Hi my name is Laura, I am not only a T. A for the Bridge Program but I am also an alumni of Bridge. As an alumnus I have been able to see the radical changes from the Bridge program that I went through to the Bridge program I am now a T.A. for. The biggest change, I have to say, is the inclusion of the health and nutrition class. I have been a T.A. in that class for three years now. I have always had the opportunity to see how much enjoyment the children get from participating in the labs and learning in this class.
July 2012 Archives
The Castilleja Bridge Program will be celebrating its first ever Spirit Week. Today we celebrated Halloween in July. Students wore costumes such as bumblebees, fairies, and the hulk. Miriam M. stated, "The most fun part of Halloween in July was getting to see a lot of people dress up with different costumes that I hadn't seen before". Katie C., a TA at Castilleja, went all out by wearing a royal outfit, faux powdered wig included. Her enthusiasm toward the spirit day inspired the girls to try even harder for the next spirit days.
The students had a busy, yet exciting, fourth week. In math class, they just finished learning how to convert fractions into decimals and decimals into percentages. Many of them were really into these lessons and cited that it was their favorite lesson so far. Hard to believe, but true! In their English class, they have learned 40 new vocabulary words and are half-way through the book "Holes" by Louis Sachar. They really enjoy reading the book in small groups and discussing about what they have read. They also seem to enjoy their afternoon electives: field hockey, science, arts & crafts and study skills.
This past Friday, the students took an exciting field trip to Shoreline Park. The students were involved in many activities like a nature scavenger hunt and a tour of the Rengstorff House. The history of the home and the park captured all of the students' attention and they were all amazed by how much history there was in Mountain View. This trip not only kept the students' interest piqued, but it also taught them a lot about the city they all live in. The docents at Shoreline Park did a great job designing age-appropriate activities for the students.
"Twas the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse." - Clement Clarke Moore
The room was silent. There was no noise. To my surprise, all the girls and boys were reading silently while walking up the stairs, the cool breeze from the air vents relieving them of the heat. The students stayed in their seats constantly smiling as they continued to read far past what was required for the assignment that day. The sun shining down on their faces, they continued to embark on their wondrous journey at recess. At the end of the day they maintained those same bright smiles. They were even somewhat sad because they had no homework, because they had already completed it during the day. It may not have been Christmas, but we enjoy giving the students the gift of knowledge. The students continue to look forward to a different gift each day, reminding us that it is better to give than to receive.
The Woodside Priory campus finally had a guest speaker to talk to the students. Students were excited to find out what this speaker had to say. Kids would ask TA's over and over, who the speaker was and what the he would say? However the only answer they received about the speaker was that he ran marathons and ran one in Antarctica.
Last Friday the Crystal site had the pleasure of visiting seven unique companies across the bay area. The companies varied from technological giants such as Microsoft or Genentech to local law firms to TV stations. All the students had a blast and couldn't wait to tell their friends about their amazing experiences.
This third week of Bridge has been the best thus far, although it has been the most tiring. I would not change a thing. During Enrichment, it's "Dance Week," so I teach dance to four classes a day and then one math class. The Math teacher is supportive of this program and allows me to teach the kids. I started this program last year and I am so proud of how far it has come. The students, especially the boy classes, jumped right into the warm ups, across the floors, and the dance routine. Their eagerness to move and follow my lead in stretching has really inspired me. Dance is such a big part of my life and being able to share my passion with the students and have them pick up the choreography and attempt the stretches is rewarding. Music is one of my happy places; helping to understand life, and always being there whenever I doubt what is good and this week has just shown me how much I have in common with the students. Music has brought us even closer together as most the girls lips sing or actually hum the words of the songs together during class.
The third week at the Sacred Heart campus was exciting for many reasons! First of all, tours of the campus took place. This was a chance for student's parents to see what was happening inside and outside of the classroom. The kids were extremely well behaved, and I was very proud to see them working hard and showing their parents their enormous successes.
At the Woodside Priory campus the Bridge students have been having fun all week. To change things up a little bit, we were able to provide a field trip to Windy Hill for a hike. It all happened because of a raffle, that we won, which provided a free bus for the day. The kids were excited upon arrival. During the first week of bridge one of the students, Wesley, saw the huge scenery from our dining hall and asked, "Are we be able to hike that?" Having just one kid be able to hike this huge hill was satisfying, but having all the other students finish the hike was much more.
"I did it! I did it! I did it!"
This triumphant chant could be heard by the lucky eleven who finally joined the illustrious 15,000 Step Club on Wednesday afternoon. Hard to even fathom, the insane amount of steps seemed impossible to achieve just three weeks ago. Yet through hard work and some extremely intense walking, many students have found it possible to walk 15,000 steps in a single day. Some even opt out of their beloved soccer games at lunch to run around the field, striving for more steps. Now that's dedication.
