Thursday, September 13, 2018

Teaching Philosophy Unmasked

Image result for uaacce usbe 2018 conference

On Friday, September 14, 2018, six of us will be delivering two presentations at the 2018 UAACCE/USBE Conference.

Slaying the Pedagogical Dragon: Raising Scores through Learner Content - Betsy & Deb
We will share how we develop our units of instruction - brainstorming, KWL, activities, & products. Then we will share the results of 4 instructional units with the attendees.

Ask, Don't Tell - Danny, John, Ellen, Ray, & Deb
Our group will engage attendees in examining two extreme types of instructional methodology. Then we will explain how our inquiry method works. We will share pros and cons of this method. We will then take this method further by sharing how we create note pages to foster independent learning..

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Artists Among Us

We've been exploring art media and artists' works for several months. One of the outcomes of this unit of study is for two of our learners to sue their talents to produce unique art works to donate to our center. 

Danny and Teresa presented their pieces at our this year's annual fundraiser on Thursday, August 30, 2018. As part of their presentations, they wrote and delivered their art statements. 

For a glimpse of their work, see below.


Danny's Artist Statement

Danny reading his artist statement. His OC is being held up behind him. 

Mario, Snake, Link, Sonic, and Fox. What do these names have in common? If you’re not a gamer, nothing. If you are a gamer, hero comes to mind.

I made this drawing because I want to be a hero too, but through video games. I want to bring the world together through them. I like to see people smile. I love to see people happy. I believe with games I can make that happen.

I used a pencil to draw the picture, a couple of markers to trace the picture to make it darker, the eraser of the pencil to get rid of the original lines, and Photoshop to color it. I based my drawing off an OC (original character) that I made on one of my games.

I have made other drawings like a close up picture of a wolf face, but this is my first full body picture. I never made something like this before.  


Teresa's Artist Statement (aka Stilz)

Teresa reading her artist statement. Her art piece is displayed to her left.

As an artist, I use my imagination and creativity in my artwork to let me think of what to paint.  

The tools I use are a blank canvas, paint brushes, color paints, and artist oil to mix the colors together.

My style is mostly abstract, although I have done other types of paintings, which is the style I have done on this piece here.

I looked at this blank canvas, and I had visions in my mind. So I used my paint brush to outline the face and the background.

After I was done outlining the face and the background, I began to put in colors, including the shadows on my painting.


“You don’t have to be perfect to be an artist.
All you have to do is just be creative.” - Stilz

Friday, August 10, 2018

The World's Strongest Librarian is back in town

Meet Josh Hanagarne. You know, the Salt Lake City librarian who touts himself as The World's Strongest Librarian. 

He's spending the evening with us. He's showing off his strength and sharing his story about Tourette syndrome.

Learn more about the changes in his life since the publication of The World's Strongest Librarian. Learn more about Tourette syndrome. Find out Josh's life as a strong man.

Join us for

A Benefit for Literacy Action Center

An Evening with...

Josh Hanagarne

Date:  Thursday, August 30, 2018
Time:  6:00 - 9:00 PM
Place: The Grill at Old Mill (6080 Wasatch Blvd, Holladay)

Evening Features

Silent & Live Auctions

Author Josh Hanagarne

Reading & Discussion

Questions? Call Deb at 801/265-9081

We are a qualified 501(c)(3).

Your support helps another functionally-illiterate English-speaking adult transform into a skilled, passionate, habitual, critical reader, writer, & mathematician, who is career-minded and tech savvy.

Wednesday, August 1, 2018

Join us for "An Evening With..."

Your opportunity to help adults become 
stronger readers, writers, and mathematicians.

A Benefit for Literacy Action Center

An Evening with...

Josh Hanagarne

Date:  Thursday, August 30, 2018
Time:  6:00 - 9:00 PM
Place: The Grill at Old Mill (6080 Wasatch Blvd, Holladay)

Evening Features

Silent & Live Auctions

Author Josh Hanagarne

Reading & Discussion

Friends Welcome!

Join us! 

4 Options:

Send checks to Literacy Action Center for $60/person. Postmark checks by 8/17/18 
(Mail checks to Literacy Action Center, 3595 S Main Street, Salt Lake City UT 84115)

Early Bird: $60/person 7/31-8/17
General: $60 + $5.39/person from 8/17-8/29 
Last Minute: $75 + $6.12/person from 8/29-8/30

Pay cash or check $75/person at the door. 
Or Last Minute: $75 + $6.12/person at Eventbrite

Option 4:
Can't come? Help us anyway. Send a donation.
Make a donation: send a check or via Eventbrite.

