For this week’s writing prompt, I chose a question that serves two purposes. One is to allow my little sisters to reflect on how they learn best and second is to allow me to cater future writing prompts and learning activities to how they learn best. During K-12th grade, my favorite classes were the ones that were more artistically engaging, and my least favorites were the logic-based classes. For this reason, I chose to ask this question, to make sure that my little sisters’ experience with the Big Sisters program is fun and memorable, filled with activities that they enjoy. In a classroom of 15-20 students, it is difficult to cater the activities to each student’s way of learning. However, in programs like Big Sisters, our work revolves around fostering learning and I believe showing students ways to make every subject fun using activities they enjoy will encourage them to seek new ways to make all subjects fun. If you look at the responses, the little sisters differ in writing, expressing themselves, and of course in learning methods. Alyanna is very logic based and enjoys reading chapter books and analyzing them, while Samiah is very artistic and expressive and enjoys art and physical activities. Using this information, I hope to better accommodate my little sisters’ needs and interests.
As a follow up to last week’s question, Aaliyah and I worked on highlighting her accomplishments this past year and things she would like to improve on. We started with her accomplishments and the first thing she announced was her ability to complete her multiplication tables which were a great start. During my first couple of weeks working with Aaliyah, I remember asking her how her week went, and she was so excited to inform me of her tricks to solve multiplication tables. Her other accomplishments include improving her ability to play the violin and the piano, learning how to make water move and how to ride a hoverboard. The list Aaliyah compiled impressed me because she did not stick to accomplishments she is best at, instead, she chose a well-rounded group of activities. Once we moved on to things she would like to improve on, Aaliyah’s first response was “math.” Last week, she mentioned that math was her least favorite subject, but I am delighted that her dislike for the subject does not stop her from wanting to improve her skills and reward herself when she does well. Last, Aaliyah wants to improve her handwriting which struck me at first because since I started working with Aaliyah, her hand-writing has immensely improved and I was not expecting it to concern her with her handwriting.
Alyanna is an outstanding and clever student. Since our first day together she has known she wants to be a teacher, and I asked her this question particularly to understand where her passion stems from. Alyanna loves learning and engages in all her classes and her response superbly portrays her passion for learning and striving to be better.
This week I had the pleasure of working with Jaylen (I don’t remember her name, I’m sorry!) as well as Samiah. I asked them what they want to be when they grow up. My reasoning behind this isn’t for them to know exactly what that is at nine, I’m twenty-eight and I just figured it out for myself. What “I want to be when I grow up” has changed about thirty times since I was their age, but what was important was that I was always encouraged to dream and there were always people who supported me in doing so. I thought I knew pretty much everything about Samiah having worked with her since September, but she likes to keep me on my toes. From the girl that has continuously told me she doesn’t enjoy much about school besides gym class, comes the response that she wants to be a kindergarten teacher. I know that she can do whatever she sets her mind to, and it made me happy that she might be starting to like school. After reading her response we discussed the steps to get there, including going to college. She was enthusiastic about it and was even more excited when I told her in May she’ll be visiting BMC to get an idea of what it’s like.
This was my first week working with Jaylen. She comes off as shy at first, but that is not the case. She is very inquisitive and thoughtful, she asked me a lot of questions about school and insisted I help her pick a book to read as well as go first when we played Candy Land. Her response to the writing prompt was relatable, I would love a career in which I eat donuts with my friends everyday too. However, in our conversation about it, she more so emphasized wanting to solve crimes and help people.
Both girls were able to quickly respond to what I asked, which I assume means they have put thought into this question before. I am happy that they have people who inspire them to have goals, and I hope to be a part in their journey to achieving them.
This past session, I asked my little sisters, Briseyda and Jeilin, to answer the question: What are you good at in school? What are some things you would like to improve?
The reason I asked them this question was for them to reflect on both their strengths and improvements. Personally, thinking about what you may need to spend more time on can result in improving overall skills, especially in subjects that you may not be strong in. I wanted my little girls to see that it is okay to not be good at everything and with some practice and a helping hand, they can accomplish anything they want. By taking small steps as they wrote from writing more sentences and working with a teacher, they can continue to further their knowledge. Both Briseyda and Jeilin are bright girls who are growing by being in this program. I can already see that they are determine to improve their reading and writing skills. I cannot wait to continue to work with both of them and continue to build the bond we share with each other.
