Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Say Y.E.S. to literacy learning

Mary Katherine Duncan, Ph.D., professor of psychology, and myself have been chugging along on the BU Toy Library’s Say Y.E.S. (Youth Engaged in Service) program. It is a program designed to utilize the BU Toy Library’s Y.O.O. Rock Columbia County: Youth Outreach Opportunities, which lists dozens of local nonprofit organizations and agencies, as well as outreach opportunities to benefit each site.

A Service Club was created at St. Columba School for a group of students enrolled in the afterschool program who opted to participate. Like most BU Toy Library initiatives, Say Y.E.S. is committed to honoring all of the ways that individuals process information and to fostering their cognitive competencies, thus service club focused on interpersonal intelligence, spatial intelligence, and linguistic intelligence.

Say Y.E.S. emphasizes interpersonal intelligence, or children’s ability to relate to people, by selecting community projects in service of others to elevate them. For each project, the children are learning about the site, its function, how it helps people, and why they would benefit from the crafts we would gift them with.

Say Y.E.S. targets spatial intelligence, or children’s ability to visualize things by incorporating drawing, sculpting, coloring, and constructing things into our projects.

Through the use of the BU Toy Library’s die cut machine, Say Y.E.S. builds upon children’s spatial intelligence through craft projects.

Say Y.E.S. also encourages the children’s linguistic abilities—specifically, reading and writing, through activities like handcrafting banners to adorn the rooms at assisted living facilities and cards for hospitalized children.

The projects we are working on this semester in service club include:
  • decorating grocery totes for the Bloomsburg Food Cupboard to provide to local patrons
  • making mosaic Easter sunrise banners for citizens of the Maria Joseph Continuing Care Community
  • putting together care packages including hand-crafted book marks and cards for children and families at the Ronald McDonald House
  • making diaper bags for new and expecting mothers at Your Loving Choices, including hand crafted Happy Birthday cards, door hangers, and mobiles

    — Ashlie Hess is a graduate assistant with BU Toy Library.

Hello future Huskies! 4 Tips on Social Media in College

I am sure as your senior year is winding down your excitement is rapidly growing to get to Bloomsburg. Make sure to enjoy your summer, or your few weeks off, you will be plenty busy once you arrive to campus so make sure to relax after graduation!

Meanwhile, there have been many questions and buzz about Bloomsburg social media. I am writing to tell you some “Do’s and Don’ts” of social media and Bloomsburg.

Accepting New Bloomsburg Friends

» Do: Make sure your new friends are from Bloomsburg University, which should be seen easily upon their Facebook page. Most of the new friend requests you will get are from the BU Class of 2018 page. Don’t be shy to accept these people, as they will be your new classmates. I had met various people this way the summer before my first semester and it helped make the large Class of 2015 a little bit smaller.

» Don’t: Do not blindly accept people. Pay attention to who you are accepting and that they are a future (or current) Husky if you choose to accept them. If you are unsure, you always have the ability to message and ask them or just ignore the request.

Bloomsburg University Accounts

» Do: Try to follow Bloomsburg’s various social media accounts. If you are not already in the Bloomsburg Class of 2018 page, join it! Also look for Bloomsburg on Twitter and Instagram using ‘@BloomsburgU’. If you’re on Pinterest, you can follow ‘BloomsburgU’ and ‘BloomUStore’. Additional sites you may find interesting to follow include ‘@BUCampusDining’ and ‘@BloomUConcerts.'

» Don’t: Do not expect to find every detail you need to know on any one of these accounts. They are updated frequently and always have pertinent information regarding the campus, but it is your responsibility to utilize the other tools the Bloomsburg website offers you. Your three main tools are going to be BOLT, ISIS and your student email – all of which are not found or updated about on social media.

