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Home | Tag Archives: Guillen Middle

Tag Archives: Guillen Middle

Via EPISD’s ‘SNAP’ Program, English Language Learners Sharpen Their Skills

English Language Learners in the El Paso Independent School District are improving their language skills with a SNAP!, the Summer Newcomers Academy Pilot program.

The Guillen Middle-based program uses project-based learning with students who are learning English to get them ready for the incoming 2018-19 academic year.

“This is a way for our English Language Learning students to practice their language skills through fun, engaging activities,” teacher Luis Diaz said. “The kids keep coming back. Every day they are excited to learn.”

Diaz wrote the curriculum for the three-week program with fellow Wiggs Middle School teacher Jerusha Hunt, focusing on learning about math, science and language through comic books and graphic novels.

“Comic books and graphic novels are high interest,” Hunt said. “You can make a lot of inferences from the pictures, so they are not intimidated by how much English is on the page.”

Students are not only reading about superheroes, they are creating their own. They were tasked with writing and illustrating a comic strip and designing a t-shirt logo for their superhero … or villain.

Incoming sixth-graders Jorge Vaquera and Daniel Guzman teamed up to create their original characters and storyline.

“We wrote about two superheroes. One of them turned evil,” Vaquera said. “The good one is named Shalf and he’s a telepath. Nibor is bad, but he is really strong.”

His favorite project so far has been designing the logo for his comic, but he has also really enjoyed the science, technology, engineering and math component of SNAP!

“I have liked everything about the camp so far, but I have learned a lot about math and science,” he said. “If I wasn’t here I would be laying down at home. It’s better to be here so I won’t be bored.”

Students have learned fundamental math and science terms, such as mass, density and graphing, through fun projects.

The first week, they built comic book-inspired canoes out of cardboard, testing their buoyancy in kiddie pools. The second week, the students built a rocket out of a plastic bottle to launch and graph its trajectory.

Ulises Monkada couldn’t wait to see how far up his “Rocket U” would go.

“I have been so excited since Monday,” he said. “We have been doing so many things. There are two days of learning and two days of constructing our projects. This program is really fun because we work on a lot of projects and work in groups.”

The most important thing, Monkada said, is that they get to work on perfecting their English.

“We get to work on our English, and I like it because it’s not just sitting in class,” he said. “We are having so much fun, and we are getting ready for sixth-grade.”

Story by Alicia Chumley  |  Photos by Leonel Monroy – EPISD

Video+Story: Putting on The Ritz – Guillen Boys Club Seeks Donations for Dress Up Fridays

They say clothes don’t make the man, but teacher Melissa Anderson is showing Guillen Middle School boys that the right duds coupled with good deeds can make a gentleman.

Anderson started the Guillen Boys Club this school year to teach students important values about becoming a responsible adult, including how to dress professionally.

“The students were reluctant at first because they didn’t understand they were going to be able to keep the clothes,” she said. “It’s great to see them to get excited about something so simple that we take for granted.”

The club is taking donations to institute dress-up Fridays, a day in which club members will be asked to wear a dress shirt with either a tie or bow tie during the school day.

Club members began asking for donations on social media and the community has stepped up to help them.

“Our very first donation was from the librarian at Barron Elementary School,” Anderson said. “She sent over a shirt and tie.”

Bowie High School alum Candy Quezada has donated more than 20 bow ties and has challenged other alumni to donate as well.

“We can go out and buy the shirts for them, but we want the community to take a stake in it,” Anderson said. “That way we can tell them: ‘You are providing this for our boys. You are telling them you believe in them. You are telling them they are worth it.’ I think that’s the most exciting part of all of this.”

Eighth-grader David Chaves is looking forward to representing the club and already has an eye on which bow tie he’s going to wear.

“We want people to view us as gentlemen and to see that we are responsible,” he said. “We want to do good things in life and teach our kids the things we are learning.”

Student Nathan Galindo likes the idea of the whole school dressing up on Fridays.

“We want everyone to feel special and to be treated equally,” he said. “Especially here in Segundo Barrio. I think dressing up will make us stand out more and people can take us more seriously.”

