Today was good! Carolyn and I split up into our two groups so I played and worked with Bessi today. We looked through her various houses made in different worlds of MineCraft. She played with the baby, Stephanie, and introduced me to her. Then we talked a lot actually today just about our school life, our interests, our different perspectives on certain topics, it was great, I'm glad that we connected more today. It was a little sad when I had to remind Bessi about our Thanksgiving break and our last session, but luckily we ended on a positive note with more MineCraft, and we lastly discussed our favorite kinds of breakfast foods.
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I helped LAYC staff and other volunteers with a Monday morning Thanksgiving food haul. We brought food in from a food bank delivery truck, and unboxed & sorted the food into individual packed bags for a number of individual families within the area of D.C. to be sent out and delivered to them (there was rice, beans, mac & cheese, turkeys, garlic paste, cornbread and biscuit mixes, oil, milk, soap, socks, and more). Then we matched diaper bags to specific families on the distribution zone lists.
Today there was a bit of confusion before the session because Bessi and Maylin had homework to do with their at-home teacher, and were telling me different things about whether or not they could talk today, but I straightened things out with Bessi's mom and we ended up connecting for a while today which was good. Bessi and I drew some pictures and played some games. I saw her friend braid her hair into a crown-like braid on her head, it was so sweet. Bessi was really excited because her at-home teacher was going to take her and the other girls/family members out to play in the park and connect with nature. Bessi specifically told me that technology was not allowed while they were outside, in order for them to have a chance to relax and connect with the outdoors, which I think is really important! I got a chance to talk with her at-home teacher and he asked me how her English-speaking skills were going, so we chatted about that for a little while. The only frustration I had with today was that my Internet connectivity was very on and off, so during some points of the zoom session I got booted out and had to log back on. Afterwards, Bessi went downstairs to her apartment and I talked with Maylin for a little bit about how she was doing with her school work and her art hobbies. Then I spent some time talking with Bessi and her mom about how they were doing, and about the kinds of foods Bessi likes to eat. Bessi's mom got to meet my mom and we just talked a little bit about the importance of moms, how much mothers do, and how comforting it is to have a mom help/guide you and teach you certain passed-down customs, so it was a great bonding experience I think for all of us.
Another college mentor and I looked at/researched different colleges with my mentee. We talked about our experiences with the college process (applications, finding scholarships, visiting campus sites, choosing and switching majors, looking at different university academic requirements, etc.). We looked at universities in DC first, because my mentee lives in DC, and then examined some in the DMV area, as well as top-name schools across the country in the northeast of the U.S. or in California, just to get a feel of the college website we were looking at and what kind of information it offered. We distinguished the difference between reach, safety, and target universities, and talked about dorm life. We also paid attention to the majors offered according to what my mentee's interests are (business, arts/painting, public relations and management). We all had a couple of existential crises, but we assured my mentee that it's okay not to know exactly what you want to do when entering into college, rather it's great to get exposure from a whole range of class types and study areas to better help you figure out which major is the best fit for you.
Today it started out with the four of us talking, me, Carolyn, and the girls. Maylin said she had three exit tickets to complete and needed help with them (5th grade math-level work Bessi clarified for me). So after we talked for a bit, I asked Bessi if it was okay that we switch partners for a day, i.e. Bessi draw with Carolyn, and me working with and helping out Maylin with online math assignments (to make for an easier time because of the language barrier and everything). Maylin and I started out talking about her math, but then she started showing me her BTS doll and started using the whiteboard to write in Korean. She asked me more about my family and what I'm getting my mom for Nochebuena. She is very artsy, she loves singing and dancing, but felt sad because people in her home never let her sing/dance as much as she wants to because she's too loud for them (she was telling me). She was also complaining a lot about the hardships that come with living with Bessi, and I think Bessi felt hurt and got really annoyed at Maylin today. Bessi thought that Maylin really needed my help, but saw that all she was doing with me was drawing and talking, and felt like Maylin had essentially "stole" me. Maylin then recounted to me how she feels like Bessi doesn't want to "share" me and how she's always taking over every zoom call we have. Maylin let her feelings out by drawing Bessi in not the best way (as a bruja basically), and Bessi saw that Maylin took her painting because Bessi ate Maylin's food, so then chaos ensued, and the girls started fighting a bit (mostly verbally). It's hard for me to watch because I try to be there for both of them and try to give them advice on how to resolve problems and feelings with others without physical harm/fighting, but it's hard for to get through to them over zoom, much less to connect with them one on one because they are always around each other in a cramped livnig space 24/7.
