SPARC Graduates Grow The Program
The 2016-2017 school year marks the sixth year for the SPARC program. Our sessions are now an uplifting mix of new SPARC women and returning SPARC women, a nourishing environment for students and teachers alike. As a community, we continue to evolve each class session to fit the women attending. In the most recent session, aided by a class session that is 30 minutes longer, our two class tutors, and our returning students who help guide the new students, we progressed through sentence building quicker.
And literally, assigning parts of speech to each person. Then, armed with an index card that gave an example of that part of speech, we lined up to build complex sentences as a group--up to 14 words--which is much easier then managing all those unruly parts of speech oneself! We then had more time to spend on different types of writing. For the first time, we wrote a classic five-paragraph essay together as a class, talking through every step of the process and evolving the thesis, the supporting points with supporting details, and the conclusion to produce a class essay on Why Voting Matters. We edited this first draft, talked as a class about why those edits, and produced a second stronger version of the essay.
Monthly meetings sessions are varied and lively, and include activities the women request. One meeting had us on a field trip at the Nashua library researching a home town or country and creating a verbal presentation.
Completes SPARC Completes Third Year SPARC Completes Third Year Snapshot of SPARC Sessions
The environment in the SPARC classroom is homey, with snacks, fruit and beverages, and personal touches, like individually-designed name tags.
The class may begin with an entertaining activity, like limericks or a progressive story, with a thought-provoking prompt--how do you feel during a thunder storm; what is a scent that brings back a memory, or a lively discussion of the homework or most recent journal topic. Grammar is experienced as a puzzle and positive tool to increase the effectiveness of any communication. Concepts--like how to write a topic sentence or how to organize a five-paragraph essay--are condensed to the simplest format possible, and followed with discussion and exercises so the women can experience the concepts in their writing.
"Another activity we enjoy is learning new vocabulary and dissecting English slang, which often leads to lively discussions about language and communication in general,” says Executive Director and Founder Beverly Carroll.
One of the benefits to learning writing in a workshop setting is all the discussion that takes place. Women learning English as a second or other language appreciate the chance to practice in a supportive environment.
"I've learned more in this class than any class I've taken," says one of the SPARC women, and others quickly agree.
Congratulations to all the SPARC graduates. Best wishes to those taking the HiSet this year, and to our graduates completing the Getting Ready for College class and those enrolling in college courses.
You go, girls!
Baby on Board
Graduation day celebrated all the
SPARC graduates, also conferring the now traditional silk rose to all the women with perfect attendance. We also commemorated a very special SPARC event--our first baby. Karla welcomed her son into the world soon after graduation. To date, he's the only male we've permitted into our women-only class room!
Through classes and workshops at the ALC and the programs at Mary's House in Nashua, NH, and Found-In-Translation, a medical interpretor program, the SPARC program has now reached over 150 women.
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