Better late than never?


While I can't think of anything particularly noteworthy at the moment, I've got a post-it not tacked to my monitor, glaring at me menacingly with the following words, "Submit a $%@# blog entry already".  I can take a hint.  Well, sometimes anyway. 

 I guess the big news now is that we're a week from our fall graduation.  For me, that means getting the last of my interviews filmed and then whipping up a video.  Good thing I've only got half the interviews, time is running short, and I've never done this sort of thing before.  For a moment I was almost worried there.  Luckily (or unfortunately, depending on how you look at it), we're graduating 12-13 kids in what will be a relatively small ceremony.  While that cuts into the amount of footage that I need to sift through, it reflects our shrunken attendance which is proving to cause a problem with a good amount of it affecting my position.

 Due to the decrease in attendance, my workshops have seen a corresponding drop in attendance once school began.  I'd be hard pressed to get more than 2-3 kids in most of the workshops, and the reason we get 2-3 instead of 1 is because the lab staff coerced walk-in kids to attend.  Its not like we're doing 3-hour classes on Excel.  It's more 'cool' stuff like Photoshop composites, remixing in GarageBand, making short films in iMovie, etc.  However I think many of our kids would rather sit there and do nothing instead of actually having to expend some effort and thought in a workshop.  In fact, when the lab staff gives our kids 3 options: 1) Go to the Workshop, 2) Do homework for the duration of the workshop, or 3) go home, most would choose to go home.  

 As much as I enjoy working for C4K, the lack of motivation in many of our kids is getting to be pretty frustrating.  I know we just need to get a few of them started doing cool stuff and then others will want to do it, but just getting them started is proving to be well beyond my capacities.  In the meantime, we're looking at focusing more on shorter in-lab activities to address the commitment, competence, and 10-second attention span of our students, so hopefully we can get something going that way.

 Anyway, its been neat checking out what all the new VISTAs are up to and I'm looking forward to seeing how all of your service years progress.




Comment from Rebecca White on October 16, 2006 - 4:50pm

Maybe you could introduce kids to some of the media that other kids have made? You could show some short films some afternoons or even just leave them playing on a tv/computer screen (heck, watch them yourself and kids will look over your shoulder). Introduce kids to YouTube, even: within a week of finding out about YouTube, my roommate was making and posting videos (he's not a kid, but close). I guess what kids are interested in doing--videotaping pranks and skateboarding mishaps, making obnoxious sound effects, etc--pushes the boundaries of what adults like to see, but it gets them involved... At the September PSO we saw some films from the media that matters film festival, which has a bunch of films made by 13-21 year olds (the films are all on their website, plus they'll send a dvd if you want to host a screening).

Comment from Shaneka Smith on October 23, 2006 - 1:52pm

 I have noticed that kids are very competitive.  If you have a couple of kids who are really showing interest in a particular thing and they develop a project based on that interest, other ones may think, "I can do that" or "I can do that better."   See if you can grab their attention by showing what others have produced.  I hope all goes well for you and your group.

Shaneka Smith

Westside Youth Tech Entrepreneur Center

4213 W. Madison

Chicago, IL 60624

Phone:  773.533-3500

Fax: 773.533.3507