Friday, January 25, 2019

Let's Get Out There...

overhead one learner reading her first draft of her speech aloud today. I asked permission to share this snippet with you. Enjoy.

"No one can take your education away from you!" is one thing I have been taught through this wonderful, outstanding, excellent program. I thank the outstanding volunteers and Deb for keeping this program running. There are a lot of people out there who need the help. So let’s get out there and tell them about this wonderful place. -  Anonymous

Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Group Story: A Panda, A Tiger, & A Turkey

Story written by Tuesday's Feasters

Panda riding Siberian tiger.

A long, long time ago in China, a big, fat panda was chomping on succulent green bamboo. The sky darkened. A herd of rhinos stomped quickly under the panda. 

Frightened, the panda plunged to the earth, landing on a Siberian tiger. Surprised, the tiger bolted and the panda clung on for dear life.

After several hundred yards, the cranky, annoyed tiger spotted the source of his back pain – the big, fat panda. He immediately said, “You better be tasty!”

Panda sheepishly said, “I’ll get off at the next corner, please.”

The tiger was quick to reply, “Oh, no, you don’t. No stops until the end of the line."

As they got closer to the first village house, the tiger smelled the enticing aroma of roasting turkey. Sidetracked, the tiger slowed down. Seeing an opportunity, the panda quietly and quickly slipped off the tiger and ran home.

Thursday, November 1, 2018

People's Rights & Responsibilities

Miranda rights: "You have the right to remain silent.
Anything you say can and will be used against you in a court of law.
You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford an attorney, one will be provided for you."

Do you know your rights? We thought we did!

Come on -- we've all watched those police dramas where the accused, as he's handcuffed, is told, "You have the right to..."

We discovered that we are wrong about what we know. A retired police officer enlightened us -- detectives read you your rights, not the patrol officers who handcuff and haul you away. Huh.

So, how did we get here? With College Career Readiness Standards guiding our way, we examined job opportunities and pathways to law-related jobs. (In fact, one of our learners was hired as a security guard as a result of this exploration. Yahoo!)

Most importantly, we studied the Bill of Rights (the first ten amendments to the US Constitution) and examined Supreme Court case materials for Miranda v. Arizona (1966). 

We also "acted like" attorneys as we determined if an action was a crime. What would you decide? 

Crime or no crime
 A man puts gas in his truck, and then drives away. A block away from the station, he realizes that the pump handle was still lodged in his gas tank.

We also went to South Salt Lake Justice Court. The presiding judge, with help from two prosecuting attorneys and one defense attorney, explained the judicial process. We watched people go through arraignment, pretrial, trial, and sentencing. The experience was nothing like Perry Mason or Law and Order.

An APP Officer also came to us - to explain his work and share his tools of the trade. You know, like all those gadgets on his belt. And, yes, he even let us explore the inside of his police vehicle. Pretty cool. 

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

"...very hard on me..."

Dear Deb,

I want to thank you for helping my in school. From the time I been here I have learned to read. Not just read but read a whole book. I most important helping stay happy by letting me use the shower and understanding me being homeless. It has been very hard on me and I am shur it has been hard on your working with lots of people. There has been times I wanted to give up on school and you being very kind with letting me go to school when I can. It makes it workable with my life back together. Your great teacher and wonderful person to do this for all of us. You take the time to work with each one of us that is cool of you.

Dear Reader,

Sometimes you don't know the impact you have on a person's life until that person leaves you...a note.

Please notice that I reproduced this note as given to me. That means that I didn't change any word choices, spellings, grammar, capitals, or punctuation.

I watched RK over several years grow as a reader and writer. Some of you - people reading this blog - probably don't really understand just how little many of the adults enrolling in our program can read when they first enter. RK was no exception. The fact that RK wrote this note is pretty noteworthy on its own merit! Sadly, I haven't seen RK since this note was left for me. I hope RK is well and thriving.

RK was initially driven by the thought of getting back RK's three children. Early on during RK's tenure with us, RK lost a permanent residence. RK couldn't get paid employment, so RK took up panhandling. Over time RK stopped talking about seeing and giving RK's earnings to the children. Instead, these earnings were used to add to a growing amount of tattoos running up RK's arms and legs. RK had a plan for these tattoos. Eventually, RK's living arrangements - homeless shelter alternated with the streets - led to anxiety and paranoia. Medications became a part of keeping RK's stability. In the last few months before the note appeared, conversations with RK illustrated that RK's mindfulness and clear-thinking had greatly deteriorated. Long-term homelessness had taken its toll on RK.

While not all homeless people have literacy issues, the price of homelessness is far greater than just being without a permanent residence.

Thank you for listening.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

CWC Reading: Imaginations Engaged

West Vallley Library Picture
West Valley Branch Library, Utah

Thursday, October 18, found forty-seven of us gathered in West Valley Branch Library's large meeting room munching on veggies and chatting about writing. We were all part of SLCC Community Writing Center (CWC) DiverseCity Writing Series - semi-annually public gathering to share our words. 

Shortly after 6 PM, forty-six anxious faces watched each writer share his or her tales - stories and poems. Within moments, the audience's response relaxed the writers. And, each writer shared an awesome story or interesting poems.

