Author Archives: Chelsea Colby

CCE Mini-Grant Reflection by Akhila Khanna: Augusto Boal Political Theatre Demonstration at the United States Capital Building

On March 27th and 28th I was part of a company of actors, directors and students who presented a 30 minute political theatre performance at the Congress and State Senate in the United States Capital Building. All members of the company (including me) have attended the Carnegie Mellon Pre-College Drama Program where we were taught the techniques of Brazilian theatre activist Augusto Boal. The focus of Boal’s work was to use theatre in a political context, as a tool for understanding, education and growth. At Carnegie Mellon we were exposed to a form of Boal’s work called Image Theatre. These are brief scenes which consist of very little or no speaking. The images tell a story in a condensed form and take no more than a minute or two to accomplish a strong visual that an audience can easily understand, identify, and apply to their own lives.

After 11 hours of rehearsals, 40 of us went inside a conference room in the Capital Building and presented image pieces on The Dreamers Act, Black Lives Matter, Unity in Government, Mental Illness and Sexual Violence. I personally assisted in directing the image piece on the Dreamers Act, a bill that the Congress and the State Senate are currently debating and formulating.

Having the chance to perform before representatives of the Senate was a huge honor. At the conclusion of our performance, the US Senator of New Hampshire, Senator Shaheen told us that a theatrical performance like ours had never before been done at the Capital building. She hopes our pieces stir positive actions around formulation of the bills in the Senate. She then gave us a tour of the entire building and even took us into the gallery to watch the Senate in session!

By physically performing in a space where political decisions are made and using theatre as a political tool to engage with that change-making process proved to me the value of arts activism. A strong visual with bodies in space is so much more engaging than reading words on paper or listening to a lecture. The premise of what we did was both visually stimulating and socially acute, which is what made Boal’s work at the Capital an effective example of how theatre can be used for social change. My experience at the Capital could not have been possible without the support and funding from a Middlebury College Community Engagement Mini-Grant. Thank you for making me it possible for me to participate in this historic event, doing what I love to do!

Student Org Profile: Friends of John Graham

Friends of John Graham was initiated by Maya Peers Nitzberg ’16.5 in the fall of 2014. After spending the summer as a Shepherd Poverty Intern, she wanted to continue a connection with John Graham and Middlebury beyond seasonal interns. She recruited a group of interested students (including myself), and we began going to John Graham on a weekly basis with the intention of providing weekly activities and tutoring services as an outlet for relaxation for the members of JGS. Above all, we are constantly adapting to the needs and desires of the JGS staff and residents. Volunteering at John Graham puts the Vermont housing crisis into perspective while experiencing the important role John Graham plays in providing food, shelter, housing, services and hope to homeless individuals and families from around Vermont. For more information, visit the John Graham website at http://www.johngrahamshelter.org/ .

-Zorica Radanovic ’19

ReadWorks Seeks Volunteers

What is ReadWorks?

The nonprofit ReadWorks is the leading early-stage venture in the United States for improving teaching and learning in reading comprehension. Millions of teachers and students use ReadWorks throughout the United States. In support of our mission, we provide teachers with units, lessons, and thousands of authentic nonfiction and literary passages, accompanied by curriculum based on the cognitive science of reading comprehension. We also partner with renowned museums and cultural institutions, such as the American Museum of Natural History and the Philadelphia Museum of Art, to bring their content to our vast user base. All of this content is made available on our sites (digital.readworks.org, for example) at no charge to teachers and students. 

ReadWorks is seeking students to help with their various projects including ReadWorks Article-A-Day™ Writing Project, ReadWorks Audio Project, eBook Illustration Project, and Vocabulary Support Illustration Project. Find out more about the projects below.

Interested in getting involved? Email Katy Laird at katy@readworks.org.

