They Can Barely “Function”?

Dear Readers,

This year, I am really going hard with the metacognitive strategies for my students. I started them out with Learning Styles (Auditory, Visual, Kinesthetic/Tactile), Multiple Intelligence Survey (HOW are you smart?), Executive Functioning Skills (8 Key Skills- Impulse Control, Emotional Control, Working Memory, Planning & Prioritization, Organization, Task Initiation, Flexible Thinking, & Self-Monitoring), & Fixed/Growth Mindset.

I’m working on all of them, but what I’m really working diligently on is impulse control. At least five of my students have weaknesses in the area of impulse control. Let me be real here and say that they are wearing me out. I know that this will be a year-long journey, but it’s a journey I must start if I’m to have any chance of normalcy in my Lab.

Wish me luck on this journey!

Don’t Touch Me!

Dear Readers,

I have a story to tell you. Like to hear about it, here it goes.

When I first assumed control of my new classroom a couple of weeks ago, I asked my students to let me know if they did not want me to touch them. I told them this because I know there are some who have traumatic pasts and aren’t so trusting or don’t want anyone touching them. Well, one of my students was pretty vocal about it. He said, “I don’t want you touching me. I don’t know you, so keep your hands off of me”.

So, I told him I would respect his boundaries.

That’s not where the story ends, of course. As I do with all of my students, I called each of them to my desk and inquired about their goals, likes, dislikes, etc… I then asked about his behaviour. He told me that his last teacher, at his old school, was scared of him because he would threaten her and be mean to her. I told him to look at me because, unlike his last teacher, I wasn’t scared of him and that I wouldn’t give up on him. I also told him that I could tell that he wasn’t the person he was pretending to be and that I knew he was a good little boy.

“You’ll be hugging me in less than a month,” I told him.

Well, guess what? My prediction turned out to be true. Here’s what happened. He was misbehaving on Tuesday, so I gave him “the look”. He came over to my desk, hugged me, and told me that he was sorry. I was blown away.

I predicted he’d hug me in a month not two weeks. How’s that for progress?


Dear Readers,

The last three weeks have been a whirlwind of test taking and super business! Within the past three weeks I took and passed the C.S.E.T., took and passed the R.I.C.A., completed & submitted my final project, wrapped up my pilot program at work, & finally submitted my portfolio for the whole program at the very, very, very last minute. WHEW!!!!! I honestly didn’t think I could do it. I came so close to giving up on my literature review, but since failure was NOT an option, I persevered. So, the word of the day is PERSEVERANCE. That word means so much to me.

It didn’t matter what grade I got in classes; the most important thing was that I finished. I FINISHED!!! In the past, I started so many projects that I never finished. They were just left sitting on a backburner that never got lit! That, however, will be my post for tomorrow. Bye for now!

The Dr. Who In Me!

Your mother telling you that sticks and stones may break your bones, but names will never hurt you, could not have been further from the truth. Words are so powerful. Just ask Dr. Who!

drwho.jpg Dr. Who? Who is Dr. Who? Well, unless you’ve had your head under a rock for the past thirty years, you should know who Dr. Who is. I, for one, am an avid fan of Dr. Who (the new one w/David Tennant).

In fact, I like most sci-fi, even the cheesy kind. I rank Dr. Who as one of the best sci-fi shows of all time.

When I first started watching Dr. Who, I have to admit that I was a non-believer. I would wonder how he was going to get out of the mess of the week that he was in, without any type of firearm or weapon. I didn’t think that he could defeat someone with just words. Well, to my amazement, he did manage to do it without any type of firearm or weapon, every single time. That’s how Dr. Who defeats his enemies; with a clever plan and words.When you think about, most people are defeated with words.

However, he not only defeats his enemies, he builds up and helps others. That’s what I’ve been doing a lot of. Building up, that is! I’ve also been doing some conquering too, so to speak!

I am talking about Lito, one of my unruliest kid. Since I started my job he has been driving me crazy. In order to try to have some type of peace, I have been researching different methods.

Well, I’ve finally find one that has been working for me. I stumbled upon a website for dealing with especially unruly children. On the website (which I cannot remember), the author lets you in on a little secret regarding the best way to deal with an especially unruly child. He says to take a walk. That’s it. Just take a walk. But during that walk, just talk with the child about whatever they like. Even though I thought it was too simple, I tried it anyway.

Ya’ know what? It does work.

After getting to know Lito and some of the others, I added in another aspect to the walk. I added my Dr. Who-like talks in. I want to build the students up and let them know that their environment doesn’t have to define them; they don’t have to become a statistic, they can be what they chose to be.

I am especially happy that I did have those Dr. Who-like conversations with my students because a situation arose today when I showed all of my students their report cards and discussed it with them.

They were scared to see them, but wanted to see them anyway. I’m happy to report that there were no tantrums. They were not surprised. They understood the reasoning behind their grades.

One of my other students, Mannish, told me that when he was little he had 3’s & 4’s. “Now, he said, I have 1’s & 2’s. They’re just going to keep getting lower.

“By the time I get to high school, I’ll have all 1’s,” he said.

After hearing this comment, I thought, “I’ve come far, but I’ve still got a long way to go”. However, as with Dr. Who, failure is simply not an option (I’ll think that’ll be my new sign-off line from now on.)

I’ll keep trying, because failure is simply not an option.

Mission Impossible: Assignment #2 (Hold On & Believe)

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to hold on and believe that God is there and will pull you through. As usual, I don’t have a choice but to succeed. If I were given the choice of accepting or denying this assignment, I would have turned it down. Well…hold on…I’m not sure…I don’t know if I would have taken it or not because in the past when I have endured an especially hard trial, I have come out smelling like a rose. I learned a lot and was thankful afterwards. During the trial… well that was a different story. During the trial, I did my usual number of whining, bitching and moaning.

