Apply to Homework Zone!

Do you like working with kids? 

Do you need an outlet for your creativity?

Do you want to explore new neighbourhoods in Montreal? 

Do you want to get involved?

Then you’ve found the right place to look!

Applications for Homework Zone are now open for the Fall 2015 Semester! Apply by clicking on About > Apply or by following this link Applications due September 21. Looking forward to an exciting new semester!!

Updated HZ banner from website

Wheel of words – emotions

Wheel of words – emotions

At the schools, we’ve talked about the kids’ growing “emotional keyboard,” and our role as mentors in teaching the kids how to express themselves. This wheel might be a great tool to use to help your mentee put words on … Continue reading

How to draw anything

Here is a great resource on how to draw practically anything – this can be useful both for mentors discovering their artistic side, and for mentees that want to push themselves a little further! This series is inspired by children’s books, and includes tips on drawing alien invasions, thumbprint finches (check it out), sloths, anything really…

This is what I mean by thumb finch. Now say “thumb finch” very fast 5 times.

Discover Montréal: Culture in the City

Montreal is famous for its cultural scene, and while as students we may be very busy, it would be a crime not to spare an afternoon or an evening per semester to enjoy what the city has to offer.

The magazine VOIR’s cultural calendar lists theatre productions, art exhibits, concerts and more on a daily basis. The calendar itself is in French, but a few of its listings are of English-language shows, while the links to art exhibits are usually in both French and English.

The English-Language Arts Network is a fantastic resource to discover English-speaking artists from Montreal and Quebec, and also to keep up with events within the anglophone artistic community.

A personal favourite of mine is the famous Belgo Building, just a few minutes’ walk away from McGill’s downtown campus, and filled with dozens of art galleries and artists’ studios – you can just walk in and explore new talent. To know more about what goes on in the Belgo, you can check out their gorgeous website, The Belgo Report.

“Conte de fée” by Mirana Zuger, exhibited at L’Espace Robert Poulin in the Belgo in 2014

How to teach volcanoes

VOLCANOES. They’re so cool, right? Not from up close, of course. I’m pretty sure your mentee would agree with you.

Here is an incredibly detailed article from The Guardian elaborating on the myriad ways for you and your mentee to learn about volcanoes together (with links). As this is a UK Newspaper, you might have to make a few adaptations to make their suggestions more relevant to our context – such as which volcanoes are closest to Canada, for example.

One thing the article fails to mention is the mythology behind volcanoes. Many cultures have specific myths and stories about volcanoes – if your mentee is into it, a cool project would be to look up and compare these myths!

It’s getting a little toasty here, don’t you think?

What kind of praise?

I’ll just let the article speak for itself! However, it’s important to keep in mind – the discussion on praise and encouragement applies to all fields, not just science.

Too Many Kids Quit Science Because They Don’t Think They’re Smart… But praising their intelligence can make them feel even more insecure. A self-esteem expert offers a way out of the conundrum.

Spaghetti Nights: What’s in the Sauce?

Guest post by Elizabeth Bogart, HZ volunteer and Daycare Coordinator for HZ’s Spag Nights

The second Spaghetti Night of the new year is this Thursday!

As the Daycare Coordinator for HZ’s Spaghetti Nights, I look forward to the first Thursday of each month–it is always the highlight of my week.

It’s great to see the bond between the children and our volunteers grow stronger as both keep coming back to Spaghetti Nights every month. In January we had over 20 children come to our event with their parents! There were a couple intense matches of hockey and soccer in the gym and some pretty crafty origami took place upstairs.

This week, we’re lining up some themed activities for Spaghetti Night, as it’s almost Valentine’s Day! Baking might also be in the cards for this Thursday. In all, it will be yet another entertaining evening–just perhaps more pink than usual!

Thesaurus game

This is a fun game to expand your mentee’s vocabulary (and yours, too)! Not all schools have a thesaurus, but you can use your smartphone or take one out of the library pre-HZ for this. You can do this activity not just with yourselves as subjects, but you can describe the school, your pet, your favourite hockey player, etc…

Here’s another great pre-writing activity that uses a thesaurus to help strengthen vocabulary choices. Why is this important? Because kids have a tendency to use the same words over and over when they write. A carefully chosen synonym will add sparkle to any writing assignment. By teaching your children to choose appropriate synonyms, you’ll help them expand their writing vocabulary, making their compositions, reports, and poems much more fun to read
Visit the WriteShop blog to find out how to play the Thesaurus Game with your kids. What a fun way to expand your mentee’s vocabulary!

Discover Montreal: Poutine Week

The vast majority of Homework Zone’s volunteers aren’t native to Montreal, and many use the program as an opportunity to break out of the dreaded McGill Bubble. This is one of many posts that should keep you abreast of Montreal life – mais il n’y a rien de mieux que d’apprendre un peu plus de français!

Anyways, here is a major event: Montreal’s Annual Poutine Week, which starts tomorrow. Follow the link for a list of suggestions to delicious, decadent poutines across the city! Perhaps we could grab one together after a Homework session…?

On how emotional intelligence is taught

We’ve touched on the topic of emotional intelligence during the Orientation and even in some of the schools. This NPR report delves more deeply in the issue, exploring two new-ish programs in the U.S. designed to teach emotional intelligence: how to interpret one’s own feelings, how to communicate them to others, and how to recognize discomfort in others. Even as adults, we still learn how to do that!