* And it Is Done — anewperspectiveperhaps

We did it. We finally got through the 504 review and hopefully it will be last meeting of the school year. Each time I have to sit down face to face with this group of 6 people, my heart grows a little more heavy. Do people not know what they say? Or is it some […]

via And it Is Done — anewperspectiveperhaps

Read this post for more insights on why families are ditching schools and hunting desperately for a place that will readily differentiate instruction for their kids.  For ALL kids.

* Christopher and me: cheating?

You have to love Christopher’s desire for integrity.  I have been tutoring this nephew of mine, a middle schooler on the autism spectrum, for a few years now.  He currently lives in Texas so our work is accomplished through Hangouts.

Christopher gaming

Christopher steered his way through a favorite game this past summer.

 

In a recent session, I was helping Christopher with his language arts homework.  He had a list of 12 words to write in sentences.  Each word was 4-5 syllables long (such as ‘inconceivably’) and he hadn’t the slightest clue what any of them meant.  The directions suggested that he’d encountered these in a reading assignment, but I know that Christopher is not going to learn or even hear any new words that way.  To him, school is largely white noise.  He is constantly scanning for clues and rules because “I’m not a slacker,” but the big picture?  Not so much.

After I wrote the first sentence in the shortest and most concise way to illustrate the word’s meaning, he looked at me and asked, “Is this cheating?”  I wanted to weep but I said, with confidence, that this was not cheating because he should never be expected to write these words in sentences until he knows what the words mean.  I said it was impossible for him and for me to complete this assignment if we didn’t know the words yet.

My heart breaks when I see this kind of one-size-fits-all teaching.  Poor Christopher, definitely not a slacker.  Definitely losing out on daily opportunities to learn because no one is taking the time to provide needed support.  If you come across the Christophers in your school or class, please remember their desire to learn and PLEASE get some help if you don’t know how to modify their environment.  Check out the Friday Institute’s  free Learning Differences course!

*Thanks, Scholastic!

Scholastic’s ScienceWorld is a terrific, teacher-friendly resource for hands-on and digital resources.  Sure, there’s a paper magazine version with your subscription, but the online goodies make the magazine even better!  And ScienceWorld is already amazing.  The magazine covers a wide range of middle school science topics from around the world, saving teachers much-needed time for collecting lesson plans, materials, and inspiration.

Scholastic makes a strong appeal to kids who are traditionally low in STEM careers: blacks and girls.  For instance, this month’s edition for middle schoolers features D-J Comeaux and his Black Panther app called AfroBot Boyz.  The main article in the magazine focuses on a student who participated in the Hidden Genius Project in Oakland, California, which supports black high school dropouts.

I also love this magazine because it keeps on giving, especially to special needs kiddos.  The online teacher resources provide multiple cool projects and experiments, available by intelligent searches, including archived versions of the past three years of your subscription.  A subscription to ScienceWorld supports struggling students by linking some of them to their narrow range of interests, providing multiple means of access, supporting hands-on activities, and opportunities for partner or small group learning.

Here’s a photo of extracted strands of strawberry DNA from a recent experiment in ScienceWorld.  Very cool!  Couldn’t do it without you, Scholastic!

dna strawberry

* Stepping on literature

hobbit feet

Having trouble getting some special needs students excited about reading?  Consider classroom or individual props.  Connect math, science, and social studies to literature.  This benefits all students, as do typically brain friendly approaches.  The student above loves to read but while we are making our way through “The Hobbit,” these slip ons are FUN!

* So THIS happened! — phyllis reklis

If you have been reading this blog you may remember a statement made in a post on 9/16 as Hurricane Florence made herself felt : But here in Durham, we came through untouched this time. We never lost power or had trees down (and we live in the Eno River Woods). I shared our deep […]

via So THIS happened! — phyllis reklis

* Eyeballing Hurricane Michael

Hurricane Michael took us by surprise.  It was “only” a tropical storm by the time it whooshed through North Carolina, but it packed quite a punch.  When I left school on Thursday, I was shocked to discover that the road was blocked by a fallen tree.

tree on road

I reversed and nearly crashed when I saw this on the side of the road.

eyeball

I guess it was originally in someone’s yard, a Halloween decoration.  Not as playful as it was intended, but I’m adding it to Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge!  (We are also more playful now that our power has been restored!)