BS Computer Science
Founder - HuckleBerry Center for Creative Learning
A home schooling educator for many years, I've taught classes in most subjects, but my favorite is Model UN and History. Well, and math... And Literature. Ha - I love to teach anything where critical thinking skills are being developed with your children! I love working with students seeking to make connections and find root causes. To do this, I seek to create an environment where learning is engaging to help students become self-learners, willing to make mistakes, try new ideas, do more research and stretch themselves to own their education. Ultimately, I hope to become more of a guide in the classroom, where the students take complete charge of their education. My goal is basically to get out of their way.
Prior to homeschooling I was a software consultant in the Bay Area, focusing in the genomic space where I managed teams developing algorithms and interfaces designed to find genomic causes of disease. I hold a patent for developing an algorithm for gene discovery and another for developing a commercial grade genomic visualization tool. In my spare time, I ran an adventure scuba diving company, leading small groups all over the world to experience the beauty of our amazing world.
Novice (ages 12+)
Advanced (ages 14+ with experience)
contact firstname.lastname@example.org to join the Advanced class
Additional Fees: Conference Registration Fees (normally about $40-$50), depending on the number of conferences each student chooses to attend. Students can choose from several different conferences, or they can continue to practice debate in the classroom and not attend outside conferences. Students can work on fundraising at HuckleBerry to offset costs for attending conferences.
Model UN is one of the best incubators of critical thinking that I've had the pleasure of being a part of. In this class, we look at problems that exist on the world stage and seek to find collaborative solutions.
We start this class learning basic skills that are more like life skills than anything else:
- active listening. It's HARD to listen to other people and truly understand what they are saying without planning your retort! We play games to make sure we are engaged in active listening first, and rebutting second.
- research / forming an opinion or solution! It seems like an easy skill that your child probably already possesses, but these are opinions about world issues. So we do the research to see what's happening, what our assigned country is doing about the problem, and form an opinion about what solutions would work best on the world stage.
- public speaking / respectful disagreement. Of course, it's debate! So we are teaching how to disagree in this class! But debate is always respectful. We learn ways to disagree and collaborate. We learn to let someone else be right, but also to add in another aspect of a problem. We learn ways to help move an idea forward in ways that people can listen to and agree.
- collaboration. Ultimately this is the only way to "win" in Model UN debates. You must find ways to get others to agree with your solutions
This is NOT a class about politics! In Model UN, the class is given a global issue to research, debate and create solutions to present to a group, and then vote on the merits of each solution that is presented. Love what the UN does? This class can help you understand how they do their work. DON'T LOVE what the UN does? This class will help you understand where the UN is broken, and what some countries are doing to try to fix, or move away from, the work that the UN is tackling. Either way, students will understand the complexities of global issues, AND they will work to understand solutions that have either already been suggested, or they will create their own! Students work together as a small team or individually to represent a country, and then get to work understanding a global issue, their countries current response to the issue, and solutions that they think help to solve the issue.
Issues we have tackled include: Making primary education accessible to all, global climate change, globalization, access to clean water, refugee crises and more! We will take on issues that the UN has already ruled on, or may be dealing with right now. We will learn how to present ideas fully and persuasively, practice public speaking and logic, along with learning UN Debate procedures. Some students will feel comfortable being very vocal while debating the issue, and others will not. The forum for these events provides opportunities for all types of learners. Some students will shine in moderated debates where rules of procedure are in play, while others will prefer the unmoderated debates where they can meet with any team member and work to create collaborative solutions. Some will prefer to research while others will prefer to present. Either way, everyone will learn geography, economic terms, current issues, how to research, public speaking and how to write a position paper.
A Crisis Committee will be available in all conferences for experienced Model UN students. This is essentially an experiential historical recreation where students take on the role of a pivotal person with the historical event, and role play that person to recreate history! Students are given direct links to documents that help them understand what happened in the event. Maybe it would be the Cuban Missile Crisis, or perhaps the Gulf War. In our latest class, it was set in a particular time of the Star Wars story! Characters make requests to the Crisis Center, and these requests can be granted, partially granted, or denied based on how well they explain their actions. One team's actions will almost certainly affect the other team, and quick and inventive thinking will rule the day!