But, once I stopped all that silliness, I pulled out my arsenal of weapons- the Bible, friends, gospel songs, etc… Of all the songs that I listen to, there are three that I go to time and time again.They are: “Stand” by Donnie McClurkin. Secondly, “We’ve Come This Far By Faith,” and lastly, “I’m Looking for A Miracle”. These songs speak to me. With the message that all three of these songs send, it makes feel good. It gives me something to hold on to.donnie-mac.jpg
Things are pretty bad but I’m not that worried because I Have Come This Far By Faith. I know that God has not brought me this far to leave me. This song helps me feel better because I know that God has never failed me. I would be a fool to believe that he has now. There has been many times in my life where I have felt like I feel now; it was always when my trial was nearing its end.

I am reminded of my post from a couple of days ago when I wrote about reaching for my utility belt. I know that if I could just hold on until the end, that my breakthrough is right there. All I have to do is reach my utility belt- God. He is my utility belt. He has everything that I could possibly need and some other stuff that I may not even know that I need.
When I’m going through a tough time as I am now, my absolute favorite song is “Stand”. After listening to this song, I feel like I have the strength that I need to go on. I feel like I can stand. I feel determined to stand through the storm and through the rain. This song helps me dig deep down into my reserves and get it together enough to make it through the day. Because sometimes, y’all, it can get so bad that you’re living, not from day to day, but from hour to hour, minute to minute.

Whenever I’m looking for a miracle, I get myself ready. If I want new clothes, then I clean out my drawers and make a list of what I need and want. If I want more food, of course, I clean out my fridge and my cabinets. That’s why I’m cleaning out my drawers for new clothes and my fridge and cabinets for an abundant overflow of food. I am looking for my miracle. I know that something good is coming.

I don’t know what gets you through, I just know what gets me through. It’s these songs. They are my salvation. You have to have something that gets you through. If you don’t have something, now is the time to find it. Find that sacred place deep inside you that you can call upon in your time of need. That is what will make all the difference between completing that impossible assignment and making it through vs. failing that impossible assignment and suffering a terrible setback.

You can do it. Just hooooooooold on (Mississippi Mass, “Hold On Old Soldier”) and believe!

Mission Impossible: Assignment #1 (School shopping on a budget)

**Just a warning, this post is kinda’ long **

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to raise good, well mannered, ambitious children in this world. Of course I accept it. What am I talking about, I have no choice but to accept it. The moment that I had my first child, almost 18 years ago, I knew what my mission was. Having children is only the beginning of the mission. There have been many missions since then and there will be many more. As always, failure is not an option. I must continue.

Mission Impossible #1: Go school shopping for three children(an 11th grader, a 5th grader & a kindergarten) for less than $500. Oh boy! How, oh how, am I going to accomplish that?

Okay Leila, put your thinking cap on. Let’s see, Big 5 has so many shoes @ such great prices. Fallas Paredes, the uniform store, has great prices on uniforms and accessories. But can it be done? Yes, it can and has been done.

Let’s see: The first person to buy for is Dakota. Since he’s in his junior year of high school, his clothes are important, so he gets first priority. He already has 4 pairs of jeans that I will put in the cleaners, so that’s less that I have to buy. I have to do a little bit more for him. JC Penney has a really good back to school sale every year. I mean really good.

southpole-jeans-galerie_1_548.jpgLast year I got him five pairs of South Pole jeans for $100 + tax. I also got him South Pole t-shirts which were on sale for $9.99 ea. So I can get him five pairs of jeans w/10 shirts @ JCPenney’s for a grand total of about $200 + tax. For his shoes, Big 5 has And 1 ($29.99 + tax) and U.S. Polo ($16.99 + tax) tennis shoes. Getting two pairs of shoes for a teenage boy who just happens to wear a size 13 shoe for under $50 is almost unheard of.


The next person is Phillise. She’s only five, but she’s a girl. I have to tread very carefully with her because she already likes to shop. I am going to have to explain to her that she needs to wear uniforms and not regular clothes, so that she won’t cry. Little girls!

Her uniform calls for a burgundy & gray plaid jumper with a burgundy or white shirt. While I’m @ Fallas Paredes I will get her one jumper for $9.99, one pair of burgundy shorts for $5.99 and five white shirts @ $3.99 each. skate-shoes.jpgI can get David a pair of skate shoes ($19.99 + tax). He wears blue pants & a white shirt for his uniform @ school. I will go to Fallas Paredes and get two pairs of navy pants @ $9.99 + five shirts @ $3.99 ea. That will last him well into next month. I will just have to do a lot of washing.

Just in case you haven’t been keeping count, let me sum it up:

For Dakota, the total will be about $300.00 for 5 pairs of jeans, 10 t-shirts, 2 pairs of shoes + $20 for socks and underwear.

For David, the total will be about $80.00 for 2 pairs of pants, 5 uniform shirts, 1 pair of skate shoes @ Big 5 + $20 for socks and underwear.

For Phillise, the total will be about $80 for 1 jumper, 1 pair of shorts, 5 uniform shorts, 1 pair of shoes + $20 for socks and underwear.

That brings the grand total to about $500, once taxes are added, for 3 children. Shopping on a budget may take a bit of creativity, but it can be done.

** If your shopping budget is limited, do your wallet a favor and check out Big 5 for shoes and Fallas Paredes for uniforms & stuff.**