Rochester SAGE - Supporting Advanced & Gifted Education

Heinlein Quote

I’ve missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life.  And that is why I succeed. – Michael Jordan

The pupil who is never required to do what he cannot do, never does what he can do. – John Stuart Mill

I want my kids to fail.  That probably isn’t at the top of your list for your kids, but it should be.  Failure is one of the most important experiences they will ever have.  The road to success is paved with failure because failure teaches us how to succeed.

View original post 680 more words

Sickness

I’ve been out with a persistent “bug” for a little while now, and finally feel ready to get back in the saddle.  After you’ve been away for a few days, it feels like forever.  Things have piled up since you’ve been gone.  It seems like the year is slipping away (we only have sixty days left?  We HAVE to get moving on those decimals!)  I have to remind myself to take a step back and remember that it’s okay to have a substitute once in awhile.  That it’s more important for thier teacher to work at 100% for most of the days, than it would have been to teach sick and tired for all of them.  (the kids are better off for it anyway – no one wants a cranky teacher!) 🙂

But now it’s time to really focus on the work.  Remember and reenergize about what we’re doing – getting these kids ready for life!  Put me in, coach!  I’m ready!

Energy

We have been discussing ENERGY in our class, and how it is made, and transformed, and where it comes from.  It isn’t matter, like everything else in the universe.  It’s energy.  We can’t hold it or touch it, but we can feel it’s power in everything we do.

There are many types of energy – magnetic energy, electrical energy, kinetic energy, caloric energy to power our bodies, solar energy, heat…pretty much all the forces that make our world go around.

The energy we use to power our bodies each day – calories – is a great one to talk with kids about because it directly relates to their lives.  They can feel and see the energy they take in and use every day.  They know what a hot dog is a lot more than an electric turbine.  So it’s energy in their own terms.

Talking about it really brings home for them the differences in the foods they eat.  Of course, it doesn’t usually CHANGE their eating patterns – no matter how much I tell them that sugar is a dirty energy that doesn’t fuel their bodies right, they still want as much candy as possible.  But at least they’re thinking about it and learning about it, and one day maybe the change will come.

But for now, it’s enough to let them know that, “Hey!  When you throw that paper airplane across the room, did you know you’re using muscle energy that is fueled by food energy you consume?  Isn’t that awesome!  Now go pick up the plane and throw it away.  Using energy.”

 

Keep Me Busy

I love the years/ages when kids are excited to go to school.  The younger ones get up every day pumped to get to school.  They can’t wait for the bus.  Can’t wait to get there.  It’s not WORK for them.  It’s exciting.  They get to do things and learn things.  Kids understand on a subconscious level that it’s better to be active and have things to do, than to not.  If they had to stay home all day, what would they do?

These days, I tend to never have a second to sit down and do nothing.  But I should count my blessings!  I’ve got things to do!

Many times I have bemoaned the fact that I’m so busy.  I think – “I’d be so much happier if I had a lazy day to do just nothing.  I’ll lay around all day.”  But if I think back on some days in the past where I actually DID do nothing all day, I think I felt even lousier at the end of those days than any other.  I wasn’t satisfied.  I just felt kind of numb.  I don’t want to be numb.

I want to be energized with life and challenges.  I think I know how the kids feel.  I WANT to go to school today.  If I’m not teaching, or learning, or challenging myself or others I’m just going to be numb.  And that’s no FUN!

Education is important

We NEED school.  With all the opinions and research out there, one thing doesn’t seem to be in doubt – education is important.  Some students receive home school education from their parents, and I respect that.  Some receive education from private schools and charter schools, but most of our population is educated in the public funded school system.  And it’s a fact – our kids need education, in some form or another.  I believe in the public school system because I believe that kids benefit greatly from the trained individuals that can give them the best education they can get.  I know I am much better equipped to teach my kids about the range of a set of data, or superlative adjectives, when I myself have been educated and trained and have experience teaching it.  It just makes sense.

Free public education is what we have.  That’s an awesome, powerful tool.  Our country, and democracy, relies on our citizens being uniformly educated.  Every kid is a future voter, and  our voters need to be knowledgeable to keep our country strong!

When I talk to my kids about what I do, I like to jokingly say that I fight evil.  In our society, ignorance leads to violence, crime, and hate.  By educating the future adults of our world, I’m helping keep them on the right track.  In addition, I’m educating the people who will become our future doctors, lawyers, police officers, road workers, and soldiers.  I’m educating the people who will help us and keep us safe.

Be thankful we have free education for all.  It’s a small price we pay for an educated country.  Not everyone  in the world has that luxury.  We need our schools.  No question.  Education fights evil!

Creative use of toys in children’s physical therapy!

Starfish Therapies

The stomp rocket is one of my favorite toys to use in therapy.  Initially we started using it to encourage standing on one leg, but over the years we have come up with a plethora of ways to create therapy uses for it!  Some of them are listed below:

Single Leg Stance – In order to step on the stomp rocket the kiddo will ideally have to pick up one of their feet while the other one stays on the ground.  Because they have to pick it up higher than they would for taking a step during walking, they leave their foot in the air for a little longer, also allowing them to get a better stomp!  Once our kids master the ‘stomp’ part we will have them hold it for a count of (pick a time) so that they have to start balancing on one foot.

