Our rising eighth grade Dreamer scholars in Watts recently improved their academic skills during the four week “I Have A Dream” Foundation – Los Angeles (IHADLA) summer program at Animo James B. Taylor Charter Middle School. This year, the Dreamer scholars focused on reviewing their 7th grade schoolwork and preparing for 8th grade STEM topics: math and science. They also prepared for college by participating in workshops focused on requesting financial aid, applying for academic and sports scholarships, and writing personal essays for entrance applications.
Students were exposed to expository, literary, and argumentative writing. For the argumentative section, USC volunteer Antoinette Bailey helped teach the Dreamer scholars about debating, and afterwards the students picked topics and debated one another. Dreamer scholars also prepared for 8th grade math.
Watts Summer Program Enrichment Activities
In addition to math and English classes, the Dreamer scholars also participated in enrichment activities, which included gardening, exercising, and cooking. These activities were facilitated by our program coordinators, Guadalupe Camberos, Alberto Campos, and Kylia Lewis.
As part of the gardening activities, the Dreamer scholars created their own greenhouses and worked on a fun project called “garden in a glove,” which helped them learn about germinating seeds. For the glove project, the Dreamer scholars placed different seeds (such as cucumber, cantaloupe, red pepper, corn, and carrot seeds) in wet cotton balls and put a ball in each finger of a glove. Then, they filled the glove with air and tied it off like a small balloon. Finally, they left the gloves outside for about a week so the seeds could sprout. After the seeds sprouted, the Dreamer scholars transferred the sprouts into cups of soil so they could take them home and plant them.
The Dreamers also created “hanging planters” as part of the gardening activities. To create the planters, they cut a water bottle in half, filled it with soil and tomato seeds, and poured water in it. Then, they cut holes at the top of the water bottle and tied string through the holes so they could hang the planters.
For the fitness activities, the Dreamers played basketball, soccer, and football and ran obstacle courses and relays. Finally, they participated in a cooking/nutrition class where they learned the importance of selecting and cooking food that is healthy and nutritious. They prepared homemade hummus, fruit (with limes and tajin), and banana peanut butter ice cream (frozen bananas and peanut).