    Questions? Call Deb at 801/265-9081

    We are a qualified 501(c)(3).

    Your support helps another functionally-illiterate English-speaking adult transform into a skilled, passionate, habitual, critical reader, writer, & mathematician, who is career-minded and tech savvy.

    Tuesday, July 31, 2018

    Everyone stood frozen in shock!

    Our story starter turned some of us into horror writers and others into romance writers. These writings were quick ten-minute drafts. Please enjoy them "as is" because we had no time to edit. 

    Check out our 8 stories below. 
    Wednesday Morning Group

            Everyone stood frozen in shock...

    Everyone stood frozen in shock when they saw a car accident the dead bodies on the street the ambulance driver took them away.

    Everyone stood frozen in shock. Disbelief pervaded the crowd. Did the dancer bouncing on the side of the glass library wall just plunge through the glass? Was she really dangling and bouncing inside then outside of the jagged edges with blood spurting towards the audience at regular intervals? 

    Everyone stood frozen in shock. Because we don’t know other people’s values or cultures, we don’t know what is going on. For example, I need a lot of fun. I look at things around me. I hear, and I watch. TV shows really give me characters of hope and wishes from all these things I see. Around with me daily, life is full of temperatures – positive and negative emotions.  What’s worries me in my culture is shock.

    Everyone stood frozen in shock when they heard a new student is coming to our high school. This is student is a bad boy, he had a motorcycle. He had long black hair, with beautiful gorgeous red eyes his name is Kyle Carson. Rumor has it that Kyle had been kicked out of different schools for vandalism. Everyone was talking about it. The students were talking about him, their were afraid to go near him. Except one student who is not afraid to talk to Kyle.

    Her name is Emily Johnson, Emily got tired of the same old good behavior boyfriends. She always dumps them on their second dates. She walked towards him and then Kyle turns around. Then they start look at each other eye’s for the first they meet. The students couldn’t believe what they saw. They made them speechless.

    My point here is that good girls always fall in love with bad boys. Not good girls always fall with good boys. 

    Everyone saw two people skating on ice when the ice broke and cracked underneath them. They fell into the lake. They were hollering for help.

    People around them looked and went to get more help. Then the fire department came and rescued them.

    Everyone stood frozen in shock as the earth began to shake. They were trying to figure out what was happening when out of nowhere a herd of buffalo came running down the street.

    The crowd scrambled for safety to avoid being trampled.  But where did they come from? Why are they running?

    Just then behind them I saw…….

    Everyone stood frozen in shock because they saw lions. Then they shot them with darts with medicine. Monkeys, zebras,  gazelles, hippopotamus and a cougar. A man and a lady in uniform with guns.

    The day started so normal, so boring. I walked to school for another long day of being bored.

    I made it past 45th when the sky change dark red. I saw a crowd of people staring up to the sky. They stood there frozen in shock as a giant meteor came down from the heavens.

    Today may not be as boring as I thought.

    Sunday, June 10, 2018

    CNA: Get the Facts

    Picture of mannequin in bed taken by Selena at beginning
     of her CNA course at Utah CNA Centers this past April.

    We are learning a lot about the perks of the world of the Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA). Let us share three important key items that may sway you to begin training today.

    First, did you know that you don't have to start your CNA course before you get hired? All you need is basic first aid/CPR certification. The first aid course included a skills test (demonstrate to the instructor that you can perform CPR appropriately) and a short multiple-choice test (which may be read by the instructor).

    Second, long-term care facilities will hire anyone to be a CNA. You have 120 days from your date of hire to pass the CNA licensing exam. On top of that the long-term care facility will reimburse you for your CNA course. They'll reimburse you even if you started the course before they hired you. Some long-term care facilities may also give you a signing bonus. Yes, you heard us right. An additional check for just signing up to work for them. Buyer beware: Read the fine print - some of these companies may require that you work for them for six or more months if they pay for the course or give a signing bonus. You may earn as much as $25, 000 per year ($11/hour). Many of the positions, however, are part-time.

