Being Smart With Technology

OCC students Brandon DeFrancesco (left) and Marigone Istogu (right) quiz 5th graders on a variety of internet-related topics at McKinley-Brighton Elementary school.

“If you see a link and it says ‘click here for free items’ should you click on it?” The question was being asked by a student in OCC’s honor society, Phi Theta Kappa (PTK). He was speaking with a group of 5th grade students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School. After a brief pause, a McKinley-Brighton student responded ‘no.’ The OCC student congratulated him on his answer and explained that by clicking on the link, you could be exposing your computer to a virus.

The question-and-answer session Friday, December 7 was part of a larger conversation happening in the cafeteria at McKinley-Brighton. PTK students divided up into four groups and worked with students on a variety of topics including internet safety, cyber bullying and privacy. It was the third time this semester PTK students had shared knowledge with students at McKinley-Brighton. “We want to help when we can. We want to give back to the community,” said PTK President Marigone Istogu. “Community service has a lot of positive effects on us. It helps us develop skills, make contacts and allow us to improve the quality of life of others.”

Jon Clark, ’15 speaks with students about value of putting down their cell phones and interacting with each other.

OCC alumnus Jon Clark, ’15 also spent time with the 5th grade students and told them about the importance of putting down your cell phones. He started a business, UnpluggedCNY which encourages people to get off their phones and connect with each other face-to-face. His inspiration came from his experiences while attending Le Moyne College. “One day I saw 15 to 20 students walking to class with their heads down in their phones. Three of them bumped into me and said, ‘watch out!’ I started asking myself, ‘why are people on their phones so much?’”

Clark put a post on social media stating that for every ‘like’ or ‘share’ he received he would give up his phone for five minutes. He wound up with 130 likes which led to him giving up his phone for about a day-and-a-half. “I used social media as a platform to say we can get off our phones. I had people reach out to me and tell me they liked my mission and wanted to be a part of it.”

Clark’s experience blossomed into a movement. He recently put together a large social gathering at which people just talked to each other. “I didn’t ask people to give up their phones but no one pulled their phones out. I had so many people talk about how great it was to actually meet people and learn what they were about. I hope that’s a lesson students will take from today’s conversation.”

Brightening Faces At McKinley-Brighton

McKinley-Brighton Elementary 3rd graders Alea Baldwin (left) and Sanai Everson (right) show off the books they selected at OCC’s Book Fair at their school.

Alea Baldwin and Sanai Everson had a plan. When they walked into Onondaga Community College’s Book Fair in the library of the McKinley-Brighton Elementary school, the third graders knew exactly what their objective was. “We wanted to choose the same books so we could read them together,” said Everson. “We’re so excited we got the same ones!” Their choices were “Black Panther,” “The Magnificent Mya Tibbs” and “Nikki & Deja Wedding Drama.”

Baldwin and Everson were two of approximately 650 students whose faces lit up while they were selecting books. After each student selected three books they received a tote bag in the color of their choosing (either light blue, dark blue or red). Each student was also given a coloring book created by an OCC student.

The book fair was funded by the Delta Kappa Gamma Society International Educational Foundation and The OCC Foundation. You can see more photos from the book fair below.

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Learning About Health

A 5th grade student from McKinley-Brighton Elementary listens to the heartbeat of a simulated patient in the SIM lab of OCC’s Nursing major.

Fifth grade students from McKinley-Brighton Elementary School visited the OCC campus as part of Health Career Day. The event was held on the first floor of Ferrante Hall where the Nursing major is headquartered.

Students rotated between areas where they learned about personal health and wellness, physical therapy, how to prepare for a medical procedure and how the simulated patients help teach students in the SIM lab. There was also a session on bullying and cyber bullying.

Health Career Day is the product of a partnership between OCC and the Syracuse City School District aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. Photos from the event can be viewed below.

Celebrating Reading

McKinley-Brighton Elementary 5th grade students Ny’monie Smith (left) and Imari Brown (right) show off their new books.

“I do not like them in a box. I do not like them with a fox.” OCC Provost Dr. Daria Willis read those words to Pre-K students as she shared the Dr. Seuss classic “Green Eggs & Ham” with them. Dr. Willis was at McKinley-Brighton Elementary school along with dozens of other College employees as part of Read Across America Day, a nationwide celebration that takes place annually on March 2. Harsh winter weather postponed the celebration at McKinley-Brighton until April 9.

