The Spring Session of AfterZone is officially off and running at DelSesto Middle School! The combination of warm weather and cool icebreakers put the students and staff in a great mood last week that we hope to carry through this week and beyond. There are some truly awesome activities on the agenda so I have no doubt that good times are on the horizon…
Last week our focus was on getting to know each other and just having FUN! After reviewing student expectations and making sure everyone was on the same page insofar as building a safe, welcoming, and respectful community at DelSesto goes, our incomparable site coordinator Cam got the party started by leading a raucous game of “Gimme Gimme.” Here’s how it works:
Two equal groups of students are put on opposite sides of a large room and pitted against each other in a friendly, albeit potentially rowdy, competition. The game begins with a neutral and fair facilitator calling out loud “Gimme Gimme” followed by an item that at least one member of each of the teams is likely to have in their possession. For example, Cam’s favorite command to start off with is “Gimme Gimme a Jordan sneaker” because there is inevitably at least one pair of MJ’s signature kicks in any given crowd of middle schoolers at DelSesto (and a good chance that one or two kids will even have one pair on their feet and a backup pair in their backpack just in case the first pair gets scuffed).
After the command is called out chaos ensues as each group scrambles to procure the item from whomever possesses it and quickly pass it to their team’s elected representative. That person must then either hold up the item or, if it is feasible and safe to do so, physically bring the item up to the facilitator, who should be standing equidistant from the two team reps. The first team to do so, assuming the offering passes the muster of the facilitator and/or any impartial judges they appoint, wins a point.
Now as the facilitator exhausts his or her repertoire of obvious items to call out for (i.e. an A+ assignment, a ring or necklace, a pair of glasses—be careful with this one lest somebody’s expensive prescription glasses be forcefully yanked off their face by an overzealous teammate—, etc.) they can and should get a bit more creative. In a particular stroke of genius Cam even came up with, “Gimme Gimme your entire team lined up in order of each member’s date of birth without talking.” Watching their faces go from pure confusion to silent determination as they used hand signals and non-verbal communication to organize themselves was priceless. And interestingly, for some odd reason out of over two dozen students nobody was born in January, February, or March. Weird huh?
Needless to say, the competition got extremely heated but in the end all of the students and staff alike had a blast. The energy in the room was tangible. This week we will try to translate that competitive spirit into a cooperative one that is just as buzzing but perhaps with a little less butting of heads. We’ve been busy preparing a slate of activities based on a different theme for each of the 4 remaining weeks of spring session (not counting the last week which will be more fun and games culminating in the big citywide End of the Year Event). And those themes are:
1. Entrepreneur Week
2. Self-Esteem Week
3. Hollywood Week
4. Fun in the Sun Week
Max here signing out, be sure to stay tuned for more from the team of Everyday Explorers at DelSesto. The lovely Jen is next up to bat!
Improvements in science education can take many forms. Commentator Marcelo Gleiser says that one of the easiest and most rewarding is to simply put real research scientists in front of students. A few volunteer hours from a scientist can change how a student sees the world forever.
Great NPR article on role of scientist mentors in schools