Different Types of Children with Aspergers!


Dear Readers

Here’s an excellent article I read regarding children with Aspergers. It’s pretty long but I think it’s worth it:

The Emotional Aspergers Child

Many children with Aspergers and High-Functioning Autism fall into one of the “emotional types” listed below. Their feelings control their actions. These kids have many more tantrums, are less available, easily disengage, and are more prone to defiant behavior.

This is the most difficult type of Aspergers child to deal with, because rules – and the reasons for rules – mean much less to him. The parents and teachers who have to deal with the emotional Aspie often find themselves in a state of frustration or crisis. Many of these children will end up on medications for their issues, because their coping skills are poorly developed and inadequate to meet the demands of home and school. But that’s o.k., because the right medication and an effective behavioral plan can do wonders.

Type 1: The Fearful Aspie—Read More »

The Power of Introversion by Susan Cain (TED talk)


Dear Readers,

Have you ever heard of TED? If you haven’t, you don’t know what you’re missing. It was created by . A topic is presented by an expert in a certain field. They have 18 minutes to present their topic. This particular topic was given by Susan Cain. She recently wrote a book called The Power of Introversion. I loved this TED talk because it seemed to be singing my life story. I am an introvert. When I announced that I was an introvert, one of my classmates said that I wasn’t. I can see what she was thinking. I would not have believed it either.

She thought I wasn’t an introvert because she was also. However, she is not a talker nor is she good at public speaking. She thought I was an extrovert because I am a talker, I speak to everyone, and I’m not shy about public speaking. I can be around people and talk and schmooze, but only for a limited amount of time.

If she knew anything about introverts, she would know that that is not what an introvert is all about-that not all introverts are like her. I always say that I live in my own head, that being around too many people drains me and I need to recuperate. That’s what an introvert is about. I do best when I can think through things or when I am reading or writing.

If you thought like my former classmate, then you should watch this TED talk with Susan Cain.

Are You Left-Brained or Right-Brained? Part II


Dear Readers,

Here’s Part II as promised.

tpt - right or left brain

So which side won the arm wrestling contest? Now that you know which side of your brain is dominant, it’s time for you to learn exactly what that means for you as a student of academics – and the world. How can you improve your academic learning/studying techniques?

First, take out the worksheet from our last post. We all use both sides of the brain when we need to, but when we’re stressed, it‘s difficult for the “weaker” brain hemisphere to take action efficiently. It can sort of ‘freeze up’. And what is one situation where you become stressed? Probably in school when learning something new, or when taking a dreaded test/quiz.

Take a look at which side you marked as your dominant brain, and which parts of your body are your strongest. Now let’s look at figures “X”, “Y”, and “Z”.Read More »

Are You Left-Brained or Right-Brained? Part I


Dear Readers,

I was just talking to my daughter, Phillise, the other day about this very subject. She was talking to her dad about this and they concluded that she is left-brained, while I am a combination of right-brained and left-brained. It is an extremely long read, but is so worth it.

***Thanks to one of my readers, I’ve updated the broken link***

Here’s the link just in case you’re interested:          https://testyourself.psychtests.com/testid/3178

I will post Part II tomorrow!

tpt - right or left brain
(Click the image to get the printable version of the exercise!)

Are you right-brained or left-brained? That is the question…! Understanding which side of your brain you use most to learn can totally transform the way you feel about school and academics. This is exciting stuff – and we are here to help you transform!

Over the next several weeks, we are going to help you figure out your strongest learning styles.  How are we going to accomplish that?  Well, we’re going start by teaching you to analyze “what makes you tick?” You’ll be doing some fun exercises, and a little self-analysis, to figure out which side of your brain is the “strong side,” and what kind of learner you are.  Once you are armed with that information, you will be ready to embrace your learning style.

No more wondering, “How do I learn?” or “I don’t know how to study!”  We will give you suggestions for studying techniques that will make you an academic rock star! If you find yourself scratching your head wondering, “HUH?” in class – then these next few weeks will transform that to an, “A-HA!” May the academic force be with you.

Are You Right-Brained or Left-Brained?Read More »

Ten Commandments for Interacting With Kids on the Autism Spectrum


I found this on another site and I just had to share. Here’s the link just in case you’re interested: http://enabledkids.ca/?p=2071

1. Thou shall not yell when speaking to me.
My disability does not impair my hearing and I am extremely bright. Perhaps even brighter than you are.

2. Thou shall not ignore me, talk negatively about me, speak unnaturally slow, or ask questions to others in the room that pertain to me.
I can comprehend what you are saying just fine.

3. Thou shall believe in me and help me believe in my skills and self worth.
Note the good in me and do not merely point out my negative behaviors. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

4. Thou shall not perceive me as dumb.
I am extremely intelligent. I do not learn in the same way as you, and maybe not as quickly as you expect me to. Have patience with me. Once I recall information, I never forget.

5. Thou shall not judge my behavior.
I can get overstimulated in certain environments. I may be hypersensitive to sound and loud noises may hurt my ears. Fluorescent lights are distracting for me. They have a humming noise, and can pulsate. All the noises in a room can blur together. Please make accommodations to help me.

6. Thou shall not be so quick to scold me.
Do not tell me that “I know what I did”. I do not. Tell me what my infraction was in a simple, concise manner. I want to please you, but I have difficulties inferring meaning within a vague statement. For instance, do not say please clean up your bedroom. Tell me exactly what you want, such as ‘Please make your bed and pick up your toys”.

