All posts by TThies

3 Reasons Your Child Should Try Blogging

This summer, I will have the opportunity to teach a blogging class for middle school students at Parkland’s College for Kids. I am so excited to share my own hobby with students in the Champaign-Urbana area. Since beginning my teaching blog in 2014, it has undergone lots of changes. Some of those changes were productive, and some were merely a reflection of my indecisiveness. However, it was all part of a creative journey that I had begun, which now serves as the basis for my top three reasons your child should try blogging.

1. Cultivate Creativity
As a middle school teacher, one of the biggest hurdles I face when beginning a new school year with my students is that they lack creativity. It is hard to teach kids to be creative because it requires that they start something of their own accord—a project, an essay, a presentation, a website, a design, etc. When they don’t have any initial inspiration, it quickly becomes a game of monkey-see, monkey-do.

A blog is your child’s body of work. It is a space for them to take creative risks and test out their ideas for design, writing, and photography, all under one domain that allows for pretty immediate change whenever your young blogger sees fit. In short, it gets the creative juices flowin’, and that’s never a bad thing!

2. Reflect on the Self
Kids (and adults, if we’re all being honest) who routinely narrate their thought processes are more prone to self-reflection and self-awareness. Blogging is an avenue that kids can use to explore their perspectives. Each post is an opportunity to identify a new viewpoint or explore thoughts. It’s a chance to organize the chaos that often plagues the adolescent mind.

Best of all, rereading old posts can be an experience in itself for kids. I know it is for me! That then becomes cause-for-pause to reflect on where I used to be and where I am now, in many senses of the idea.

3. Connect with Others
While it can be scary to think about allowing middle schoolers to connect with strangers on the Internet, it can also be a way in which students widen their own perspectives. In my classroom, my students explore the idea of an echo chamber. Online, this is often referred to as a filter bubble.

The concept is basically this: Everything we know we like and agree with surrounds us and reverberates back to us on a daily basis. Online, algorithms “get to know” our online presence by keeping track of what we like and interact with, and they fill our social media accounts and even the ads on the websites we visit with more content just like that. This creates a tiny bubble that is very difficult to burst without making a conscious effort to seek other perspectives.

As a blogger, kids have access to other perspectives from anywhere in the world, which can effectively burst that filter bubble and give kids a window through which to view the stories of other cultures and more. On top of that invaluable experience, bloggers then have the opportunity to write for different and authentic audiences with a unique diversity they probably aren’t getting from their classrooms throughout the school year. Imagine the possibilities! Lastly, it provides opportunity for conversation around safe practices online, and also the development of a digital footprint, along with the space to practice safe habits routinely.

I hope you are excited by the idea of blogging for your child. I am certainly excited to be delivering such relevant content to our young writers in the area! To me, blogging is more than just a hobby. It’s a way to create, reflect, and expand my own perspective to include the stories of writers all over the world. I hope you’ll explore this class and the many others Parkland has to offer this summer. We’re looking forward to meeting you!

See you this summer!

Elizabeth Maske
College for Kids Teacher
How to Be a Blogger, Adventures in Stories and Snacks

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College for Kids registration is open now! Check out our classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister. Classes will be held Monday–Thursday, June 19–29 and July 10–20. Class times are 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159 and includes all supplies. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign. CFK inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

Art Rocks! at College For Kids

College for Kids has invited super-cool instructors to work with your kids this summer, like “Art Rocks!” instructor Kamila Glowacki. Kamila is pursuing her MA in Art Education at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where she earned her BFA in Art Education and Painting in 2013. Her drawings, paintings, prints, and sculptures have been featured at the Polish Museum of America in Chicago and local venues such as the Indi Go Artist Co-Op, the Art Theater, Common Ground Food Co-Op, and the Women’s Resource Center. And she loves getting kids excited about art! Kamila describes a bit about her work and the class below.

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Above: Jay Ryan poster for Polyvinyl Records’ 4-track single series. Featured image: Poster by Jay Ryan.