    Third, while many long-term care facilities need CNAs, so do hospitals, especially hospitals tied to universities. Getting employed as a CNA at a hospital has more benefits. By benefits, we mean that you may actually move up into a tech field with little further education. For example, you can become a cardio tech (the person who performs EKGs), MRI tech (the person who performs MRIs), or ultrasound tech (the person who performs ultrasounds) without a college degree. The average pay for the cardio tech is $53,000 per year ($25/hour), and the MRI tech averages $65,000 per year ($31/hour). While these careers may need additional on-the-job training, CNA may certainly be an entry into these other better paying medical-related jobs. Oh, by the way, as a university employee, the CNA may also get reduced college tuition.

    We have been quite surprised by all of this. We know that CNAs are the backbone of any medical facility, but we didn't realize how CNAs might move easily into other better paying positions. Based on what we've shared, aren't you ready now to get your CNA?

    Friday, June 1, 2018

    Recognition Dinner 2018: Donors

    Dear Literacy Friends,

    Learners enroll with us to fill educational gaps. They see adult literacy instruction as one key to getting what they want in their lives.

    Unbeknownst to these learners, we engage them in developing a variety of keys to enhance their abilities as readers, writers, and mathematicians. In turn, learners use these keys to take advantage of a range of college and career opportunities. 

    The bottom line...what we do is only possible because of support from individuals like you. You are key to everyone’s success! 

    In April, we celebrated our learners' and volunteers' successes at our annual Recognition Dinner. We are grateful to so many people for making this evening a success. These individuals included: Debbie (organizer), Tom, Danielle, Karen, Donna, Shell, Ellen, Mike, Selena, Sue, Ray, Ashley, Chris, John, Ray, Colleen, Matt, Kathy, plus many others who helped us bring the meal together!

    We are also extremely grateful to our in-kind dinner donors: 
    Buca di Beppo (935 Ft Union Blvd, Midvale) 
    Costco (5201 South Intermountain Drive, Murray) 
    Costco (1818 South 350 West, SLC) 
    Elizabeth’s Catering (1645 West 2200 South, WVC) 
    Olive Garden (3515 Constitution Blvd, WVC) 
    Olive Garden (6305 South State, SLC) 
    Olive Garden (2272 South 1300 East, SLC) 
    Quizno’s (1775 South 4130 West, SLC
    ReadingHorizons ( 
    Sam’s Club (6525 S State, Murray) 
    Shasta Beverage (2370 S 900 W, WVC) 
    Sizzler Sugarhouse (2111 South 1300 East, SLC)
    Texas Roadhouse (5418 Redwood Rd, Taylorsville) 
    Textile Care Services (2295 West Custer Rd, WVC)
    Utah Food Services (581 W 900 North, NSL)

    On behalf of everyone here, thank you for your support!

    Friday, May 11, 2018

    Art appreciation: Integrating literacy & critical thinking

    See what listening to Billy Joel generated by 4 of our participants.
    Doodle Art created to one of Billy Joel's tunes.

    Wednesday morning group just switched to Art Appreciation

    Why? Learners want to share their artwork and what they know about art. This topic is a subject dear to many of our learners' hearts - ART.

    Our goal? Increase reading comprehension strategies and critical thinking skills while simultaneously sharing learners' artwork and learning about artists - past & present.  

    We are exploring vocabulary and art techniques. Building critical thinking skills. Improving investigation skills. Growing observational skills. Interpreting visual and written texts. Forcing summarization skills. Developing and delivering presentations. Sharing ideas, supported with evidence.

    Seem odd for an adult literacy organization? 
    Not this one! We use topics learners care about the most. 

    Bottom line: 
    We are teaching reading, writing, and math skills, 
    just like everyone else, but with a twist.

    Here's how today's lesson went:

    Warm-up: RJ shared his doodle art technique. For our warm-up, we followed RJ's technique, and we all doodled while listening to "Goodnight, My Angel" lullaby by Billy Joel. Once the music ended, we colored. When we shared our masterpieces, we each told something about the significance and meaning behind our doodles. We clapped for each artist. In the picture above, you get a glimpse of four of our twelve resulting masterpieces. Pretty cool!

    Content: We focused on "Guernica" by Pablo Picasso. We wanted to know about the artist, his style, and the painting itself. We split into four groups with one mentor per group. Each group took on one of these questions:

    (A) Who was Picasso? How did his life influence his work?

