Thursday, February 4, 2010

For the love of cats . . . or a chicken?

I was not a huge cat fan until we rescued these two little weirdos. They never cease to make us laugh . . .

Here is Aster conversing with two turtle doves on the telephone wire:

He really DOES NOT know how to "meow" like a normal cat.

Does he sound like a chicken to you?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Life at the Trail - Part 2

I've been fairly busy since the beginning of Second Semester. I have found that it's far easier to begin work after spending some time off. I spent a lot of time over break reflecting on where I needed to spend the majority of my time. Things are going quite smoothly now, and my class numbers aren't too overwhelming which helps me really focus in on my students one on one. I've had a number of students who have come a long way -- thank goodness! It's so fulfilling and gratifying to see your work pay off for these students, even if it's in a small way. Some of the highlights have been:

- Our Wii! - Through a grant our District Nurse wrote, we now have a Wii in my PE class! We have been playing and exercising to the games we have, and have already seen some amazing changes come about from my students. We have about 9 titles we're playing now, and due to the ingenious programming on them, and a little crafty modifications to the exercises, I hope to see a lot more changes come about.

- E-books, Audiobooks, and more! - Schools face a huge debt when it comes to the integration of technology into classrooms. This isn't new. But, when you introduce students to a technology-based curriculum, and give them time to experiment, the lights really, really start to shine. I have been slowly sharing my ideas on practical uses of technology tools to both paras, teachers, and students and am already seeing some very cool things happening. For example: It turns out, that if students have something cool to read on a computer, like an e-book or audiobook, they really take to it. I have a few kids who've already shown improvements because they can now listen to books. Before, they had to depend on shaky reading skills to make an attempt at reading, and often get frustrated by it. Well, if you hop down to the local library, check a good audio book out for them, and let them listen to it... Whole new things come about. It's very, very cool.

- Grad School - I had a great semester last year, and am looking forward to pushing harder on grad school this semester. I am taking two classes: Strategies for Students with Mild/Moderate Disabilities and Consultation and Collaboration. Right now, it's too early to judge their effectiveness, but the discussions I have with other classmates have been very educational and enjoyable and are a big reason why I decided to do online classwork.

Well, that wraps it up for now. I hope you all are doing well!