7. Thou shall not compare me to others.
Please remind me, and note the talents that I possess. This increases my confidence and positive self worth. Learning disabled or not, we ALL have talents to contribute within society. I need you to help me realize what mine is. Believe in me and I will believe in myself.

8. Thou shall not exclude me from activities.
Please do not mimic me, ignore me, or bully me.  Please invite me to play with you. It hurts my feelings when I am excluded. I like to run and jump in the playground, and be invited to birthday parties too. Grownups can help me make friends by encouraging other children to play with me. I can be a loyal friend if you get to know me.

9. Thou shall give me choices.
I do not like being ordered about any more than the other children. Give me choices so I know you value my capabilities and opinions. Make them simple and concise. Present two options or so. I get confused when too many questions or directions are given at one time due to my processing speed. For instance, ask me if I would like to wear my blue sweater or green one, rather than asking which sweater I would like to wear.

10. Thou shall not judge me by my diagnosis, but by my character.
I am an individual, just like other children. As my son used to say, “Mom my name is John (name changed for his anonymity) not Asperger’s”. A profound statement I would say. :-0)

Please join me in my utopian world where society perceives individuals as a whole, and does not judge them merely in character segments.

Thank you!

First Books Book Giveaway!


Dear Readers,

***Here is the information for free books. The shipping fee is only $0.45 /book to ship anywhere in the U.S.***

Give the gift of books – Apply for our last book distribution of the year!
A book is the gift that keeps on giving, and First Book is doing everything we can to make sure our programs can give the gift of reading to their kids this holiday season.  So, the First Book National Book Bank is having one last book distribution this calendar year, so you can get brand new books for free that your kids will love, just in time for winter break. With activity books, Christmas stories, and tons of awesome YA titles, we’ve got something for everyone!

Distribution names:

Season’s Readings: Books for Ages 0-9
Season’s Readings: Books for Ages 10-18

Cost of books:  Free!
Shipping & handling fee: $0.45 / book to be shipped anywhere in the US.
When will I get my books?: Books will arrive by mid December

As always, we encourage you to apply for as many distributions as you want, and spread the word to any programs that serve children in need – we have plenty of books to go around!

Happy reading!

First Book

Elkonin Boxes & Its Uses! (For Mary t.)


***This post is for Mary t. (sorry about the transposed letters). I hope this answers your questions. If not, don’t hesitate to e-mail me.***

Recently I posted about Elkonin boxes and how I have been having much success with them. I also linked to some other posts of mine regarding their usage. Click here and here. Now let me further explain how I use them.

Here’s a picture of an Elkonin box with three boxes. You can print this or you can make your own. To make your own, just draw 2,3,4, or 5 boxes side by side. Either way will work.
Elkonin boxes are used to teach phonemic and phonological awareness and syllabication.
Elkonin boxes are great because the students are using multiple modalities- tactile, visual, oral, & kinesthetic.

Lesson Plan
Title: Push it Good!Read More »

I Won!!!


Dear Readers,
I am so excited. I wrote a book grant back in August for my school and was recently notified that my school won to the tune of 489 books. This is such great news. Especially since the school librarian won a book grant earlier in the year for which we are having an assembly in November.
It was my wish to give the books to the parents during the ceremony. Now that wish has become a reality. I’ll speak with my Principal and see if I can pick them up sometime this week.
I am really excited about this. I’ll keep you updated. Bye for now!

I’ve Never Encountered This Before, Part 2


So, to continue with the story of Paul, the student who could not consistently identify all of his alphabets, yet read fluently and on grade level with 100% accuracy. That was so puzzling to me. I still can’t figure it out, so I will move on.

Here’s a little update on his progress. He’s making amazing progress. Judging by his progress, I would say that his problem was more than likely lack of instruction & being an Englis Language Learner (ELL). I believe most of his problem stems from lack of instruction because he “gets it” when I explain something to him. Not only that, but he remembers and applies the information.

He’s made progrss with the letters he couldn’t consistently identify & with the identification & application of short vowels. The week after next I will do his monthly progress monitoring. So far, so good though. I’m really excited about his progress. As always I will keep you posted.

Presented with Some Interesting Problems…


Dear Readers,

I will officially begin pulling students out on Monday. My first student (period) and of the day is Sito. He was referred by his teacher because he has a problem retaining information. It’s not just him though. Four other students are having similar problems, as well. From my research and personal experience, I can only think of a couple of things it could be. One possible problem is ADD- the student can’t focus long enough to assimilate the information into their store of knowledge and make connections to it.

Or it could be, according to a hand-out I received, dyslexia. With my mind set on conquering this problem, my interest was piqued. So I conducted further research and discovered that the two (ADD & dyslexia, just in case you weren’t paying attention) usually work hand in hand. Surprised? If you weren’t, I was. I know that further research is warranted because knowing the problem is only the first step. I am on the lookout for methods & strategies to help these students who’ve been struggling with this for years. I will post on my findings & ways to combat it. Stay tuned!

Bye for now!

Common Signs of Dyslexia by Reading Rockets


 

Here’s a great checklist for common warning signs of dyslexia. Again, it’s a bit of a read, but worth it.

Common Signs of Dyslexia

By: International Dyslexia Association

Dyslexia is a language-based disability that affects both oral and written language. With help, children with dyslexia can become successful readers. Find out the warning signs for dyslexia that preschool and elementary school children might display.