Over these next few days, I will be preparing screenprinted T-shirts, enamel pins, and other merchandise for an upcoming tour of the East Coast that my band is about to embark on. As an artist and musician, it has always been a fun challenge for me to design something that represents my music and put it on a shirt or CD. It’s an exciting feeling to see someone wearing something I drew!

Through this creative process, I have learned many practical skills that can be applied to artmaking as well as design. I’m excited to explore these skills with students who will soon take the “Art Rocks!” class at Parkland’s College for Kids summer enrichment camp.

In this class, we’ll design and screenprint T-shirts, create buttons, and zines, and design large-scale posters as part of the “Art Rocks!” class. As students participate, they will develop their own art skills as well as the freedom to create objects that can be duplicated and shared. Whatever T-shirt, storybook, or poster they might imagine will become an attainable item they are capable of creating themselves.

While many K-12 students have a chance to paint, draw, and sculpt, the opportunity to learn about specific artmaking methods and careers within the music industry is not likely to be found in school curricula. Throughout “Art Rocks!” we will look at the work of contemporary artists such as Jay Ryan who have made careers around concert poster or album artwork design. These encounters with contemporary artists will introduce students to the possible careers in the arts as well as encourage their interest in art and music.

I am looking forward to sharing these skills with students this summer, and I can’t wait to see what fantastic designs they create!

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College for Kids registration is open now! Check out our classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister. Classes will be held Monday–Thursday, June 19–29 and July 10–20. Class times are 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159 and includes all supplies. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign. CFK inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

 

New Workshops to Spark Kids’ Passion for Hands-on Careers

This summer, Parkland College is offering a new series of technology camps for kids ages 13 to 18 years old, camps that will spark their interest in what could be in-demand, hands-on careers in their (not-too-distant) future.

A longtime provider of summer educational experiences for the area’s youth, Parkland’s Business Training and Community Education department will hold its Machining/Welding, Automotive, and Mapping Technology camps in June. All taught by experienced Parkland College faculty members, each camp will feature Parkland’s state-of-the-art facilities and and high-tech equipment, giving students a taste of real-world work experience in each of the fields.

Machining and Welding Camp, June 19–29
In this new camp, youth will learn to use a manual lathe and manipulate metal in a safe and supervised environment, making really cool (or should we say, hot!) projects to take home. Along with creating great summer memories, this camp is sure to provide students with a one-of-a-kind experience, working in a high-tech lab using the latest manufacturing industry technology. As they develop “mind over metal,” kids will gain tangible skills, igniting a sense of confidence. Well-suited to the “maker minded” student, this camp may even inspire them to consider welding as a possible career option.

Mapping with Technology Camp, June 5–8
Do you know where your backyard ends and your neighbor’s yard begins? Have you ever wondered how maps are designed? A surveyor can tell you! Surveyors measure and draw what the earth’s surface looks like. Using special tools, survey technicians collect facts about the land, draw sketches, take GPS readings, and enter this information in a computer to determine the elevation and curvature of a plot of land. In this camp, students will learn how professional surveyors use the latest high-tech tools to create maps and use them to make decisions to build structures and develop land.

Automotive Summer Camp, June 12–15 (16–18 years) or June 19–22 (14–16 years)
Back by popular demand! The Automotive Summer Camp is designed for kids who consider themselves gearheads and love being around cars. Students will learn basic automotive technology: the proper way to change oil, common engine malfunctions, and how to keep a vehicle running in top-performing condition. Youth gain practical, real-world skills that could accelerate their future careers in the automotive industry!

***To register for any or all of the technology camps in this new series, please visit www.parkland.edu/btceRegister and use the “search for a class” feature at the upper right.***

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

 

Join the College for Kids Fun!

Make College for Kids a part of your family summer plans!
Looking for that really awesome, one-of-a-kind summer camp experience for your kids? Do you want your child’s summer to be filled with fun activities, new and enriching experiences, and opportunities to make new friends? Look no further – we’ve just described Parkland’s very own College for Kids!

