Journal Entries for
Ima Writer
working Spring 2008 with
The Young Spartan Program
for ATL135 Section 4


Table of Contents
January 16, 2001 February 13, 2001 March 20, 2001
January 29, 2001 February 20, 2001 March 23, 2001
February 2, 2001 February 23, 2001 March 27, 2001
February 6, 2001 February 27, 2001 March 28, 2001
February 7, 2001 March 2, 2001 April 20, 2001
February 9, 2001 March 16, 2001  April 27, 2001

January 16, 2001
Karen McKnight Casey, coordinator of the Young Spartans Program (YSP) at MSU, came to class and gave a presentation on YSP. Her email address is caseyk@msu.edu.  We were shown a video about YSP and all of the things that benefit the volunteer and even the children we will be working with. YSP was established in 1993 and is now working in nine local elementary schools. Some of these schools are in a couple of the lowest income areas. In the elementary schools we will be working with children in grades kindergarten through fifth grade. Here is a link to The Young Spartans Program website.
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January 29, 2001
Contacted by Lisa Grzywacz, the YSP coordinator at Forest View Elementary School. I will be working on Fridays from 1:50pm-3:50pm with Ms. Jury, one of the kindergarten teachers. I will be starting February 2, 2001.
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February 2, 2001
First day- met all of the kindergartners. Ms. Jury informed me that I am not permitted to use any of the children's names in the documents I produce for this class or for the web project. Worked with one little girl on numbers 1-20 and also helped her with her alphabet. She is still having a bit of trouble on numbers 10-12, which we will work on next week. Then a little boy read to me a book he had just received from the library. He is a very good reader. He was able to sound out words he did not know on his own and he could use all of the vocabulary words, given in the back of the book, in a sentence very well. I spoke with Ms. Jury after class and I am very excited to be working with her. She is planning in making this the best possible experience for me.
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February 6, 2001
Karen Casey came in and discussed the correct way to fill out the letter of agreement and the project proposal and answered questions we had.  We also played a game that showed us how people interpret things differently, so when working with the students or the teachers we need to make sure we are saying what we mean clearly.
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February 7, 2001
Chris Miller, Ben Robinson, and I all met with Lisa. We were hoping to discuss the project we are all to be working on, but no one was really clear on exactly what is to be done. We are going to be talking to Professor Dowell for some clarification on things and if he does not have the answers then Lisa will discuss the questions we had during the meeting with Karen on Friday 2/9/01. We each gave Lisa the letter of introduction and our business cards.
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February 9, 2001
Went to Forest View Elementary. Worked with several kids on their reading books. Again the children read their book to me and then we reviewed the pronunciation of the words in the back of the book. I also worked with kids on their "mountain" words. Mountain words are lists of vocabulary that Ms. Jury has put together and each student has to show that they can read and sound out all of the words on a list before they are allowed to begin tackling the next mountain. Each list contains approximately 30 words and there are a total of 13 mountains. Some of the students are still on mountain one or two, but I also worked with on little boy that was working on mountain 13. I also worked with one little girl on her numbers. The students were assigned to fill out a chart with numbers 1-100. And we worked on writing our numbers in the correct order.
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February 13, 2001
Karen came in for a short while today to answer any questions anyone may have had. She gave us some historical background on several of the schools. She also signed the Project Proposal.
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February 20, 2001
Karen came in today. She informed us of some guidelines and things we should do to keep ourselves healthy. We are not allowed to wear hats or bandana and were advised to pull long hair back because of lice. Some other things she told us were no beepers or cell phones are allowed. Also she told us that some classes are being split up into smaller classes because of the school policy that says class size cannot exceed eighteen (18) students in the first and second grades. And she also handed out YSP buttons that are to be worn when we are volunteering at the schools.
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February 23, 2001
At Forest View I helped a few kids go over their mountain words. Then the entire class went to the computer lab to work on their paragraphs about Abraham Lincoln and George Washington. The kids wrote a sentence or two about each president and then glued their mini paragraphs to a page with pictures of the presidents on them. Ben and I also discussed with Ms. Jury what she would like us to research and she asked us to work on searching the internet for some good web sites that the kindergartners could use very easily. We came up with the idea that Ben and I would create a web site with links to all of the web sites we found on the internet.
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February 27, 2001
Karen McKnight Casey came for the weekly visit to class. Good and bad things were discussed. Ginny Sterling was introduced. She was recently appointed head of The Young Spartans Program. Karen asked all of us to talk to the kids when we are volunteering this week about the fact that we will not be visiting next week due to spring break. She said that we should tell the kids we will be back the following week and offer to tell them what we did on our vacation so they do not get upset.
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March 2, 2001
We worked with the kids in the computer lab working on Microsoft Word. They each typed out a couple of sentences and printed them out and took them home. Ben and I talked to Ms. Jury about our SLWP project. She is having us put together a web page with links to games for the kindergartners to play. The links are to be easy for the kids to see and understand. Also this month is reading month. In the two days that the class has been keeping track of the books read in class and at home they have read 360 books. The entire school has a goal of reading between 9,000 and 10,000 books. We also informed Ms. Jury that we would not be in class the following week due to spring break.
