Tag Archives: volunteering

How Long will he Survive?

From Richard Bergman

“Sit down.

“I need you to be quiet.

“Put on your glasses.

“Take them off.

“Stop playing with them.

“Stop talking.”

His presentation blew me away. Distinctive and creative. No one else could have done it. Delivered with infectious excitement and passion.

He had prepared three when only one was required. We only had time for one. We had to move on. We had a lot to cover.

I mentioned a topic and he asked if I would tell him more. I brought him an article from the Wall Street Journal. Twice I’ve given hm pieces from the New York Times.

He has devoured them.

“Stop talking.

“We need to keep moving.

“We’ve got a lot to cover.”

How long will he survive?

Willing to ask him a question or two? Interested in what he has to say?

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Another Day of Hope

Not Your Typical Writing Workshop

From Richard Bergman

What if I told you we had to interrupt a full day writing workshop for Hope-Hill fourth and fifth graders to let them know it was time to go home? What if they didn’t want to go!

It’s true. And, like the majority of the students, I spent the better part of the day on my feet singing and dancing.

The tunes of Bon Jovi and over 45 other artists intermixed with a captivating PowerPoint reinforcing the importance of a thesis statement, organizing principles for expository writing, pronoun antecedent agreement, and so forth. I’ll bet many of your favorites–both songs and writing tips–were included.

No need to consult a thesaurus. Students were running to the front of the room, jockeying for position to copy down 24 alternatives to the word “and,” in order to liven up their writing.

Don’t believe me? Check out the magical teaching methods of Erik Cork’s “Rap, Rhythm, and Rhyme” writing workshop that came to Hope-Hill in January.

The Math is Fun Club is Actually Fun

From Howard Rees

I was in the HHES library one morning this week, in between tutoring appointments, when Ty, a second-grade boy walked by me and exclaimed, “Mr. Rees, I can’t wait until Math Club tomorrow!” Evidently the “Math Is Fun Club,” is living up to its name.

I’m one of five helpers in the weekly after-school club organized superbly by Jane MacGregor.

After a snack, the dozen second-grade club members have fun playing math related games that reinforce and supplement their classroom curriculum.


Meanwhile, Back in Kindergarten . . .

From Ron Davis

About half of the children at Hope-Hill have serious difficulty with math. As Howard’s story indicates, rather than cursing the darkness we’re lighting a candle.

Meanwhile, back in kindergarten at Hope-Hill, I’m doing my thing with words. On Friday little Serena continued to practice for her future role as CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Reginald actually did what he was supposed to do, and let me help him write his sentence per the teacher’s directions. That’s good; there is much to be said for doing what you’re supposed to do.

Caleb was feeling silly, had trouble focusing, and didn’t accomplish very much. “You’re just being silly today,” I said. “No,” he replied, “I’m being bad.” Fortunately, Caleb doesn’t yet know what being bad means.

But I save the really good news for last. Little Xavier seems to have come out of the fog that affected him in prior weeks and has rejoined the group. Now, when asked to write about what he did during the snow days, he’s not satisfied with something on the order of “I made a snow angel.” Instead he wants to write a three line sentence with a complex grammatical structure.

I’m not sure Xavier is yet out of the woods. I am sure that he’s worth saving–and that to save him, it will take a village. I’m happy to be one of the villagers.

* * *

When we tell our stories, the stories are real, but the children’s names are changed.

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Was School a Problem for You?

At times I had difficulty in school.

I wonder if you did.

Whatever your answer, please come visit us at the Hope-Hill Elementary School table in the Social Hall. Drawing on your experiences, you can reach a child.

Whether school was ever a problem for you—-or—-the school labelled you the problem, you can relate to the children at Hope-Hill.

Going out on a limb here, based on some familiarity with Unitarian Universalists, I’ll venture a guess that many of us caused problems in our schools!

“Perish the thought! That’s outrageous! How dare you!

“I’m on my way to the Hope-Hill table right now to set you straight!”

Would it surprise you to know that some children perceived as troublemakers, difficult, even “bad kids” find time in the classroom  boring?

Maybe you know that from personal experience. Maybe you hear that from your own children or grandchildren.

Some children catch on more quickly, have talents that aren’t being tapped, dreams that are pinched, talents not immediately recognized. I can’t begin to explain all the reasons why school can be difficult.

Our UUCA partnership with Hope-Hill Elementary focuses on making positive differences in young people’s lives.

Please stop by the Hope-Hill table to find out how you can help students succeed in school today.

Richard Bergman

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Was Anyone Ever There For You?

Anyone ever read to you? Clearly explain something that had you stumped?   Introduce you to an exciting idea completely outside your experience? So wild it didn’t seem possible?!

Anyone remember your name? Greet you and be happy to see you? Invite you to join something that looked like fun, but you were too afraid to try?

Ever been challenged to do your best? I mean r-e-a-l-l-y challenged. To stretch your thinking, dig deeper, go after something that seemed impossible?

Encouraged? Supported? Been ready to give up, but somebody believed in you—more than you believed in yourself?

I have. In some cases I can tell you precisely when, by whom, and how it made me feel.

I’m betting you have too.

Our U.U.C.A. partnership with Hope-Hill Elementary School offers us opportunities to be there for children.

Please join us.

Richard Bergman

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