    (B) What was the history behind the "Guernica" mural? What influenced its creation?

    (C) What do you see in "Guernica?" Share the elements.

    (D) What was Picasso's style? How did this style show up in "Guernica?"

    Groups had print and electronic materials available. An introduction to "Guernica" and Picasso were listed on our learner website, but groups were not required to visit or limited to the info on our site. One group found info about Picasso on Khan Academy, another found info about Picasso's art periods, and one group started with a paper-version of the encyclopedia. 

    The expressions on their faces tell it all!
    Engagement is key.
    Their facial expressions illustrate engagement.

    Presentations: Each group read and interpreted different information in search of the information needed to present the one piece to the entire group. Each group had a different piece of the bigger picture. Was there some overlap? Of course. Was the overlap evident in the final presentations? A little - which reminded us that everything links together. 

    Groups put up images or showed websites as part of their presentations. For example, Group D took us to Picasso's art periods website. This site not only talked about each period but also showed representative works to illustrate their points. Group D used this site to their advantage. 

    These four presentations allowed all of us to ask questions of the groups and each other. We had an interesting discussion because of the info shared and our personal interpretations of this info. 

    Evaluation: Everyone spoke highly about seeing a colleague's artwork, and then using the artwork to produce an art piece before reading about an artist. All agreed that doodle art was restful.

    At the end, we took a moment to reflect on what was liked and what we should change for future lessons. The groups reported that they didn't like having to choose only one question area. Yet, they liked having a narrow question that they owned. They liked becoming the experts who then taught the rest of us about their piece. They liked the focus on one piece of art and artist. While they still don't know a lot about this person or his artwork from this short investigation, they certainly got familiar with one of his works of art.  


    Note: CCRS provided underlying structure for the resulting lesson. Job options are highlighted as appropriate, especially since several of our learners are aiming for art-related careers through SLCC-SAT.

    Thursday, April 12, 2018

    Sneeze Season

    “What makes me sneeze” was the simple writing prompt on Thursday 4/5/18. “Show us what leads up to the sneeze but don’t tell us what caused the sneeze.”

    Here are four results. Read them, then you decide what the sneezes are able about.

    Cucumber Salad
    By Selena

    I cut a cucumber in pieces, and I put them in a bowl. I cut a lemon, then squeezed the lemon halves into the bowl with the cucumber. I put in salt, and then put in a hot tasting spice made from ground dried red chilies. Then, I started sneezing a lot.

    The Back Hall
    By Deb

    “Jill, where are you?”

    “I’m in here, Mom.”

    “Where’s ‘in here?’” Mom shouted again.

    I knew she needed to follow my voice to find me. “Back here, Mom. Where you told me to go.”

    “Oh, there you are,” she said as she walked through the doorway of the back hall of the apartment building.

    “Oh, I see you’re getting all the dirt,” she said as she looked closely at the mopboard behind the door. “Thanks.”

    “You’re welcome. But I’m not liking… (achoo) this too much. (Achoo!) Look at the stuff flying through the air. Doesn’t anyone use this hallway anymore? (Achoo!)”

    What Am I?
    By Kathy

    Winter ends.
    Aspens force buds from branches
    Bulbs push leaves and color through cool, sleepy soils

    e ' voila'!

    A crocus
    A daffodil
    A tulip appear,
    Winter's moods to appease

    As I dash from beneath my covers, morning begins with a sneeze

    That which beckons my heart to see, causes me to seize

    The Great Outdoors
    By Danny

    I was running in a field, and tripped a couple of times because I couldn't see. My eyes had watered up.

    “Aaaaachuuuuu.” I was told not to go outside today, but I went anyway. The sun was shining and the flowers were in bloom, but I just couldn't stop sneezing.

    All in all, I had fun.

    What are we sneezing about? 

    Leave your comments below.

    Monday, January 29, 2018

    Vietnam: Getting Out with our Lives

    What do you know about 
    the ending of the Vietnam conflict? 

    For example, which president 

    brought our troops home? 

    President Ford

    President Nixon



    Meet Col. Hess, a former POW. Hear his story. 

    I'm Ray Wright. I'm a history buff. 

    Learn more on 2/8/18 at 2PM at Literacy Action Center.

    (3595 S Main Street, SSL - in the basement of SL County Housing Authority)