ReadWorks Article-A-Day Writing Project

Project Description

ReadWorks Article-A-Day™ systematically builds background knowledge, vocabulary, and reading stamina for all students. It also supports speaking and listening skills and bolsters the connection between writing and reading comprehension. Article-A-Day™ is easy and enjoyable for teachers and students to do as a simple, 10 to 15 minute daily routine. There is no charge for teachers and students to use these materials.

As part of the ReadWorks Article-A-Day™ offering, ReadWorks provides hundreds of sets of 6-9 high-quality topically-related nonfiction texts for grades K-8. We’re looking to produce hundreds more of these sets by the summer.

How You Can Get Involved

To get these materials to the teachers and students who need them as soon as possible, ReadWorks is asking writers to write at least one set of six nonfiction articles at one of the K-5 grade levels. (The more sets, the merrier, of course!) Depending on the grade level, articles can range from about 100-600 words.

ReadWorks Audio Project

Project Description

ReadWorks provides thousands of high-quality nonfiction and literary texts for students in grades K-12. This library of texts is one of the core parts of the ReadWorks offering. ReadWorks has developed curricular tools based on the cognitive science of reading comprehension to help build students’ comprehension of these texts and unleash the texts’ value. One of these key tools are audio narrations of the texts being read aloud by real humans with fluency, expression, and prosody.

Audio narrations are important tools for helping readers access texts – especially emerging readers, struggling readers, English Language Learners, and students with learning disabilities. These narrations are made available to millions of teachers and students across the country – at no charge.

How You Can Get Involved

We’re asking people who want to contribute to the audio project to do one of two things:

  1. Record an audio narration for a text or multiple texts (perfect for people with great voices and an expressive style of reading)

OR

  1. Edit an audio narration for a text or multiple texts (perfect for people who have sharp hearing, are detail-oriented, and would like to develop or practice their audio editing skills to support a great cause). 

ReadWorks’ Two Illustration Projects:

eBook Illustration Project

Project Description

ReadWorks is turning many of its texts into eBooks with rich illustrations, audio narrations, and text highlighting technology. Here’s an example of one we’ve created in the past.

These eBooks will be published on our platform to be accessed by millions of elementary and middle school teachers and students (many from disadvantaged populations) throughout the country (at no charge to either teachers or students).

How You Can Get Involved

We’re asking different artists to volunteer to contribute illustrations to this project. The goal is to have one artist illustrate at least one eBook. This means creating roughly 8-10 illustrations per eBook.

Vocabulary Support Illustration Project

Project Description

ReadWorks provides support for up to three key academic vocabulary words for each text in its library. This support includes dictionary definitions, Spanish cognates, and sample sentences.

We’re working on adding images for many of these words. The images are meant to illustrate and reinforce the (often various) meanings of the words for students who may need the extra support, including English Language Learners, emerging readers, struggling readers, and students with learning disabilities.

 How You Can Get Involved

ReadWorks is asking artists to create illustrations or take photographs that convey the meanings of selected words.

Legal Housekeeping Matter

Please note that by partaking in these projects, you agree that ReadWorks fully owns all the content you submit to us in whatever capacity we need/want. We will ask that you sign a formal agreement accepting these terms.

Addison County Legislative Breakfasts

Still haven’t had the opportunity to attend a legislative breakfast? There are a few more opportunities this semester! Attending a legislative breakfast is a good way to hear updates from community members about community issues and hear from our legislators. Click here to view the full schedule. Flex fund money can be requested to off-set the cost of transportation or breakfast.

April 10th, 2017

7:00 am – 8:45 am at the Congregational Church, Weybridge.

April 17th, 2017

7:00 am – 8:45 am at the American Legion, Bristol.

April 24th, 2017

7:00 am – 8:45 am at the Parish Hall, King St. Vergennes.

*PURCHASE OF BREAKFAST NOT REQUIRED TO ATTEND BUT HELPS OUR HOSTS TO DEFRAY THE COST OF OPENING THEIR HALL. Supported by: Addison County Chamber of Commerce and Addison County Regional Planning.