Presenting Yourself on Social Media

» Do: It’s always important to present yourself appropriately on social media. Even if you are private, there are certain aspects of your profiles that can be viewed. Not only is this important for your own personal sake, but it’s important for when you are eventually looking for professional development opportunities such as internships, clinicals, etc. It is in everyone’s best interest to start considering this now to avoid having any issues in the future.

» Don’t: Adding on to what was said above, do not make your social media a shrine of drinking or anything negative in general. It is not professional and does not make anyone look cool. Some on campus jobs require your social media to be 100% clean and most future employers in general do too – it’s never worth the risk.

On a lighter note, another thing to remember when considering all this is to not change who you are on social media either. You are all going to be an amazing and unique contribution to the university in your own way, do not try to alter yourself to impress anyone. There’s about 10,000 students at this school, and I guarantee you won’t have any trouble finding the right crowd for you!

Reaching Out to Older Huskies

» Do: Use your ability to reach out to older huskies to your advantage. If you know any friends, siblings or graduates from your high school that have been here for at least a year, utilize their knowledge and pick their brains. I know for a fact they will be able to answer any questions you may have and we all probably had the same questions going into BU for the first time.

Don’t know anyone? That’s okay too! The Orientation Workshop Leaders (OWLs), who you will meet immediately upon your arrival, are also in the BU Class of 2018 Facebook page. They will answer any and every question you may have!

» Don’t: Do not let these students intimidate you because of their age. Remember, you can always ask me anything too! I’m here to help! It is perfectly fine to ask questions and it is one of the most important lessons you will learn in college. Never hesitate to ask for help whether it’s from another student, faculty or an office within the university.

I hope these tips help you out and congrats on your soon to come graduation – it’s an amazing feeling!

Best of luck and see you soon!

— Sierra Kern, Class of 2015 #FutureHusky

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Having fun with literacy learning

We recently kicked off the BU Toy Library’s Early Literacy programming!

We are visiting Children’s Country Cottage, Magic Carpet Preschool, 5th Street Head Start, and Town Park Head Start. For Children’s Country Cottage, our main focus for our six-week programming is vocabulary development. Each week we bring in a book and activity from our Elephant and Piggie shelves, which are books developed to increase children’s vocabulary. The themes we have covered so far are outer space, health, and weather.

As for our other locations, we are focusing on one early literacy skill a week and tailor them to the themes of the preschools. For phonological awareness, which is a child’s understanding of a words sounds and syllables, we made our own interactive game with the children focusing on rhyming.

We created mats with pictures on them and when we held up a picture (which was our target word), the children had to hop to the word that rhymes with the word we held up. The children loved this activity, because it got them active and moving and it really enhanced their knowledge about rhyming.

For narrative skill, which is a child’s ability to sequence events and tell stories, we reinforced the concepts of sequencing with the children by singing “Itsy Bitsy Spider” along with a bulletin board that mapped out the story. As we sang the song, children came up to the board and placed each event that occurred on the board in order.

Afterwards, we created our own spider puppets using cut outs from our Ellison Die Cut Machine so the children could have a character to sing their song with. The children loved being a part of creating our storyboard and enjoyed being about to create their own spider to take home with them and sing the story along with their parents and guardians.

For print motivation, which is getting children interested in reading and writing through play, first, we read the book “A Closer Look.” This is an interactive book that encourages children to guess what an object is when looking at it very close up. The children had to visualize what the big picture looked like, or what the object actually was when viewing farther away.

Afterwards, we used materials from our Explorer play costumes and our Naturalistic Intelligence Tote to explore close up a variety of seeds that grow in the spring. The children studied the seeds and had to make guesses about what plant they thought it grows in to.

The kids loved guessing the objects within the story and were very active. They enjoyed being able to take their time and examine the seeds with the magnifying glasses and other materials we brought. They had very interesting guesses and they had a lot of fun!
    — Emily Haines is an intern with BU Toy Library.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Picking a major

Hello Bloomsburg University Class of 2018,

I know you’re all so excited to get here and start a new chapter in your life but there might be one big question in everyone’s mind: how do I decide what I want to do with the rest of my life? You’re not alone! Everyone has these concerns as they enter college, as it’s something you didn’t have to think about until just now. But don’t worry - whether you’ve decided your major or not, you’re not in any rush at this moment.