Facts about dyslexia

Startling facts about dyslexia and related language-based learning disabilities:

  • Fifteen to twenty percent of the population has a reading disability.
  • Of students with specific learning disabilities who receive special education services, seventy to eighty percent have deficits in reading. Dyslexia is the most common cause of reading, writing and spelling difficulties.
  • If children who are dyslexic get effective phonological training in kindergarten and first grade, they will have significantly fewer problems in learning to read at grade level than do children who are not identified or helped until third grade.
  • Seventy four percent of the children who were poor readers in the third grade remained poor readers in the ninth grade. This means that they couldn’t read well when they became adults.
  • Individuals inherit the genetic links for dyslexia.
  • Dyslexia affects males and females nearly equally, and people from different ethnic and socio-economic backgrounds as well.

Common signs: PreschoolRead More »

Defeat Dyslexia by Catching It Early by Mindy Toran


Hello Dear Readers,

I found this great article on dyslexia. It’s a little bit of a read but worth it; especially if you suspect your child or someone you know has dyslexia. (Taken directly from: http://www.montgomerynews.com/articles/2012/08/24/parents_express/doc50355aeec2882548048182.txt?viewmode=fullstory 

“Awareness is the key to addressing dyslexia and other language-based learning differences,” says Julia Sadtler, president of the Pennsylvania Branch of the International Dyslexia Association. Recognizing a learning disability earlier rather than later is important.

According to the National Institutes of Health, it’s estimated that 15 to 20 percent of the population, or one out of every five students, has a language-based learning disability. The most common of these disabilities is dyslexia, a neurological disorder that results in difficulties with language skills such as reading, writing, spelling or word pronunciation.Read More »

Getting It Together, Part Whatever!!!


Dear Readers,

I am slowly but surely getting it together. As you may know, I got a promotion (with no bump in pay) to Inclusion Specialist at my school. Once I thought about the enormity of the situation, I, of course, became overwhelmed as I sometimes do. I then stopped and thought about it. I became The Little Engine That Could. I slowly went from I Think I Can Do This to I Can Do This to I Not Only Can do This, But I Can Do It Well!

I’m aware that I’m undertaking a huge task, but I am honestly up for it. My school is very small. I only have 8 students with I.E.P.s with one upcoming in November. There’s a student who I’m going to work with in 1st grade who I’m very concerned about. I’m not sure if the issue is language or comprehension, but I will watch him to see. I’m also going to work with a couple of the Kindergarten students on behavior and becoming more independent.
I met with the Inclusion Specialist at a local school and was able to secure some very useful information. I will post at a later date all of the information she gave me. I was very happy with how giving & open she was. I hope when I doing this job for a couple of years and someone comes to me for help and advice that I’m as helpful and giving as she was.

So, I’m researching some of the sites she gave me. One, in particular, is Susan Barton, a dyslexia expert based in Northern California. Just in case you’re interested, here’s the website: www.BrightSolutions.US & http://www.dys-add.com/

I’m about to watch the videos on the second site. I’ll let you know how I liked them.

Bye for now!

Pizza Hut Reading Certificates Are Here!!!


Dear Parents,

The Pizza Hut Reading Certificates are here. Your child will be receiving them on a bi-weekly basis.

Thank you

I didn’t want to take this post down, but I mistakenly posted this on my personal blog thinking it was my classroom blog. What I will do is post the information is you’re a public or private school teacher or homeschooler and would like to sign up to receive them. Here is the link to sign up:

http://www.bookitprogram.com/

Once you’re there, click on Enroll Now, then click on your school type, search for your school by city and state or zip code, and follow the directions from there.

Enjoy!

Piccolo Books


Hello Dear Readers,

I really love books. I, especially love getting books for a really, really good price. That’s why I love Piccolo Books in Westchester/LAX’s Howard Hughes Promenade. . The books are $1 each. If you’re interested in going, the address is:

The old Borders in the Howard Hughes Promenade

6081 Center Dr.

Los Angeles, CA 90045

(310) 410-0317

Forgetting What Works…


Dear Readers,

I am so silly. I always forget what works for me. A couple of my students have been struggling. I’ve worked in Education for 10 years now. I should have pulled from my store of knowledge. But, sometimes we can become so overwhelmed that we forget (as I did) what works for us. Once I came to my senses, I quickly made fluency folders from pages I copied from Practicing Basic Skills in Reading & Practicing Basic Skills in Language Arts by Ray Beck, Peggy Anderson, & A. Denise Conrad.

At first I only made fluency folders for the struggling readers. Then I realized that almost every student needs help in some capacity. So, although there are 7/15 students working on fluency, there are 8 students that are at or above grade level in English. However, they still have deficits. I have 4 students who need to work on appositional phrases, commas in a series, and commas for parenthetical phrases. Yes, all of that is in the book. It’s not cheap though. I looked on ebay, Amazon, & a couple of other sites for inexpensive copies, but did not find it. These books are $100. Pretty steep, but worth it. You could run a whole language arts intervention program for lower to upper elementary with this book.

So that I won’t forget this for next year, I am going to keep a FORGETFUL folder where I record my ideas that work for me. Hopefully I won’t forget where I put it! : D!!!  It’s a fantastic book. Check it out!

