Week 4: “I-We-You” Learning Process


By: Kelsey Lake, 2017 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow

This week at RYSA included a few challenging moments but culminated in some exciting and encouraging progress. Marcus and I were very excited about the prospect of our classes working as teams to create stories on their own. We wanted to see at what degree of independence they could accomplish this is at the RYSA graduation performance. So, we gave them a Mad Libs type story structure, set a five -minute time limit, and for the older students told them they had to complete the group story without communicating verbally.

We had practiced filling out Mid Libs-style sentence stems and stories together as a class, but we didn’t realize that the task we actually set for the students was one they didn’t have much practice with – working as a team, without teacher supports, in the specific context of Storytelling class. The class quickly got a little chaotic: there was conflict between students, confusion about how to complete the task, and frustration as some students took leadership roles while others felt excluded and shut down.

Yikes! We let the timer run out and decided to spend time reflecting on “what went well” and “what could go better next time.” Most of the answers received – “listening to the teacher,” “doing better next time,” “not talking” – were rote responses about classroom behavior, instead of the reflection on teamwork that Marcus and I were driving towards.

Once Marcus and I had a chance to reflect, we realized we had set a task that many adults find difficult to achieve. Though we still believe firmly in the students’ ability to work as a team in Storytelling class, we realized also that we’d skipped an essential step of the “I-We-You” learning process. In fact, we had jumped all the way to the “You” phase, asking them to independently model a task and demonstrate comprehension of a concept that we hadn’t explicittly modeled ourselves or practiced with them in class activities.

So, for Thursday’s class, we decided to take a conscious step back and focus on reinforcing the storytelling and language concepts we’d been working on, but also including conversations, observations, and examples of how being part of a class was similar to working on a team – it includes compromise, respect, and listening as essential ingredients.

We temporarily lost sight of a main RYSA objective – to help students develop interpersonal skills. To get back on track, we made such skills part of our process, instead of expecting them to magically appear in class without practice or exploration. Students started embodying these teamwork principles in different ways; one very prominent example was the students putting their hands down after another classmate was called on, showing respect and giving space for other ideas. These small moments at RYSA are actually the big victories, helping students understand “school rules” from a perspective of teamwork and leadership skills, instead of just learning rules by rote.

As we helped the students learn, we had breakthroughs as educators. Sometimes, for one step forward, you take two steps back. But, if you refocus on the learning process rather than any products you’re driving towards, students and teachers together can grow in their understanding of teamwork and leadership skills in the classroom.

 

 

 

THE MIDPOINT: Where are we now?

By: Marcus Guy Crawford, 2017 Jennifer Saltzstein Kaffenberger Fellow

Ok. I’ll be honest — when I saw that there were 5 full training days at the start of July for this program, I thought “What do they need to teach us that requires 40 hours of my time?” That’s more time than we’d spend actually instructing our students in the individual classrooms. It seemed so extensive and I couldn’t fathom how we’d be able to integrate all of this new information into our classrooms in the way our well-versed New York City, Dept. of Education colleagues would. The jargon, and the rigor with which it was being taught, seemed to separate me from the work I was desperate to do and had felt prepared to do.
 
But, here I am, halfway through the journey of RYSA R.I.S.E with this incredible body of students, and it’s all proving useful — some of it in small ways, others in more profound, and substantive ways, but I’m using it, it feels accessible and while it’s likely an imperfect product I’m delivering at times, it feels good to be wearing the teacher hat in a formal setting. And to be doing so with only 5 days of training vs. 4+ years (and college debt).
 
Training in hand, this week Kelsey and I dove in to tackle this large heading — Summative Assessment. Basically, we wanted to set a task that would gauge just how much our students have taken in in these past 3 weeks of class. What concepts have they held on to from our class and what skills are they able to exhibit that the program, at large, is trying to equip them with? This will help guide our second half of the course. So true to form, we put on our super academic hats, our serious faces, and played mad-libs with the kids! 
 
They loved it! Our youngest group, the Smiling Sunbeams, needed lots of scaffolds (another fancy education word, meaning support!) to help them through but they really latched on to certain ideas. Most importantly for us in the storytelling classroom imagination is a concept that the kids definitely know and love. This feels like a huge victory over iPad and game console culture. Our oldest group, the Rising Stars, knew all of the vocabulary that we had taught them, but struggled more with transferrable skills — cooperation, compromise and delegation of roles. This was a great opportunity to defer to our assistant teacher in the class, who spends the entire day with the students and could relate our learning, to those of other teachers in other classrooms. On a second attempt, they soared through the exercise.
 
