Neighborhood Tutoring Program

Jubilee Thursdays

February was the start of the math program at Jubilee Housing. FLOC has had a relationship with Jubilee Housing and its youth services programming for many years. This started with Jubilee referring students, then progressed to hosting a program onsite. This is the second year that FLOC has been able to take a math tutoring program to Jubilee during the spring semester.

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Last week during program, one of the tutors, Jason, asked his student, Richard, if he would like to play trashketball after he took a practice timed test. In response, Richard pulled out his backpack… which just happened to have a basketball hoop inside of it. Throughout the night the kids and tutors would take turns playing basketball. A couple of the students are on math fact units and are studying to take a fluency test. In order to make studying more fun and just little competitive, the tutors decided they would play H.O.R.S.E. Before they could shoot, students had to answer a question first. The game got a little competitive between students and tutors, but of course, the students won!

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Incorporating games and activities into tutoring like this allows the students to stay more engaged and makes learning more interactive.

(Nicole Morgenstern is an NTP site coordinator. This spring, she’s supervising the Thursday tutoring program at Jubilee Housing.)

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Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Student Spotlight

Meet Marley

Marley

Marley is an energetic third grader who has participated in FLOC’s Neighborhood Tutoring Program for two years now. One of her favorite things about FLOC is “how fun it is” to work with her math tutor, Kristen. The pair often plays a game like memory to practice math facts like multiplication or division. Working with her tutor is certainly paying off; last quarter, Marley received 4s in math on her report card, a mark that correlates with excellent work. “I’m trying to get a 4 in reading on my next report card,” she said excitedly. “We’re going to have a pretend spelling bee so that I can keep learning new words.”

Marley said that coming to FLOC has made her more comfortable participating in class, because she’s confident that she can answer her teacher’s questions without hesitation. She hopes to continue attending FLOC programs as she gets older, since “everyone is so kind, and they make learning a lot of fun.”

(Samantha Bailey is the Bilingual Recruitment and Outreach Coordinator at FLOC.)

Outdoor Education Center

Empowerment and Health

Students today are faced with many decisions in their life. FLOC aims to help students understand that they constantly have many choices, even when it comes to their health and the health of their community. Part of the youth empowerment programming adopted by FLOC’s West Virginia Leaders in Action program includes the self-awareness and knowledge that they do have power to make good decisions and affect change.

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Here in WV, the statistics for childhood obesity rates reached close to 18.5% in 2011 placing the state high on the list at number 13 compared with the 50 other states. For the same year, DC youth obesity rates were just above 21% putting the district at 4th highest among other states.   Poor health and nutrition and lack of activity can also be major determining factors in a person’s ability to focus, to sleep well, and have energy and motivation. The link between education and health is well documented, but it would not be surprising that students’ health could affect their education as well.

For the second half of the fall semester, our Leaders in Action programs have been immersed in the Health and Nutrition unit. Students looked at the consequences of added sugars with the enhanced visuals of actually measuring out the numbers of teaspoons of sugar in a variety of familiar foods and products. They also discussed standard dental hygiene practices and strategies for caring for our protective tooth enamel such as avoiding sugary acidic beverages. Everyone was surprised to learn that most fruit juices and sports drinks are comparable to sodas when it comes to acidity and sugar content.

The focus this month is on the importance of movement and activity in our lives.  Learning or developing unhealthy habits as a child can set a person up for a lifetime of difficulties and disease.  Play and movement can be fun, and implementing healthy habits can increase a child’s energy and confidence.  So last week, in honor of the First Lady’s Let’s Move campaign, we visited a local county park’s indoor playground and got active for one hour.  After learning how to measure their heart rates and get them up to beneficial levels, with the help of a moon bounce and some fun games like clothes pin tag, all those present got the recommended 60 minutes of activity in for that day.

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The health of a population is affected not just by education and awareness, but also by economic inequalities, and access to healthy food and safe, active, appropriate spaces to play, among other things.  We don’t want our young people to be limited in life by preventable health issues.  Their potential is at stake, so let’s move towards a more healthy and just society together.

