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Basic Skills Flex Day

 Fun Stuff Challenge!

MPC Personnel wrote these at the beginning of the Spring 2013 semester as a fun activity to reflect on written communication and those students for whom English is not their first language. If you would like to write one, please use the Up-Goer Five text editor and then send the product to Fred.


I work at the computer all day making the world look pretty by taking pictures and putting words around them. I make it so people can sign up for classes and find out things they want to know. I make their eyes feel happy. If people like what they see they see, they will be students here and they will know everything they need to know.

Jeanette Haxton, Office of Public Information
I help people when they are hurt, sad, or want to know more about bad things in your body. When people are hurt I fix them. When people are sad, I make them happy. When bad things are in your body, I help them understand why they are bad and what they can do to make them go away. Smiles are the a good way to fix some of these problems.

-Kelly Eyler, Health Services Specialist
My job using only 10 hundred words: Students want to learn about computers.

I help them. Our school has lots of computers for students to use. I set up the computers before classes begin. I fix the computers when they break. I help the students when they can't make the computers work. I help the students when they don't understand what their teachers want them to do.

I listen when students lose hope and want to throw a computer out the window. I try to talk them out of it.

-Steve Bruemmer, Instructional Technology Specialist
I show people how to do the art of making pictures. The first thing we learn are the ways to make pictures and how to use a box to make pictures. We learn how to open the box for the right time using a small opening and how big to make the opening. The next thing that we do is look at lighting and the way the picture is seen. Then we find what each student wants to say with their pictures. This can be something the student can do all their life. The person making pictures can look at their world through this box and use it to say ideas about the world.

-Kevin Bransfield, Photography Instructor
In my classes, I share a "so see oh lot sick all" way of looking at the world, through step by step focus, a bright way to study the things that people do and say, alone or in groups, at home or in the streets, in seats of power, or in kept positions, the what, the how many, the how and the why, and the ways that these all fit together. The numbers are very important, as are the words. Noticing the arms and roads between the one and the many, this way of seeing shows us we both make and are made by the world. One line of study looks at what people believe, and what is thought to be normal, to understand those who follow orders, and those who do not. Another points light at the memory and lived ways of race, class, man, woman, children, money, love, hate, help, hurt, think, and act, so that we can consider how these forces make all human lives share some things the same and others different. This way of seeing cuts through the known, and leaves the old ways and the now ways clear and understood. Because this way of seeing and studying questions the way things are, some may be scared, especially those who run the biggest control houses, on top of the larger world of very, very big money, built and kept over others through bad power. This is a key question: why, knowing what we know, we accept business as usual? The round ball we live on wonders, as do the other animals still here with us, the trees that remain, lands where now there is only smoke, the big waters that may have no little animals left by the time you read this. The two out of three people on this blue ball that live on less than ten pieces of money a day quietly wonder, but sometimes many fight back against the hurting ways of those at the top. The one hundred people in the world with the most money could, all by themselves, end the world of no food for others four times over, but they do not. This way of seeing shows why, and offers directions for change. I love to share this way of seeing, as it offers much hope for the new world we must find, before it is too late for everyone. Serious, and fun, with light and force, this way of seeing knows, if we study carefully and hold up the truth, it may be that a change is going to come. This way of seeing can open the doors, but people must each decide to walk through.

-Anthony Villarreal, Sociology Instructor
I am a person who worked at a college. I worked with numbers. I worked with other people in a office. We all worked with numbers in one form or another. We try to keep things in order and not show bad numbers. We worked with students who come by to pay or pick up money so that they can get their schooling done. My job is to make sure people use their money in the way they should and not go crazy. I enjoy my job.

-Linda Martin, Fiscal Department
I am done working. I used to work but I finished. Now I like to take pieces of pretty little things and put them together in a pretty way with a big white thing. It is lots of fun. I also like to read books and to walk to the place where the land and water meet.

-Nancy Goering, Retired Business Instructor
I work in a building that is full of books and computers. i work with people who are bright and we all work hard to help students learn how to find stuff for studying and learning and also how to decide if what they find is true or if it is just stuff someone made up. I have the best job of anyone at our school and that is the truth.