Sometime in the whirlwind of grammar, vocabulary and literature that middle school students are faced with today, I think they can lose sight of just how enjoyable writing can be. One of my favorite things about Peninsula Bridge is that since we do not follow a traditional curriculum, we can instill that love of the English language into them before they go to high school.
When I arrived at Peninsula Bridge yesterday, I felt like James Bond--the combination of my dark suit and reflective aviators gave me the swagger of an invincible secret agent. I strode through campus, feeling like the king of the world, until my cool veneer was temporarily shaken by the sudden and unexpected appearance of a large, furry dinosaur.
This past Thursday the girls visited the Asian Art Museum in San Francisco. The girls enjoyed looking through the exhibits which included Phantoms of Asia and collections of art from China, Japan and India. The TAs planned a scavenger hunt with the winner being the group that had the most detailed drawings of the artwork they were supposed to find. The girls had to draw pictures of the hybrid statues they saw as well as keep track of all of the different animals.
The week before our program was a busy one for all of us. In addition to setting things up and working with their teams, on Thursday all teachers and site directors participated in a day of professional development. There were presentations by Apple Distinguished Educator, Dan Meyer, on channeling perplexity to increase learning, Melissa Christie and Ginny Pender from the Santa Clara County Office of Education on the Common Core Standards, and Carissa Romero on the PERTS Growth Mindset Project, in which our summer scholars will participate. There were also opportunities for teachers from different sites to share best practices within their disciplines. On Friday, TAs had a half day of their own professional development, and the opportunity to release their inner middle-schoolers making site banners for the Opening Ceremonies. In addition to the learning, I particularly appreciate any opportunity we have to build community across sites.
Hi, my name is Daniel Davis and I'm a marketing intern here at Peninsula Bridge. I am a senior at San Jose State where I am studying advertising and hope to graduate in the fall. My main job is to manage Bridge's Walk to London website, and keep you informed about the happenings at our sites.
A lot happened in just the first week alone: along with our summer scholar athletes, I got to meet three Olympians and be inspired by their words at our Opening Ceremonies. It was inspiring, too, to see the more than 400 summer scholar athletes together. Since then, almost every day has been a whirlwind of site tours and field trips. There is plenty of fun and learning to be had by all at Peninsula Bridge.
It takes a community to build the kind of bridges we do so that motivated middle school students from under-resourced communities can make a successful crossing from elementary school to the college track in high school.
Brian Nguyen, Arizona State
Fatu Tupou (right), University of Utah
Notre Dame de Namur
Week Well Spent
Week two has gone by fast. Every morning when the bus drops off all the kids they scatter at the breakfast table. When they get to the breakfast table kids ask, "What are we having today?" or just say a simple thank you. We could also overhear what the kids think of the food and how good the compliments are, it's a joy to see everything gone by the end of the morning. We are glad to have this new breakfast program established at the Priory campus.
Generosity and Surprises
For the first year out of my four, I am not in a classroom this year. Upon first realizing this, I was concerned that my relationship with the kids might be affected since I would only be spending time with them in the second half of the day. However, they all embraced me with open arms--literally!
The Sacred Heart Campus has had much excitement this past week between starting afternoon electives, having two guest speakers, and celebrating the Fourth of July! Each student was able to choose two electives they want to participate in the afternoon for the next few weeks. The options include swimming, arts and crafts, basketball, robotics, nutrition, soccer, and media. I have had the pleasure of playing basketball with twelve of the students. The children adore playing the sport, and many choose to do it all throughout lunch as well!
"What you don't realize, is that you are living in them most innovative place since Italy during the Renaissance," Mort Grosser, a co-creator of the Gossamer Single Engine Plane told Pinewoods' bridge students.
For the past two weeks, we were honored to welcome Mort Grosser to the Pinewood Site, to speak to our students about the importance of innovation, and the keys to how to succeed at it. Grosser explored a number of topics, discussing everything from ballet, to flight, to the physics of the atom and of course his own innovations. Grosser though emphasized one element of innovation in particular: The question "why not?" He made the students promise to him that they would not be hesitant and keep asking "why?" but instead why not. This struck a chord with the students who would use this phrase throughout the week.
I was originally planning to do bridge solely for the sake of making money, so, after being notiﬁed that I would not be getting a paid position I was reluctant to accept the available volunteering position. Yet after thinking it over, I had a moment of clarity when I realized that I would much rather work out of charity and goodwill than for the money and accepted the volunteering position. It's only been two weeks into the program and I already feel like being a part of Peninsula has been entirely worth my time. I was in the same boat that these children were when I was their age. I know what it's like to come from an under resourced home and school, so reaching out to them is a personal obligation that drives me and keeps me motivated every day.
