May 2011

Hipster Kitsch

Why it's the worst


Our generation is unique in that it’s the first to take imagery from the past fifty or so years and dilute it down to an easily packaged brand of “cool”. The cutting edge of the present is saturated with fake vintage aesthetics and cheap recreations of 20th century art. Browse around Tumblr awhile and you’ll see what I mean. There are blogs, run mainly by girls in their 20s, dedicated entirely to pictures of an idealized “bohemian” lifestyle. Apparently, the perfect life for a young, fashionable person these days involves owning lots of books, a guitar, some indiscriminate art, and a bunch of hippie clothes.

AVID program helps middle-of-the-road, minority students go to college

I had never heard of the AVID program before I started AmeriCorps this year.  Now that I serve in a school where more than half of students are on free or reduced lunch in a district near Seattle, I see how a program like AVID can work.  AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) takes middle-of-the-road students—first generation college students, students who do poorly in school, but have a willingness to work hard, students who are from poor or minority families—and put them on a path to attend college. 

AVID is an elective for students in elementary school through seniors in high school. It works because students want to take it (at least in theory). At most schools, students are interviewed to make sure that their college and academic interests match with those that AVID wants to foster. The AVID curriculum is based on the idea of the WICR—Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration and Reading—method. In class, students learn study skills, note-taking, organization, as well as critical thinking skills and how to ask questions in the form of tutorials, in which they bring in questions they are struggling with in their other classes.  Students take the skills they learn and apply them to other classes.