To clear up any confusion, being ‘undecided’ means you’ll be attending the university without a set track of what you want to do. A lot of people at the university, even sophomores, are undecided. Most majors at the university require that you take a considerable amount of general education (or gen-ed) courses regardless. This is a great thing for those who are undecided, because it allows you to experience a variety of classes in different majors and it can really help you see what you like best.

If you are coming into Bloomsburg with a major you have already been accepted into, that’s great too! This will help you get a necessary class or two pertaining to your major first semester, which will get you right on track. This is also a great opportunity because you can still experience what you like and dislike about your major or other majors.

When I first came to Bloomsburg, I was accepted as a Medical Imaging major. I loved science in high school and always took extra science classes as electives. I was sure this was the major for me, however when I got here it turned out I really did not enjoy it as much as I thought. It just wasn’t for me. I took an Intro to Business gen-ed my second semester and absolutely loved it. I then switched to a double major in Marketing and Management and I have never been happier.

Be aware that not all majors require you to take a large amount of gen-eds, as they are on stricter schedules. There are not many of these majors, but you can always look up the course requirements to any major.

An example of some of these stricter majors include: ASL, Speech Pathology, Accounting, Nursing and Medical Imaging. This list is not exhaustive and it is always important to research requirements for each major. If you wish to be in these types of majors, it is always best to decide that sooner than later.

Don’t worry too much about your major at this point, it is always something you can change. Not everyone knows exactly what they want to do when they get to school or even if they do, it’s always something you can change - just like I did. I’m confident each and every one of you will find your place here in Bloomsburg academically, even if it takes some searching!

If for some reason you found that you got off track during your time at school, don't be discouraged. It's ALWAYS worth the extra time to get your dream job. That's what we are here for anyways, right?

Best of luck and see you soon!

— Sierra Kern, Class of 2015 #FutureHusky

Thursday, March 13, 2014

A unique play and literacy resource center

The BU Toy Library exists to support the academic and professional development of undergraduate and graduate students across departments and programs. It gives them access to hundreds of literacy and play resources that support and expand their interactions with individuals of all developmental ages and abilities.

The BU Toy Library is unique among other toy lending libraries insofar as it serves as a vehicle for mobilizing an entire community of scholars in service to others through outreach initiatives and volunteer work.

The BU Toy Library is a resource, training, outreach, and research center. Our resources are available for students and professionals involved in teaching, practicum, internship, clinic work, course projects, and volunteer work.

As a training center, we provide online tutorials, guidebooks, classroom presentations, and professional conference workshops. As an outreach center, many professionals within the community use our resources. This semester we are implementing the “Say Yes! Program” which is Youth Engaged in Service to teach youth volunteerism using our established “Y.O.O Rock Columbia County” Guide. The BU Toy Library is also research center where students and faculty alike can develop, implement, and assess innovative resources and programs.

Check out our biannual newsletter to see all the different ways that the BU Toy Library has served our campus and our community!

Feedback from toy library members includes:
  • “I wanted to thank you for the amazing resource of the Toy Library and how much it has supported our program.” –Speech Pathology Graduate Student
  • “The children loved the magnetic board animal habitat, they wanted to play with it the entire session!” –Speech Pathology Graduate Student
  • “Children and parents loved the play-food we used [for a healthy eating Educational Expo]!” –Community Elementary School Teacher
  • “The puppets were very popular and well received” –Early Childhood Education Student
  • “Elephant and Piggie books along with puppets were used and the children absolutely adored them!” –Early Childhood Education Student
Give us a call at 570-389-3915, send us an email at butoylibrary@bloomu.edu, or stop by MCHS 3213 for a visit or to learn more about the BU Toy Library. We’re open Monday through Thursday from 8 a.m. until 4 p.m. and Friday from 8 a.m. until 6 p.m. Membership is free!
    — Emily Haines is an intern with BU Toy Library.