The festivities were part of a double dose of reading pleasure. The College also hosted a book fair at McKinley-Brighton. More than 1,300 new books were brought in and spread out on tables in the library. Students came to the library one class at a time and were given the opportunity to review the reading choices. Each student was allowed to select two books to keep. Student’s also received a backpack highlighting OCC’s partnership with McKinley-Brighton. 5th grade students who do reports on their new books will be treated to a pizza party in June.

The Book Fair was made possible thanks to a grant from the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation with additional assistance from the OCC Foundation.

The reading events were part of a partnership between OCC and three Syracuse schools aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. The partner schools include McKinley-Brighton, Meachem Elementary and J.T. Roberts Pre-K 8 School.

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Playing the Buckets

Five-gallon buckets from Lowe’s never sounded so good!

Professor Rob Bridge

OCC Music Department Chair and Percussion Professor Rob Bridge taught 8th grade students how to “play the bucket” during a visit to J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School.

The class began with Bridge and Meredith Cantor Feller, OCC’s Interim Dean of Visual, Performing & Applied Arts passing out donated buckets and drumsticks to students. Bridge demonstrated to students the range of sounds a bucket could make depending on where it was struck. The remaining class time was spent working on a variety of musical numbers. The student’s instructor throughout the year, Paul Goodness, participated in the session with the class.

You can view video of the class playing the buckets here!

The visit was the product of a partnership between Roberts and OCC aimed at helping students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. The College has similar partnerships with McKinley-Brighton Elementary and Meachem Elementary schools, all of which are in the Syracuse City School District.

OCC was would like to give a special “thank you” to Lowe’s for donating the buckets and Vic Firth for donating the Zildjian drumsticks.

 

Excited About Reading

Students at McKinley-Brighton look through new books during OCC’s Book Fair.

OCC presented its first of two books fairs at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School on November 6. Students were given the opportunity to select a brand new book to take home as part of the “Bobcats Read” community reading project. Another book fair will be held in the spring. Between the two fairs McKinley-Brighton Elementary students will receive approximately 1,300 new books! Both book fairs are made possible thanks to the generosity of the Delta Kappa Gamma Educational Foundation, the OCC Foundation and the OCC’s Barnes & Noble Bookstore.

This is the second year of a partnership between OCC and students at McKinley-Brighton which brings College Administrators, Faculty and Students to the school regularly to share academic and life lessons. The goal of the program is to help students start thinking about career opportunities and higher education at a younger age. During this academic year OCC added Meachem Elementary and J.T. Roberts PreK-8 School to the partnership.

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5th Graders Go To College

5th grade students from McKinley-Brighton Elementary learn how to treat a patient recovering from an appendectomy while visiting the Nursing major on campus.

Students from Syracuse’s McKinley-Brighton Elementary School got a first-hand look at what college is like when they spent a day on campus. “It was really fun,” said student Ke’ojulay Walker. “I got to learn a lot of things, meet a lot of people and see what college is like at OCC. I want to come back here some day when I am old enough.”

Walker and more than three dozen of her 5th grade classmates had the opportunity to experience hands-on learning in numerous academic departments. Students visited the Criminal Justice major and were introduced to a career in law enforcement. OCC students taught McKinley-Brighton students how to dust for fingerprints and learned key qualities police officers should have.

McKinley-Brighton students also learned about the Human Services and Teacher Education major. They created felt banners which they were able to bring home with them, played Pictionary, charades and discussed a career in teaching.

Students also visited the Physical Therapist Assistant program. They went through a series of exercises with OCC student leaders and learned the importance of remaining physically fit.

The Nursing major provided students the opportunity to wear medical gear like they were working in a hospital. Faculty helped students dress wounds and learn how to treat various injuries.

The McKinley-Brighton students were brought to the Great Room in the Gordon Student Center where they observed Tibetan Monks creating a sand mandala. Then it was off to the Bistro in the Gordon Student Center. Students enjoyed lunch along with OCC students and learned about healthy eating and fitness from members of the Physical Education & Exercise Science major before returning to McKinley-Brighton.

OCC’s involvement with McKinley-Brighton is the product of a partnership aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education.

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Read Across America Day at McKinley-Brighton

 

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Fantasia Thorne-Ortiz reading to students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary.

Silence. It’s a rare thing in an elementary school classroom. But if you walked into classrooms in McKinley-Brighton March 2nd, the students were quiet and their ears were wide open. They listened as OCC staff and faculty members read Dr. Seuss books.

