Philadelphia Education Challenge

Weeks 3&4 at The Gesu School

Due to travel, the third week at Gesu was limited to one visit by Penn Charter. Despite technological difficulties, the day was far from over as  the computer literacy curriculum turned into a fun day of spelling games that were recommended by the Gesu students. The first game was called Sparkle, in which Penn Charter students picked a word, and then went around in a circle with each person spelling one letter of the word. After the last letter of the word, the next person would say “sparkle” and be out of the game. Also if one misspelled a letter, they too would be out. The last person left in the game wins. Students also played a game where they would think of things like animals, country and foods that began with the last letter of the previous object the person before them said. Lastly, the students played a word guessing game called Contact.

The fourth week of the High School HeroesX summer program at the Gesu School, which was the week of July 13th, saw continued work in our computer literacy, career development, and big world topic curriculums.

To start off the week on Tuesday, Haverford worked on career development with the rising 5th grade Gesu boys. The students truly excelled (as they had in all elements of the summer program), showing an eagerness to go from learning about broad careers to specific jobs within those careers. Two boys especially strong at math wanted to be engineers, and thus Haverford students prepared slides and showed the students websites that helped them compare and contrast different engineering jobs. By the end of that day, these two students had focused in on electrical engineering and civil engineering. A boy in love with science, but also a fan of our coding curriculum, was enamored with the prospect of using software programming in the expanding field of biotech. Lastly, a boy wanted to give back to the community and become a federal agent, so the class explored the differences between FBI and CIA agents. With the rising 4th grade boys, Haverford played math games to work on multiplication, fractions, and word problems. By playing fun and interactive games, Haverford students noticed a definite improvement in the students’ abilities as the class progressed. For example, one student went from struggling with multiplication tables up to 4 and 5, to dividing multiples of 7,8, and 9 with ease.

On Wednesday, representatives from the Constitution Center came to talk about the importance of, and what it means to be a good citizen. Conversations ranged from being a good citizen at your school, to being one in your community, country, and with your family. The Center talked about the importance of exercising your right to vote, being an active member of your community, and helping in ways big and small. The Constitution Center also spoke of Black History in our country, where students demonstrated an impressive knowledge. Students from Radnor and Agnes Irwin, who are working on big world topics, worked on expanding this lesson to talk about citizenry throughout the world, forms of government, and overall civic engagement.

Haverford was back to work with all of the students on math and career development on Thursday. The day started by playing math games with the younger students, with a special focus on division, word problems, and money problems. Using coins and dollars helped make the problems tangible, which allowed tougher problems to be given as the day progressed. They were prepared to work on ratios and ordering the coins based on descriptions in the problem by the end of the lesson. With the older students, Haverford had the rising 5th grade boys and girls share with each other for the first time their careers of interest, before all students filled out a sheet noting the skills needed for their careers, and ways in which they could attain them. To conclude, a difficult version of math bingo was played with large numbers and fractions. The winner of each round received the pleasure of calling problems for the next round; the grins on their faces as they challenged their classmates was truly priceless.

To conclude the week, Penn Charter worked with the students on how to use Powerpoint. Starting with how to make a nice opening slide, the day progressed to include adding transitions in between slides (a favorite for students), selecting proper presentation themes from the powerpoint menu, citation pages, and concluding slides. Students were then tasked with researching their favorite animal, and making a presentation to give to the class on it. Animals ranged from puppies, to wolves, to even ligers! The presentations were beautifully prepared, both from an aesthetic viewpoint, as well as the information contained within.

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