* Re-treats!

What a  terrific weekend!  I spent it at a retreat with an amazing group of women from Grace Church, all empowered by the Holy Spirit!  No photos of us because of confidentiality, but the rationale of our Victory Weekend motivation is to raise up healthy leaders, even as our church is under construction.

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Here’s a non-confidential photo at the Avila Retreat Center.  It’s a peaceful setting where all religious denominations are welcomed.  Great southern hospitality!

 

When I got home, my dearest teaching widower had some treats waiting.  What a precious man!  My favorites: carrot cake and pomegranates.  Yum!

We will have the kiddos for Halloween trick-or-treating tomorrow.  Last year, my famous last words were, “Stay with me!” I’ll let you know what this year brings.

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Our neighbors anxiously await the trick-or-treaters.  We’ll see if they regret that!

* The New School – Part 3

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Wow. I am not sure I could keep it together as this mom has. Tikeetha’s son is attending a school struggling through major admin and teacher turnover. You’ll need to click on the links to previous posts to get the Big Picture. This mom has her act together, got some great advice from another blogger, and is trusting in the One who knows it all. Plus, her little Munch is a sweetie. Can’t get better than that!

A Thomas Point of View

This post is a continuation from yesterday’s post.

The next day as I was driving Munch to school he then tells me that his English Language Arts teacher no longer works there. They have a substitute for that class as well. What? Are you serious? I was livid! I just saw the dang teacher on Friday and she never said a word. No “This is my last damn day at this school”. Nothing.

Why didn’t they send a note home? Is it so dang hard to get a letter together? You have 3 secretaries. Heck, I could type it up. So, if you’re keeping count. Munch only has his original music teacher which he takes weekly, his PE teacher and his art teacher. His main two teachers who make up more than 2/3 of the grades are replaced with substitute teachers.

You know that I’m dying right?

I’m trying…

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* Pinpricks of light amid the darkness

You gotta love this sweet kid who sews bears for sick kids.  Perhaps your child may be inspired, too!

Video post by @bitterbluebird.

Source: Pinpricks of light amid the darkness

* Murder and mayhem

Maybe it’s just me, but when I saw this sign, I immediately thought of murder and mayhem.  Perhaps I’ve read too many legal thrillers.  What about you?   Doesn’t it seem a bit odd?   That’s my impression, so I’m entering it in Cee’s Oddball Challenge.  I would bet there’s a gentler way of advertising cemetery spaces.

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For those of you who might not know, this is BUY ONE, GET ONE FREE.

* Christopher and me: not so fast

I’ve been sharing my efforts to help my nephew, Christopher, a kiddo on the autism spectrum (aka, A Sweet Dude).  He has a reading profile similar to many ASD kids I’ve taught: tremendous word recognition and fluency with weak vocabulary and comprehension.  Christopher entered 4th grade this year (having been retained once already) with a 2+ year discrepancy between word recognition and comprehension.  His reading performance was recently assessed at school and voilà!  Christopher has gained more than a year’s growth in reading since we began our sessions!  

But before we break out the champagne, let’s examine the data provided by the school. Christopher has a “scale score” of 142 and the cut-off is 139; his score is even above his district average for third graders.  But a scale score on what?  It’s likely to be an mClass assessment called TRC, which uses the Fountas and Pinnel reading levels.  How is the parent supposed to know?  How could a parent advocate for their child on the basis of this information?  There is not a single clear reference to the test, which has now successfully removed “the retained reading label.”  Well, that’s a relief!  A second relief is that Christopher “will now remain with [his] current classroom teacher and take the 4th grade EOGs at the end of the year.”  That’s good news/bad news?

I do know that Christopher has made marvelous progress in reading, so why my sarcasm?  In 2012, North Carolina initiated the Read to Achieve program designed to reduce social promotion of students not reading at grade level by third grade.  Statistically, if kids aren’t proficient by then, they are at risk for school drop out.  But the devil’s in the details.  And you wouldn’t believe the details.  Here’s a link to those details, which are amazingly convoluted even to me- and I’m familiar with the convoluted world of education.  In an Op-Ed piece published by the News and Observer in June, 2015, a teacher is quoted as saying, “It is a dark day to be a third grade teacher in North Carolina.”  The writers, Robert Smith and Scott Imig, take NC to task for the unintended effects of Read to Achieve, such as high rates of anxiety among third graders and teacher ratings of strong negative effects on reading.

