San Domenico School Children In Need Club Tutoring Program

Posted by Sasha Nakae on March 31, 2014 at 11:45 AM Comments comments (311)

San Domenico School Children In Need Club Tutoring Program

​Starting this semester, Children in Need Club members have been visiting the Pickleweed Community Center and Canal Alliance Organization in the Canal District of San Rafael to help tutor elementary and middle schoolers. At first everyone started off, understandably, a little uncertain. New volunteers didn't know what the kids would be like or how they would do as tutors. However, as the program took off, San Domenico volunteers started walking in with a new confidence, feeling themselves becoming better and more patient teachers. Together, SD tutors help students on math problems and concepts on Tuesdays, and do fun science projects on Fridays. On these days they have enjoyed watching the improvement of their students over the course of one and/or multiple sessions. All volunteers agree that having such hard working and quick learning students helps a lot. Sylan Yuan proudly described her experience with a student writing "even though she is confused about the topic she doesn't get mad and stays focused".

The program is a lot more than just homework help, it's fun! The volunteers have introduced games to motivate the students and help them pay attention. Also, in the program, volunteers have made friends with their students because they always seem to make people smile and laugh. Ivy Liang recounted getting to know one girl when "she shared some of her stories with me and asked me about my school". The most important consensus about the program is that it has a mutual benefit for both tutors and students. Ada Wang agrees, writing "after today's tutoring, we all made progress in becoming better tutors. I have become more patient than before; and I believe that for those of us whose native language is not English, the program helps us make great progress in improving our English skills, since we are working with local students". We at the Children in Need Club are proud of our members for helping to educate the next generation as we look forward to the program's continuation and growth.

3/14 Friday volunteer

Posted by Margaret Xu on March 16, 2014 at 1:45 AM Comments comments (2)


Today we worked with 4th and 5th grade kids. When we arrived, we set up the materials and divided them into groups. This time our project was to make our own harmonicas. The instrument was really easy to make and super fun to play. My partner was Isabelle and she was so adorable and enthusiastic. She colored her instrument by using different sharpies and showed off her cute designs to me. She told me that she loves listening to music and was really excited to make her own instrument. Even though she was too young to do each step by herself, she tried her best and communicated with me during the process. Every kid in our classroom finished his or her instrument. At the end of the experiment, we held a competition. Each group made their own music with their hand-made harmonicas. They enjoyed playing the instruments and singing with their friends and I saw big smile on their faces. I was so pleased to be with them. They made us volunteers recall our childhoods. Every time I come to the center I learn something from the children. Their optimism inspires me to enjoy my life and gives me courage to face the barriers on my path to success. I could not wait for the next time I can see them.



Margaret Xu

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03.07 Friday volunteer

Posted by Ivy Cheng on March 14, 2014 at 2:05 AM Comments comments (0)

This was our fifth time volunteering. Today we taught 3rd and 4th graders. There were 14 children in the class With two volunteers in charge of three to fours students. We made harmonicas out of tongue depressors and rubber bands. We also made kazoos out of construction paper and wax paper. After each child finished making their instruments we invited every group to perform for the rest of the class. The kids in my group, Andy, Kevin, and Kara were very creative and did a great job. I hope that they will keep their creativity and maintain their outgoing and passionate attitudes when facing challenges in their futures.

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2/28 Friday Volunteer Work

Posted by Vicky Lin on March 1, 2014 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)


This Friday, we taught 4th and 5th graders how to make cool rockets out of paper. Since we had already taught this activity to the 3rd graders the Friday before winter break, it was easier for us this time around. The activity leaders were Ealan Jiang and Cheryl Yuan and they did a really good job. Even though this was our second time doing this experiment, I had a difficult start. Linda Bu and I were grouped with two little girls and they were very different from the boys we helped last time. They were very quiet so we tried to find as many as ways as we could make them laugh. I found out that they were much more mature than the 3rd graders even though they were just one year older. After making rockets, we headed to the gym to see who could fly the rockets furthest. After that, we played a game called flag tag. It was so fun and we all had a wonderful Friday afternoon.

Vicky Lin


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Feb 25th, Tuesday Volunteering in Canal District

Posted by Ivy Liang on February 26, 2014 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

Feb 25th, 2014
Olivia Dai

Today, my tutee was Frank (fictional). Since he had finished all of his homework and had gotten an A+ on a recent test, we practiced multiplication and division with cards. As expected, he easily mastered all of the questions instantaneously. When he got bored he began playing with his friend James (fictional) and disturbed him from his studies. In order to teach him some new knowledge, I gave him new problems that were more complex than the ones he had finished and which challenged him to use different methods. He acted attentive and did learn some new skills to help with his math problems. The most difficult part of my session was figuring out how to get his attention back to studying. Being patient and explaining concepts in creative ways are quite important. Other tutors also taught with cards, and worked well with their tutees.The tutees were encouraged to ask questions. With occasional distractions, the students were overall hardworking and serious. I believe that through tutoring, the students have improved in either math or science. In the meantime, we have becoming better at teaching with patience.