College for Kids (CFK) is a summer enrichment camp for students, ages 8-13 years. For over the last 35 years, CFK has offered two-week classes ranging from engineering to art, TV broadcasting to cooking, and everything in between. Classes are hands-on and interactive and put the fun in learning!

We’ve got a lot of new classes this summer that offer tons of fun for your children. They will be learning and challenged at the same time! You child will be able to:

• design an app
• create short animations
• learn Photoshop or design objects
• explore world cultures and art as they learn various forms of
Zumba dancing
• learn to fly a drone with Parkland’s own Jennie Fridgen
• learn to make prints, jewelry, and a 5-course dinner!

Classes meet across the Parkland College campus, and CFK students use the same facilities as Parkland students. Parkland’s new Fine and Applied Arts building provides state-of-the-art facilities for classes such as Paint Like the Masters, Pocket Sketching, and Art Rocks, a printmaking class that combines students’ love of art and rock music. Students will be exposed to many of Parkland’s amazing resources, including science and computer labs, the hospitality kitchen, and even the library!

College for Kids inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and exploration. Check out the rest of CFK’s classes by visiting www.parkland.edu/btceRegister.

Registration is open now! CFK will be held Monday through Thursday, June 19 through June 29, and July 10 through 20. Classes are held from 12:45–2:45 p.m. and 3–5 p.m. Tuition for each class is $159, and includes all supplies. Registrations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early. You can register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Ave., Champaign.

Questions? Call 217/353-2055.

[Terry Thies is program manager for youth education with Parkland College Business Training and Community Education.]

Get Ready for Summer Fun with College for Kids!

It’s time to make family plans for summer fun!

Would you like your child’s summer to be filled with fun activities, new and enriching experiences, and opportunities to make new friends,? Look no further; we’ve just described Parkland’s very own College for Kids!

Does your child want to learn digital photography? Does she want to discover the ins and outs of electricity and building circuits?  Or, does he want to design e-textiles or learn to imbed circuits in his very own work of art? We’ve got a class for that. College for Kids participants can design mosaic tiles, write their own movie script, discover the physics behind how a Frisbee flies, learn how to operate a teleprompter, and even be a part of the Pitch at Parkland, our first a cappella experience designed for kids! We offer these fantastic experiences and many more.

College for Kids (CFK) is a summer program for students entering grades 3 through 8. For the last 35 years, CFK has offered two-week classes ranging from engineering to art, radio broadcasting to astronomy, and everything in between. Classes are hands-on and interactive, and they put the fun in learning!

This summer’s sessions are June 20-30 and July 11-21. Classes meet 12:15-2:15 p.m. and 2:30-4:30 p.m.

Sure, we’ll still feature summer favorites like Kids in the Kitchen, Mad for Math, Engineering Medieval Mayhem, and Video Games from Scratch. But look for new classes, too, like the Buzz about Bugs, Behind the Lines–The CFK Improv Troupe, Pocket Sketching, and Making Jewelry with Metals. Students will have an opportunity to design their own strategy game, explore the relationship between writing and our senses in Writing Detectives, and use brand new iPad’s in our digital photography and movie-making classes.

CFK classes meet across the Parkland College campus, and students use the same facilities as Parkland students. Parkland’s new Fine and Applied Arts building provides state-of-the-art facilities for 3D Paper Sculptures, Painting Like the Masters, and Color Your World, an experimental painting class using unique techniques. Students will be exposed to so many of Parkland’s amazing resources, including science and computer labs, the hospitality kitchen, and even the library!

College for Kids inspires students to develop a lifetime love of learning and questioning. Check out the rest of CFK’s classes here and mark your calendar for the first day of registration—April 4!

Registration for this summer’s program opens at 12 am on Monday, April 4. Session 1 meets Monday through Thursday, June 20 through June 30, and Session 2 meets Monday through Thursday, July 11 through 21. Classes are held from 12:15–2:15 p.m. and 2:30–4:30 p.m.

Tuition for each class is $159, and includes all supplies. Registrations are processed on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early. You may register online or in person at 1315 N. Mattis Avenue, Champaign. Questions?  Call 217/353-2055.