We're back in the swing of things!
It's a new year, and we're back to learning and having fun at SYSS. The first week of January, we devoted a bunch of SEL time toward validating, discussing, and letting go of a lot of the feelings we had about the last year. There were a TON of feelings, both positive and negative, about living the past nine or so months inside a pandemic. Kiddos discussed feeling more liberated and secure to be themselves at home and able to "unmask" or not have to hide their neurodiversity or queerness from others. Some folks talked about missing certain activities or milestones that made in-person school "worth it" for them. Others talked about cramped spaces, lack of privacy or alone time, feelings of isolation, anxiety, and fear of the future year and the changes it may bring. Some of those same students discussed wanting to stay home in their safe and celebratory spaces where they can increasingly explore their queerness or their neurodiversity.
In true SYSS fashion, students lead these SEL conversations where they wanted them to go. Tutors are just the facilitators in these instances; asking open-ended questions to drive the conversation farther rather than give a map or guide toward a certain topic area. We'll be able to share some resources under the resource section of our website soon.
Students also dove right back into content-area subjects. W started the year off in math with a place value review complete with Legos!
After building a Lego structure, we counted the number of each color of Legos used and recorded them on our chart.
This week, W will be making a graph of all the Lego colors present on each of our charts.
Also in math, Miss SassyPants herself is embarking on an epic endeavor to build her dream house on paper and virtually in Sims3. After each room is constructed, we measure the area and perimeter, allowing for us to work on our addition and multiplication skills. Miss SassyPants only has a certain amount of money she can spend in building and furnishing materials per room, so she has to add, subtract, and budget her resources to make each room come to life in the game. So far, we're two rooms in with plans for many more to come!
Another of our students, Lucy Ball, is working with equivalent fractions. Last week, we made mosaics out of different fraction pieces and then added them together to see how many wholes we had altogether.
This week, we'll be using our mosaics to play around with different equivalent fraction pieces. We'll be able to see what sorts of pictures we can make on top of our mosaics using equivalent fraction pieces.
MLK Day of Service.
Yesterday, we were able to distribute over 200 care packages to homeless folks and sex workers in Ballard and Greenwood as part of the MLK Day of Service. We joined with Project Prevent, Project Solidarity, and Distant Worlds Coffeehouse to spread a little warmth and comfort. Special thanks go to Melissa, a parent from Salmon Bay, for stopping by to volunteer. W and her dad Jeff also stopped by to lend a hand. Hopefully, we'll be able to make care package distribution a regular community action in north Seattle!
In the coming weeks, we'll see a push to increase our footprint. Please refer us to your friends and neighbors in Seattle. The more we grow, the more services we are able to offer our community! We'll also be checking in on President Biden's Inauguration, deepening our commitment to trauma-informed teaching through a professional development day in February, and continuing to play and learn. Why don't you join us?
Sarah Abshire (she/her) is a former Seattle Public Schools teacher and current advocate for the transgender and non-binary community in Seattle. Sarah is bisexual, has a nine year old daughter, and a beloved husband that works in tech. She enjoys playing Animal Crossing, creating art of all types, and doing anything in the Seattle rain/shine (which is totally a thing).