I wonder about the way students are learning and what things will be like in 20 years if things keep on as they are with people not learning to think or ask questions...if people just accept what is told them as true and don't learn to think about the possible ways they might be getting lied to, in another 20 years it will be hell. Can't see or can't think? Does not matter, either one sucks.

-Stephanie Tetter, Librarian
My job is to show students how to help doctors. The students get to pretend that they are in a doctor's office and do everything that would happen there. Sometimes, they do work on paper. Other times, they use computers to type things, like a sick person's story. They always have to wonder what a doctor might want to do to help a person get better and get things ready for that. The students also learn how to give each other shots, clean out each others ears and many other things that they would do with a sick person or someone getting a check up. They learn about the body and what can go wrong with it. They have to work in a team and they really have to get good at talking and listening to other people. It is a fun job. Most students really like it and that makes me happy.

-Monika Bell, Medical Assisting Instructor
What happened in the past and the agreed upon story written down about the past are two very different things. To learn the about both the past and the agreed upon story we look at written down words, pictures and things made in the past and try to understand stories made about them and why some stories are agreed upon and some stories are not. We use written down words, pictures and things in the past to understand the stories written down, why they might be different and how to write stories of our own and what makes them true. How do stories about the past change over time? What makes the stories change? What stories have we missed? Why? What can both the missed stories and the agreed upon stories tell us about us, our long ago families and families not yet here? The answers to these questions change us, make us pay attention and see the world around us in new ways.

-Elizabeth Mullins, History Instructor
I get people to learn about the round thing we live on. The round thing looks like a ball and flies around the sun. They learn about both the rocks and the water on our round thing. The rocks and water make it possible for life to happen on our big round thing. The problem is that the rocks are slowly moving and breaking up into smaller pieces. People don't like it when the rocks they live on move around and break up into smaller pieces. What will happen to us in the coming years? The only way to tell is to figure out what has happened in the past years. This is hard to do with rocks. But they tell their story if we ask them in the right way. The rocks tell us that some of them are very very old, older than we can even dream about. They have also moved around a lot and have been broken up into little pieces and then put back together in many different ways. People who learn love these stories, and are able to better decide what to do in the coming years!

-Fred Hochstaedter, Earth Science Instructor
I sit at a desk in an office at a college and help students and teachers meet for class. My biggest work is to help the teachers plan their classes, make sure all the facts about the places and times to meet are right and then help students find the classes they want to take. I sit at a computer most of the day since that is where the class ideas are stored. I do many more things in my office to help students get the learning they are looking for, because I like to help people and that is what my work is about, helping and I like to learn so I like working at a college.

-Barbara Smallwood, Creative Arts Division Office Manager
What do I do? I do what is needed to get the job done. This is the way I think and I wish more people here thought the same way. I am a team player and always happy to help. I join groups of people and take minutes of very long conversations, then I have to type those minutes and place them where they can be read. When I am not taking minutes, I plan lots of times that people can meet to have conversations. I also put together big, long papers that people use or maybe they do not use because the paper is too big. I am told that people from outside of here like to look at these big papers to make sure we are doing what we say we are doing. There are many people who come to me and ask for my help and think that I know what the answers are. There is more that I do, but I have to go back to work now.

-Leslie Procive, Administrative Assistant to the VP of Academic Affairs
I help people find good people to do work in the college. Then I help these good people be happy at work. I tell them about the cool stuff we have and how it can help them have a better life. The good people then do a good job to help our students and the students become the good worker of tomorrow. I also help people follow the right way to get stuff done. I tell them when they do things wrong and remind them of how to do it right. I also remind them to remember to do normal stuff they have to do, like making sure people are doing good at work and sending in stuff to me. Sometimes people don't do the right thing and it causes problems. I have to help them sort it out and make things right again.