Talbots Later-in-Life Scholarship


Since I’ve been a shopping fool at Talbots lately, I was emailed information regarding Talbots Charitable Foundation for women pursuing a scholarship later in life. I sure wish I would have seen this when I returned to school: www.talbotsscholarship.com (This is not the address of the link, I simply put this one because it’s easier on the eye than the actual link)

In keeping with our tradition of serving the community, the Talbots Charitable Foundation is proud to offer the 2012 Talbots Scholarship Program for women pursuing a college degree later in life.

Here’s information straight from the website:

Since its inception in 1997, the program has awarded more than $1 million dollars in scholarships. This year, the Talbots Scholarship Program will award $200,000 in scholarships for the 2012 academic year, including seventeen $10,000 scholarships. It will also present the $30,000 Nancy Talbot Scholarship Award, named in honor of the founder of Talbots and granted to one extraordinary finalist who demonstrates courage, conviction and an insatiable entrepreneurial spirit.

“The secret in education lies in respecting the student.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

10 Simple Truths I’ve Learned About Education


Working in education makes you one tough mutha’, shut yo’ mouth! Although I may get off track and temporarily want to smack someone (as with MFH), I’ve learned many simple truths that will help save your sanity. They are in no particular order. Enjoy!

  1. You will have parents (more than likely a mom) from hell who complain about everything.
  2. There will be parents who will question your methods.
  3. There will be parents who will have your back. Especially regarding the parents from hell.
  4. Administrators may turn on you. You’ve got to learn how to have your own back. What I mean by this is that you have to learn to stick up for yourself.
  5. Some years will be terrible.
  6. Some years will be fantastic.
  7. You may not like all of your students. Over the years (since we are human) we may have a personality clash or two with a student or two.
  8. You will not get paid what you are worth. Deal with it.
  9. Children need to learn:
  • Independence &
  • Struggle.
  • to be told no

10. All of your hard work will one day pay off!!!

My Recommended Summer Reading List


Children’s Picture books (ages 3-8)

  • Snuggle Mountain by Lindsey Lane
  • Maxi’s Bed Magician by Werner Blaebst
  • Fenwick’s Suit by David Small
  • Mr. George Baker
  • I Like Myself By Karen Beaumont
  • Stand Tall Molly Lou Melon by Patty Lovell
  • Douglass Frederick and the House of They by Joe Kelly and Ben Roman (ages 9-10)

Beginning chapter books (ages 7-9)

  • A-Z Mysteries by Ron Roy
  • Wayside School by Louis Sachar  & Adam Mccauley
  • The Sixty-Eight Rooms by Marianne Malone

Chapter books (grades 5-8)

  • The View From Saturday by E.L. Konisburg (grades 5-7)
  • Lulu Atlantis AND THE QUEST FOR TRUE BLUE LOVE by Patricia Martin

The 39 Clues by various artists, Books 1-9 (grades 4-8)Read More »

Xtra Math.com


Just the other day, I posted about the summer slide and how to avoid it. Well, I discovered a great way to help combat it. Here’s the latest website that I signing Phillise up for. It’s called Xtramath.org. I’m also requiring my students to sign up for it for the summer. That way, I can keep track of them and will know approximately where they are (academically) when they return to school. It’s a cool site and it’s free. Check it out!

**** I MADE A MISTAKE. I INCORRECTLY LISTED THE WEBSITE AS XTRAMATH.COM WHEN IT IS XTRAMATH.ORG.******

San Juan Capistrano Came Alive!


It’s Alive! I wanted to say to my students as we walked into the San Juan Capistrano mission today. My students could not contain themselves as they excitedly looked around. For those of you who’ve never been to San Juan Capistrano, I have to tell you that it’s breathtaking. So much so that it almost made me cry. I felt like I’d stepped back in time as I imagined what it felt like to live there more than two hundred years ago. How hard life was for the People (Indians). I felt a real connection to the place. I loved it and want to visit it again with Phillise in the summer. So, let’s get back to my students.

“Wow, Miss,” they said, “We read about this!

“Ok, then, tell me a little bit about it,” I said.

We talked about the cowhides, tallow (which is fat that’s used to make soap & candles), the buildings, the pueblos, & most importantly, El Camino Real (The Royal Road). They were a little disheartened to see El Camino Real.

“This is El Camino Real?” they asked, with a shocked look on their faces.

“Yep,” I said. They weren’t too happy with it.

I have pictures of my own, but here’s some I found on the internet. The one below is a picture of the Koi pond in the central plaza. Can I just say that I loved this koi pond? The fish were absolutely beautiful. The courtyard is so relaxing.

It was so humbling to be at this historic place. I could not help but be in awe of this mission. I went to the mission at San Gabriel and was not as awed as I was with this one. This one was absolutely breathtaking. The only thing that spoiled the image I’d created in my head was the Starbucks directly across the street. That’s progress for ya! I don’t like it, but what can ya’ do?

African-American Firsts!


For Black History month, I assigned my students projects on trailblazers- the first in their field. I definitely wanted them to do a project for Black History month, but was just tired of students wanting to report on Martin Luther King, Rosa Parks, or some other well-known figure that’s been done to death. Don’t get me wrong. I want my current & future students to know about these people, but I also want them to know about the less well known contributors who don’t get as much credit. So, my challenge to them was to find a trailblazer who contributed to all mankind, not just Blacks. Of course they proffered up Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Mike Tyson, The Rock or Dwayne Johnson as he’s known now. My question to them was, “What have they done besides be great at their chosen profession & have brown skin or black heritage?”