 Finally — we led the Flying Arrows who had the most interesting response to the exercise. Many of the students in this class, have a very difficult time grasping the English language, while a core group of others are vocal, participatory and typically help Kelsey and I move the class along. Surprisingly, there were no spectators and everyone got involved. Our more able students took on leadership roles and made sure the large task was accomplished, while our true English Language beginners spent time searching through the words, sounding them out, using this exercise as an opportunity to be curious, to discover and to do so without feeling pressure to achieve. It was extraordinary to watch.
 
RYSA is teaching me so many things, but most importantly for this week, it was great to be equipped with the skills to actually gauge where our students are in their own process of skill-acquisition. It didn’t feel academic. It felt like I was prepared to serve the students, to witness their progress, and to talk about it with a degree of sophistication. We were told in training that we should be seeing the student, and not their trauma. I would take that one step further and acknowledge that this week we saw their growth – bright, budding and wonderful!

Soak up the Florida sun with Art-in-Action this summer

This summer, ASTEP is sending four Guest Teaching Artists to support Art-in-Action, a 4-week arts camp for elementary and middle school students in South Florida. Primarily coming from low income, immigrant and migrant families, students at Art-in-Action learn not only the arts, but healthy relationship skills, nutrition basics, stress and anger management, and confidence to be the best possible versions of themselves.

Dates: Two options: June 16 – July 2 OR July 2 – July 16
Application deadline: ASAP
Location: Homestead, Florida
Who: Any and all artists are welcome!

** Airfare, room and board is provided by ASTEP and enFAMILIA for all Volunteer Artists
** Email Lizzy Rainer at lizzy@asteponline.org or give us a ring at 212.921.1227 to learn more!

 

Art-in-Action 2015 – Magic: Creer para ver

This year’s Art-in-Action summer camp took place June 15 – July 10 for over 90 immigrant and migrant children living south of Miami. AIA enables these youth to build on their potential and become leaders in their community — as well as have an all-out fun time together!

A team of 9 ASTEP Volunteer Artists collaborated with 8 Local Artists to provide a diverse variety of classes in music, theatre, dance, visual arts, and our newest culinary arts, which not only allowed the students to be creative with food preparation but taught healthy eating habits. In addition, AIA organized a Family Day, inviting parents to participate in programming alongside their children, which equaled lots of laughter and big smiles. The 4-week arts camp culminated in a performance for the entire community with over 150 people attending! This event not only highlighted the student’s work but also helped strengthen the community through creative and celebratory events in a safe space.

Thank you to the incomparable team of Volunteer Artists who made this all possible: Devon Fitol, Raymundo Gutierrez, Cris Akeroyd, Halle Townes, Janilka Serrano, Tiffany Ramos, Aaron Anthon, Allyse Corbin, led by ASTEP’s Director of Programs and Evaluation, Lizzy Rainer

 

 

Last minute recruiting: 1 dancer for the Refugee Youth Summer Academy!

RYSA 2014_Week 2_11w

Do you want to have a life changing experience this summer?

ASTEP is currently recruiting one dancer to join our Volunteer Team to teach at the 6-week Refugee Youth Summer Academy in NYC, presented in collaboration by ASTEP and the International Rescue Committee. Volunteer Teaching Artists will work collaboratively to create and implement a unique curriculum that uses the arts to build English language proficiency and social emotional skills.

  • Volunteers need to be comfortable working with English Language Learners.
  • Volunteers are on-site two days a week, 3 hours a week, from 12PM-3:30PM for 6 weeks.
  • Training takes place June 30 – July 2
  • The program runs from July 6 – August 20

Email Abby Gerdts at abby@asteponline.org to learn more!

+ Want to find out more about our partnership with The IRC?

+ Check out our blog from RYSA 2014!








It’s a wrap — Refugee Youth Summer Academy 2014!

Led by a team of 8 Volunteer Artists, ASTEP delivered the creative arts classes at RYSA for a 5th summer! Classes on visual art, storytelling, dance, and music provided refugee youth with a creative space to develop artistic abilities, strengthen English language skills, build confidence, and transition to their new home.