Friday, February 28, 2014

On my way to becoming a physician

From the very first day I decided to dedicate myself to the pre-medical path to submitting my deposit for medical school, I have been challenged, encouraged, and genuinely supported by the faculty and my peers.

Bloomsburg University's chemistry program provides an experience that is unlike any other for its students. I have been required to practice critical thinking and problem solving not only in the classroom, but also in the laboratory and on exams. From the laboratory assignments to the rigorous course load, I have learned how rewarding hard work and persistence can be for a chemistry major.

The small student-to-faculty ratio allows students to develop relationships that promote learning outside of the classroom setting. In addition, the research opportunities within the chemistry department have been so valuable to me as a pre-medical student.

Participating in a research project has developed a sense of pride, responsibility, and independence that I could not achieve in the classroom alone.

Being a chemistry/biochemistry major has instilled in me efficient study habits, laboratory skills, but most of all it has provided me with the confidence to pursue a career in medicine at Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine.

    — ​Brooke Shannon is a chemistry major with a pre-medical studies concentration.

#FutureHusky #HuskyUnleashed

No longer a newbie

Classes are well underway for my second semester here at Bloomsburg. The atmosphere arriving back at campus was slightly different for the spring semester as opposed to the fall.

In the fall I was a new student trying to make friends and find my place on campus, but now coming back for the second semester feels a little different. There were people on campus that I missed not seeing over break and moving back into the dorm was a family reunion opposed to the awkward few days of the fall semester.

Personally, the new spring semester has raised the difficulty in my classes. For the spring semester I scheduled my own classes, in contrast with my fall semester being scheduled for me. I am nearly done with my general education requirements due to AP classes in high school, which allowed me to take more advanced classes for my major.

The AP classes are a blessing and a curse. They are a blessing because I have more flexibility in my schedule, but they have the drawback of placing me in more difficult classes more quickly. Other than class difficulty, not much has changed for the spring semester. As stated previously, the initial transition back to campus is smoother but nearly the same people surround me and my same support system remains. I quickly immersed myself back into the clubs and organizations that I was involved with last semester.

The fall semester was the transition time. The time to learn how to balance friends, clubs, classwork and importantly, sleep. The routine was more or less established over last semester and the spring semester was like getting back on a bike after not riding for a while. After about a week, I was back in the same routine just this time needed to add a little more study time to succeed in more difficult classes.

This semester I am volunteering at Geisinger Medical Center in Danville. I wanted to volunteer last semester, as I am on a pre-medical track, but I needed time to get used to college. I am glad that I waited a semester to try to volunteer, for the days that I volunteer are a little more hectic than I am used to.

The gradual transition period is in my opinion the best way to ensure success. As incoming freshman for the Fall 2014 semester at Bloomsburg, I would begin prepare first for the entrance exams. Review topics in math and English. The placement exams determine if you need to take review classes once you arrive on campus. The review classes will take us credits that could be used for general education or even classes in your major. They may not seem like they have much effect at first, but they may decrease the flexibility of your schedule.

Additionally I know being a science major, the math sequence is important and a person wants to place as high in math as they possibly can in order to stay on track with the math sequence. Another thing to consider is the foreign language placement exam.

If you took a foreign language in high school and are not interested in pursuing the language further, take the language exam. It will give a sense of accomplishment coming into college with part of your general education fulfilled! Even if you want to continue studying a language, still take the placement exam so that you are not placed in class that is below your current language level. Other than that enjoy the time before you arrive on campus!

Do not stress about meeting people or searching the website for the clubs that you want to join, all of that will fall into place once you arrive on campus.

    — Morgan Lewis is a biochemistry major with a pre-medical studies concentration.

#FutureHusky #HuskyUnleashed