They gave me blank stares, but they finally started to get it. Once they got it, they chose well. So, here is the list of people my students chose:

Jack Johnson, Marian Anderson, Shirley Chisholm, Barack Obama, Oprah Winfrey, Carter Woodson, & a couple I can’t remember right now that I will update once I find my list. I am excited about this assignment. I am going to put on a show for the Principal complete with faces stapled to giant tongue depressors.

How’s that for putting on a show?

P.S.- I have a great link to a wikipedia for African-American firsts that take you back to the 1800s & the first known black man to publish a book by the name of Jupiter Hamon. Like to see it, here it goes: Wikipedia link- http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_African-American_firsts

HERE’S TO 2011!

How To Read a Report Card (READING ROCKETS ARTICLE)


I subscribe to Reading Rockets and so should you. They have such great articles. Well, since I’m about to do Report Cards for the 2nd quarter, I thought I’d post this. It’s an article by Reading Rockets about how (You guessed it) to read a report card.

http://www.readingrockets.org/article/40302

Here’s the link for Spanish version of the article: http://www.colorincolorado.org/boletines/edextras

*WARNING!* DO NOT SIGN UP FOR THE BLOG HUB.COM


I was recently alerted that my blog appears, in its entirety, @ thebloghub.com. I couldn’t believe it. I checked it out & simply could not believe it. Not only did I never give them permission to use my post (and make money from it), but I contacted them to take the site down. Do you think they did it??? Well, do you??? The answer is a big fat resounding no. I would like to know if anyone knows of any way to sue them or at the very least, get them to take it down. This is very frustrating. I have never made one thin dime from this blog that I have worked tirelessly on for over 3 long years. This is my baby! How dare they STEAL my intellectual property!

Before writing this post, I visited the site & it has changed. It’s not an exact copy of my site like it was this morning, but it has the exact same content with my name. I am so mad I could just spit.

***AGAIN, DO NOT, I REPEAT, DO NOT SIGN UP FOR BLOG HUB.COM. THEY WILL STEAL YOUR INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY & MAKE MONEY FROM IT.***

IF ANYONE CAN HELP ME, PLEASE CONTACT ME @ specialedandme@gmail.com

Did You See The L.A. Times Article (Value-Added Analysis) on Teacher Effectiveness? (Yes, That L.A. Times Article!)


I recently came across the L.A. Times article that’s been causing quite a stir. It’s a collaboration (of sorts) with The L.A. Times & L.A.U.S.D. I’m trying to be objective, but it’s really hard when I see teachers on there, that I know are good teachers, being maligned & publicly embarrassed.

This “system” is very, very, very flawed. The scores, which range from Least Effective (the worst) to Most Effective, are wholly based on the CSTs.

What job do you know that is based on ONE test. I understand the CSTs are important, but not important enough to publicly embarrass good teachers the way L.A.US.D. & The L.A. Times are doing.

*** Let me start from the CST categories from the beginning. Firstly, there are 600 points possible. There’s the Far Below Basic (FBB) category (150-258 points), Below Basic (BB) category (259-299), Basic (B) category (300-349), Proficient (P) category (350-401), Advance (A) category (402-600).

*** The numbers above are from a 3rd grade STAR Student Report. The numbers differ from grade to grade.***

Most, if not all Special Education students, fall into the FBB & BB category. So, the Special Education teachers will always score in the Least Effective-Less Effective category. This is unfair since there are many factors that are not taken into consideration. What about students who have made significant progress? One of my students had a major, major leap of +96 points and went from FBB to B in Math. In English/Language Arts, he had a gain of +61 points. That is unheard of. One of my other students had a +41 point gain (Which is also incredible), but he stayed in the same category of FBB. If I were “graded” according to the article, I would rank in the Least Effective Category even though my student made substantial gains. Not everyone has such phenomenal success like that, but that is not the point that I’m trying to make. The point I’m trying to make is that none of my student’s successes would be taken into account if they stayed in the same category. Great strides like those my students made should be taken into account, as well as many other factors.

There were so many teachers in the Least Effective Category who should not have been. My husband & I were talking about “bad” teachers & “good” teachers & how to tell the difference! That, however, is a post for tomorrow. See you then!

If you would like to know more, here are some links here, here, here, here, and here.

GETTING TO HAPPY! (Sequel to Waiting To Exhale)


WAITING TO EXHALE sequel “Getting To Happy” Tour dates:

I am so happy that Terry McMillan has written a sequel to Waiting to Exhale, called Getting To Happy. She is currently writing the screenplay to be made into a movie. She’s going to be in L.A. on Tuesday, September 28, 2010 @:
Eso Won Bookstore

4331 Degnan Boulevard
Los Angeles, CA 90008
(323) 290-1048 ***Offsite venue – DETAILS TBD Event free and open to public.

For more information, click on this link.

Book Sale @ The Paul Roberson Community Center!


Just got this from the LABBX blog:
Books, Books, and More Books for You
Book Fair / Book Sale
Saturday, August 28, 2010 from 10 am to 4 pm
Paul Robeson Community Center:

6569 S. Vermont Ave.,

LA, CA 90044

Info: (310) 569-0657
Admission: FREE

The Robeson Center is having its first ever sale of some of the vast numbers of books that do not fit into the collection. These books have been accumulated over the last 20 years from the lifetime collections of other book lovers, but they must go to make room for classroom and meeting space. If you love books, you won’t want to miss this opportunity.:
biography *philosophy * fiction * classics *kids books * history * cook books and more- they are all here looking for a new home.

