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Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

The Patricelli Center for Social Entrepreneurship awards annual seed grants to fund the launch or early stage growth of a Wesleyan-connected social enterprise, project, program, or venture. This year’s winners are Walking Elephants Home, Kindergarten Kickstart, and T.R.A.P. House. Each grantee reports back with blog posts and photos. Here is the first report from Stephanie Blumenstock ’16, writing with updates from Kindergarten Kickstart. The Kickstart team also includes Meg Narwold ’16, Natalie May ’18, and Professor Anna Shusterman. 


 

centers This past semester has been an eventful one for Kindergarten Kickstart and we can’t wait for this summer. As Kickstart moves into its 5th year of operation, we feel so fortunate to have received a Seed Grant to allow us to move beyond our original community non-profit model and launch Kickstart 2.0, an enterprise with the potential to create a ripple of impact in the field of education beyond Middletown. Here’s a snapshot of what we, along with our faculty advisor Anna Shusterman, have done so far for the 2016 Kickstart program:

  1. Finalized dates and sites: Kickstart will run from July 5 – August 5, with one classroom at Farm Hill School and one at Bielefield School (both elementary schools in Middletown).
  2. Recruited students: With the help of our collaborators from Wesleyan’s Cognitive Development Lab and Middletown’s Family Resource Center, we reached out to eligible families in Middletown with children entering kindergarten in the fall, and were met with lots of enthusiasm from parents. We expect that both classrooms will be full, with 15 children in each.
  3. Hired teachers: Stephanie and Natalie will return as Kickstart teachers, and we have 4 amazing new teachers on board, each with experience in developmental psychology and working with children and full of ideas about how to make Kickstart the best it can be. At the end of the semester, the teachers briefly observed both a preschool and kindergarten classroom, in order to get ideas for the Kickstart classroom and get a better idea of the school environment we’ll be preparing our students for. We will also work with two Middletown-based certified teachers (one of whom taught with Kickstart last year!). Each classroom will be staffed by 3 Wesleyan teachers and 1 certified teacher.
  4. Continued relationships with our research collaborators: This summer, we will continue to work with our research collaborators from last year, testing interventions (i.e., fun educational games) that target both executive function and socio-emotional skills.

KKblogpostThe groundwork for this summer has been laid, and the next few weeks will be busy as we finalize the details of Kickstart 2.0. Our overall goals for this summer include:

  1. Piloting our own literacy intervention: Beginning during our training period in late June and continuing throughout the summer, Kickstart teachers will design a new literacy intervention and begin to implement it in our classrooms. This process will include researching pre-existing literacy interventions and deciding which aspects of them we want to incorporate into our own, creating the materials themselves (including picture books, visual aids, board games, etc.), and trying them out during Kickstart to see how our students react to and learn from them. Ideally, we will have a set of finished materials by the end of the summer that can be shared with teachers at other preschool programs (although Kickstart teachers in 2017 and beyond can continue to refine them!).
  2. Increasing Wesleyan student-teachers’ contact with our research collaborators: While last year, most of the communication with our research collaborators was done through our faculty advisor, this summer, Wesleyan student-teachers will be in consistent contact with our collaborators, giving them feedback about how the interventions are working in the classroom and brainstorming suggestions for improvement. Currently, one of the Kickstart teachers is researching a new and improved assessment we can use to evaluate the impact of the socio-emotional intervention on our students.
  3. Standardizing our training and curriculum materials: In Kickstart’s 4 years of existence, we have used (and produced) tons of documents with information on the psychology and education research that guides our program, as well as many lesson plans and general classroom descriptions. By the end of the summer, we’d like to have put together one synthesized training curriculum manual with all of the information someone would need to know about Kickstart prior to working in a Kickstart classroom. This manual can then be sent to other universities where faculty members have expressed interest in starting a program like Kickstart, making it easier for Kickstart to take root in other locations.
  4. Updating our website: As we look to expand Kickstart in the near future, both through scaling our model to other universities and connecting with more research collaborators, revamping our website to make it more informative and visually appealing will be helpful. We are also working with a graphic designer to design a new logo!
  5. Shifting our business model: Thus far, Kickstart has depended on philanthropy (and we are so grateful to all of the funders who have made the program possible thus far!). However, our major long-term goal is to develop a self-sustaining financial model, through our partnerships with outside researchers and through selling our own materials. Thanks to the Seed Grant, we will begin to pivot towards this goal this summer!

Overall, we are in good shape for the launch of Kickstart 2.0, and we are so excited to work with our research collaborators, Middletown partners, and the Patricelli Center this summer!

 

Reblogged from: ENGAGE – Wesleyan University. (Go to the original post…)

This spring, Alvin Chitena ’19 was awarded the Davis Projects for Peace award to launch Zim Code in Zimbabwe.

Zim Code provides Zimbabwean youth with free access to resources they need—computers, internet access and instruction—to learn computer programming and how to apply their new skills in their community. Read more here.