(Josh Evans is the Program Assistant for FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in WV)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News, Student Spotlight

Selfies for Math Success

The Thursday night math program at Jubilee has very energetic and curious students. This past Thursday, dynamic duo Denim and Tawanda shared with me how they came to be best friends and what they love most about FLOC. Both students are first graders working on Unit 1 in our math curriculum. They are also paired with two tutors who also happen to be friends with each other, volunteering at FLOC together. In exchange for this interview I allowed them take selfies on the FLOC cell phone:

denimI love coming to FLOC with Tawanda. We get to talk to our tutors, play math games, and have snacks. Our tutors also let us dance together during break. I dance better than Tawanda! ” -Denim, 1st grader
tawanda“Denim and I are best friends. We have sleepovers and play Michael Jackson and sing and dance. At FLOC we race each other doing math worksheets and then our tutors let us dance.” -Tawanda, 1st grader

(Felise Ortiz is an NTP site coordinator and the supervisor of the Thursday night math program at Jubilee Housing.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, News

Spring Successes in Saturday Reading

Spring is definitely a busy time here at FLOC. Within the past couple of weeks, we’ve had several new students and tutors start during our Saturday PM Reading Program. Students are starting and finishing new chapter books each week. This past week, Maniyah and her tutor finished reading The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum. Additionally, I’ve been impressed by how much our students have been testing. Testing is one of the ways FLOC sees that a student understands the material and can move onto more challenging concepts. Our last two reading sessions, our testing list has been two solid pages. During our last tutoring session, our testers gave a total of 31 tests!

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We had a friendly competition start between two of our middle school students, Gabriel and Nata, in the reading program. Gabriel and Nata (6th and 8th graders, respectively) were working together on their Wilson lessons, until we could find a sub for Nata. Gabriel passed his test with flying colors and so Nata and Gabriel parted ways. In the true spirit of competition, Nata wanted to test and be on the same lesson as Gabriel. Nata passed the test and wanted to test again in order to be farther in the curriculum. Nata passed a total of 3 Wilson tests in one day, while Gabriel found a new way to practice using his vocabulary words—by writing a letter trash-talking Nata. This playful competition challenged Gabriel to think about the multiple meanings of his vocabulary words and how to use them most effectively.

(Tamarae Hildebrandt is an NTP site coordinator for the Saturday Afternoon Reading program.)

Neighborhood Tutoring Program, Tutor Perspectives

Making Math Fun (a tutor’s perspective!)

I first moved to Washington D.C. to attend college at American University in the
summer of 2014. Coming into this great, big city, I was slightly overwhelmed as to what college life was going to be like in such a famous city. I wanted to get involved in something because I wanted to make the most out of my college christineandjocelynexperience. During the first month of college I attended my school’s involvement fair. As I walked around, I saw a table that said “FLOC.” I was intrigued to figure out what those letters stood for so I walked up to the table and introduced myself. As we were talking, I found out that FLOC stood for “For Love of Children.” I asked some questions, got some pamphlets, and then proceeded back to my dorm room. Over the next couple of days, I looked through the massive amount of emails and papers I received from signing up for every little club and organization possible. The one organization that kept resurfacing was FLOC.

I am an intended elementary education major with a mathematics minor, so I thought that this was the right thing for me. I decided that this was a perfect way to get some experience with something that I will be doing for the rest of my life. This opportunity was perfect for me because I was able to combine something I love while having the chance to help out someone. I decided to sign up for one of the training sessions and it has been the best decision I have made here in D.C.

I came to the conclusion that tutoring in math would be the best option for me due to the minor I had chosen. From the first day I met my student, Jocelyn, I instantly felt that we were a perfect match. We seemed to mesh really well together and I knew that the rest of the year would be something incredible. I loved FLOC’s mission to make math fun for the students. I look forward to coming to FLOC every Saturday morning and working with Jocelyn. I enjoy playing store with Jocelyn and helping her add up all of the Frozen themed items she has bought.

Each and every Saturday, I look forward to working with Jocelyn and seeing her grow as an individual. Every week I learn more and more about her, like how her favorite color is purple and she loves seeing the pandas at the National Zoo. I especially love seeing Jocelyn pass unit tests and watch her expression after realizing she solved a math problem correctly, all by herself. FLOC has given me such an amazing opportunity that I couldn’t receive anywhere else and it has been the best decision ever!

(Christine Mazzocchi is a first-year tutor in the Saturday Morning Math program at FLOC and a student at American University.)