Now, while we certainly don’t mind the idea of making money off of them, we’re most interested in freeing up the space they’re taking, as well as having our community reading them. Therefore, you can expect to go home with all the books you want without worrying about any kind of dent in your budget think five cents, twenty five cents, fifty cents or a dollar per book.

Info: (310) 569-0657


Jan Goodman
(310) 458-7213 or (310) 729-2394

How to Increase Higher Order Thinking (H.O.T.), Part 7


Here is the 7th & final part of How to Increase Higher Order Thinking

Taken directly from Reading Rockets.com

Evaluation/Assessment

If consistent use of some of the above strategies does not seem to help a student, it may be worthwhile to consider having a comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluation conducted by a qualified professional. Problem identification is the first step in problem solution; thus, if the problem is not accurately identified, the solutions that are attempted often will not reap rewards for the student and those working with him.

A comprehensive neurodevelopmental evaluation performed by a licensed psychologist should serve as the roadmap for parents, students and professionals working with the student. It should provide a complete picture of his attention, memory, oral language, organization, graphomotor/handwriting skills and higher order thinking. It should also include an assessment of the student’s academic skills (reading, written language and math) and his social and emotional functioning. The evaluation should not only provide an accurate diagnosis but also descriptive information regarding the areas of functioning noted above.Read More »

How to Increase Higher Order Thinking (H.O.T.), Part 6


Here’s the 6th part of How to Increase Higher Order Thinking:

Taken directly from Reading Rockets.com

Think with analogies, similes, and metaphors

Teach students to use analogies, similes and metaphors to explain a concept. Start by modeling (“I do”), then by doing several as a whole class (“We do”) before finally asking the students to try one on their own (“You do”). Model both verbal and nonverbal metaphors.

Reward creative thinking

Most students will benefit from ample opportunity to develop their creative tendencies and divergent thinking skills. They should be rewarded for original, even “out of the box” thinking.

Include analytical, practical, and creative thinking

Teachers should provide lesson plans that include analytical, practical and creative thinking activities. Psychologist Robert Sternberg has developed a framework of higher order thinking called “Successful Intelligence.” After analyzing successful adults from many different occupations, Sternberg discovered that successful adults utilize three kinds of higher order thinking: (1) analytical (for example, compare and contrast, evaluate, analyze, critique), (2) practical (for example, show how to use something, demonstrate how in the real world, utilize, apply, implement), and (3) creative (for example, invent, imagine, design, show how, what would happen if). Data show that using all three increases student understanding.

Teach components of the learning processRead More »

How to Increase Higher Order Thinking, Part 2


Here’s the 2nd part of How to Increase Higher Order Thinking:

Taken directly from Reading Rockets.com

Strategies for enhancing higher order thinking

These following strategies are offered for enhancing higher order thinking skills. This listing should not be seen as exhaustive, but rather as a place to begin.

Take the mystery away

Teach students about higher order thinking and higher order thinking strategies. Help students understand their own higher order thinking strengths and challenges.

Teach the concept of concepts

Explicitly teach the concept of concepts. Concepts in particular content areas should be identified and taught. Teachers should make sure students understand the critical features that define a particular concept and distinguish it from other concepts.

Name key concepts

In any subject area, students should be alerted when a key concept is being introduced. Students may need help and practice in highlighting key concepts. Further, students should be guided to identify which type(s) of concept each one is — concrete, abstract, verbal, nonverbal or process.

Categorize conceptsRead More »

How to Increase Higher Order Thinking (H.O.T.), Part 1


How to Increase Higher Order Thinking

Taken directly from Reading Rockets.com
By: Alice Thomas and Glenda Thorne (2009)

Parents and teachers can do a lot to encourage higher order thinking. Here are some strategies to help foster children’s complex thinking.

Higher order thinking (HOT) is thinking on a level that is higher than memorizing facts or telling something back to someone exactly the way it was told to you. HOT takes thinking to higher levels than restating the facts and requires students to do something with the facts — understand them, infer from them, connect them to other facts and concepts, categorize them, manipulate them, put them together in new or novel ways, and apply them as we seek new solutions to new problems.

Answer children’s questions in a way that promotes H.O.T.

Parents and teachers can do a lot to encourage higher order thinking, even when they are answering children’s questions. According to Robert Sternberg, answers to children’s questions can be categorized into seven levels, from low to high, in terms of encouraging higher levels of thinking. While we wouldn’t want to answer every question on level seven, we wouldn’t want to answer every question on levels one and two, either. Here are the different levels and examples of each.

Level 1: Reject the question

Example:
“Why do I have to eat my vegetables?”
“Don’t ask me any more questions.” “Because I said so.”

Level 2: Restate or almost restate the question as a response

Example:
“Why do I have to eat my vegetables?”
“Because you have to eat your vegetables.”

“Why is that man acting so crazy?”
“Because he’s insane.”

“Why is it so cold?”
“Because it’s 15° outside.”

Level 3: Admit ignorance or present information

Example:
“I don’t know, but that’s a good question.”
Or, give a factual answer to the question.Read More »

But God…


Taken directly from divazonemagazine.com
BUT GOD
If we were to ever be totally honest with ourselves, we would be quick to acknowledge that over the course of our lives, we have done some things, been some places and said some things that we wish we could take back and that if it weren’t for God, we’d wonder how we ever made it.  These are our, But God! experiences.

Then there are the times when you wonder how your bills will get paid when your money is already spent well before payday; But God!