-Kali Viker, HR Analyst
I help students get money for school. I do this by showing students where the money comes from. My job is to get people with money to give that money to those who need it. I find money for students who have parents who do not make much money, students who do really well in their classes, students studying important fields, and even students who are starting over in life. I enjoy my job because I get to meet different people with different ideas and different problems. I like to help people use their ideas to get them what they want. There are some students that are not able to get their money for school as easily as others. It could be that the student has taken too many classes, or that their parents make too much money but do not share that money with the student, or that the student does not have papers. These students need different ways to get their money. That is when I need to use my training to find them different ways of getting paid. My job also has me answering phone calls, helping students face to face, meeting with other people at the college, and keeping track of all the money coming and going.

-Danielle Hodgkins, Student Financial Services Coordinator
I help people understand the world. The living world is made up of land and water, so to understand the world you need to know what is happening in all that land and water. There are living things and not living things that all work together to make up the world as we know it. That is what we study together. To understand the living world is to also understand us. We are all part of this amazing and interesting place, and we are all better off if we get that and act like it. I also help people learn to ask questions. Asking questions allows us to find our own edges and then move past them. It frees us from being still and lets us move to a better place.

-Kevin Raskoff, Biology Instructor
Some people say I just help people find books. It is true that I work in a place with many books, but my job is so much more than that. The world is full of ideas, and I help people learn how to find the most important ideas for answering questions they have at any given moment, no matter what area they want to know about or whether the idea is in a book or somewhere else. Ideas have power: I show people how to find ideas that will help them with college, their jobs, or their lives. I help people learn to take the ideas of other people and use them to build their own ideas. I like to think that I help people learn to better understand the world around them.

-Catherine Webb, Librarian
Numbers and letters can be used together is many ways. In this class we will study their use to find the answers to problems made up of letters and numbers. In some problems you will put them together in ways that will take a large group and make it into a smaller group. In other problems you will find the number or letter that makes the problem true. Some problems made up of numbers and letters can be made into pictures. Some pictures are just straight lines. Other pictures are lines that begin by moving down the picture and then turning and moving up the picture. No wonder the study of numbers and letters used together is so hard for students who only know a small number of words!

-Bob Evans, Math Instructor
I teach people how to see, how to feel and how to think. I teach people to believe in themselves and how to share their ideas with others. In my classes, students learn about how to make things and express themselves. They also learn how other people make things and express themselves. I teach people how to use many different things like paint and paper, to make works that express* their ideas.

*express is not on the list, but expression is. Does it count?

Notice the words NOT on the list: art, artists, communication, language, appreciate, creativity, skill. I could have done this exercise very easily if I my job is to teach people how to shoot guns!

-Robynn Smith, Art Instructor
Some people think I just help people get classes or fill out forms. Some of my family think I fix the world’s problems or the people who cause problems in the world. I think I love my job and the people I have in my job, in the seats of the class and the people who help learn the people in the seats. After they leave this school, they may or may not go to another school but I believe they have learned how to be good at all the new exciting things they have learned.

-Kelly Fletes, EOPS Counselor
I show people how to make things fit in a space--home or office--and how to use those things well, while also making sure that those things look the way they want them to look--cool.

-Sunshine Giesler, Interior Design Instructor
I sometimes go in 'boats' and use 'technology' to listen to how the different types of rocks appear to be. If you study this, you can learn about the rocks in the past and that helps in understanding what we should expect happening next. I have also started working in a College last year. I explain students things like rocks, what we can learn from them, why they are where they are, and how we can make sure our little round blue thing where we live on stays well for a long long time .

-Ana Garcia-Garcia, Earth Science Instructor
I study small waves that form in small pieces of rock under moving water. If the water is not deep and moving fast these waves will form small waves at the top of the water as well. Because the water is not deep and moving fast the small pieces of rock are added to the side of the under water wave that faces the moving water and taken away from the other side. This makes the under water wave move in a direction against the direction that the water is moving. The waves at the top of the water move in this direction as well. As the waves at the bottom of the water move, they also build up. The waves at the top of the water also build up until they break. The moving water sorts the small pieces of rock in to groups of like small pieces of rock. Because the water is not deep, and moving fast these groups are different than groups formed by deeper and slower moving water. By looking at old groups of small pieces of rock, you may be able to tell if the moving water that they formed under was slow and deep or not.

