Patchwork’s Arts & Smarts Children’s Program is just a few days into our spring semester, but already good things are happening.
Our participants have begun some new art projects. For one, they are learning about radial geometry, color mixing, and graphic design by drawing a pattern using their initials and duplicating that pattern to create a design that looks a little like a snowflake. The final step is to add paint. This past Wednesday, Patchwork was featured on the Channel 44 Morning News, and the children were absolutely delighted that their paintings made it onto the news as part of that broadcast. For another project, they will create their own sketchbooks by upcycling an old set of encyclopedias. First they’re deconstructing the old books, then they will bind new books incorporating the old covers and illustrations. They are also learning from Jane how to make jewelry.
Meanwhile, tutoring has begun. We are glad to see many familiar faces, and we’ve already received calls from new parents whose children need some extra help with their school work. This is a challenge, because Dixie, our Tutoring Coordinator, is short on volunteer tutors. She is seeking additional tutors including individuals who can sub from time to time when her regular tutors are not available. If you are interested in becoming a tutor, contact Patchwork for more details.
Dixie has a special need for someone to help tutor a student in 8th grade geometry. If you would be able to help us out, please let us know. Normally our tutoring program focuses on grades 1-5, but this special request comes because of a special girl who found a place of support and acceptance within our programming. She is a recent immigrant to the United States, and she is learning English at the same time that she’s learning geometry. She’s working hard, too. While some children require extra encouragement to go to their scheduled tutoring session, she asks for help even when it’s not her day for tutoring.
This fall, her tutors realized that she quickly grasped the geometric concepts it was simply the language and instructions where she got stuck. Her tutors suspected that her teacher didn’t realize that his student did not completely understand. The tutors wanted to help advocate for the student, so they wrote a letter to her teacher that detailed these observations. Jane encouraged the student to speak up in order to let her teacher know that she needed help.
A few weeks later, there was a change. The student had a better idea of what she was expected to do. Jane talked to her and discovered that after the girl spoke with her teacher and gave him the letter, he began adding a written summary of his assignments on the board for the class to copy. This made it easier for the student to understand what he wanted her to do.
Jane asked, “Do you think other students in your class understand better now, too?”
“Yes,” the girl thought.
“So, you helped your whole class,” Jane observed. She was proud of the girl’s courage.