Counselor Sonia Antunez has seen a difference already in the students.

“The kids feel excited about dressing up because they say it makes them feel important, she said. “If they feel good and they do good, that promotes a lot of academic and social emotional success.”

The club is not all about nice threads, though. The students have been doing team-building exercises, as well as physical activities to get them motivated.

“They are at the age when they think they are too cool to do anything. We needed a way to make connections with them,” Anderson said. “Not with another tutoring session, but just by telling them to show up so we can have some fun.”

Students will learn important life skills, such as using tools. The school has partnered with Home Depot to host a DIY night, so students can learn how to be “handy.”

“We are going to learn to build things and be able to help out at home,” Chaves said.

Anderson hopes these activities will encourage students to take ownership of not only their appearance, but their behavior beyond home and the classroom.

“It’s not just about being the nice guy to your girlfriend and your mom. It’s about being that stand-up guy in the community where people say ‘Hey, he’s from the Segundo. He’s good people,’” she said. “That’s the culture of the area, so we want to back up the talk. These are our kids. They are good kids, and they are worth it.”

The school is accepting donations of new or gently used neck or bow ties, button-up shirts, slacks and shoes. Donations can be dropped off at the front office.

Authors/Photogs:  Story by Alicia Chumley | Photo by Leonel Monroy | Video by Angel Dominguez/EPISD

Guillen Students win Entrepreneurship Contest

Five Guillen Middle School entrepreneurs took top honors at the area Biz Kid$ competition last weekend for developing a campus-based business to fix cracked iPhone screens.

The eighth graders competed against sixth- through eighth-grade students at four other area schools including Morehead Middle School. They advance to compete against teams from throughout Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma.

“Biz Kid$ prepares students for the real world – what it’s like to start a company from scratch,” said Guillen teacher Adrian Sanchez and Biz Kid$ sponsor. “It gives them exposure to creating a business plan, a marketing plan and dealing with customers –actually creating a budget and a profit and loss statement.”

The students developed the Teens Fixing Screens business to service Guillen’s students, faculty and staff with cracked iPhones. They would conduct business once a week.

“We saw a demand at our schools considering a lot of people have iPhones and a lot of people crack their screens within the first weeks they get it,” said eighth grader Craven Chairez. “This taught me a lot of technology skills.”

The project also sharpened the students’ skills in Microsoft Office Suite and math.

“They had to figure out the cost of their different products and how much profit they would make on each service,” Sanchez said. “It made me so proud to be their teacher because I gave them the ball and they took off running with it. They created everything from scratch and worked really well with each other.”

Proceeds from the service will go directly back to the school to benefit Guillen students.

“The profits will be used to buy uniforms for students that can’t afford uniforms,” said Jesus Aguayo. “Since we live in an area with low income, we thought that would be a need at our campus.”

The students are fully prepared to get their start-up up and running for their community.

“It started as a competition but everything they proposed is reality and they can actually do it,” Sanchez said. “They even came up with a plan for the seventh graders to continue the business.”

The Biz Kid$ project grew out of the Sanchez’s gaming club, an after school activity for four of the teammates. They approached Evelyn Sanchez, originally considered one of their academic rivals, knowing her skills would benefit their business.

“At first, I didn’t have an idea what I was getting into,” said Evelyn, who worked on design elements and led the marketing efforts. “For us, we came together to create this mixture. We all became friends and this blossomed into something beautiful.”

photo 2Biz Kid$, sponsored nationally by the Cornerstone Credit Union Foundation, is supported locally by FirstLight Federal Credit Union. The financial institute offered guidance to the campuses participating in the competition.

“What most impressed me about the Guillen Biz Kid$ was how well prepared they were and how well they worked together as a team,” said Adrian Duran, FirstLight’s vice president, Community Service and Outreach. “They were able to do a couple of extra things like creating an actual website that the other schools did not do and they were ready to launch their business as well.”

Duran said FirstLight’s involvement stems from its outreach efforts to teach students about financial literacy.

“You are never too young to set a foundation for financial literacy and tied to that is learning about entrepreneurship,” he said. “If our youth learns more about entrepreneurship, they are better prepared to explore their dreams.”

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