February , 2008
February 7, 2008
Visuals and words by Sharon Bass
Hamden kindergartners counted to 100 in “so many ways!” yesterday to mark their 100th day of school this year.
An afternoon visit to Lisa Carlson’s Ridge Hill School classroom found children stringing necklaces with exactly 100 Fruit Loops. Children taking 10 M&Ms, 10 raisins, 10 Goldfish crackers, 10 pretzels, etc. from 10 bowls for a 100 Snack. And children pasting 10 numbers -- 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, 60, 70, 80, 90, 100 -- on construction-paper hats.
“It’s a learning experience that gives meaning to the number,” said Carlson. “They can show you 100. They can count to 100 by 10s. We build up to this day. We start talking about it from the first day of school.”
Morsalis Morris sat quietly by himself reading the book “Kindergarten Count to 100.” Asked how much he reads, he first said “a lot.” Then amended his answer to “never.” Then, like any good politician, said, “Enough.”
July 27, 2007
Story and photos by Sharon Bass
(Editor’s note: Click on the links within the story for a fabulous treat.)
They each have their own TV news shows and Web sites -- with live streaming -- but there’s not even a hint of rivalry between the Harun brothers. Marcus, 15, a Hamden High sophomore this fall, and Eunes, 8, going into fourth grade at Dunbar Hill Elementary, work so beautifully together, they put adult journalists to shame.
“He sits and watches me three-quarters of the day,” Marcus said from his bedroom mini-studio. His little bro quickly and admiringly agreed.
What Eunes is watching is something quite amazing. Marcus, an award-winning honor student, has assembled his very own news studio in the family basement. He’s taught Eunes how to report on local, national and international news, which they glean from online news sites, TV and hard-copy newspapers. They write their own scripts. Create their own graphics. Have a professional voiceover who introduces their news shows in a WTNH Channel 8 fashion. And once a week, they go to the CTV studio on State Street, where they each produce a live 30-minute news spot on Channel 27.
Eunes airs at 5 p.m. every Monday; Marcus follows at 8 p.m.
“But usually I run short, so it’s like 15 or 20 minutes,” said Eunes. “Our next-door neighbor does the weather.” Marcus piped in: “Our friends do sports.” (Click here for Marcus’ coverage of February’s New Haven Coliseum demolition.)
Marcus’ show is called 24NewsNow; Eunes’ is News Channel 12. (Click here to watch a Eunes Harun newscast.) They’ve been broadcasting since August 2006. They do politics, crime, the weather, sports and anything else. Marcus said he’s always on the prowl for breaking news.
“I do big news wherever it is,” the teen journalist said. “I do Iraq.” Lately, the Harun brothers have been reporting on the horrific homicides in Cheshire, as well as the weather, sports and so on.
Already a Hit
On July 24 at 12:23 p.m., CNN Headline News featured Marcus’ political analysis of the CNN/Youtube Debate 2007, and published a feature about the boy’s interest in broadcast news on its Web site.
He said he became interested in news reporting in the sixth-grade. “I like to know everything that’s going on,” said Marcus, who intends to make broadcast journalism his adult career. “I like knowing things before other people know things.”
Eunes also wants to go pro. “Because, first, my brother, he likes news. And when I was in first-grade, I started liking news,” he said.
It’s not an easy job or a quick one. During the summer, Marcus said he daily spends three to four hours reading and watching the news. Eunes puts in one to two hours a day. (When school’s in session, they have to cut back some.) Then it’s downstairs to the studio, where they put in many more hours to produce the news.
“I just got the ability to do live,” Eunes said, his huge brown eyes dancing. “That was a couple of days ago.”
Thanks to maternal grandfather, Walter Petroskey of Hamden, the boys have lots of electronics -- three DV cams, a couple of Web cams and six computer monitors.
Their mom, Harriet Harun, a Bridgeport geometry and algebra teacher, takes the boys to the CTV studio every week. In order to borrow the local access TV station’s equipment overnight, she became a certified field producer. Both boys are also certified.
On Election Day 2006, the brothers traveled with camera and mic to Ned Lamont’s Meriden headquarters. Lamont had challenged U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman, who ran as an independent after losing to Lamont in the August Democratic primary.
While Marcus, like his mom, said he is an independent -- not liberal, moderate or conservative -- he said he supported Lamont because of his anti-Iraq War position. “We shouldn’t be there,” said Marcus.
Their dad, Mohammed Harun, a New Haven taxi driver, drove his boys to the Election Day showdown.
“I liked the way my brother reported on Ned Lamont,” said Eunes, who served as the cameraman while Marcus interviewed folks at the headquarters. (Click here to watch their Lamont video.)
