Monday, April 13, 2009

UNHCR kids' poster contest

Do you know a young artist who has talent, awareness, and compassion? UNHCR will once again sponsor its World Refugee Day poster contest, under the continued patronage of UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie. Elementary, middle and high school students are invited to design a poster around the theme “Real People, Real Needs.”

“Refugees are real people, just like you and me; they have very real needs, such as shelter, food, water, medical care and education. Think about what you would need to survive as a refugee. How would you want people to treat you? Design a poster using your imagination and creativity to show how we can help refugees.”
- Angelina Jolie
Posters should creatively illustrate what life is like for the millions of refugee children who flee their home countries due to war, persecution and human rights violations.

Prize: UNHCR Goodwill Ambassador Angelina Jolie will present an award to the winner in each category at the World Refugee Day ceremony on June 18, 2009, in Washington, DC. Winning posters will be exhibited at the National Geographic Museum.

Eligibility: Students in grades 4-12 in US public, private, parochial and home school programs are eligible to enter the contest. Each entry must be sponsored by a teacher or principal from the student’s school. All entries must include the entry form listing the student’s name, grade and age, educator’s name and email address, school name and address. Schools must be willing to sanction and coordinate this event. (This is probably just a matter of asking.)

Entry Categories: Entries will be judged in the three following age groups: Grades 4-5, Grades 6-8, Grades 9-12.

Format: Posters should be no larger than 11 by 17 inches. Sculptures, clip art, and computer generated entries cannot be accepted.

Deadline: All entries must be postmarked by midnight, Friday, May 15, 2009.

For the full rules and entry form, click here. To see examples of previous winning posters, click here. Click on any of the small pictures to the left to see more examples.

UNHCR has an abundance of materials on its Website to help young people learn about refugees and human rights. The Refugee Stories page gives kids an oportunity to read what young refugees have written about their lives in exile. Some refugee children tell their stories with pictures, not words. you can see some their drawings on the Refugee Artwork page. Finally, UNHCR has some ideas about what any of us can do to help refugees living abroad and those who have resettled here. Click here find out how to help.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Puppets, planning, and pipe cleaners

The weather reports sounded dire and it appeared that the inservice training would be postponed--again. In the end, there was no blizzard, almost no snow at all, and it was a good morning to get together and learn something new.

Only ten in-home volunteers joined us for the training. Although the turnout was lackluster, to say the least, enthusiasm was high among those in attendance. Having such small groups meant we had the luxury of lots of one-to-one instruction and an opportunity to tailor the training to the specific needs of the attendees.

Kim Hosp and Cayenna Johnson helped walk the tutors through the process of lesson planning, linking the four skill areas within a lesson and then carrying over the material from one week to the next, and effectively incorporating text books into a lesson. Each time I peeked into the room, the tutors were deeply engrossed in the presentation. As soon as I get the highlights of these presentations, I'll post them here.

The other two presentations came courtesy of Kate Goodspeed and Sharon McCreary (me). Kate's lively presentation addressed the needs of our most prevalent type of student in the home-tutoring program--the pre-literate, zero-level English learner. When I poked my head in and checked on Kate's session, the five volunteers were actively engaged in activities meant to elicit speaking from the absolute beginner language student. The use of puppets was particularly original, and Kate's lesson underlined the need to present material in ways that are interesting, effective, and fun.

The final presentation was truly hands-on. I demonstrated many different ways to use index cards as teaching tools, how to break away from keeping lessons on paper, and how to use a wide variety of manipulatives including pipe cleaners, picture cards, textured letters, and musical instruments.

Huge, huge thanks to Cayenna, Kate, and Kim for putting in the time to prepare excellent, targeted lessons (entirely based on your questions and requests for help), and for giving up part of their weekend to teach for free.

The next inservice training will be sometime this summer. If you would like to suggest a topic, be sure to let me know. I hope to see you then--many more of you!

Are you intrigued by this picture? Most things about our inservice trainings are intriguing--but only to those who attend!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Join Denver's Bhutanese refugee community for
Bhutanese & Nepalese
New Year Celebrations
Sunday, April 5th--4:00 pm

New Covenant Christian Church
825 Ivanhoe St.
Denver, CO 80220
Chief Guest : Paul Stein, Director, Colorado Refugee Services Program

This event commemorates the Bhutanese new year with exciting cultural programs, folk dances and authentic Bhutanese food.

The dance dramas are common traditional features usually accompanied by traditional music. Energetic dancers, wearing colourful face masks and stylized costumes, depict heroes, demons, death heads, animals, gods, and caricatures of common people. The dance performances preserve ancient folk and religious customs.

Heavy weather

If you are planning to join us for the inservice training on Saturday...

Currently, the National Weather Service is predicting light snow for Saturday morning, with snow and wind increasing later in the day.

If this forecast remains as it is, the inservice will take place as planned. I'll be sure to have tea and coffee on hand.

If it looks like the snow will be heavy or the conditions will be dangerous, I will postpone the session until a future date. In the event the training session is canceled, I will post something here and I will also try to personally reach everyone who told me they were planning to attend--if I have their phone numbers.

Stay tuned.