* 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!)

* Mighty Slow Florence

We knew that Hurricane Florence was huge before she arrived, but her 5 mph speed is a nightmare for the coastal and sandhill regions of North Carolina.  Some areas have been drenched with two feet of water and the worst is yet to come, as rivers continue to surge over their banks.  We are so fortunate to be north of the hardest-hit areas (see blue dot below).  The current band of tropical rain has put us back in a flood advisory, but I’m more concerned about our pine trees with their shallow root systems in this saturated soil.

Florence 3

My dearest teaching widower just showed me a clip that urged safety for North Carolinians who have lost their power- because someone doesn’t want to go to a bunch of baby showers!  I think we are safe on that front, at least.

* Silver Resurrection

Silver Resurrection sounds like the name for Terminator movie, right?  I thought my Subaru was dead and gone, but a used engine was cheaper than buying a new car.  So I shed unnecessary tears and my precious wheels are back.  My daughter-in-law has told me you never name a tree (I shed tears over losing Baby), and perhaps that holds true for cars as well.

If only we could have a Floor Resurrection!  We’re digging out under yet another thick layer of sawdust but our subfloor in the kitchen has been covered with plywood!  Who knows?  Eventually we may have a new floor and new dishwasher.  Baby steps, baby steps.

On the other hand, I had just painted the kitchen this past weekend and now… yuck!

painting kitchen 2

Well, it’s only sawdust.  Better than what Hurricane Florence may drop on us!

 

* Waiting for Florence

As hurricane Florence slowly approaches the North Carolina coastline, most of us are constantly checking for updates, comparing previous hurricane experiences, and bemoaning all manner of things.  No water, bread, or milk in the stores, gas stations drained dry.  Schools closed as we look out a calm, gray sky.  We debate which spaghetti model best predicts Florence’s path.  Yeah, spaghetti.

Meteorologists are debating the merits of the American versus European computer models.  We have this centuries-old rumble with Europe, you know.  And while the rest of the world measures kilometers, we are talking about wind speeds of 140 miles per hour.  And degrees Fahrenheit.  And inches of barometric pressure.  A hurricane event could be a terrific way for us to segue into the metric system because we need immersion, not random lessons.  Opportunity lost.  I guess no one at the beach wants to hear about immersion.

Florence has been a wonder of nature, though.  Whether seen by infrared or from the ISS (below), she is a magnificent storm.  If only she could stay in the Atlantic!

 

Florence

Watch a video here