It was chaotic today. Carolyn and I joined the girls for the whole hour session. Bessi shared some YouTube videos with us and Maylin showed us more of her dance moves. Maylin is a super acrobat ballerina girl, she was doing cart-wheels almost every 5 seconds and Bessi was trying to get us to do some exercise moves. Then Bessi moved to the kitchen to chop up a cucumber with spices for their lunch, while Maylin tried to tell me about their haunted bathroom. Bessi seemed annoyed with Maylin though, because she wasn't helping her with the cucumber salad. The audio and video quality were really bad on all ends. My internet has been unstable for the whole week and today zoom was glitching for me for almost the last quarter of our time together, so I just decided to get off the call and reconvene with everyone on Monday.
Today my student and I discussed test-taking and studying strategies! This was super engaging to her I believe because these tips and tricks are extremely relevant to the both of us as we're in classes right now, dealing with multiple kinds of exams 24/7. We both have had positive and negative experiences with exams that we've learned from, and look back on using certain strategies in the past that have helped or not helped us. Strategies that help us is working/studying with friends in similar classes, using the elimination strategy in multiple choice, using the RACE and/or OEA strategy for essay and short answer questions, and putting on chill music to help us focus/make our brains link two concepts or positive vibes & feelings together. The type and level of difficulty of an exam is also connected with certain subjects, which we went in depth about, how English usually requires essay and short answer style, math is typically multiple choice or short answer, but then journalism, for example, just looks at analyzing written works and historical/news events and how to write about current events like that. And, of course, different strategies work better or worse depending on the type of exam/paper you're taking. We also talked about our preferred type of exams to take, and the pros/cons of test taking while doing virtual classes (we do both miss being in a physical academic institution a lot though, as it helped us get into a better mindset for learning material throughout the day in classes). We also discussed the SAT (English and math sections) and ways to prepare for that (LSF is having an SAT prep course in the spring that my student could participate in which was super exciting to her and I). Then I told my student about the different kinds of scholarships & requirements of universities nationwide. Later on we talked about how her first term/quarter went and we created some goals together for her to focus on/guider her during this next quarter of school she'll complete, as well as came up with more ways of how to better focus/find motivation during online classes. At the end we looked up some places that sold Lucuma ice cream, because ice cream always makes everything better in life.
Today was great! I've been extremely overwhelmed with school work and classes lately, and was not in the best mood today so I was nervous for today's session, but it went really well. Carolyn and I started off working together with the girls, and I explained to them our idea to play Pictionary, because the girls like to draw a lot and we usually lack some sense of structure in our sessions so it was good to have something planned to do. Bessi had just taken a shower so she arrived a little late, afterwards though we decided to split off into our separate dyad groups. Bessi and I played more Pictionary, and laughed and joked around while giving each other hints on our drawings. I tried to incorporate some English into the game just so she could learn some more words in English. Then we moved on to play some Minecraft and Bessi asked me to eat an apple that I had in the house, while she ate her apple. Unfortunately my apple was not in the best shape so I told her I didn't want to eat it, and we promised we'd find another food to eat together for our next session on Friday.
We started off with the four of us together. Bessi showed us her books from school and read aloud to us some words of her favorite books. Maylin showed us some of her crazy good dance moves, and tried to follow along as best as I could, but to no avail I could not keep up with Maylin of course, and Carolyn and Bessi were definitely laughing at me. That was a lot of fun though. However, further into our hangout Bessi and Maylin wanted to do different things - Maylin wanted to keep dancing and singing while Bessi wanted to read books/play videogames. So Carolyn and I decided after that first hour that we'd divide among our groups (me with Bessi and Carolyn with Maylin), so that our kids could both do what they wanted to do and have our undivided attention in separate rooms. Bessi and I drew on a whiteboard for awhile - mostly animals and different kinds of pizza! It's interesting though because neither of us like pizza, but for some reason Bessi was really in the mood to draw pizza, and it was cool getting her perspective on what pizza should look like and why. Then we played a videogame that had to do with learning grammar and interjections in English - we had to go through multiple levels and trials by distinguishing interjections from the phrases in English to pass. So helping Bessi learn some basics in English and translating back in forth between Spanish and English for Carolyn and the girls has definitely been a fun challenge. Later on Bessi wanted to join in the big group again so Maylin could show her how to cook, because Bessi wants to learn how to cook. Maylin was showing Bessi how to de-thaw and fry some sausages, but Bessi was not paying attention. Then the girls got into a bit of an argument and I could tell that Bessi needed some space, so we ended the conversation there and agreed to talk again on Monday.
Evelyn and I did the food-related ice breakers to start off our session. We found some commonalities between Mexican and Peruvian food, and talked about that for a while, as well as our families and our own relationships with food, which was pretty interesting to discuss. Then we both went over and took the food-personality quiz, definitely not accurate at all but fun to take and talk about. Evelyn told me what homework she had for the rest of this quarter/semester, but it was not a lot, just one assignment, and she had just finished taking a test for a class before joining our session, so we decided to just talk for a little while longer after doing all of the mentor-mentee activities. She told me about the protests going on in DC and we talked about our experiences in middle school, and the changing of times.