Sunday, January 17, 2010

Saturday Morning... Time to be a tutor

From 8 am to noon, Sunland Park Elementary has "tutoring" -- and we need high school graduates to show up here. In fact, anyone who survived 8th grade and who can read a newspaper is needed. Call +1 954 646 8246 and arrange for a free "TUTORING KIT" -- and ask me how much fun I have...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

I am a taxpayer who was turned into a mentor after hearing about Bill Gates' speech to Governors Feb 2005, then after hearing the guy who inspired part of Gates' speech: Dennis Littky. Someday statues will be erected to honor Littky. Find out more by going to and search "Littky school" and see what comes up. interview in April 2005 . I visited his school in Providence and I made a documentary. I am very inspired by Littky's work and I hope someone in this audience will persuade a school board in hire Littky to redo their district. Please contact me if you want to become a member of the Breakfast Club With Mentors. Everyone can be a mentor. You can find some videos that I posted at

Friday, January 8, 2010

January 5 The first day

Capital: Lima
Spanish word: Buenos dias Good morning (good day)
A student named J. showed me his poster about Joey a football player for the Steelers. He talked about the poster and we made a photo. I promised him a CD with the photo on the CD. It was fun. .. oh, I have to get approval to give a CD to a child. So my next work is going to be collecting ebooks that I can include on the CD.
I arrived at 7:20 a.m.
I like being a mentor. Kids liked looking at the atlas that I brought. I think it is best to sit with two or three kids and talk for 20-30 minutes than to walk around a lot. This first day I set an example by picking up trash, using the unused napkins to clean up spills and demonstrate by modeling that an adult male cleans up. So maybe it will be cool to wipe the crumbs from the table into the tray and keep the trash from falling on the floor.

January 6 and 7 The Breakfast Club at Sunland Elementary

January 6: the capital of the day was "Ottawa." The kids who went to north had a lot of fun finding this city.
Spanish word: Hasta la vista. Until the seeing (the next time I see you).
I brought in a book showing photos from space. The Earth looks interesting from up there. We looked at photos of Florida and we found Lake Okeechobee. We also used napkins to clean up messes on the table. It was fun to leave the table looking as good as we found it.
I arrived at 7:20 am

January 7: The capital: Nassau
Spanish: Libro. Tengo dos libros. I have two books.
I brought two letters that I needed to compile. I showed the kids how I work and create a presentation. It was a good idea because a lot of kids don't see adults working in a home office. It is useful, as Dr. Alison Gopnik (UC Berkeley) points out, for youngsters to watch adults make mistakes, confront obstacles and move ahead.

I also promised a student named J. that I would bring a photo (that I took on Tuesday 5 Jan.) and I hope he liked the photo. He said that he has a place in his house for keeping important things. I was later than usual, I arrived at 7:28 am.
I talked to kids about the SHUTTLE LAUNCH that will happen on 7 February. That's a Sunday and they can see the link to the shuttle at

Date: Feb. 7 + Sunday
Launch Time: 4:39 a.m. EST

Date: March 18 + Thursday
Launch Time: 4 p.m. EDT

Date: May 14 +
Launch Time: 2:28 p.m. EDT
(I wonder what the "+" sign means...)

I also recommended the Film Festival -- FREE FILMS -- at Cinema Paradiso at I hope the slips of paper that I gave four kids will get home.

The Breakfast Club for Mentors in Fort Lauderdale

The Breakfast Club: An Invitation to Adults from a Teacher

On my way to work, I drive to an elementary school, arriving at about 7:15 am. I pick up a book of photos or I bring along a few sheets of paper and a pen. I sign in, walk to the dining hall, and wave to Mr. Mobley, the security guard. Two teachers are "on duty" and sometimes I see parents in the room, watching the kids who arrive early for free breakfast. I leave at 8 a.m. and go to work.

"What do you talk about with the children?" is the first question that most adults ask me. I've found that brining a book along is an icebreaker. Most kids are curious and one way to feed that curiosity is to open a book to an interesting page with a photo. That's what I talk about: something that interests the kid.

"Why are you doing that? You don't have kids" or "Your child isn't at that school." Well, I'm a taxpayer and I want to see my education dollars go farther. There's a connection between boredom and failing in the classroom. If a kid has something to look forward to everyday, then there's just another reason to get to school on time "to see what Mr. Mac is doing this morning."

INVITATION: I invite you to arrange your schedule to include an hour devloted to our school system. Yes, I've had to sacrifice by going to bed an hour earlier. It takes me 12 minutes to get to the school and then 8 minutes to get to work, a total of 15 minutes in addition to the usual 5 minutes that it takes me to commute. I stay there 45 minutes so it's about five hours a week devoted to asking kids, "Have you seen the Earth from space?" (when I bring a photo book to the hall) or "Can you find Florida on this map?" when I bring an atlas. I miss seeing The Daily Show with Jon Stewart at 11 pm, but it's worth it to get up at 6:30 a.m. ready to make neurons spark in young brains.

I tell myself that I'm meeting with future clients. They are the taxpayers of tomorrow (and they pay sales taxes today). I'm interested in building an army of smart, motivated kids who know that there are adults who want them to succeed.

If you live near I-95 and Sunrise Blvd., please join me at Sunland Elementary. You can ask for the volunteer form by internet through or you can call the volunteer office at (754) 322-8567. You, too, can be the change that we want to see in the world.

Steve McCrea is an SAT tutor and a teacher trainer. He offers a CD with 201 electronic books on it: write to him at His weekly seminar about marketing tips on the internet take place at 1350 East Sunrise Blvd. (Artserve) -- bring a blank CD and exchange it for the 201 ebooks CD. For more information 954 646 8246.

By the way, go to and see the latest in the series of free movies available in 2010 in Fort Lauderdale.

Monday, January 4, 2010

We are the change we want to see in our schools

In 2004, I was a middle school teacher at a charter school. A family therapist, Pat Harris, come to volunteer in the school. I heard her 20 minute talk with my class and I was amazed. The rowdy group turned into a motivated bunch of kids ... all because of what Pat had said and asked. "Does your anger manage you or do you manage your anger?"

At that moment, I realized that I as a teacher had a lot to gain from teaming up with the guidance department and volunteers who deal with family matters, such as marriage and family counselors.

SO, fast forward 4 years... Between 2004 and 2009, I visited more than two dozen schools including,,,

Daniel Webster Middle School in LA, Frida Kahlo High School in LA, High Tech High in San Diego, San Diego Met, CHAD in Philadelphia, Bok Middle School of the Arts in West Palm Beach, Fla., ....
Schools in Florida: Hallandale Adult Community Center, Fort Laud High, Stranahan High, Arthur Ashe Middle, Seminole Middle,

I came away from these visits clear in the idea that the principles described by Dennis Littky can be used in virtually any location and the academics will improve. See ... click on "readings"

A quote from Gandhi: We are the change that we want to see in the world.

Well.... it's up to us. Education is everybody's business (as Littky points out...)

So, I'm going to visit for the first time...4 Jan. Karen P. at Sunland has invited me to drop in and we'll discover what I can help do... I hope to start volunteering Tuesday morning... 5 Jan.