Want to know what you missed? 
Here are three highlights.

  • Siri routed a driver up a steep, narrow dirt road in the dark to find an obscure bookstore on the edge of San Diego. Realizing its mistake, Siri screeched, "Make a u-turn," at the driver. This unrelentless nagging continued as the driver sought a remedy. How do you make a u-turn when the road is really narrow and both sides of the road have sharp drop offs?

  • A couch wanted some space and relief from the couch potato firmly rooted in its cushions. With fair warning, the couch ejected the couch potato out of the apartment. What happened next?

  • A mother and her children were waiting at the airport for their flight. When the flight's called, the mother asked her son, who was lying motionless under the waiting room chair, to get up so they could board the plane. The boy didn't respond even after his mother shook his leg and called his name louder. Was the son okay?

Want to know more? 
These finished pieces will be published in sine cera and released in April 2019. These books can be bought through Salt Lake Community College's Community Writing Center in April 2019.

Join us
Interested? Then join one of the writing groups. 

Two groups meet at Literacy Action Center: 
= 1st & 3rd Thursdays from 5:00 PM to 7:30 PM
= 1st & 3rd Fridays from 11:30 AM to 2:00 PM (We start with lunch.)

Other groups meet around the county. Click here for locations and times.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

New Topic: Reading Comprehension

Tuesday afternoon group has changed topics. We brainstormed then envisioned what we might investigate and produce. Finally, we narrowed the vote to one winner. We selected reading comprehension as our next focus. Then we voted on a genre. Adventure won.

At our next group session, we'll fill in a KWL* chart about reading comprehension. I'll also review with them the key information needed to learn and incorporate any comprehension strategy into their repertoires: what it is, when to use it, and how to use it.

Using what they tell me during our work on building the KWL chart, I will map out a set of strategies and adventure stories.

At our second group session, I'll introduce our first strategy and our first reading.

As we incorporate strategies into our personal repertoires, we will build note pages to remind us about what the strategies are, when to use them, and how to use them . We'll also include examples for each strategy.

The end product of this new topic will be increased comprehension skills and a set of personalized note pages to refer to until they become second nature.

What strategies do you use to help you 
retain and analyze story information?
Please tell us in the comments below.

*KWL chart =
K: What do I know?
W: What do I want to know?
L: What have I learned? (This part is filled in as we learn.)

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Plan, Shop (& Drink Smoothies)

Blend all the ingredients in the blender.

Plan & Shop was the theme of this week's nutrition class with Laureen from USU's Food $ense course. Over the next few weeks Laureen will be engaging us in thinking about our food choices and their impact on our health and budgets. (Click here to read more about this course.)

You Do The Math

Laureen showed us several examples about the impact of our choices on our food budgets. 

Here were two examples:

Example 1Store-brand brown rice in a bag costs 5 cents per ounce. The rice in the microwavable pouch cost 18 cents per ounce. Which one is best for your budget? 

Image result for smithsbrown rice
Store-brand brown rice was 79 cents* for a 16-ounce bag.
Total price was 5 cents per ounce.
(Prices based on web search on 10/18/18.)

Image result for smiths rice in pouch microwavable price
Rice in a pouch was $1.50 for 8.5 ounces.
Total price was 18 cents per ounce.

Example 2Store-brand low-sodium chicken broth costs 4 cents per ounce. Chicken-flavored cubes (stir 1 cube into 1 cup of hot water to make 8 ounces of chicken broth) cost 2 cents per ounce. Which one is best for your budget? 

Image result for kroger canned chicken broth price
Store-brand low-sodium chicken broth was 50 cents for 14 ounces. Total price was 4 cents per ounce.


Chicken-flavored cubes was $3.19 for 3.25 ounces (or 25 cubes or 25 cups of broth). Total price was 2 cents per ounce. 

Food Choices Matter

While Laureen presented us with these choices "to do the math," she never told us what which products we should buy. Her point was that sometimes, depending on the budget, we have other needs and concerns that need to be addressed. In which case, we may want to buy the more expensive item. 

Laureen's point was that we needed to think about our options before we make purchases to be sure we are getting the most for our food dollars.

Delicious (but inexpensive) Smoothie

Laureen  finished our session with Pumpkin Smoothies. Everyone who tried them agreed that they were great! Thank you, Laureen, for showing us this treat.

Here's the recipe. You try it. 

Pumpkin Smoothie
1 cup almond milk
1/2 cup canned pumpkin (use the brand with pumpkin spices or add your own spices)
2 cups fat-free frozen vanilla yogurt
1 cup ice 
a dash of nutmeg

Put all four ingredients in the blender. Blend. Serve immediately. Enjoy.

Tell us what you think.

Monday, October 15, 2018

New Topic: Movies

On Wednesday morning, we brainstormed and selected a new topic - movies. Unlike our normal process, we made this selection without any discussion about an end product or goal. As such, I was unable to work us through our traditional KWL* chart.