A big shout-out to the stellar volunteers who help make this all possible: Tracy Einstein (Dance), Noele Flowers (Dance), Lauren Gentry (Theatre), Monica Iancu (Visual Art), Gladys Pasapera (ASTEP Program Facilitator/Visual Art), Heddy Lahmann (Theatre), Vaishali Sinha (Dance), and Callie Tepper (Dance).

 

 

 

Art-in-Action 2014 Camp Blog!

AIA 2014_Week 3_3w

Hey everyone!

Welcome to our Arts-in-Action 2014 camp blog!

Led by a team of 14 Volunteer Artists, ASTEP and our partner, enFAMILIA, are in the middle of Art-in-Action, a 5-week arts camp that brings a dynamic visual and performing arts experience to over 100 youth from the immigrant and migrant communities of Deep South Miami-Dade. Art-in-Action is all about providing a safe space for high school and middle school youth so they can come together to create, develop artistic skills, and grow personally and emotionally.

Students sign up for a variety of classes, including Music, Drama, Dance, Visual Art, and Musical Theater. A few of the elective classes that were offered featured Screen Printing, Clowning, Poetry, and Breakdancing. Stay tuned for weekly updates full of photos, videos, and testimonials!

___________________________________________________________

Week 1

AIA 2014_Week 1_2w

___________________________________________________________

Week 2

AIA 2014_Week 1_2w

___________________________________________________________

Week 3

AIA 2014_Week 2_3w

___________________________________________________________

Week 4

AIA 2014_Week 3_1w

___________________________________________________________

Week 4

AIA 2014_Week 5_6w

___________________________________________________________

** None of this would be possible without the dedication and talent of our amazing Volunteer Artist Team:

Aaron Anthon (Visual Art), Cessa Betancourt (Dance), Elise Conklin (Music), Laura Estep (Events Coordinator), Devon Fitol (Dance), Allison Gibbons (Dance), Raymundo Gutierrez (Music), Kelcie Miles (Theatre), Tiffany Ramos (Visual Art), Ximena Salgado (Assistant Program Facilitator), Damian Santamaria (Visual Art), Linnell Truchon (Theatre), Blake Wales (Theatre), and Andre Webb (Music).


Also, a BIG thank you to all of our supporters and donors, especially Southwest Airlines, which directly supported the 2014 Art-in-Action Summer Camp!

  Southwest Airlines is proud to be a partner of ASTEP. At Southwest Airlines we strive to make a positive difference in the communities we serve.”


ASTEP has been on an incredible journey

This year, ASTEP set out to highlight the stories of the children we serve worldwide, and we chose a fun and creative way to do it — a music video!

This video  features ASTEP students in Ecuador, India, South Florida and NYC, performing Carole King’s “Where You Lead”, accompanied by the amazing talent of ASTEP Volunteers and Supporters such as Kristin Chenoweth, Jonathan Groff, Debra Monk, Tituss Burgess, and many more!

It captures the children from each of our programs celebrating the transforming power of the arts as they perform Carole King’s “Where You Lead” and clearly demonstrates how art crosses all border and unites us together.

Like the video? Here are six easy ways you can join the ASTEP movement!

  • Share! Spread the word by sharing this video and use #ASTEPsings or @asteponline.
  • Connect! Sign up for our newsletter, follow us on Facebook or Twitter.
  • Volunteer! Apply to work with us as a teaching artist.
  • Learn! Bring us to your campus through the College Campaign.
  • Collaborate! Get involved in planning or attending ASTEP events.
  • Support! Help us change the lives of children across the globe through the arts by donating to us.

Thank you for being a part of our journey. Together we can make a difference!

ASTEPsings







Seeking Volunteers for Art-in-Action Summer Camp!

AIA 2013_Week4_5w

Are you a visual artist with a heart for changing lives?

ASTEP is currently recruiting 2 visual artists to teach at the Art-In-Action Summer Camp in sunny South Florida. The volunteer teaching artists will work collaboratively with 12 other teaching artists to facilitate a life changing experience for 100 youth from farm-working families.

  • Room, meals and stipend provided
  • Artists must enjoy thinking outside the box, working with others, and warm weather!
  • The program runs from June 7-July 20

Fill out our inquiry form to learn more!

Want to find out more about Art-in-Action and our partnership with enFAMILIA?

Check out our blog from Art-in-Action 2013!