3rd Friday Volunteer in Canal District

Posted by Ivy Cheng on February 13, 2014 at 2:00 AM Comments comments (92)

On Feb. 7, 2014, we taught the 4th graders in San Rafael's Canal District how to make paper rockets that can actually fly. With simple techniques and supplies, the kids seemed to enjoy the rocket science experiment and were amazed by the power of science. With high energy and enthusastic attitudes, we tried our best to have fun with the kids while teaching them science. During the process of rocket making, I was inspired by their creativity and innovation. They tried different methods to make the best rocket that could fly the farthest. Some of them tried to make rockets with different shapes and others tried with different sizes. Also, the kids painted the rockets with various colors and patterns in order to make the rockets stand out during the competition. Although we did face some challenges during the process of making various kinds of rockets, we successfully made all the rockets fly far at the competition. Since January, 2014, when meeting with the children, I have been continously impressed by their enthusiastic energy and sweet smiles. They have warmed us with their true hearts and made us enjoy teaching them fun science experiments.

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02/11/2014, Tuesday Volunteering in Canal District

Posted by Ivy Liang on February 12, 2014 at 11:05 PM Comments comments (92)


Today is February 11th. This was our forth time tutiring kids in Canal District. Everyone was more comfortable tutoring at this point. I had two kids today. One of them was a middle school student and another was from San Rafael High School. First I taught the kid from middle school how to plot points on the graph paper--coordinate geometry. We worked on the coordinates and graphed a lot of points, which was fun. Then I had a boy from high school who was doing his geometry homework, so we worked on several problems together. Other volunteers also worked with different kids. Some of them played addition and multiplication flashcard games; some of them taught algebra, and the rest of them helped with multiplication homework. After today's tutoring, we all made progress on being better tutors. I have become more patient than before, and I believe some of us whose native language is not English can make great progress in improving our English skill by working with the local students. As always, I enjoyed my time with my tutees.

Written by Xinyue Wang


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Canal District February 4th 2014

Posted by Linda Li on February 12, 2014 at 2:50 AM Comments comments (0)


On February 4th 2014, I went to the Canal District to tutor middle school students in math and science as a volunteer for the Children In Need Club. It was my third visit. As a result, I have taught three different girls. It was interesting that there were two girls named Jasmine (finctional) in the same classroom. This time, my tutee was a shy but smart girl. I helped her with her fraction homework. She had some difficulty with the multiplication of fractions. However, after I explained the method and the steps, she understood it immediately and finished all the same kinds of problems by herself correctly. After she finished her homework, we played some flashcard games to help with the multiplication table. She did a really good job while two of her classmates were still struggling with it. I had a really good time tutoring her. By working with kids, I have learned to be patient and to simplify the solution of the problems so that my tutees are able to fully understand it.

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Second Friday Volunteer in Canal District

Posted by Ealan Jiang on February 6, 2014 at 6:25 PM Comments comments (0)


Last Friday was the second time we volunteered at the center. This time we taught a different group of children, mostly comprised of fifth graders. There were 14 children in this group and we started off by introducing ourselves. We then broke into groups of two volunteers assigned to three children. In my group, the children seemed very happy when I was trying to remember their names. Later I realized that since the children were older than the ones from our previous visit, they were more independent when cutting paper, folding it into four equal parts and hypothesizing on why circles can hold more weight than other shapes. Their touching smiles and fantastic passion told me that they enjoyed the project. We later had a competition to see which group’s design could hold more weight. A little boy in my group, Jack (fictional), turned back and told me confidently, “We’re gonna win!” His declaration moved me. In my life, have I ever been so confident of myself? I don’t think so. This was my lesson from the children that day. They believe in themselves, are passionate, and they smile to everybody. Later we played games in the gym. Their running skills and their laughing surprised me. I couldn't believe that they could be so happy and devoted to such a brief game. In the games, they had endless energy, and were fully absorbed in playing. I’m looking forward to next time!! When we play with the children it's like we're going back to our childhoods!!!

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2nd Tuesday Volunteer in Canal District

Posted by Ivy Liang on February 5, 2014 at 10:15 PM Comments comments (0)


Last Tuesday, we worked with the Canal Alliance to tutor local middle school students. Every volunteer was assigned one student. The girl I tutored was Monica (fictional), a 7th-grader in pre-algebra. She struggled with math, and had difficulty focusing on her assignment. She was learning about scales, but didn't really understand the concept. She said her math teacher ran out of time in the last class, and quickly finished the topic without making sure the students understood it. I tried hard to help her understand the topic, but she seemed uninterested. Ultimately, I found that she was struggling because she didn’t remember the multiplication table very well so I used flashcards to help her practice. This seemed to work for her. Although I felt bad that I couldn’t help her fully understand the scales, her multiplication skills did improve. I hope to help Monica more next time.


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