 

Fantasia Thorne-Ortiz, Public Services and Instruction Librarian at OCC, read from Horton Hears a Who. “Of course I will stick. I’ll stick by you small folks through thin and through thick!” The children were captivated. Even the disruption of another person entering the room only caused a momentary disturbance in their attention to Thorne-Ortiz. In a digital age, reading still holds the power to capture the minds of our youth.

OCC faculty and staff members contributed their time to read to the students at McKinley-Brighton as part of our ongoing partnership and Read Across America Day. Over 30 faculty and staff members from OCC volunteered.

Publishing Their Dreams

Students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary proudly show the journals they created.
Students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary proudly show the journals they created.

Students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School are about to become published! Meredith Cantor-Feller, OCC’s Interim Dean of Visual, Performing & Applied Arts is leading the project with 5th graders there as part of an ongoing partnership aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education.

MB-OCC Partner LogoThe project began with students creating journals. They folded construction paper in half, drew artwork on the front and back cover and had the construction paper laminated. A small notebook was attached to the finished product. On the first page of the notebook students wrote their name, career goal and how they planned to achieve their goal. Cantor-Feller will photograph those pages and turn them into a book which will include the goals and dreams of each student in McKinley-Brighton’s three 5th grade classes. A slideshow of students working on the project can be seen at the bottom of this story.

This is the latest chapter in the partnership between OCC and McKinley-Brighton. Administrators have also worked with students on qualities which make outstanding leaders and creating superheroes which can be seen on campus in the renovated Coulter Library.

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Making Learning Fun at McKinley-Brighton

OCC Biology Professor Larry Weiskirch works with students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School.
OCC Biology Professor Larry Weiskirch works with students at McKinley-Brighton Elementary School.
Students learn how electrons work as they lower keys onto a powerful magnet.
Students learn how electrons work as they lower keys onto a powerful magnet.

Students were fascinated by what Professor Larry Weiskirch brought to McKinley-Brighton Elementary School and the information he was sharing. Weiskirch, who is Chair of OCC’s Biology department, showed students two mannequins with their internal organs exposed and explained how the human body works. “This is the heart. The heart is a muscle that pushes the blood through your body. Have you ever felt your pulse before? That’s the heart beating, pushing blood through your body.” As Weiskirch spoke, students tried to feel their pulse.

Weiskirch was participating in McKinley-Brighton’s STEAM event. STEAM stands for Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Math. More than 150 students in grades 2 through 5 attended. As they entered each received a free OCC backpack and a “passport” which listed the different stations within the event. Each time a student visited a station their passport was marked. Students who visited six stations received an OCC wristband.

OCC Chemistry Professors Dr. Cynthia Hennessy (on left wearing goggles) and Barbara Leo (on right wearing goggles) work with students.
OCC Chemistry Professors Dr. Cynthia Hennessy (on left wearing goggles) and Barbara Leo (in center wearing goggles) work with students.

OCC Professor Fred Jaquin showed off interactive displays at another station. Jaquin is Chair of the Chemistry and Physical Science departments. He showed students how the earth’s magnetic field helps protect us from potentially damaging solar winds generated by the sun. The magnets he brought with him for students to experiment with were very popular.

Chemistry Professors Dr. Cynthia Hennessy and Barbara Leo demonstrated the concept of sublimation to students. They used balloons to show how a solid can be transformed directly into a gas while bypassing the liquid phase. Their presence helped showed female students at McKinley-Brighton the opportunities which exist for women in science.

The star attraction at the event was Andrew Cleary, an electrical engineer from Lockheed Martin who was invited by Olin Stratton, OCC’s Dean of Natural and Applied Sciences. Cleary showed students how a Tesla Coil works. The electrical resonant transformer circuit created colorful sparks which resembled miniature bolts of lightning and drew many “oohs” and “aahs” from students. Cleary moved a fluorescent light bulb near the Tesla Coil and it became illuminated. He also brought miniature battery and solar powered robots for students to experiment with.

OCC’s involvement with McKinley-Brighton is the product of a partnership aimed at helping students think about career opportunities and higher education. College administrators have also worked with students on journal making, qualities which make outstanding leaders and making superheroes. Their superhero artwork was turned into signs in the newly renovated Coulter Library on OCC’s campus.

Lockheed Martin engineer Andrew Cleary fascinates students while showing them how the Tesla Coil works.
Lockheed Martin engineer Andrew Cleary fascinates students while showing them how the Tesla Coil works.