The Davis Projects for Peace grant, given annually at a select group of colleges including Wesleyan, funds grassroots summer projects anywhere in the world which promote peace and address the root causes of conflict among parties.More information about the application process and past winners is available here. Alvin writes to us today with the first of (we hope) many updates on his success.


 

zimcode1We officially launched Zim Code on Saturday, June 4th! 

One of the key objectives of the launch was to bring together the Zim Code team, its student beneficiaries, the school staff, education authorities, sponsors and partners. Although the Provincial Education Director was unable to attend, the Provincial Computer Inspector stood in on his behalf. Students and staff from Mzilikazi, Premier and Mpopoma high school were in attendance. Representatives from our partners, Luyanda Uthando Children’s’ Foundation, Lead Us Today and Education-USA were present. ZOL and Higher Life were represented among the VIP guests.

zimcode5
zimcode2
zimcode3

Through the launch, Zim Code team members explained, with the aid of speeches and videos, the true importance of technology in our modern day lives and the big role that computer programming has to play in all that. After the Founder of Zim Code gave his key-note address, a few other Zim Code team members shared their life experiences relating to their decision to be a part of Zim Code. One of the key pillars of computer programming is being able to collaborate with others on big projects. Having a team of intelligent, passionate and driven individuals to work with has made all of Zim Code’s successes possible.

zimcode4The highlight of the launch was the Official Launch itself. The Zim Code Founder decided to shy away from the traditional ribbon-and-scissors type of launch and rather have a more creative, relevant and meaningful launch. Working along those lines, we created a program that launched Zim Code when “launch” was typed in. After the Provincial Computer Inspector initiated the program, “<Z/C>” was printed on the screen and then a congratulatory video started playing, all done through code. This launch procedure received lots of commendations from the attending guests.

Reblogged from: Wesleyan Photo. (Go to the original post…)

Say cheese!
During Reunion & Commencement Weekend 2016, several alumni, students, families and friends stopped by the THISISWHY Photo Booth for a quick pic. Feel free to tag yourself and friends.

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Robert Gillette ’59] As a researcher for the US National Archives, author Robert Gillette ’59 was exposed to information about the Gross Breeden Institute, an agricultural learning community that taught Jewish students how to farm in order to emigrate from Nazi Germany.

Gillette’s subsequent research on the German program’s educational approach would come to heavily inform his forty-year career as a schoolteacher and the two books he has authored, The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany and the newer Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm, which was written for younger audiences and published last year.

Inspired by the Gross Breeden’s embodiment of “experiential education,” Gillette set out to teach students with this same approach of learning by doing. This was achieved through programs like Opportunities to Teach Ourselves, a highly successful initiative he created that integrated class curriculums with outdoor experiences for at-risk students. In a conversation with News Advance, he expresses how important it is to challenge young people intellectually and to respect them. His books are meant to inspire these same sentiments:

“The main theme of my [second] book is hope and courage. Our kids need that. Everybody needs it. My hope is that students will see other students their age going through such trauma and coming out the other side standing on their own two feet intact with hope and courage.”

Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm and The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany can be purchased at Amazon, Givens Books, Barnes & Noble, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, and many other book sellers

Read more…

Image: By Lathan Goumas

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150604-robert-gillette

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Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Robert Gillette ’59] As a researcher for the US National Archives, author Robert Gillette ’59 was exposed to information about the Gross Breeden Institute, an agricultural learning community that taught Jewish students how to farm in order to emigrate from Nazi Germany.

Gillette’s subsequent research on the German program’s educational approach would come to heavily inform his forty-year career as a schoolteacher and the two books he has authored, The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany and the newer Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm, which was written for younger audiences and published last year.

Inspired by the Gross Breeden’s embodiment of “experiential education,” Gillette set out to teach students with this same approach of learning by doing. This was achieved through programs like Opportunities to Teach Ourselves, a highly successful initiative he created that integrated class curriculums with outdoor experiences for at-risk students. In a conversation with News Advance, he expresses how important it is to challenge young people intellectually and to respect them. His books are meant to inspire these same sentiments:

“The main theme of my [second] book is hope and courage. Our kids need that. Everybody needs it. My hope is that students will see other students their age going through such trauma and coming out the other side standing on their own two feet intact with hope and courage.”

Escape to Virginia: From Nazi Germany to Thalhimer’s Farm and The Virginia Plan: William B. Thalhimer and a Rescue from Nazi Germany can be purchased at Amazon, Givens Books, Barnes & Noble, Arcadia Publishing and The History Press, and many other book sellers

Read more…

Image: By Lathan Goumas

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150604-robert-gillette

Related links

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Mary Roach ’81] On June 7, best-selling author Mary Roach ’81 will be releasing Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Her newest non-fiction book is a lighthearted investigation of military science and the often-ridiculous features of warfare employed to keep soldiers alive. Applying a comedic lens for a topic typically approached with grave seriousness, Roach displays and encourages what is described in the Observer as an “understanding of both the humorous and serious aspects of war.”

