Search This Blog

Friday, September 26, 2008


September is winding down and some of the trees are turning red. There are so many things I want to teach my students, but I am restricted for the first time by curriculum. I have loved being in special ed because the curriculum always stemmed from the IEPs. Looking at what children should know by the ages of three, four, five and six, I was free to notice what was going on around me and point it out to the children. Language, math, science and social skills were reflective of the season, although taught at a level appropriate to each child. Now I find myself teaching a curriculum without textbooks and the first thing I do is look for worksheets. I have always said I don't like textbooks or worksheets, but students who are "busy" really settle down when they have something to do with their hands. Thank goodness I have access to technology and technology skills. To the best of our ability, we have done a Webquest on ancient civilizations, made graphs in Numbers, written letters in Pages, inserted pictures into Keynote and attempted animations of a life cycle and food chain in Scratch. Today we visited Tumblebooks and read How I Became a Pirate. Next week, I hope to show a video on Mesopotamia from United Streaming and edit a video of the kids showing What We Do in School. We have started Reader's Theater and I hope to show the kids how to videotape themselves and edit the tape so they can take a DVD home and show their family. We also videotaped each other reading at the beginning of the year.

Friday, September 12, 2008

The Start of the School Year

I have changed from Early Childhood to Intermediate Elementary students and the learning curve is steep. To all those who think teaching is easy and anyone can do it, I challenge you to teach the first month of the year. Assessments begin immediately so you know what to teach. Schedules must be created and established. Students must begin to trust that you are trying to help them. Curriculum changes require new training. Grades must be entered, data collected and inspiration to learn instilled throughout. No wonder I'm exhausted. My thoughts go out to the people dealing with a hurricane on top of everything else. My work in New Orleans taught me to be grateful for all that I have, even in difficult times. I have discovered another age group that I love - 8, 9 and 10-year olds. They get so excited about technology, it seems a shame to use anything else. Yet their keyboard skills are a serious impediment to their pace.

I have committed to a presentation at the ICE Conference on Assistive Technology, a class at National-Louis University this fall, and a birthday party for my mom. Wish me luck!