But the real treat for Eunes came after Lamont delivered his concession speech.
“He came down from the stage and I went over [to Lamont] and he picked me up and 15 cameras flashed,” Eunes said excitedly as if it just happened. “He hugged me. I was so happy.”
Aside from News
Marcus has accumulated quite a few awards already in his 15 years. The last two years, he was a winner at the Technology Student Association national competitions. And Fox 61 nominated him as student news reporter in ’06.
Eunes received a reading award from Dunbar Hill this past school year. He also garnered a Cub Scout archery award.
In the summer, they spend two hours a day, four days a week, learning Arabic at the Islamic Center of Hamden on Connolly Turnpike. The boys are preparing to study the Koran. Like their dad, they are Muslim.
Story and photos by Betsy Driebeek
Twenty kids swapped their summer caps for thinking caps Thursday morning at Miller Library as they dove into the world of inventions.
Patrick Smith, a curator of The Museum of Connecticut History in Hartford, brought the museum's summer tour "Connecticut Invents" to Hamden.
"If I say invention, what comes to your mind?" Smith asked.
Children called out Igor Sikorsky and the helicopter, Sam Colt and the revolver, Eli Whitney and Henry Ford and mass production, Alexander Graham Bell and the telephone, Thomas Edison and the light bulb, and Sam Morse and the telegraph.
"You have mentioned only men. Are men the only inventors or are there famous women inventors, too?" Smith said. He then rattled off stuff women invented -- the drip coffee maker, windshield wipers and bullet proof vests.
"Can kids invent?" he said. "The Popsicle was invented by a kid. And how about mistakes? Can there be mistake inventions?"
One child mentioned maple syrup and Smith mentioned Silly Putty, invented in Connecticut by someone wanting a lighter plastic.
He shared other inventions native to Connecticut such as the Frisbee, Whiffle Ball, retractable measuring tape, hamburger, toothpaste tube and a French fry cutter.
The curator told the kids about a product invented by a Connecticut woman that just came on the market in April. It's called "Wet Bone" -- a package of water with a built-in bowl. Dog hydration made easy, anywhere.
"Can you be Connecticut kid inventors?" Smith challenged the group.
He gave the children five minutes to design, on paper, a device that would keep Smith's long-bodied, short-legged, long-eared dog's ears from flopping in its food and water bowls and thus making a mess in the kitchen.
"It has to be safe and not hurt the dog and you have to give it a marketable name," he instructed.
A sampling of the solutions included "The Ear Is Up" -- wooden blocks for each side of the dog's ears, which rest in rings attached to the wood; "Hair Band" and "Rubber Ears" -- tying up the ears with safe materials; "Robotic Ear Holder" -- robotic arms that lift the ears; and Unnamed -- electric arms on a collar that lift up the ears.
And then came Smith's big challenge: Invent a bridge, in 25 minutes, that could hold a 2-inch-by-4-inch piece of cardboard that could hold two rolls of pennies. The bridge had to be at least 20 inches long. Fifty plastic straws, still in their paper wrappers, and Scotch tape were the only items available for construction. The kids, grouped in fives, came up with three designs and four bridges.
Smith left his new inventors with these words: "Anyone can be an inventor. Don't be afraid to experiment, use your imagination. Make mistakes and learn from your mistakes and try again."
July 23, 2007
Students Out, Campers In
Words and pictures by Betsy Driebeek
Last week, Ridge Hill School was bustling with activity as 150 campers arrived each day to participate in the Munchkins, Rascals or Mad Science programs --all sponsored by Hamden Parks & Rec.
The theme was dinosaurs for the Munchkins (pre-k and kindergarten) and Rascals (first- and second-graders). Campers made fossils, went on a dinosaur egg hunt, touched real dinosaur bones and poop, dug for fossils, made dinosaur tooth casts, created a shooting volcano and, in a collaborative effort, constructed and painted a large dinosaur. Next week campers will be going "around the world."
Invention-ation was the theme at Mad Science. Twenty-five campers learned how to make Tootsie Rolls, elastic-propelled rockets, water-bottle/air-pressure rockets, balloon helmets -- to protect water balloons from bursting when dropped from a balcony -- bath fizzers and pasta skyscrapers.
Children brought scrap material from home and worked daily on their inventions, which were displayed on the last day of camp at the "Invention Convention." Hey, U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, watch out for these inventions: a water purifier, a cat exerciser, a buoy thermometer, a diary lock, a dog blanket, a playroom door, a hamster gym, a seasick helper, a cookie grabber and an exploding volcano.
Mad Science returns in two weeks, blasting into outer space with a NASA theme.
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