The Big Sisters Program has introduced me to my two little sisters Yeliza and Jaelha. At the begging of las semester I had only worked with Yeliza and I have seen the massive growth she has done since. Yeliza has seen school through the lens of just working without an outcome but now as you can see in her notebook to the left in the second question, she has a goal of wanting to becoming a teacher by” going to a good college.” She has a passion for wanting to learn they whys and the whats to things which I know will take her far in life. Her drive has even reached her to her reading level from a E (Beginner) to a O (Intermediate). Yeliza’s role model in school is her counselor Ms.Bronte who manages all the students at Willard Elementary school. She plans to also make a program like Big Sister’s in order to help girls her age to read and write.
At the beginning of this second semester I was assigned to my other little sister Jaelha. Who has been on the honor roll at Willard Elementary since her arrival to the school. She has a passion to dance and wants to become a dancer when she grows up. Jaelha has made a huge impression on me when she grab one of the books from a high level reading level and read it perfectly without asking for my help. I see the determination both of my little sisters have in wanting to attend a good college like Bryn Mawr. They are both filled with joy on coming to campus and seeing where they will be in a few years.
Deylenis prefers PE and art to other subjects like writing and math. I think her personality favors outlets that allow her to be active and creative. She has mentioned before she wanted to be a teacher, so next week I will ask her about her future career and why, expecting it to be based on her favorite subjects.
I have been working with Aaliyah for a semester and every time we discuss her interests and passions, the list grows. Aaliyah is incredibly talented, and she loves to learn. She plays multiple instruments and every time her music teacher introduces a new instrument, she tells me how excited she is to learn how to play it. Therefore, I initially asked this question because I wondered if she wanted to pursue a music-related career, but I was taken aback by her answer.
When I asked her for her favorite subject this time, she did not instantly respond with music and when I asked if she wanted to pursue music, she said: “I don’t think so, I want to help lots of people.” She wants to become a lot of things including a doctor to heal those who are sick, a judge to, as she said, “put bad people in jail,” and a teacher to help students like her classmates. She tried her best to find a way to help all the demographics and I was really inspired by commitment and aspirations.
I have been working with Samiah since September. Although she is great at reading and writing and I have seen continuous progress in those areas, it is clear by her answer that she prefers free time. Every single week towards the end of the time we have designated to reading and writing, I see her eyeing the Jenga box. When their guidance counselor Ms. (I can’t remember if it is Mrs. or Miss) Bronte declares it is free time, she runs over and grabs it. There are two boxes of Jenga, but Samiah prefers the pink one. In this version of the game, each block has a personal question on it. I believe in the beginning it helped her in opening up to me. It was a way for her to tell me about her life and her views on things. I would explain in more detail, but we’ve always agreed what is said in Jenga stays in Jenga. There is one story I want to tell, only because it isn’t her personal business and I don’t think she would mind.
This past week the pink Jenga box was taken by another little sister, Samiah was upset but settled for the other box. In this version of the game each block has an emotion on it, and as we pulled each out we would state what made us feel that type of emotion. I pulled out a block that said “confident,” and she asked what that meant. I asked her, “What makes you feel better about yourself? What makes you feel good?” Not the most thorough definition, but the first thing that came to mind. She replied, “Helping others.” I think this is the best explanation of who Samiah is. Her emotional intelligence at nine years old blew me away. I’m twenty-eight, and I’m sure as some of you do too, I can so easily get caught up in my own world and forget about the things in life that are really important. I think how we interact and relate with one another has such a profound impact on who we are and the environment around us which we help create. With that being said, I’m going to challenge the readers of this and fans of Samiah, that the next time you feel overwhelmed with your life or too caught up in your own world, to do something for someone else.
Or you can take a picture with a cool snapchat filter, she seems to like that too.
Unfortunately, one of my Little sisters, Joliana, could not attend our weekly meeting last Friday. Here’s what Glerielis, my other Little sister, responded to my question: What do you enjoy the most about the Big Sisters program?
I came up with this question because I wanted to know what my Little Sisters liked about our time together. I have noticed that they are always excited to see us every Friday, and I wanted to know what part of the program made her want to come back every week, even if it meant staying a few minutes after school.
I have to say that I felt happy after reading her response. It was never my intention to be a “fun” Big sister: I always try to be myself around both my Little Sisters, so I am honored to know that Glerielis thinks that I am a fun person!
I also could not help but smile after reading that she is excited about visiting the Bryn Mawr campus in a few months. This is her second year in the program, which means that she has already visited the school before, yet, she is still looking forward to coming back. I hope that having a chance to see the campus and visit some classes motivates her to consider attending college when the time comes. I really hope that the Big Sisters program continues to have a positive impact on her life.