* Online calculator

Ah, thank you, online-calculator.com for providing a full screen calculator without an app.  This is a useful tool for students working with eye gaze technology.  I wish I could adjust the colors and also view the complete operation above the keypad, but I’ll take what I can get.  Image online calculator

* Save Twitter- retweet this!

twitter-117595_960_720.pngOh my!  Twitter is in a race for its life, struggling to keep up with Facebook and Snapchat.  Twitter has not yet made a profit, despite 313 million users per month and ten years in operation.  Somehow, they made $602 million this year BUT no profit?   Hmm.  That is very similar to my teaching financial model, so perhaps I should apply for the CEO position if they are getting desperate.

Here are 5 compelling reasons to support Twitter in its time of need:

  1.  My generation has finally mastered the intricacies of tweets.  Forcing us to learn a new system would be cruel and unusual punishment.
  2.  Our entire culture has learned that “tweet” is not just what a bird says.  The ripples of losing that new definition could affect educational outcomes and our ability to create 21st century learners.
  3.  The Twitter business model is mythical and mysterious.  Business and economic majors could study this for decades, perhaps creating a new theory of relativity.
  4.  I am too wrinkled to use Snapchat.  And I can’t sing.
  5.  We have learned to communicate in 140 characters or less.  Long-winded, can’t-shut-up people are probably losing out in the gene pool.  We could end up with an entire world of brevity.

‘Nuff said.

* #tmtcraftoff

If you are looking for a new home, your search ends here! Especially if you’re about 2 cm tall….. Jennifer has outdone herself!

Tourmaline .

The #tmtcraftoff is a challenge issued by the moving company Two Men and a Truck to make something completely out of cardboard. If the contest is still up, you can access it, see the prizes and view the entries here.

I found out about this contest, I think around the 19th of July. I had an idea by the 21st. The submissions were due the 27th. I worked on this tiny little house for 4 days. Over those days I estimate I worked on the house and accessories for around 30 hours. With a good bit of hesitation I officially entered the contest on the 24th and now I’m biding my time until winners will be announced August 1st.

In the meantime, here’s a behind the scenes and close up look. I hope to use this house for a photo series some day soon.

My entry photo and caption:

View original post 178 more words

* Christopher and me: medication for ADHD?

In this ongoing series about my intervention with Christopher, a nephew on the autism spectrum, this post is about his attention struggles and whether medication is a good option for him.  Christopher’s teachers have struggled with his distractibility and certainly want to recommend medication.  Been there, done that, with some kids.  Public schools cannot and should not require parents to put kids on medication, but very often, teachers are the ones who can see how attention problems affect daily learning.


My dearest widower caught this episode of Christopher and I playing with a pencil during a brain break.

Although kids on the spectrum can have attention disorders and are sometimes treated with medication, I don’t believe medication is the way to go for this youngster.  First, Christopher did not receive early and effective intervention.  We don’t know how far he can go with adequate support.  He began kindergarten at six years old and finally received social skills support in second grade, for one 30 minute session a week.  Parental denial was a primary factor in that delay, which stalled his progress and minimized and/or eliminated the potential benefits of school and family coordination.

Second, Christopher’s attention problems are reduced with positive behavior interventions and adequate academic support.  He is an active learner in our sessions and is eager to please.  I do provide times for him to act “silly,” which in his case means laughing and talking rapidly about his interests.  Some of those interests, like getting a shot, reflect his anxiety about life.  He worries about many things and given the tremendous upheaval in his life this year, those uncertainties are reasonable.  We play through his worries, which seems to act like a pressure valve.  Christopher will escalate into a wild thing if I don’t intervene at all, but I want him to see that he can “come back” with minimal support.  Without other kids, it is easy for us to openly explore issues which affect his social standing, such as picking his nose and sucking his fingers.

Third, Christopher is at risk for losing weight on stimulant medications.  He is already underweight and eats a very restricted diet by choice.  He is gradually broadening his range of acceptable foods now that his environment has stabilized, but I don’t think he can afford to lose even 5 pounds.

Bottom line:  We need to give Christopher the time to benefit from other interventions before considering medication.

* Today is milk chocolate day


Today is milk chocolate day!  (Thanks, Jennifer, for leading me to this challenge!)  But let’s not limit ourselves to ONE day.  There are many milk chocolate days to remember….

  • Kiddos were thrilled, even stunned, when chocolate milk appeared in school cafeterias for the first time.  Yes, I am old enough to remember the event.  Glorious day.
  • Back in the day, there was no cafeteria at the school my sister and I attended (in England).  We’d trek home for lunch and snatch up the bob (shilling) our grandmother always left us, dashing to the sweet shop with renewed energy.  My favorite was the Toffee Cup, a now-extinct brand of heaven.  It was shaped kinda like a miniature barbell, wrapped in golden foil which was always sticky from leaking toffee.  Perhaps that’s why it was discontinued.  Oh, how I wish I’d taken a picture of that heavenly treat!  At least Flake bars are still available!
Flake bar.JPG

