Category Archives: Enrichment activities

Hawkeyes for a day: U of I college visit

The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation didn’t just promise our Dreamers that we would pay for college if they graduate from high school. We work tirelessly to foster a culture of college throughout their education. University pennants hang from the walls of Ms. Dusenbery’s classroom, and we invite Dreamer families for visits to campuses to get a sense of the experience and expectations for students. This summer, we traveled to Iowa City to visit the University of Iowa.

The schedule included a campus tour (fun fact from our guide: There are more books in the University of Iowa library than people in the state, and more pigs in Iowa than books in the U of I library!), a peek into a residence hall room, all-you-care-to-eat lunch in the dining hall, and a chance to go behind the scenes at Kinnick Stadium.

The best message of the day came from Hawkeye football player Brett Van Sloten, who gave the kids a locker room talk that underscored the need to be self-motivated, accountable and able to manage their time wisely. All are important skills for students — especially student athletes!

Even our die-hard ISU fans enjoyed seeing the pink visitor locker rooms:

A special thanks to IHAD board member Andy Frantz for putting us in touch with the athletics office.

Seeing this picture of the Dreamers hanging out at the Old Capitol next to this photo of recent U of I alumna and former Dreamer, Jenny, really brings home the impact of the IHAD promise!

Just six more years until they’re ready to start their own college experiences!

Tagged , ,

How to Make a Dog Visor

How to Make a Dog/Puppy Visor for Kids

This crafting post is by Laila, a Dreamer who participated in our blogging enrichment session during Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation summer school. This assignment was to create a How-To post that we could put on Pinterest! The Dreamers have been making and selling items to benefit the Raccoon Valley Animal Sanctuary as part of their Dreamers, Do! service group.

1.     You will need these items to make your visor:

·      A foam visor (In the color of your choosing.)

·      2 pieces of foam (Also your choosing for the color.)

·      A pair of scissors

·      A hot glue gun

·      A pen or permanent marker

·      Two googley eyes

·      A heart or circle template

·      Any colorful scraps of foam that may be lying about

·      A colored pom-pom (used as nose)

2.    First you trace your heart/circle template with your pen/permanent marker. This will be the muzzle.

3.    Next you cut out the shape using your scissors. Be careful to get your fingers too close to the blade. If you have a heart tracer cut the pointed part off after cutting out the whole shape.

4.    Now you will take your pen/permanent marker and draw the shape you want for your ears on your other piece of foam. Draw fairly close to the edge to make the next part easier.

5.    Then you will fold your piece in half so that the to ends of the foam are lined up.

6.    Now cut through both layers of foam while staying on your outline.

7.    Now you’re able to draw on some decorative patterns so your ears will look fun and unique.

8.    Now that you’re done cutting you can take your hot glue gun and glue your muzzle, ears, nose, and eyes onto your visor.

9.    After letting your dog dry you can cut out some accessories like a bow, a tongue, or even rosy cheeks. Then you will glue those on with hot glue gun as well.

10.  Finally, once everything dries, you can wear your new dog visor for everyone to see.

Here’s another version, with floppy ears and half a heart as a muzzle template:

Jazzy’s dog hat project


Tagged , , ,

Rookies with rooks: Dreamer chess club begins

In order for our Dreamers to be successful, they need to learn to think strategically about how the choices they’re making today will impact their futures.

Academic coordinator Kristi Dusenbery, who is a master of finding fun ways to slip important life lessons into the classroom, came up with a great way to work on these skills during summer school: Dreamer Chess Club.

All of our summer school participants are learning the rules of the game and playing together and with volunteers from the community. The game appeals to the Dreamers’ competitive spirits and the strategy helps them grow mentally. The benefits of learning and practicing chess abound!

Many thanks to our volunteers who stopped in to play with the Dreamer students. If you’re interested in helping us for an hour during summer school, it’s easy to sign up to play!

Interested in volunteering? There are still more days in June you can join us! Just sign up here.

Tagged , , ,

Summer School Smarts

Our first week of Dreamer Summer School is underway, and our students haven’t missed a beat!

Barely out the door after sixth grade, they’re showing up bright and early to work in math centers, and are honing communication skills through a research-based poster project.

Our AmeriCorps VISTA, Sarah, is jumping right in with the kids!

We’re also working with them to start blogging, on publishing digital Storybird books and learning how to use Microsoft Publisher as well as making a video for future classes of incoming 6th graders on how to survive the transition to Middle School.

All before lunch!

A huge thanks to Wells Fargo for a grant that helps us produce summer school, and to our friends at ABC 5 and Bankers Trust for the “One Classroom at a Time” grant that we’re using to make this session possible.

Together, we are doing our part to prevent the “summer slide”  — a huge contributor to the achievement gap between low-income students and their peers. (This “How to Beat Summer Learning Loss” post by Edutopia has some great information about how to come together to combat this phenomenon.)

Want to get involved?

We’re still looking for some chess club volunteers!

Join us for our end of summer school cookout and poster presentation open house! It will be held June 29, 2012 at Callanan Middle School.

Donate to help us complete funding for our summer school program.

Tagged , , ,

Calling Des Moines chess players!

The Des Moines “I Have a Dream” Foundation is always looking for creative ways to help prepare our students for success in college and careers.

This year, as part of the summer school experience, we’re hoping to form a chess club! Chess promotes critical thinking, concentration, problem solving and discipline — all skills our soon-to-be 7th graders must master.

Know chess? We’re seeking volunteer players to join our students in the classroom for an hour at a time during our summer school session.We are also seeking donations of chess/checker boards for the classroom.

Dates/times we would need volunteer chess players:

Friday, June 8th   9:45-10:30 AM

Tuesday, June 12th  9:45-10:30 AM

Thursday, June 14th  9:45-10:30 AM

Monday, June 18th  10-10:30 AM

Thursday, June 21th  10-10:30 AM

Monday, June 25th  10-10:30 AM

Thursday, June 28th  10-10:30 AM

If you are  interested in helping introduce middle school students to the game, let us know!

Tagged , ,

DMU Girls in Science Day

There was no sleeping in Saturday for a group of our Dreamer girls who participated in the 2012 “Girls in Science” day, presented by the Women’s Medical Alliance of Des Moines University.

We love connecting our Dreamers with hands-on experiences at local colleges and universities. Thanks to DMU for exposing our girls to topics like surgery, chemistry, anatomy, microbiology and OMM. You never know what opportunity will create a “spark” of excitement about careers and future studies.

Tagged ,