-Tom Clifton, Earth Science Lab Manager
I explain to my family how much money they can spend. Sometimes our interests are the same and sometimes they are different. In the end, we always agree because our interests are not really that different. We are here to help students learn so they can make better lives for themselves and their family.

-Steve Ma, VP of Administrative Services
We help people fill jobs, find jobs and keep jobs. We help the people who work here understand the things that help them and keep them happy.  Sometimes people do not do what they are supposed to and then we have to tell them that too, but not very often.  We tell them how much they get paid; we make sure they get their visits to the doctor paid. We answer lots of questions for people all day long.  If you work here you know at least one of us. If you visit us you can have something sweet to eat.  We would like to see you or talk to you or write to you if we can help in any way.  We try to always smile.

Barbara Lee, Dean of Human Resources, representing all HR Staff
I work at a college and as a teacher I present ideas to anyone serious about a way to make life better and not worse for themselves. They can use these ideas to get a good job and make more money. It is especially sweet when they share these ideas with others to make life better. I really enjoy my work and the fly people and students that I work around all day. What more can anyone ask for in life... a good job, good people, and most important good students.

-Larry Walker, Dean of Student Services
I talk to people about words. Some people need to read a book but do not know the words in the book, so I help them learn the words. Sometimes they know the words but are not be able to find the idea in the words, so I help them learn how to find the idea. Other people need to write an idea, but they have no idea. Or they have an idea, but they do not know the school words for it. Or they know the school words, but they are not able to put them together to tell an idea. So I help them learn how to find an idea in real life and then tell the real-life idea in school words. This is all hard work for both of us if that other person thinks in words and ideas that come from another land, because it means the person must hear and say and read and write every single word of every single idea in two different ways, quickly. But the hardest part of this job is to help people learn how to make words tell an idea, because to talk about that we must use words about words. Words about words are all school words; no one ever uses them in real life. People wonder why they need those words, and sometimes they act as if it were my fault.

-Skip Seibel, ESSC Instructional Specialist
I get to work with others and give a voice to teachers that help them do what they do best. I look at courses, approaches, teams, and different ways we can use to build up learning. Teachers have good ideas and help us find ways to make learning work and they care very much about students. I help people think, have conversations, and use every idea possible to grow learning in our college and all around us. I lead groups that talk with others, drawing on different ways of looking at learning. We work on how we can help one another make learning better.  

I work with people such as in Cities and State Offices and with important people that decide about big things. Sometimes they come up with directions for us to follow and then these directions change. We fix things to work with the new directions. We write long, long stories to tell the important people about how we meet the directions. We work with the ideas, what they mean to us, come up with ideas of our own, and hope the new directions make learning better. We fill papers with our ideas and keep track of them in very big boxes of papers. We pay the important people so they can read these and check to see if we have followed directions.

I bring people together to give learning a wide voice and build ways to make learning better around us, across the state and around the world. We come up with plans to help us better decide what to do for the many years ahead. Together we hope to build a better world by helping more people learn and learn well. At the end of the year, students dress in college red or white and come in long lines to get a paper from me and the other guys. The paper shows they learned something. The students leave with a very big smile on their face.

-Celine Pinet, VP of Academic Affairs
I show and tell students about matter. Matter is anything that takes up space and can be light or heavy. In my class we learn new ways to name matter and how to order matter by its different forms. We also look at how matter can be changed from one form to another and also to find out how hot or cold matter can be when it changes from one form to another. We look at how light can excite matter and how matter can give off light if it is excited. We use computers to see the situations that matter can be in; whether it is round or straight or has some other area in space. We look at how matter plays a part in everything from cells to business. We have fun playing with matter together!

Sarah Gerhardt, Chemistry Instructor
Think. Fix. Read write rush.
Put out fires. Answer questions.
Age… Give directions.

Linda Logsdon, Physical Sciences DOM, in fine haiku form
Yours could go here!