Student Org Profile: Community Friends

Community Friends mentors are matched with children from the greater Addison County community. Mentor-mentee pairs meet for approximately two hours each week and explore campus, grab snacks in the dining hall, play games, attend organization-wide events that Community Friends hosts, like caramel apple-decorating and pool parties; and more! A really special part of Community Friends is getting to know a child closely, and learn their interests and what activities are fun for them to do. Community Friends matches have the potential to last all four years that students are at Middlebury, so there is a really unique and wonderful bond that forms when pairs are matched for a while and get to know each other well. For students, learning about the area surrounding Middlebury from a child’s perspective can be very interesting and informative. For kids, it is fun to have a big person to spend time and talk with who is a little different from family members or teachers. For both mentors and mentees, Community Friends is an opportunity to build a friendship in a new and different way while having a fun time!

Through Community Friends, I have had the opportunity to get to know my mentee over the course of my four years at Middlebury. My mentee was five years old when we started meeting, and now when she is eight I feel like I have really had the chance to see her grow and develop different interests. My mentee and I love to do arts and crafts and explore outside, but sometimes match time is just a really nice opportunity to engage in conversation. There is something incredibly special about getting to hear about the world from a child’s perspective, and I have learned so much from my mentee. She shares with me thoughts about school, play, and more that have impacted the way that I think! I am grateful for my own experience with Community Friends, and feel so happy when I learn about other mentor-mentee pairs who have positive experiences as well.
Eleanor Fisk ’17

2017-2018 SCB Coordinator Application

Are you interested in joining the CCE as a student staff member? SCB is hiring a coordinator for the 2017 – 2018 Academic Year. Chaired by two co-coordinators, the Service Cluster Board is an umbrella organization founded in 2009 to improve the efficiency and efficacy of service groups on campus. SCB coordinators manage the finances and leadership development of SCB leaders and serve as a liaison between student leaders and Student Activities. SCB coordinators work four paid office hours per week in the CCE and run monthly meetings for SCB leaders. Students from any class year and experience level can apply.

Duties of the position include:

  • Managing the leadership development and finances of 17 service groups
  • Advising the Flex Fund by screening service project proposals and approving monetary allocations
  • Working closely with group leaders, Center for Community Engagement staff, and students who are interested in service
  • Orchestrating and conducting yearly trainings, monthly meetings, and audits
  • Proposing a budget annually on behalf of the 17 service groups before the Finance Committee

It is requested that coordinators serve through Spring 2018, at a minimum.

Apply here: SCB-Coordinator-Application-2017-2018

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact the SCB Coordinators at scboard@middlebury.edu

Please submit the following page and your resume to scboard@middlebury.edu by Monday, April 10th at 10pm.

Friends of John Graham Shelter Senior Reflection by Maya Peers Nitzberg

My work with JGS over the last two and a half years has been integral to my Middlebury experience. I have savored the weekly trips off-campus and the relationships I have built with people who aren’t 18-22, and whose lives and worldviews and goals don’t necessarily look the same as mine. Furthermore, thanks to my internship at JGS during the summer of 2014, I have some knowledge of the Housing Services network in Addison County and where Middlebury (town and College) fits in. Without a connection to the greater community, my four years in Vermont would have been far less meaningful.

Over the last four years, I have grown my branch of FOJGS from myself and an occasional friend, to an enthusiastic group of volunteers. Directing a group of volunteers and building an official school organization has surely been a learning and growing experience. My summer at JGS was devoted to the residents; as a JGS staff member, my mind was always towards was always concerned with how best to support residents, as the entered, stayed for months or even years, and moved on and out. As a student volunteer and volunteer coordinator, I had to attend to the needs of the students and to the concerns of the College, as well as of the shelter and its residents. Directing and expanding FOJGS has given me an expanded view of the possibilities and challenges engendered by social service work.

-Maya Peers Nitzberg ‘16.5