Before 10 Books A Home moved to the new headquarters, Role Models had a tough time stopping by the office, let alone getting the resources they needed. You had to circle the block - once, twice, maybe even three times, to find parking. If you weren’t careful as you entered the small apartment that served as the 10BH office, you would walk into a sofa, back up into the printer or trip over a small stack of books – overflow from the three bookshelves pressed up against the walls. The only resources made available to Role Models were reading books and workbooks for practicing numbers, letters, colors, and shapes. Role Models would collect what they could and head home, spending upwards of an hour planning and seeking out new activities to engage their Learner in during their weekly sessions. Paul Thiebaut III, CEO & Founder of 10 Books A Home, dreamed of someday having a space where Role Models would have access to activities, supplies and resources for their Learners - the Lesson Planning Room. When the 10BH team moved into their new home on Westminster Avenue in East Palo Alto in January 2015, Paul’s dream became a reality.
After just a few months in the new HQ, 10BH has an ever growing and evolving Lesson Planning Room, with over one hundred activities to date. Role Models plan lessons their Learners enjoy with functional, multipurpose and challenging activities, rather than working through a fixed lesson plan that may not work with every Learner. A Role Model can pick up a playset or building blocks and role play being at the doctor’s office or visiting a construction site with their Learner. Puppets, puzzles, game boards and sensory boxes are also available. Some activities stand alone while others are paired with reading books. The objective is to have a space fully stocked with activities Role Models use to build lessons for the week.
“Every activity in our Lesson Planning Room embodies what 10BH stands for,” Paul said. “We focus our efforts on implementing the Learner Centric Approach and thus one activity can be used in different ways by different Role Models. A Learner can be taught colors, shapes and counting with one activity while a different Learner can use the same activity and be taught something completely different like gross or fine motor skills. Role Models are free to visit the Lesson Planning Room and build entire lessons around interactive activities that have a proven track record with Learners.”
Angelica Cervantes Ochoa, a ten month veteran is just one of the many Role Models enjoying the benefits of the Lesson Planning Room. Angelica recalls the earlier days, relying on bulky workbooks to guide her lessons. Her Learner’s mother was adamant that completion of workbooks was important and directly correlated with her son’s success, which may not have been the best approach for his own motivation to learn.
A shy young boy who rarely spoke at school and often got lost in the crowd, Angelica’s Learner first presented as reserved and distant. With the introduction of the Lesson Planning Room, Angelica was able to introduce more interactive games and hands on activities.
“My Learner loves the play sets,” explained Angelica. “He enjoys the role playing we do: gardening, driving around a race track with cars and anything to do with construction. I go in once or twice a week to check out new activities.”
Angelica noticed an immediate change in her Learner as she began incorporating activities from the Lesson Planning Room into their weekly sessions; he became more open, eagerly awaited her arrival and was much more engaged during their time together. The results were so apparent that her Learner’s mother gave up on workbooks altogether and began purchasing interactive games and activities for the Learner to have at home.
Maria Gonzalez, also a Role Model for ten months has seen significant results from using the new activities with her two Learners.
“Repeating letters and tracing numbers is boring for my Learners - I think it’s boring for any young kid,” said Maria. “My kids are active, we do jumping jacks and play with play-doh and they love the sensory kits.”
Maria used to spend upwards of two hours a week researching activities online and purchasing crafts from the nearest Michael’s store. Now Maria only uses activities from the Lesson Planning Room. She picks up activities she knows her Learners enjoy and every week picks out a new or challenging activity to test with her Learners. Maria’s lessons are much more interactive now and she sees greater success with the tried and tested activities the Lesson Planning Room has to offer.
“In the early days I was still getting to know my Learners, what they liked, disliked, what they were good at, and what was a challenge for them,” said Maria. “But even in knowing that, the activities I planned were hit or miss. Sometimes they worked and other times they didn’t. Now, almost every activity I bring is something my Learners enjoy, or at the very least are willing to try out.”
Now Role Models with little to no experience have a wealth of resources and guidance in planning meaningful lessons with great impact. Consequently, 10BH is seeing a longer commitment from Role Models and improved success with Learners. Lessons are much more effective and Learners are becoming more rapidly involved. Parents report Learners are much more excited about meeting with their Role Model and eager to start a new hands on activity.
The Lesson Planning Room and availability of new resources for Role Models is a dynamic shift for 10BH and signals a new era for the program. With the Lesson Planning Room, 10BH is realizing its goal of delivering Learner-centric activities to the home that meet the unique needs of the young Learners in the community. With this ever increasing resource of diverse and fun activities that are easy to implement and recreate across the board, 10BH is ready for rapid expansion!