Weight Shifting –…

View original post 625 more words

Valentines Day

image

Sometimes it seems our year is defined by the mile markers along the way.  Usually those are the special occasions, like parent teacher conferences, the winter music program, and the holidays.  You can tell what day of the year it is usually just from checking out the bulletin boards.

Of course, for a teacher or parent, each holiday seems to bring the inevitable – candy and sweets.  It’s almost as if the kids have decided that every holiday HAS to have candy associated with it to be at all special. 

“Oh yes!  Easter is coming up!” they’ll say.  I’ll reply – “Yes!  In Spring there is Easter, and often people go on easter egg hunts.” “To get CANDY!” the kids interject, always emphasizing the word candy like it’s a pirates treasure.

Of course, this Valentines was no different.  The kids all brought valentines for the class, most of them with some candy attached.  In addition to that, there were cupcakes brought, and brownies and cookies – I don’t think any of the kids finished everything they were given.

Don’t get me wrong.  I think holidays and rituals and “special days” where you get things you don’t always get are important.  They’re the types of things kids remember even as adults.  I just think we need to make sure they are memorable, by making them special.  And we make them special by making it not so frequent.  Don’t include a candy with every lunch each day.  Don’t keep eating on the Halloween candy until Christmas.

And let’s all stop sending candy on St. Patricks day.  I think that just goes too far. 🙂

Happy Valentines Day!

We all don’t think the same

 

I’m always surprised when the realization hits me – people don’t all think the same as I do.  Old, young, my same age, male, female, it doesn’t matter.  While we all have a collective understanding of some things, so much of our thought process and way of thinking is different.  In fact, every person is different in many ways from everyone else.  So how, then, do we all work together day in day out?

We need UNDERSTANDING that people are different.  This applies to the classroom, boardroom, and living room.  There have been many times that I’ve tried teaching a concept to a student with no luck, only to realize they’ve been coming at the problem from a completely different way than I was.  If I had only tried to think the way they did, I would have been more successful.

The old saying is “walk a mile in their shoes,” but I think you need to slip inside their brain to really get the idea.  Try to move your mind around to their way of thinking, for a minute, to see how they see it.  It requires a limber and flexible mind to do it, but it’s possible!

For instance, I cannot understand why my wife likes to watch old masterpiece theatre “Jane Eyre” productions.  She’s actually seen about three different versions of the same story, and she’ll watch them over again.  Why would anyone want to do that? (I know there’s a few hands up already.)  I could argue with her about it, but I’m not going to change her mind.  She is going to like what she likes, and I have to see that and accept it.

Same way with kids, co workers, bosses…we need to walk a mile in some shoes.  The next time you think to yourself “how could anyone think that way?” realize that they DO think that way.  It’s a fact.  Start trying to understand and accept it, and we’ll all be a lot happier in life.

Unless you make me watch Masterpiece Theatre.

@MisterEdie

New Thinking

Just because an idea is an old one, does not make it a bad one.  And it does not necessarily make it a good one.  The wheel is still a pretty great idea, but maybe one made of stone isn’t so awesome.  It took new thinking to say “hey, lets try something else.”  And it worked.  Some day, someone is going to try making Wheels from compressed air molecules.  And that might not work so great (or maybe it will?).  But someone else might think of a new way to make a wheel, and it works.  If it works better than the old, should we stick with the old rubber models just because that’s the way it’s always been done?

New thinking is progress.  And just like sharks, if we don’t progress we die.

We need new thinking in education, just like everywhere else.  We need new thinking in parenting.  If something works better, we should do it.  Just because we’ve always learned our multiplication facts the same way, doesn’t mean we always should (even if all the parents say “This isn’t how WE did it.” or “I don’t understand this NEW way of doing it.”)

If something is working in your class or with your kids or anything in your life – KEEP DOING IT.  But if something else would work better…lets keep progressing.

Life is a Videogame

 

There’s certainly challenges in my life.  It seems like they crop up every day.  Some days there’s little, some days there’s a lot.  But every day brings at least one.  It’s really just life.  Challenges are what life is all about.

Most days, the challenges are your standard variety.  The normal day to day parts of the job that people have to deal with – this student needs some extra multiplication help, this person needs an email to clarify something, the bank seems to be short $50 – minor annoyances that we are there to fix.  The lightbulbs need changing.  The laundry needs done.  Pretty routine.

But some days the big ones creep up on you.  The car won’t start before work in the morning.  The car breaks down or you get into an accident.  The kids have stomach flu, or worse.  There’s an emergency at work.  And of course, life threatening illnesses that are the world changers.  They’re out there, waiting for us.  They can happen at any time.

I used to be scared of these things happening.  I used to dread them, and when they DID happen – trying to get ready for work and suddenly the kids are throwing up all over my jacket, for instance – I would get upset and frustrated and flustered.

But I realized something in those moments that make me change my perspective.  Just a change in thinking about these instances made me change the way I approached the challenges of life. 

When we play videogames, there are challenges all over the place.  There are things we need to figure out, bad guys to defeat, and obstacles to overcome.  If there were not, we wouldn’t even bother playing the game.  A videogame where you just had to walk from point a to point b, and then it was over, with no challenges in the way, would be boring and mundane.  Why even bother putting the game in?

When the challenges in life come up, remember – this is your chance to pass this level.  This is the moment where you meet the big “boss” of this stage, and you can defeat him.  The way you handle the situation will determine whether you make it past, or have to repeat the level until you do it right.  Embrace the challenge.  Otherwise you’ll never get any farther than you already are.