The saying "time flies when you're having fun" rings very true for our experience here at the Crystal site. It's already been eleven days since the opening ceremonies but I still remember our trip to Sacred Heart like it was yesterday. Although this is my first year as a TA, I feel as though I've known the students for much longer. It's been great bonding and getting to know all of the students while we play Bridge Ball, crack jokes during lunch, or just lounge on the field. It's not all fun and games here at the Crystal site however, our students have mastered the balance between work and play. Within the past two weeks, there has been substantial amount of development in the students. On the first day of classes, the students were shy and hesitant to raise their hand when asked questions in class but this week during our flex periods, we coordinated a trivia bowl where the students confidently exhibited their extensive knowledge on a variety of topics ranging from Science to Pop Culture.
What is poetry? The students at Castilleja Bridge answered this question in today's Language Arts class. Students read from a poetry book, which included poems from great writers such as Shel Silverstein, Langston Hughes and Billy Collins. The girls took turns sharing what they noticed about poems. They learned that poems can have similes, rhymes, and emotions. Today the students read a poem about feeling sick. The students then wrote their own poem about a feeling using their five senses. Feelings included love, happiness, curiosity and enthusiasm. The girls learned how adjectives and adverbs could make more descriptive statements. They came up with phrases like "[Adventure] sounds like roaring lions" wrote Anna D. and Evelin R. wrote "[Kindness] smells like baked brownies."
Really Getting to Know Each Other
Week two has been all about learning something new about each other. I have especially enjoyed seeing how the students have become so welcoming and caring towards one another; I never see a child left out. The 6th graders are (surprisingly!) very nice to our 5th graders and don't mind spending time with them. It is so sweet to see them together. It also makes it easier for us as TA's to plan activities for all of the students because we know they will cooperate with each other.
Greetings from the Sacred Heart Bridge Campus! It was at the Olympics Event held on our campus when I was initially introduced to my group of fifteen incoming fifth grade boys. My fellow TAs and I have constantly raved about how wonderful and eager the children are. I am so excited and look forward to embarking on this exciting, fun-filled summer. Immediately greeted by smiles and accompanied in laughter, I had no doubt this would be an amazing experience.
Crystal Springs: A Walk To Start it Off
If spirit is the name of the game then the atmosphere at Crystal Springs Uplands School is the perfect setting for the 7th and 8th graders at Peninsula Bridge to go all out. As a Teaching Assistant I can clearly see that the kids here at CSUS have arrived with an unprecedented amount of excitement and readiness to learn.
Woodside Priory Blog 1
The kids have been waiting all year, and now the Bridge Program has begun. On their first step onto the Priory grounds I could tell that the kids were curious of what their summer would be like. Everyone soon piled up to listen to the first announcements from their new Priory Bridge director, Mr. Lavalle. They all learned about what they would be doing this summer. The kids were also introduced to their teachers, their classes, and even the TA's they would be with for the summer. Although the most exciting part of the announcements was finding out that each kid was split up into one of eight countries competing against one another for a gold, silver, or bronze medals because of this year's summer Olympics. The kids lit up when they heard prizes would be involved with the first three teams with the most medals.
Let the Games Begin
This week, the St. Matthew's Bridge students sprinted off their starting blocks with a bang! Given the Olympic theme, they entered the campus to be greeted by our world flags and a bus bringing them to their Opening Ceremonies. Nervous, giddy, first-day-of-school laughing aside, all the students agreed on one thing: this summer was going to be "awesome"!
Coming Back from College
When our site director addressed the kids during lunch and asked if anyone had any comments about their family lunch groups or the TAs, a kid in my group quickly nudged the guy next to him and whispered, "Raise your hand and say that Kathy is awesome!" I've been a TA at the Menlo site for the past three years, but comments like this one still warm my heart every time. This summer is especially interesting for me because I'm back at Bridge after my first year of college. Coming back, I was so excited to return to a program that has influenced my life quite greatly these past few years, from showing me that I want to go into education as an adult to getting letters of recommendation for other programs from the wonderful teachers and directors.
Under way at Castilleja
This week at the Castilleja Peninsula Bridge site we began our walk to London in celebration of the Olympics. On Monday our fifth grade girls cheered with excitement at the news that the Bridge Program would be walking to London. The stories told by the Olympians inspired them to always try their hardest in order to succeed in achieving their dreams. As soon as we arrived back on campus all of the girls received a brand new Peninsula Bridge Pedometer. The girls immediately began to walk and run around campus. They eagerly shared the number of steps they had taken. Every day we recorded the amount of steps taken by all of the girls. This past Thursday we calculated how many steps our site had taken on that day. The total amount was 83, 293 steps which is about 20 miles. The girls learned to value how much hard work and perseverance it takes for an olympian to reach the Olympics.
Who Will Win? The Boys or the Girls?
The walk to London has begun! The students have enjoyed their first week with the program and they are looking forward to the rest of the weeks. This first week has been full of activities to get the students familiar with each other, enthusiastic about learning, and get their pedometers going! Relationships between teachers, TA's, and students are blooming. Everyone is looking forward to these next 4 weeks.