The topic movies seemed way too broad to fill in a KWL chart. Instead, for our first day of this topic, I taped a blank conceptual map to the middle of the board. In the center of the map was the word "movies." In each quadrant of the paper, I wrote a single word: history, genres, jobs, or production (these four words came from our original brainstorming before we voted on the topics). At the center bottom of the may, I wrote "outcome." (See map above.)

My hope was that this map would help us focus or narrow the topic and identify an end result. Our initial discussion about the four categories indeed had an immediate impact. We quickly narrowed the topic to the production of movies.

As you can see above, our map quickly became a list of what we all know about the elements of producing a movie. A quick examination, however, illustrates how much we really don't know about movies, even though most of us have been watching movies all of our lives - via television, internet, or theaters.

We went on to decide that to learn more about movie-making we should study one movie. We also decided that we wanted to use our new-found knowledge to create a documentary about our center or adult literacy. Therefore, we are choosing to examine a documentary.

These goals are bodacious, but we agreed upon them. Our next step is to choose a documentary.

We brainstormed a list of 10 documentaries. On 10/17, we make our decision. We'll start with the content of the movie, and then we'll move on to the elements that created the content of the movie.

The final board describing what we know and want to do with this topic.

Our list includes:

  • Chasing Ice
  • Blackfish
  • Won't You be my Neighbor?
  • The Cove
  • The Falling Man
  • This Divided State
  • Supersize Me
  • March of the Penguins
  • Meru
  • Nikola Tesla's Biography

If you were us, which movie would you choose to study?

*KWL chart =
K: What do I know?
W: What do I want to know?
L: What have I learned? (This part is filled in as we learn.)

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

Dream catchers

What will this dream catcher catch tonight at your home?
Note: Writings have not been edited. 


Dream insights
By Kuku
Dreams tell you or me something that can become happiness, really bad news, or good news. Dreams are lights into our lives. Our feelings give us different looks into ourselves as well as Ruwuizes. Dreams can tell us before something happens to us. Some of us have that feeling throughout our lives. We have barriers. It is really hard to describe some issues about our futures. The future brings us closer to our good dreams. Our journey on the road includes hunting and planning. The journey is a trip of a life time. Kicking off and looking at the new world is fantastic!


A High Sky Dream

By Danny
I stood on top of a cliff with complete faith in what I wanted, I jumped off. I fell towards the ground at a high speed. As if on a glider I sored Skyward. I saw people Below me.

I felt so happy that I did loop-de-loops. I flew down to a house and in an open window. I hovered over someone sleeping in their bed. Then I woke up to see a little bird over me.


What does my dream catcher say to me if it could talk
By Ellen

What I dream about is I would walk into L.A.C. one day and
tell Deb I am not coming back. I have graduated from college
and I will be teaching at Ashley’s school and I will come back
to visit as often as I can.


Dream Snatcher
By Deb

Toss. Turn. Move around.
Squash, squish. Punch it down.
Toss left. Turn right. Darkness surround.
Thoughts settle. Images abound. 
Results? Many or few. All astound.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

Shoo Fly pie

Shoo Fly pie or ???

Last month, we read about Shoo Fly pie in Jack Gantos's novel Joey Pigza Swallowed the Key in our New Readers' Group hosted by The City Library.

So, I made the pie. About 6 minutes before the pie finished baking, I realized that I had left out the sugar in the crumble topping. I laughed. 

Having never eaten or baked Shoo Fly pie before, I had no idea of the impact of this missing ingredient. I was pretty sure however that no one would die from this mistake. I also thought they might not like the taste. 

I took the pie to share anyway. 

Before we looked at my pie packed away in my pie basket, we read Gantos's description of Joey eating his Shoo Fly pie. 

"...I sat down and stuck my finger straight through the brown crust...and when I was finished I stuck my finger in my mouth. It was sweet, as sweet as the little packets of sugar I eat at Dunkin' Donuts, sweeter maybe. More like Log Cabin pancake syrup...And the pie was almost as runny as the syrup. It wasn't gelled up like the cafeteria cherry pie. So I picked the top crust off and ate that first...Then I just kept sticking my two curled fingers in and licking them off and the more I ate the faster I wanted to eat it...Just eating the pie and tasting the warm sugar melt all over my tongue and ooze down into my belly like a slippery sugary snake, and when it was almost finished I...tilted back my head, and poured the last brown drops of it right down into my throat..." (p. 61-62).

If you are a Shoo Fly pie aficionado, then you've already noticed that the pie topping in the photo above looks powdery rather than crusty. The missing sugar definitely changed the consistency or structure of the pie's top crust. 

The recipe I used said the pie shouldn't come out dripping - that was the common complaint in the comments following the recipe. According to Gantos's description however, molasses should very definitely have been oozing out of the pie plate. 

Our reality was not even close to Gantos's vivid description.

With trepidation, I served each person 1/8” slices because I didn’t know if they'd like it or not. I also read that the entire pie had a calorie count well over 3100 calories. I didn't want people gaining weight on my account.

Regardless, people ate their thin slices of pie. The reaction was split between liking the pie or not. The “likers” finished off the pie.

Have you eaten Shoo Fly pie before? How do you weigh in? Was your pie extremely runny or dry?

Thanks for reading.