The bottom line: Christopher is making speedy progress in our sessions, but I’m not sure the school has proved it.     

 

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* Dusting off my blogging mojo

Hmm.  My blogging mojo disappeared between health challenges, work, and a mini-vacation.  I am trying to restore it, so thanks again to Cee for her wonderful challenges.   Yes, I just completed this challenge for LAST week, but now I’m on a roll.

What are you really glad you did yesterday?  I scheduled a post for today so I didn’t wake up with old mojo-less stuff on my blog.  Oh yeah!  I am so pleased with myself!  I already have a spiffy new post ready to pop out at 12:05 AM!  Woohoo!  I feel that mojo!

Would you prefer a one floor house or multiple levels?  I love multiple levels so I can toss everything upstairs when people come over.  Cleaning hack: use crime scene tape to keep folks from wandering.

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Have you done something you truly want to do today?   Yes!  I went swimming. I prayed a lot.  I ate gobs of chocolate.

What plans did you have as a teenager that didn’t happen? Are you happy it didn’t work out that way?  I wanted to die and I’m sooooooooooooooooo glad that none of my attempts succeeded.  I am more than happy about that!

Bonus question:  What are you grateful for from last week, and what are you looking forward to in the week coming up?   I am grateful for a quick but fun trip to the Virginia mountains with our son and his wife last weekend.  We laughed a lot, ate a lot, and they patiently sat in the car while I took photos.  I am now looking forward to a women’s retreat this weekend.  I will be shot if I pull out my phone, so no photos from that adventure.

* Tiny Tap’s terrific online courses

Tiny Tap takes online learning to a new level with curated Tiny Tap Courses!  Now teachers and parents can combine lessons to create seamless learning units!  Competency can be determined by requiring students to reach a certain score before advancing to the next lesson or continuous practice is available without requiring a minimum score.  Students also earn certificates as they complete courses.  Here’s a look at how phonics instruction can be personalized by grouping skills for particular students.  With over 80 thousand available lessons, comprehensive instruction is a tap away!

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Tiny Tap’s lessons and units are available in 30 languages and offer personalized instruction on a wide range of topics.  In case you’d forgotten, Tiny Tap offers parents and teachers insights on individual and class performance while providing differentiated learning experiences for students.  Tiny Tap is a terrific resource for special needs students with a wide range of needs.

If all that isn’t enough, what about making money while you individualize instruction?  Here’s the Tiny Tap teacher-driven economy.  You gotta love it!

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I could easily imagine a social skills unit for my dear Christopher.  I think it’s time for me to start tapping!

 

* Sun Shining On Fall Leaves

Look at the beauty of creation! Amy has captured the essence of autumn.

The World Is a Book...

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Such a scenic drive near Santa Fe, New Mexico! Photos were taken with iPhone 6+.

WPC: Shine

Thank you so much for visiting. 🙂

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* A Most Reluctant Princess

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Jean Cogdell has written another 5 star winner, this time for thoughtful young girls who ponder their future.  As Amy considers her potential careers, including doctor, artist, president, and fairy, clear and gentle illustrations by Ashley Bauer capture the splendid role-playing of this imaginative child.  The sweetest message in this book is based on Amy’s secure love from her parents, especially her dad.  He calls her “his little princess” and Amy delights in being swept off the ground into his arms.  Her mother’s arms also hold this precious girl tight, reminding her that she has plenty of time to follow her dreams.  Cogdell has written this book in rhyme, with the soothing repetition that should make this a delightful bedtime story.  For older readers, there are other issues to ponder, such as the weight of a crown and throne. This book is sure to inspire girls and boys alike to enjoy creative play, while acknowledging that love is the foundation for any happy future.

A Most Reluctant Princess is available from Amazon.