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Showing posts from May, 2014

Student Reflection

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by Kelly Klus

As many of my friends and I have been thrown into the reality of graduation, I’ve had several reflective conversations about the Champaign-Urbana community. C-U has an unbelievable amount of resources and opportunities, of nooks and crannies that are impossible to explore within four years. The campus community has so much to offer in the form of RSOs, clubs, fascinating research, professionals and experts in any given field; the surrounding community has even more to add.

ECIRMAC and SOAR were two of these niches that I feel very fortunate to have had the opportunity to explore some of the great diversity CU has to offer- especially grateful that these two organizations allowed me to explore diversity that was not centered in the University experience. According to ECIRMAC’s website, 24.3% of Urbana’s residents speak a language other than English at home, more than the reported 20.1% nationwide. Getting to interact with a portion of this community was inspiring and I know…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott What? Our group consisted of three members (Ryan, Celia, and myself). The purpose of our group project was to help out the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC) organize their fundraising dinner.

The East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC) has provided services to refugees and their families in the East Central Illinois area for 32 years. In the past year alone, they have served over 2,100 clients! Their services include resettlement, translation, adjustment, citizenship,and a children's tutoring program. 

A…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott
by C├ęsar, Skye and Kim What?Our group project was to act as the “web masters” for the East Central Illinois Refugee Mutual Assistance Center (ECIRMAC) Facebook page. The women from the ECIRMAC office made clear they wanted us to post information relevant to the mission and work of the Refugee Center every weekday (Monday through Friday) to maintain the interest of followers and clients. Our posts varied depending on the amount of news coming from the office. Some of our posts consisted of updates around the office and information about upcoming events so that clie…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott


by Carli Smith & Chris Levine What?For our project, we created profiles on past U of I students who are working or have worked in social entrepreneurial careers related to Spanish and the community. Each past student was interviewed with the same set of questions. These questions focused on the positions and roles that they have, how prepared they were from the Spanish program at U of I, and advice for future students looking to follow similar career paths. We were able to contact Nicole Stawiarski and Jessie Faus. To create these profiles, we decided to write…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott What?For our project, we chose to write a grant proposal for the after-school program called SOAR that takes place at Garden Hills elementary school. The SOAR program is designed to help second language learners from low-income families in the Champaign Unit 4 school district improve reading, writing, and math skills. The program is coordinated by the University of Illinois Center for education in small urban communities in conjunction with the bilingual program at Garden Hills. Each semester, three days of the week, University service-learning and volunteer stud…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott
What?The team project that we chose to do was to plan, promote, and carry out a Spanish-language booth at a community literary event called Read Across America at Lincoln Square Mall in Urbana, Illinois. We had three group members who divided the work amongst themselves early in the semester to carry out the project in the most efficient manner possible. The event allowed us to provide a service to the people of Champaign-Urbana. Our work in the community throughout this semester with Spanish 332 has shown us the number of Spanish speaking individuals in our comm…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott
What?Our group’s goal was to write a case study about Brittany Koteles, a 2011 Illinois graduate who has now focused her life on social entrepreneurship. To begin, we researched Brittany’s work on Ann’s blog and combed through some documents we found online about her experiences and accomplishments. At University of Illinois, Brittany designed her own major: public and community service and well as Spanish. After graduating college, Brittany did a Fulbright in Barcelona and studied the best practices in social entrepreneurship as it relates to Spain. Brittany has…

Student Attitudes and Spanish Community Service Learning

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by Ann Abbott

While reading through my students' community participation self-evaluations last week, I was struck once again by how students can work with the same community partner and have totally different perceptions of what they did there.
These two students worked in the same place, with the same supervisors, and with the same classroom support.

So what's the difference?

I don't know for sure, of course, but this is my intuition based on many years of experience:
Comfort with ambiguity. In the classroom, students are used to being told what to do, how to do it, when to do it, and what will happen if they don't do it.

Some work contexts are like that.

Factories. Maybe.

Most work environments are dynamic. Rather than do what you are told, you need to observe, listen, notice patterns, anticipate needs, experiment.

Some students are uncomfortable with ambiguity. They ask their professors, "Will my grade be severely impacted if I don't complete this assignmen…

Student Reflection

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by Nicole Mathes A School of FishRecently, Ms. Perez’s class got a big fish tank with two clownfish and two snails. I have never seen a class so excited about a fish tank or so interested in learning about the different types of fish, coral, algae, and snails. The students were so eager to learn that Ms. Perez set up a time to Skype the man, Ben, who gave the class the tank and fish (as a background note: from my understanding, there is a company that donates the fish and tanks to schools who apply and ask for the donation and give a specific reason for wanting one. This man was an employee of the company).
Ben was very patient and answered all the students’ questions. Over the course of the Skype session, I learned the following: you cannot put more than two clownfish together in a tank because they do not get along with other clown fish (two is company, three is a crowd). However, they get along with other types of fish.there are SEVERAL types of snails that act as filters. Some snails…

Student Reflection

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by Kelly Klus
Since I’ve been working at ECIRMAC, I’ve been trying to consciously seek out news about immigration reform—a task for me, that is, unfortunately, easier said than done. With classes, school wrapping up, finals season, I usually find my upkeep of national and global news falling by the wayside.
The rock that I live on isn’t so large; the bubble of my life isn’t so impenetrable that the news about immigration reform in the past two weeks hasn’t squeaked past here and there. I spent the afternoon today looking up ‘immigration reform news’ to supplement and complete the bits and pieces that I’ve heard on the radio and in snippets of the news.
The fact that no real movement has happened to the bipartisan immigration reform bill since last June shouldn’t be surprising, I suppose, based on our political system. The bill, recently passed in the Senate is still being tossed around in the House—even though speaker John Boehner has said, of his GOP party, “I do believe the vast major…

Results: Pinterest Board as Final Exam for a Spanish Community Service Learning Course

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by Ann Abbott

All in all, I am very pleased with the results of the final exam that I gave to my students in the "Spanish in the Community" course. Students had to follow the instructions at this link in order to create five pins and add them to a Pinterest board for the course.

My goals were for students to learn about and experience content curation and to apply those principles in the creation of a helpful digital repository of images and links. Whatever your feelings about Pinterest, there is no doubt that it is a very useful way to organize and contextualize web- and image-based information.

Here are some of my observations about the test, about Pinterest and about the students.
Students' pins reflect what they think is important in the course.Immigration. Students pinned resources that provide immigrants' personal stories, myths about immigration, facts about how immigration in this country works, and political context about immigration reform.
Bilingual educati…

Results of Community Based Team Projects

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Students in my SPAN 232 course, "Spanish & Entrepreneurship: Languages, Cultures & Communities," have to do a team project in addition to their 28 hours of community service learning work. These are the results of one of the teams from Spring 2014. The intent is to have them go through the entrepreneurial process on a small scale, create something of true value, and develop their teamwork skills. --Ann Abbott
What? For our group project in SPAN332, Cassie, Olivia, & I worked with Dr. Darcy Lear and her career-coaching microenterprise: DarcyLear.com.  Dr. Lear offers services such as resume critiques and mock interviews for students transitioning from an academic setting to a professional one.  She uses multiple forms of social media to advertise her microenterprise, including Twitter and Facebook.  Our project with Dr. Lear was three-fold.  
First, we worked with her on her social media strategy. By sharing and liking her pages, the goal was to help her gain more tra…