If you've not stopped by for a while, you might have missed the great work that students are doing!

Check out the blog roll at right for the latest from A-term blogs!

Electric Car Conversion
Rock Climbing
Eastern Disciplines

Don't forget to read Follow The Kid Named Jordan, too!


Becoming An Adult Takes Concentrated Work

We've all heard it: multitasking is killing productivity and relationships. And that there is really no such thing as multitasking.

Twenty years ago, my uncle told me that "We live in an age where there are constant requests for us to divide our attention.

Remember when people used to ask for our undivided attention?

Perhaps you've heard Sherry Turkle's TED talk "Connected but Alone." (Not anti-technology by any stretch, just a case for more awareness around how it changes our behavior.)

And now this piece, "Why Single Tasking is the New Multitasking." (Andrew Merle, HuffPost)

I hear from some students that they are having a hard time getting things done. That they need more time to do it. That they are spending four to six hours on homework every night.

How can we help? Do we understand the issue? Are we watching how they are working? Are we careful observers of what their work looks like? If we want to help them, we have to know what they are doing and how they are doing it.

Maybe we can also help ourselves. Right?

So here's the (perhaps all-to-familiar) list from Merle's piece on how to help ourselves:

Need one more video to get you through this five minutes of life? ;-) Try this clip about what your brain does when you *try* to do more than one thing at a time. (SPOILER: slower, more mistakes => less efficient and less productive.)


The Wonderful Teenage Brain

“[Adolescence is] a stage of life when we can really thrive, but we need to take advantage of the opportunity.”
Got three minutes? Give this piece from KQED a quick read. It's a wonderful glimpse into the developing brains of teenagers. Many points will be familiar to you if you've attended our series of evening conversations for parents of teenagers, especially the "dopamine squirts" that Dr. Crystal Collier talked about with us in December.

Those teenage physiological responses that create the increased likelihood of engaging in risky behavior are also the reason why the neuroscientist quoted in the article says,
"Nothing will ever feel as good to you for the rest of your life as it did when you were a teenager..."


The Engine is OUT! - EV update

Check out the updates on the Post Oak Garage blog!

The engine is now out and serious power washing is done. What else? Read on...


New Student Blogs!

Check out the latest additions to the student blog roll in the right column of this blog.

New blogs:

  • Falmouth Field School J-Term Course

Day 1: Good Trip to Good Hope  
Travel days can be unpredictable, but today wasn't nearly as tedious or tiring as I had expected it to be. Gathering everyone to go through airport security went fine. The plane was extremely comfortable, as it was half-empty and we had no assigned seats (who doesn't love a bit of extra room?). This is my second time going to Jamaica, and it was definitely serendipity--not the members' travel experience--that made this day a breeze. Everything just went well.

  • The Art of Cooking J-Term Course

First Day of Cooking! 
Today was our first day of the Art of Cooking J-term. We spent most of the day working with Chef Justin Kouri at the Recipe for Success house. I think that one of the most important things that we learned and worked on today was to getting familiar with knife skills and general kitchen safety. Knives are very important tools in the kitchen and it’s important to know how to use them properly so that you can be safe. We also used a lot of vegetables in our cooking today, which helped us practice cutting different foods in different ways. Chef Justin also explained to us how we can get healthy foods like vegetables and fruits for a relatively low cost. 


J-Term Courses for 2016

This month's round-up of class options for students. Each student is enrolled in one of the following classes for the next three weeks. The second semester will start on Monday, January 25th.

Art of Cooking
This course will focus on hands-on cooking classes designed to start or develop culinary skills and get an understanding of ingredients and cooking methods so that the student can cook confidently with and for others.  This course will cover topics such as how to make a menu, going shopping, cooking simple meals, cooking gourmet meals, setting the table, cooking dessert, cooking appetizers, creating a theme for the meal, styles of food, music, etiquette, and environment around a meal, how to serve the dishes, how to clean the table, and how to make a meal with $20 dollars. Experience with professional chefs included.

EV Conversion J-Term
The goal of this ongoing course is to complete the electric vehicle (EV) conversion of the Toyota Supra. Students from the original group that planned the conversion will join with new students to conclude their research and develop a mutual vision for the future of the EV car. The car will be examined and refurbished in preparation for conversion through close work and training from a local EV specialist. Students will practice mechanical and electrical engineering by designing the battery system, calculating load bearing capacities, and welding. The EV car will expose students to higher organizational skills, business, mechanics, engineering, and team dynamics.

Falmouth Field School
In this ongoing course, students acquire a deep appreciation for the role played by the Jamaican port city of  Falmouth in the global sugar and slave trade of  the 17th to 19th centuries and for the ways that the global economic system (in particular, cruise ship tourism) continues to transform the lives of the city’s inhabitants.  Through their work in architectural restoration and other projects, students also help to improve the lives of  the Jamaicans living in Falmouth today, as well as  forming life-long relationships of empathy and friendship with the Jamaicans with whom they work and live.  In keeping with the field school model, students are encouraged to take the course as many times as they are able, strengthening  their relationships with the Jamaican people, deepening their study interests, and expanding the scope of their individual projects over time. 

The Filmmaking J-Term gives students the opportunity to learn about the art and technology of filmmaking by planning, shooting, editing, and screening their own films. Like the filmmaking process, the course is divided into three parts. Week one is pre-production, during which students work with local filmmaking experts and learn about film genres, avoiding clich├ęs, writing screenplays, storyboarding, and choosing props, costumes, and locations. Week two is production, during which students learn to use filmmaking equipment and shoot their short films. The final week is post-production, during which students edit their films and make rough and final cuts which local filmmaking experts critique. The culmination of this course is a film festival event, planned by students, at a local theater.

Positive Psychology and Mindset J-Term
This course covers two topics that are very “hot” in psychology today: Positive Psychology and fixed vs. growth mindset. Positive psychology is the study of not only what makes people happy, but how happiness is, in part, created from one’s own attitude, rather than externally. Fixed vs. growth mindset is the idea that attitude about whether one’s intelligence, emotional well being, or social status is either set in stone, or can be changed by hard work, attitudinal change or diligence.  Course topics are explored with videos (TED talks and other lectures), Skype visits with researchers in both fields, readings, and experiences around these topics. Assessment is based on participation, presentations, papers, and a journal of reflections on learning. 


New Internship: Jordan ('18) at ttweak

Catch up with the latest internship stories by following the blogs listed in the right sidebar.

A taste from yesterday...

Today, November 8th, 2015, was my first real day at my internship for ttweak. I spent three hours helping out, from 8:30-11:30am.  

The project was the Houston Parks Board Bayou Greenway 2020 Corporate Sponsorship Video. The location was at the Thomas Bell Foster Park, way out by Jacinto City. It was a chilly day, low 60s, but the park was really beautiful. It was also super muddy, and my hiking shoes got dirty.