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March 16, 2001
Ms. Jury was not in class today but left the mountain words that Ben and I were to work on with the kids. We also went to the computer lab and the kids wrote paragraphs about the things we do with water. The student teacher gave a lesson on measuring so the children learned how to read rulers and measure with them and then wrote a couple of sentences about what they had learned. Most of the sentences consisted of " 3 inches is more than 1 inch." While the kids were getting ready to go home Ben and I recorded all of the books they had read during the day. They are keeping track because "March is Reading Month", to date Ms. Jury's class has read a little over a thousand books. The kids are very excited that they have read so many and they continue to read. A few of the kids stayed in from recess to read. It is really nice to see that.
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March 20, 2001
Karen came to class today. She went in more detail about what is to be done for our final projects. Since Ben and I are putting together a web page for Ms. Jury, we will not be doing a reflection for The Young Spartans Program. Instead we will be documenting the process by which we put the web page together and obviously the final web page will be with it.
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March 23, 2001
The kindergartners were very excited today because Sparty and a couple of Sparty's friends came to read to them today. Our class was the most well behaved class at the assembly. They were very respectful of Sparty and they sat quietly while being read to. They also had another great surprise,  the fourth grade made them all snacks. The fourth grade was studying assembly lines and constructed the snacks in an assembly line and then delivered them to the kindergartners and explained to them what an assembly line was. I also worked with a couple of the kids on accelerated reader testing. All three kids scored 100% on the test. The kids had a very exciting day with the snacks and Sparty. They were all very anxious to get home to watch the Michigan State Men's Basketball team play that evening.
On another note. There was one thing that one little girl told me that bothered me quite a bit. One of the little girls was showing me her snack and then said "Oh wait! I am not supposed to be eating this." I then asked why, thinking because she was diabetic or something like that. But her response was "because I am on a diet." I looked at this little girl and told her that it's not often the fourth grade makes snacks so I think this one time would be okay. I was stunned. I know little girls obsess about their weight - even I do - but to be so concerned with it at 5 years old was just amazing to me. And it's not like this little girl had an ounce of fat on her, either. If one were to look at her you would think she was the thinnest or one of the thinnest little girls in the class. Then I got to wondering whether her parents were talking to her about dieting at this young age or if it was because of the things she saw in magazines or on television. The more I thought about it the more frustrated I got because it's not that easy to tell a girl she's beautiful the way she is, even if you do tell her all the time, she is going to listen to the one person who tells her she isn't. This made me think a lot about what was discussed in my Communications 100 recitation a few days prior. The guys were telling all of the girls in the class that one of their problems with our gender is that we are too fat and their solution to the problem is "girls should simply stop eating." At the time it was funny because the girls were telling the guys some things we had problems with, but after I heard that little girl say she was dieting, it really hit me: there is a social problem here ... and really there isn't much anyone can do. Little girls are seeing tall, thin women getting attention from both sexes and thinking they need to look just like that to be accepted. But what do you tell a 5 year old?
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March 27, 2001
Today Karen was unable to meet with us, but Ginny Sterling came to answer our questions about our SLWP projects. Everyone in the class briefly described their projects and the progress they are making on them. To date, Ben and I have yet to put the actual webpage completely together, though we have a "placeholder" linked to our names. We are planning on fixing it soon, but will wait until after Midterm II and the Civil Liberties presentations are out of the way.
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March 28, 2001
Today I received an email from one of the kindergartners. I had forgotten to mention in Friday's journal entry that Ms. Jury taught the kids how to email and Ben and I gave her our email addresses so the kids could email us. They all seemed very excited. I am not yet sure if the kindergartners actually do the typing and Ms. Jury helps them out with spelling or if Ms. Jury types what the kids ask her to. We'll find out.
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April 20, 2001
It has been a long time since we have gone to see the kids. But now all of the breaks are over. Today was the student teachers last day and the kids are going to miss him a lot. As for sitting down and working one on one with the kids, today was a pretty crazy day. The Michigan State University ROTC came and taught the kids the "Star Spangled Banner" and how to salute an officer. They all thought that was pretty neat. Ben and I had Ms. Jury fill out our evaluations and we showed her the web page we made for the kids and she was very excited. Next week Ben and I are going to introduce the internet to the kindergartners and show them how to navigate through the web page we made for them. After school was over we conducted our interview with Ms. Jury. The interview went very well and she was very honest with us about her feelings. I found it very interesting to listen to her views on the school.
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April 27, 2001
Today was the last day Ben and I were working with the kids. Ms. Jury was very pleased with our project. Ms. Jury gave us the opportunity to teach the kindergartners about the Internet. We showed them how to navigate through the webpage we made for them. Ben and I were very impressed with how quickly they picked up on things. A couple of the kids were confident enough to teach the others how to do it. They all did a great job working together. Having the kids help each other, helped Ben and I out a lot since after we got started trying to monitor 12 kids was a little hectic. The only bad thing was the computers in the Forest View computer lab are outdated and could not support many of the sites or did not have the proper software downloaded, so we had to stick to Clifford and Noddy. The kids had great fun though. They were all very excited about the games. I was very glad to see they liked the games we chose. One of my main concerns was that the games we did pick, they would not like because they did not like the character. I was also worried that they might think we chose games that were too easy for them and be a little upset. But everything turned out great, and the games page is linked to the class homepage so the kids who have computers at home can access it from there.
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Link to my SLWP Webfolio
Link to my ATL135 Webfolio