Times when your children won’t listen or do right; But God!

Times when you walk into your job only to find a pink slip with your name on it; But God!

Times when you go for a simple check-up only to learn that cancer has invaded your body; But God!

Times when you do all you can to be the perfect spouse or partner, yet to them, the grass always seems greener on the other side; But God!

Times when you work your fingers to the bone for ministry’s sake, and all you ever hear are complaints; But God!

Times when family and friends scandalize your name and call you everything except a child of God; But God!

Times when you just want to throw up both hands, turn and walk away; times when life seems unbearable and too much to face; But God!

Times when our rent or house payment are due and eviction/foreclosure is around the corner; But God!

It is in all these times when it is no one But God!, who reaches down from Heaven, picks us up out of our messes and places us on a road called straight.

It is no one But God!, who wipes every tear away, heals our bodies, protects our children, balances our finances, covers our marriages and relationships, strengthens us in ministry and keeps shelter over our heads.

Whenever we begin to feel down in the dumps, simply say, But God!

Donna Tucker is an ordained minister of the gospel and the founder/visionary of Café Connection for Women & Girls.  Café Connection focuses on establishing divine connections, locally, regionally & internationally, among women and girls who believe in the power of open and honest dialogue within an intimate and comfortable setting, on a consistent basis, created to bring forth inner peace, emotional healing and spiritual growth.  Café Connection simply opens the door for conversation of inner beauty and self-appreciation to begin.  For more information, speaking engagements, workshops or to start a Café, visit www.cafeconnectionforwomen.com or call 804-516-4429.

DISCRETE VS. DISCREET


Is there a difference between the words Discrete & Discreet? They look the same, sound the same and have the same letters. I don’t think this will be a question that’s asked often. I only happened to chance upon the word discrete as I was reading an article with the word discrete in it in relation to learning to read. I thought it didn’t “fit”, so I looked it up. When I did, this is what I found:
USAGE The words discrete and discreet are pronounced in the same way and share the same origin but they do not mean the same. Discrete means ‘separate, distinct’ (: a finite number of discrete categories), while discreet means careful, judicious, circumspect ( you can rely on him to be discreet ).
Main Entry: dis·crete
Pronunciation: \dis-ˈkrēt, ˈdis-ˌ\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Latin discretus
Date: 14th century

1 : individually distinct
2 a : consisting of distinct or unconnected elements

dis·crete·ly adverb

dis·crete·ness noun

Main Entry: dis·creet
Pronunciation: \di-ˈskrēt\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, from Anglo-French discret, from Medieval Latin discretus, from Latin, past participle of discernere to separate, distinguish between
Date: 14th century

1 : having or showing discernment or good judgment in conduct and especially in speech

dis·creet·ly adverb

dis·creet·ness noun

* Not that many will be asking, but here’s the answer if someone does.*

Literacy Milestones (Birth to 3 Years)


Taken directly from Reading Rockets.com

Literacy Milestones: Birth to Age 3

By: Andrea DeBruin-Parecki, Kathryn Perkinson, and Lance Ferderer (2000)

Identifying a reading problem is a challenge without a sense for what typical literacy development looks like. Find out what language accomplishments are typical for most children at the following age levels: birth to three, three to four, age five, and age six.

Most children learn to read by age 7. Learning to read is built on a foundation of language skills that children start learning at birth — a process that is both complicated and amazing. Most children develop certain skills as they move through the early stages of learning language.

The following list of such accomplishments is based on current research in the field, where studies continue and there is still much to learn. As you look over the list, keep in mind that children vary a great deal in how they develop and learn.

If you have questions or concerns about your child’s progress, talk with your child’s doctor, teacher, or a speech and language therapist. For children with any kind of disability or learning problem, the sooner they can get the special help they need, the easier it will be for them to learn.

From birth to age 3, most babies and toddlers become able to:

  • Make sounds that imitate the tones and rhythms that adults use when talking
  • Respond to gestures and facial expressions
  • Begin to associate words they hear frequently with what the words mean
  • Make cooing, babbling sounds in the crib which gives way to enjoying rhyming and nonsense word games with a parent or caregiver
  • Play along in games such as “peek-a-boo” and “pat-a-cake”
  • Handle objects such as board books and alphabet blocks in their play
  • Recognize certain books by their covers
  • Pretend to read books
  • Understand how books should be handled
  • Share books with an adult as a routine part of life
  • Name some objects in a book
  • Talk about characters in books
  • Look at pictures in books and realize they are symbols of real things
  • Listen to stories
  • Ask or demand that adults read or write with them
  • Begin to pay attention to specific print such as the first letters of their names
  • Scribble with a purpose (trying to write or draw something)
  • Produce some letter-like forms and scribbles that resemble, in some way, writing

Eight Ways To Get Your Child To Read For The Summer


Taken directly from The New York State Library website.

Eight Ways To Get Your Child To Read For The Summer

  1. Get your child a library card @ your local library.
  2. Sign your child up for the Summer Reading program @ the local library.
  3. Read with your child every day. Take advantage of “waiting” time to share books: on trips, @ the doctor’s office, at the grocery store.
  4. Take a basket of books for reading breaks for the sun, water, and sand at the beach, lake, or pool.
  5. Read on your own & talk to your child about what you’re reading. Families who share reading experiences have children who read well.
  6. Visit the library every week and bring the whole family. Need books in languages other than English? Ask a librarian.
  7. Use the closed captioning during TV shoes so children see the words as they hear them.
  8. Keep a list on the refrigerator of the books everyone has read during the summer.

