Please forgive the previous posts- I was worried that my document would not open. It appears that the doc will open in only some browsers. If the word doc will open please use it for my application. If it won't t open, please refer to the youtube video URL I have listed below.
on January 30
I just realised that some word documents do not open from this site. I just tried to open mine, and mine won't open either. I had listed this URL in my word doc because my video was too big for Vator to upload... Please see my video here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=_KcnpFEz4jU
on January 29
Teach For America – Las Vegas Valley & the Zappos Family of Companies Alternative Spring Break Application
Solution to Jorge’s Challenge
Thank you for this opportunity to present my solution to Jorge’s challenge. I had recorded a video of my solution; however, unfortunately the file was too large to be downloaded by Vator. Please see my video on youtube at:
Hi my name is Carolyn Krupski and I am a student at the School of Industrial and Labor Relations at Cornell University. I chose to solve Jorge’s problem because I have a creative solution to his challenge that is inspired by my own experiences as a tutor for students typically from low income backgrounds.
My solution to Jorge’s problem has three parts: a homework help program for students, a video tutorial system for parents, and what I will call a “family empowerment plan” that will help engage parents in their students’ school lives. While I will solve Jorge’s problem of how to empower his students’ parents, I also feel that it is crucial that the students themselves stay at the forefront of the solution. I feel this way for the following reasons:
1) I worry that if the parents of the students in Jorge’s class are unable to help their children with sixth grade math, they probably will be unable to help their children in future grade levels, so it is critical that students should learn that there are other recourses available to them and that they should feel confident about using them.
2) That if students become too reliant on help from home to complete their math homework, they will not be empowered to learn what I will refer to as the “process of learning.” Without having learned this process, they cannot develop the confidence in their own math skills and ability to learn math that they will need to be successful in the rest of their years in school.
My objective is to create a solution that solves Jorge’s problem, keeps the students at the center of Jorge’s focus, and also compensates for the obstacles that make this challenge so difficult: both the parents’ lack of time and the inadequacy of resources like Spanish textbooks and tutoring sessions.
Tier 1: Homework Help Forum for Students
Jorge explained that he has offered tutorials for his students’ parents before and after school. I think that converting these sessions into student help forums would be a great way to solve both the immediate and long term problems of helping the students to learn math. The forum should have an open and encouraging atmosphere in which students feel comfortable to ask questions on homework problems that they struggled with. In order to facilitate this, the students should be expected to have attempted their homework on their own prior to the forum. If the students are responsible for recognizing when they need help and asking Jorge questions about these skills and processes, they will start to see a pattern of what “types” of problems that they do not understand and the processes needed to solve them. This way, they will see that learning math requires learning a “process of how to learn” which includes learning to identify what skills and steps they “didn’t know they didn’t know.” Learning this process will allow students to hone the learning skills they need to be successful in sixth grade math as well as in future years of schooling.
These forums should be staffed with high school student volunteers to assist Jorge in answering his students’ questions. This will encourage a friendly and casual atmosphere. having older students would also inspire the sixth graders to learn math by providing them with positive role models that they can aspire to emulate.
The relaxed atmosphere of the forum is necessary because this environment would prompt students to ask each other questions and motivate them to work together to find solutions. Working with their peers would enable the students to learn how to study effectively in groups, a skill that will also greatly benefit them in future years of schooling.
Finally, these forums could serve as additional opportunities for Jorge to connect the math curriculum to the students’ everyday lives. He might try to connect real world examples in his explanations of the students’ questions. He could also have some forums reserved for guest speakers, like high school students, the students’ parents, and local professionals who could share with the students how they use math in their everyday lives and why learning math skills is so important. Showing students the importance of math in their future lives as older students and adults will motivate the children to want to learn 6th grade math skills.
This open forum for homework help will enable students to learn the math that they need to know and will also facilitate learning the “process of how to learn,” including asking adults for help. It will also encourage group work and enable students to see how math is applicable in their everyday lives. This will build their confidence and help them succeed in the classroom.
Tier 2: Video Tutorial System for Parents
Once the Student Homework Help Forum has been established, it is necessary to empower the parents to learn the math so that they can help their children and be involved in their education. My solution to Jorge’s problems concerning time and failed resources is a weekly video tutorial that explains the skills and processes that the students will be learning for the week. Jorge explained that the school district is willing to pay for a solution that will be effective and that he has access to technology, however, because so many of the families of his students are impoverished, I did not want to rely too much on technology since the parents may not have access to computers or the internet. Therefore, I think that Jorge should create both DVDs and YouTube videos of the tutorials, so that every family can access them either at home or at the public library. These videos will be helpful because they will allow parents to lean the math on their own time.
These videos should mimic a classroom lesson: Jorge should film himself in front of a blackboard and explain, step by step, how to solve a particular type of math problem. In addition to the videos, one or two nights a week of the student homework help forum should be for both parents and students, so that parents can receive answers to their questions from Jorge and the high school volunteers, and so that they can see the answers to the questions that their students have. Because the problem of time would still be a factor here, Jorge should also establish an online forum or chat site for himself and his parents. This way, parents can ask questions for themselves and their students at any time in a convenient and efficient way. Furthermore, an online forum for parents would enable parents to help each other and answer one another’s questions. Again, this online forum could be accessed either at home or at the library, and would allow parents to get answers as needed. Finally, for parents who may be unable to access the online forum, Jorge could also set up individual appointments with parents as needed.
Tier 3: Family Empowerment Plan
Finally, the third tier of my solution to Jorge’s challenge is a “family empowerment” plan. Jorge should empower the parents of his students to feel that they can help their students be successful in school even if they are unable to help them with the math problems themselves. Every week he should send home a memo along with the video tutorials that explains what the students are working on and about how long their homework should take. This will enable parents to gauge whether or not their students are on track with the average student in the class and allow them to know what is going on in the classroom even if they cannot perform the skills that there students are learning. Furthermore, he should also advise parents to help their children by providing them with a quiet place to do their math homework and to encourage their children to attempt every homework problem even if they are struggling. Parents can motivate their students to want to learn by encouraging them to do their homework, struggle through difficult problems, ask questions, and, most importantly, by celebrating their achievements when they are successful on homework and tests. This enthusiasm for their children’s education will show the students the importance that their parents place on education and, ultimately, empower them to learn the “process of learning,” master their coursework, and inspire them to do the best that they can on their own.