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 2019 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 2019 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.