For more information, visit: www.summerreadingnys.org

LOS ANGELES BLACK BOOK EXPO 2010!


***ATTENTION***

The Los Angeles Black Book Expo has moved from the Expo Center near USC. It will now be held @ the Sheraton Gateway Hotel near L.A.X.

WHAT: The Los Angeles Black Book Expo

WHEN: Saturday, August 21, 2010

WHERE: L.A.X. Sheraton

TIME: 12:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

Taken directly from the LABBX website: The Los Angeles Black Book Expo (LABBX) will be held August 21, 2010 at the Sheraton Gateway LAX Hotel. We will host a full day of activity featuring authors, storytellers, spoken word and poetry performances, musicians, exhibitors, children’s book authors, emerging writers, publishers, booksellers, panel discussions, editors, book reviewers, and others.

How Do I Determine the Reading Level of A Book?


How Do I Determine the Reading Level of a Book? Well, that’s a good question. I wondered that very question aloud in a classroom where I worked as an assistant before I became a teacher. The teacher was very knowledgeable. As so often happens when you’re around very knowledgeable people, a question is rewarded with a very knowledgeable answer. She showed me where it’s printed on the back of the book. If you turn the book over on some books, you may see something like RL 2.6. This stands for Reading Level for a child in 2nd grade, the 6th month of school.

Because of my experience, I can automatically look @ a book and tell what the reading level is. I know that not everyone can do this, so I’ve compiled several different ways of determining the reading level of a book.

  • First, there’s the 5 Finger test method. As your child mispronounces a word, hold up a finger up. If you have put up all your fingers by the time your child is through the page for a longer page or a paragraph for the whole book, it’s too hard for them.

On the same website as above, there’s a test that I’d never heard of called the Goldilocks test. When you think about it it makes perfect sense. By asking yourself or someone else a few simple questions, you can determine if the book is too easy, too hard, or just right. Here’s the link: GOLDILOCKS RULE.

This list is by no means exhaustive, but should be very helpful!

HERE’S TO 2010!

The Importance Of Summer Reading!


Summer reading is soooooo important.  Obviously, children aren’t in school for the summer. For most, that means no structure. Read: If they don’t have to read, they don’t and/or won’t. But, you have to get your children to read by any means necessary. According to research on summer reading loss, if your child doesn’t read during the summer, they lose information. However, if they do read, they not only retain information, but gain points on their standardized test scores. This is why I am an avid proponent of reading, especially summer reading.

If you’d like to read it yourself, here’s the ERIC link: SUMMER LEARNING LOSS. Check it out!

HERE’S TO 2010!

Scholastic Warehouse Book Sale!


*** Sorry, I just read on the website that it’s only open to school & District employees. Hopefully you know a teacher you can go with. ***

It’s going on now with thousands of books marked down 50% and other books up to 80% off cover prices.

What: Scholastic’s Warehouse Book Sale

When: Tuesday, May 25, 2010- June 19, 2010 (Closed for inventory Sunday, May 30- Friday, June 19, 2010)

Where: Various locations. Anaheim is the closest location to me @ 2890 E. Whitestar, Anaheim, CA 92806 (On the corner of Whitestar & LaPalma. From the 91 Freeway, take the Kraemer Blvd. exit & go North. Turn left on E. Whitestar. The building will be on your right.)

Go to www.scholastic.com/bookfairs/warehouse to register for your FAST-CART PASS and coupons for $10 or $25 off.

I’ve never been to the big warehouse sale in Anaheim, but I’ve heard about it. The prices are already cheap @ the outlet in West L.A. So, if they’re better than that, I’m all in.

More Goodies @ Barnes & Noble bookstore


Here’s something I came upon that my husband will love this since he owns the Kindle e-reader. While browsing for free summer reading programs I happened upon this informative article. It seems as if Barnes & Noble are bringing their A-game. As well as having the physical book market cornered, they are now seeking to corner the electronic or e-book market. They are offering a free book per week for five weeks once you have the code. The catch, you have to go into a Barnes & Noble bookstore. That’s fine with me since I go there at least twice a month anyway. There’s only four more weeks left. The program started May 18, 2010 and runs through June  ,2010.

There was more information in the article. If you’d like to read it, here’s the link: Summer Reading, Electronic and Free by Roy Furchgott

Redefine Your Definition Of Reading!


Hello dear readers. I am asking you to redefine your definition of reading. As a Special Education Teacher, I have had to redefine it myself. Since I am a reader, I tried to make my students readers. Well, that just wasn’t realistic. While most of them did learn to love reading (Which was absolutely fantastic!), there were three of them who never would. I had Mild Mental Retardation (MMR), the other I suspected of having MMR, and the other was so frustrated with all of his years of not being able to read that he simply refused to pick up the habit.

I had to stop myself from getting depressed about the three that I failed. That’s when I thought about the 10/13 of my students who did become readers. That is no reason to get depressed. That is cause for celebration. Accomplishing something like that is absolutely phenomenal. I had high hopes that actually came true. Do you have any idea how that feels?

So, I rejoiced for the ten who successfully learned to love reading, while I made a plan for the ones who did not. I’d known about audio-books for awhile, but was loathe to do anything about it because it wasn’t “reading” as I saw it. I realized I had to rethink that definition. I know I can’t possibly save everyone, but I had to try other methods. I wasn’t going to just give up.Read More »