By bringing to light bizarre and little-known facts about the armed forces––relating to, for example, the development of combat gear and military fashion––Roach finds the means to tell a fuller story of the soldier narrative. She reminds us that experiences of the military industrial complex are made up of many more moving parts than just the firearms used, the spectacle of battle or the reproduction of death:

“Much of what is written is about the drama of combat and facing the enemy, and the aftermath of that emotionally,” she said. “You forget about the day-to-day stresses of war.”

Grunt provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look into the scientific choices affecting the everyday lives of military personnel, and considers the surprising ways soldiers confront their absurd and deadly circumstances. Roach found that many wounded soldiers, “whether they’d lost a leg or a penis, had a surprising sense of humor about their condition.” She aims to reflect and respect this in her writing:

“I’m imagining the person I’m writing about reading the chapter,” she said. “It’s a system of checks and balances. Humor happens when something is uncomfortable, and is a product of my not knowing what to say or how to behave. It’s a little intuitive.”

Read more…

Image: c/o Jen Siska

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150603-mary-roach

Related links

[Twitter] follow @mary_roach on Twitter ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

By Keren Alshanetsky ’17

[Mary Roach ’81] On June 7, best-selling author Mary Roach ’81 will be releasing Grunt: The Curious Science of Humans at War. Her newest non-fiction book is a lighthearted investigation of military science and the often-ridiculous features of warfare employed to keep soldiers alive. Applying a comedic lens for a topic typically approached with grave seriousness, Roach displays and encourages what is described in the Observer as an “understanding of both the humorous and serious aspects of war.”

By bringing to light bizarre and little-known facts about the armed forces––relating to, for example, the development of combat gear and military fashion––Roach finds the means to tell a fuller story of the soldier narrative. She reminds us that experiences of the military industrial complex are made up of many more moving parts than just the firearms used, the spectacle of battle or the reproduction of death:

“Much of what is written is about the drama of combat and facing the enemy, and the aftermath of that emotionally,” she said. “You forget about the day-to-day stresses of war.”

Grunt provides readers with a behind-the-scenes look into the scientific choices affecting the everyday lives of military personnel, and considers the surprising ways soldiers confront their absurd and deadly circumstances. Roach found that many wounded soldiers, “whether they’d lost a leg or a penis, had a surprising sense of humor about their condition.” She aims to reflect and respect this in her writing:

“I’m imagining the person I’m writing about reading the chapter,” she said. “It’s a system of checks and balances. Humor happens when something is uncomfortable, and is a product of my not knowing what to say or how to behave. It’s a little intuitive.”

Read more…

Image: c/o Jen Siska

Share this link: wesconnect.wesleyan.edu/news-20150603-mary-roach

Related links

[Twitter] follow @mary_roach on Twitter ➞

Don’t have a Facebook account, but want to comment? Email us.

Reblogged from: The WesPress Blog. (Go to the original post…)

Wartime treachery, twisted spies and brutality—sound familiar?

AMC’s period drama TURN: Washington’s Spies is in it’s third season, and tensions are rising in the Arnold household. One can understand how a man could be frustrated, having served as Washington’s finest battle commander only to be sent to work a desk job. This restless man would become synonymous with ‘traitor.’

If you’re loving the drama and intriguing politics of Turn, Eric Lehman’s Homegrown Terror: Benedict Arnold and the Burning of New London should be on your summer reading list. Maybe the show has you wondering how true the drama between John Andre, Peggy Shippen, and Benedict Arnold is? Or you’re interested in learning more about the charges leveled at Arnold surrounding his leniency towards Loyalists? This new take on the most reviled traitor of the Revolutionary War is filled with fascinating details surrounding his attack on New London, Connecticut, when the settlement was burnt to the ground. Based on research of primary documents, Lehman pays close attention to key changes in Arnold’s character—from his time as a decorated American soldier, to “the point where he went from betraying his comrades to massacring his neighbors and destroying their homes.”

Homegrown Terror, a finalist for both the Indie Book and Army Historical Foundation Distinguished Book Awards, is a must-read for anyone enthralled by the twists of Benedict Arnold’s storyline in Turn. None of his colleagues saw his betrayal coming, just as readers will not anticipate what Lehman uncovers regarding this Revolutionary War antihero’s psyche.

The clandestine meeting of John Andre and Benedict Arnold led to Andre’s death and Arnold’s discovery as a traitor and became one of the most talked about incidents in American history. From an engraving by S. B. Stearns, in Writings of Thomas Jefferson, vol. 7, University of Bridgeport Archives.

  

Reblogged from: Green Street Blog. (Go to the original post…)

Check out the completed calendar of Science Safety workshops for the 2016/2017 school year.   We will be hosting a new workshop in August for custodial maintenance, so save the date.2016-17 CSSN calendar Draft Final

Reblogged from: Wesconnect News. (Go to the original post…)

Weekend Edition Saturday invited Sebastian Junger ’84 to discuss his latest book, Tribe, a thesis about what we can learn from tribal societies about loyalty, belonging, and searching for meaning.

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