Harambee and Purple Stained Fingers

This week in my latest series of teacher events I found myself at the Freedom School experiencing Harambee for the first, but hopefully not last, time.  Harambee was incredible, and for those of you that know how intensely I feel emotions, it almost choked me up.  After hearing for the past two months how disadvantaged urban students tend to be and how they are often disengaged as well, getting to see (my estimate of over a hundred) urban youth dancing, singing, cheering, supporting each other, and getting excited for another fun, educational, and friendly day at the Freedom School was really overwhelming.

Jill and I then went to battle the gusts of wind to set up our APK station which Jo Ann aptly named “Can you picture this?”

APK Station Sign

The experience felt like mayhem, in a good way.  Ten minutes FLY by when you have campers in front of you, so we were constantly collecting papers, erasing whiteboards, taking pictures, moving Warner paper, etc. just to keep our heads above the water that was APK stations.

APK Station Group Talk

APK Station JandJ

APK Station Graph APK Station Making Graph








Overall, seeing the excitement in the Freedom School was actually a little intimidating, especially knowing we’re all going to have to get ourselves up to that level for camp.  I can already feel the exhaustion!!!  Unfortunately I never played any sport that had cheers of any sort so I’m hoping someone else has or that we’re all willing to get creative and a tiny bit weird.  On the other hand, I am SO pumped for ice breakers and team building.  I have to admit, I HATED this stuff when I was a freshman at college but now that I’ve come out of my shell I can’t wait to do them again from a more outgoing perspective.  I think the fun we have at camp will easily make all the work of Warner Lesson Plans and Unit Planning worth it; although I can already see my sleep calendar getting severely diminished.


To end on a purely fun note; last night the cohort all met at Jo Ann’s house for the most fun tie dye session I’ve ever been a part of. (And just so you all realize how big of a deal that is I have tie dyed at least once or twice a year since high school).  Everyone brought some food or drink and we took out to tie dye a grand total of 34 shirts! My biggest tie dye task yet, so I’m glad I had so much help!  Spirals and accordion style rubber banding dominated Jo Ann’s patio table (and then basement floor) which all came out looking incredible.  Ryan turned out to be our resident spiral-pro and was quickly recruited to spiral at least one of everyones shirts,  Jill quickly realized she could be successful at tie dying, Eric and Angie became our professional wring-out-the-t-shirt-ers, Tiarra and Alanna were nature rubber-band-taker-outers which made easy work out of retying 34 shirts.  I actually found myself being pretty useless! But, I guess that means I instructed well, since several of our instructors have said that when you feel useless you’ve scaffolded and planned the “activity” well.  I just think I have very helpful and clever friends.  We missed Kaitlin and Ceb (following a earlier visit) but I’m sure both of you will be happy with the shirts we’ve made for you; but, on a positive note you guys are probably the only two people who don’t have purple stained fingers today (despite my make-shift plastic bag gloves)!

Overall, a great night with great friends.  Looking forward to camp with everyone, but specifically with (temporarily) named Team Jerica.

11pm and still smiling!

11pm and still smiling!

One of our best spirals

One of our best spirals



2 responses to “Harambee and Purple Stained Fingers

  1. Response to Harambee and Purple Stained Fingers

    I can feel your energy and enthusiasm for working with the students come through when I read your blog. I anxiously await engaging in the ice breakers and team building so that we can get to know the students better.

    I look forward to seeing the T-shirts!

  2. I should have had Ryan spiral my shirt! Mine came out great, but I do not have any awesome spirals! Ah, well! My stripes came out great!

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