Buy yours from The British Shoppe

  • After a childhood spent gorging myself on chocolate, I developed a chocolate allergy!  I couldn’t eat as much as a single chocolate chip without feeling like I’d swallowed glass.  This went on for decades and I had resigned myself to a life of suffering with white chocolate, which isn’t chocolate at all.  Then we had a healing service at church and the visiting pastor called up all folks with food allergies.  People who were allergic to eggs, milk, and other basic items lined up in front.  My dearest widower nudged me, but I remained planted in my seat.  How embarrassing to ask for healing from something as trivial as chocolate!  But my dearest widower gave me a stronger nudge (more like a hefty shove, dear husband) and I found myself in the line.  When the pastor asked what I was allergic to, my face turned red and I mumbled “choccchoccclatttt.”  Of course, he asked me to repeat that, which made the entire congregation laugh.  My heart sank, but he also laughed and said, “Oh my!  Chocolate is from heaven!”  (A man after my own heart.)  Here’s the thing: After we prayed, I was healed!  On the way home, my widower and I bought a huge chocolate cake and I scarfed down at least half of it.  And now I eat chocolate every day, because God must think chocolate is heavenly, as well.  Or perhaps He just loves me a whole bunch.  Even more than chocolate??  Oh happy day!



* Take your Houseplant for a Walk Day — Jennifer Nichole Wells

Jennifer Wells creates some amazing photos!  I hope to tag along with this one later today.  Have you walked your plants today?   Mine are all dead, so that would look odd.  

There are so many “holidays” every day – this is my attempt at a daily photo response. Join in if you’d like. Just tag your post #todayis. Today is also… Walk on Stilts Day Scotch Whisky Day Learn more: https://www.daysoftheyear.com/

via Take your Houseplant for a Walk Day — Jennifer Nichole Wells

* 50 Easy Steps to Make Life Better — Suzie Speaks

At first glance, you might run as fast as possible from this post.  50 STEPS?  Are you CRAZY?  You’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that these are DOABLE.  As Suzi points out, you don’t do all of them in one day.   You’ll find many that resonate, so start there.  Consider these as timesavers for the school year that looms ahead.  Many of them are perfect for keeping your classroom well organized.  Teach them to your students (I wish I had learned some of these when I was younger).  I am going to make them my Bucket List for the next month and keep you posted on how I’m doing.  Thanks, Suzi, and let the journey begin!!  

This was a list of physical, psychological, financial and emotional things that I created a couple of months ago to make life that little bit easier… and it really works. Of course, it’s impossible to do all of these in a day, but I have broken it down into smaller chunks – I’ve found that […]

via 50 Easy Steps to Make Life Better — Suzie Speaks

* #BeReal – DREW SHELDON — cabbagesandkings524

Written by an abuse survivor, this post describes the lifelong journey of accepting the truth, dealing with pain, and acknowledging personal failure.  Can you be that teacher, that mentor, that relative, who will make a difference in the lives of abused kids?  I covered up my wounds to avoid repercussions, but many teachers loved me.  Reach out to needy children.  Make a difference in the lives of silent sufferers.

Originally posted on HASTYWORDS: Please welcome Drew Sheldon to #BeReal. I couldn’t believe it when Hasty invited me to take part in #BeReal, I was quick to say yes. I was not, however, quick to write this. Writing has been quite a slog recently. The more I work at being real, the more I struggle…

via #BeReal – DREW SHELDON — cabbagesandkings524

* Blossoming in the new school year

It won’t be long before school is back in session.  For those on a year-round calendar, the new year has already begun.  How do we help our special needs kids flourish this year?  I’ve been inspired to write this by Cee’s photography, of all things.  Here are two images to consider.  (The crepe myrtle on the left belongs to a neighbor; the one on the right is ours.  Bummer.)  Which image best represents our hopes and dreams for kids this school year?


Since I am far more adept at teaching than growing plants, here are some tips as you prepare for the new year:

  • Make sure you start adjusting bedtime schedules.
  • Start building stamina for longer periods of sitting and listening.  The local library is a good option for this.
  • Let your child help select lunchboxes and backpacks, where possible.
  • Get your child the school’s tee shirt (often available from thrift shops).  I have seen these add social credit by creating a sense of belonging.
  • Start preparing a daily/weekly routine for school days, most likely with some kind of break when kids get home.  The light at the end of the tunnel is important.
  • Assuming your child has issues with behavior and/or attention, plan or resurrect a reward system for extra motivation.
  • If your child’s IEP does not already include an individual orientation with the classroom teacher, ask for one.
  • Start spending time around the school with your kids.  You could probably find a garden bed to weed and trash to collect.  You might ask the secretary for some other ways to help.  Perhaps there are boxes to recycle or catalogs to file in teacher mailboxes. I’ll bet the office staff would enjoy a homemade treat.  Bribery works.
  • If homework was an unresolved nightmare issue last year, face it head on.  If your child is too worn out after school to effectively complete homework, strategize how you might approach this problem more successfully.  Talk to other parents and/or sympathetic teachers for advice.
  • Watch some “back to school” movies as a family.  Care has a list of 10 good ones, including a favorite of mine, “Akeelah and the Bee.”
  • Parent’s Choice also has a great list of back to school books.  “Thank you, Mr. Falker” by Patricia Polacco is terrific.

Do you have any other tips to share?