stacks of folders to Steven, Samantha, and Christen (not pictured). Keep in mind the importance of maintaining the folders (i.e. the stacks) in alphabetical order. It was up to me to establish the ultimate order of operations. There were several factors I had to consider and maintain in my short-term memory: how (the order) the folder stacks were distributed, size of the stack distributed, and my assistants' editing speed. Accommodating all of these factors would prove more challenging than initially expected, but through my continued composure and determination, I was able to lead the successful and timely completion of this task. 

Total Volunteer Hours – 18

Friday, September 30, 2016

KIPP Experience- September 2016

Now that the Tulane students have spent more time at KIPP, we have begun interacting a little more with the teachers and staff. All of the KIPP staff are incredibly friendly, and seem overwhelmingly appreciative to have us volunteers helping out week to week.

Earlier this month, I helped out on several different tasks. The tasks ranged from making copies, handing out flyers to the classrooms/teachers, and even changing the display board (which is out front of the school) to remind those driving/walking by about the labor day holiday (since schools were closed). Last week, we were responsible for organizing boxes of KIPP T-shirts. By the end of the day, we had not only organized all the different shirts, by size and color, into different boxes, but had also provided a count of # of shirts /color/size.

Today, a couple of us: Anuj, Steve, Sammy, and I, were put in charge of delivering various school supplies to all of the elementary-grade classes. We were given a cart to load supplies: paper towels, glue sticks, pencils, Lysol wipes, tissues, and large canvases/pads. We went from class to class dropping off the supplies (see picture below). I personally was in charge of delivering the pencils and glue sticks.

As we entered classrooms, we did out best to not disrupt what was going on, but of course, the students were very interested in why we were there and what we were doing; it was interesting seeing what different classes were doing. One class in particular was watching Shrek (combined with 'nap-time'), while another class. was having a pie-eating contest.

Total Time - 12 hours

Sunday, August 28, 2016

KIPP Experience - August '16

The past two Fridays, I partook in going to KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) Leadership Primary, a public, charter elementary school here in New Orleans. The school serves grades K-4, and was founded in 2011. With being a relatively new school, they are in need of individuals to help in advancing certain "projects" and tasks.

My first week at KIPP we were stationed in the library. We worked on posters that indicated the bus assignment/# of several students. This consisted of placing velcro on laminated posters (which other Tulane volunteers had produced in the week prior) and cutting out students names to then stick onto the boards.

This past week, three volunteers and myself were stationed in a storage room on the third floor. The storage room was filled with KIPP apparel (shirts, vests, sweaters), and was in need of some upkeep. The other three volunteers worked on organizing the shirts, by size and color, into boxes. I worked on organizing the cabinets that stored the sweaters.

I thoroughly enjoyed the experience as it allowed me to interact more closely with both educators, as well as, other individuals in the program. I believe that our (the Tulane volunteers) presence in the school, though on the surface may appear to be of small significance, is in reality very important. By working on some of these tasks, we are able to free up the teachers, providing them more time to focus on what really matters-- educating the students.

In a way, the KIPP experience 'hits close to home,' as I have two brothers, twins, that recently started middle school. My brothers struggled somewhat in their early elementary years, and when I moved closer to them after my undergraduate education, I immediately engaged in working closely with them (reviewing homework, giving extra assignments, etc.) to improve their scholastic performance. I am proud to say that they both have been straight-A students the past three semesters, and have received a variety of academic awards.

I throughly enjoyed the KIPP experience. I look forward to returning to KIPP next Friday. I am thrilled to involved in something that aims to better the local youth.

Total Community Service: 4 hours