Megan's Classroom Connection

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Church April 27, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganmeyering @ 3:28 pm
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I consider myself a Christian person, I am proud of who I am,  but I don’t like push my beliefs on others. So, when you read this post don’t take offense or think that I am trying to convert others.

I read the following on a blog I follow: 

This morning however, one friend with autism stood up, turned around, and shook hands with us, “Happy Easter!” he exclaimed, jumping up and down. He then ran down the aisle, shaking hands with everyone he could reach. As he made his way back to his seat he exploded with pride “Mom, I think I passed the peace!”
He certainly did.
– The author was describing an experience she had at church one morning with a child who is autistic and has trouble greeting others in the beginning of the service. The full post can be found here.
 
I have had similar experiences, not nessicarily with children who have special needs, but with special people in general.
Let me share the story of Sophie.
Sophie was a surprise baby to her high school sweet heart parents who thought they were done having children after their first three  children. The youngest child was nine years older than Sophie. Sophie was born with a hole in her heart, missing bone in her left thumb and problems with her kidneys. Today Sophie is nine years old and has flourished in life. Her hand has been repaired so that she can use her thumb, her heart and kidneys have also been repaired and strengthened. When I come home from college I look forward to seeing Sophie at church, her bear hugs and having her sit with my family and me. I try to make it to one of soccer games or dance recitals a year, send her a birthday card and go out to lunch in the summer. The picture above was taken three years ago when Sophie was in Grand Rapids DeVos Children’s hospital for a procedure.
 
I believe that things happen for a reason and I have no doubt that Sophie’s parents drew tremendous strength from the support of our church during some of the rougher times with Sophie. I also have no doubt that she has taught everyone in her life what it means to be determined and strong, including me 🙂
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Lice!

Filed under: Classroom Culture,Uncategorized — meganmeyering @ 3:03 pm
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I regularly read a blog from a fellow teacher and her latest post was in regards to the lice epidemic in her classroom.

She wrote a playful letter to lice everywhere explaining that her students and her school  do not have the resources or time to deal with lice. Although the letter was funny it got me thinking about how things like lice do actually affect the classroom and the learning that takes place there.

I can still remember when our school did its scheduled lice checks. The whole school got checked in a matter of one day, with two adults doing the checking. The teacher would send about five students to the office at a time and it was always the gossip of the lunchroom who hadn’t returned to class after their check. I am unsure what teachers can do to actually prevent lice, but it is important that the teacher talks to the students so that they understand what is happening. It is also important that the classroom community is strong enough to prevent the students who do have lice from being ostracized when they return to class.

Just something to think about sorry for making you itch!

 

Horse Racing April 26, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganmeyering @ 2:17 pm

I am so excited for this weekend, my Mom and Dad and I are going to the Kentucky Derby!

Not only is this one of the most exciting weekends of my life, so far, I mean graduation will be up there too, but I can’t stop thinking about it!

This makes me think about students who go on trips during the school year. I know that many teacher give the students all of her or his homework that she or he will be missing while gone, but I think that alternative assignments might be more beneficial. This is not to say that the student shouldn’t do the regular classroom work, but for instance instead of doing all the language arts homework, having the student write a few journal entries of trip may be more beneficial.

I know that even now, as a college senior, I would not be able to concentrate on regular class work and would get a much more enriching learning experience from being able to write about my trip! Not only is it more beneficial for the student, but it allows the student to take ownership of her own learning and gives the student a way to share his or her experience.

 

Wikis, Blogs and Webpages April 21, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganmeyering @ 2:42 pm

In the beginning of this semester I would have had no idea what a wiki was let alone how to create one. I know what a blog was, but I had only done one for a class that didn’t actually work out. Webpages were things meant for other people to design and me to look at.

Now all three things have different meanings. I now understand how to use each one of the  three technologies to their utmost benefit. I look at wikis and webpages as very similar. I see them as things designed to display information. Wikis are somewhat more user friendly and less professional looking while sites like Weebly allow the user to create something very professional looking. Blogging is a great way to get ideas out there, but in an even more informal way than wikis. Blogs also are useful for communication between readers and the blog creator.

All three technologies are valid and have their own special purpose, but in order to really get the most out of one I think that the creator needs to experiment and find which specific technology would work best for her or himself.

 

Homeschooling April 19, 2010

I read a blog done by a mother who homeschools her children. While this mother does in fact seem to be doing a great job, as far as I can tell, it makes me wonder, are her children losing out on the typical school experience?

This mother seems to have great resources that are rich and educational and she also blogs that her children are involved in various activities with other children in the community, but I still feel like they are missing out. Some studies have shown that homeschooling is a great way for children to learn and I agree to an extent. I think that there are some children out there, children with speical needs or who have been through a particulary intense trauma,  who would benefit from a more private education. But I think the goal should be to get that student back into mainstream education.

Another question about homeschooling I have is how does the parent know she or he is actually capeable of teaching a student who is perhaps past the middle school level.  How will that student cope when he or she enters the real world? Will the social skills needed to succeed be there?

I have never talked to a home schooled parent or child and I supose that is the real place I should be directing my questions.  🙂

 

Horseback Ride April 13, 2010

Filed under: Uncategorized — meganmeyering @ 8:39 am
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  I consider myself an animal person. My family has always had a dog, since before I was born. but we have slowly increased to dogs and cats  (partially because of my convincing) but I would mainly consider myself a horse person. I have always loved horses, I mean since I was two years old I LOVED horses. When I was four-year old I started riding, when I was eight I got my first horse (who I still have) and then it all snowballed from there.  My little herd gre to three and my family decided it was time to move to get our own barn, boarding three horses is quite a fee! This coming spring I am planning to breed my old show mare (female horse). Anyhow my point it I love horses and it has become a huge part of my life over the years.

So it is no surprise that when it comes to therapeutic horse back riding I am a huge supporter. The benefits are tremendous. It helps special needs children with physical, balance, movement, coordination and overall strength.  It also helps students with confidence, social and cognitive abilities. I know all the benefits, but had never really seen them first hand until last summer.

I worked at a day camp last summer. One of the women I worked with was a mother to a boy with special needs. ‘Austin’ was severely autistic. ‘Lisa’ took Austin to physical, speech and horse therapy as she called it every week. Austin had been labeled non verbal, but a year into the horse thereby he began to speak. His sentences were comparable to the sentences of a two-year old, but her eight year old son was talking! Lisa really attributes his development to the horse therapy. He had been going to physical and speech therapy for years, literally, but it wasn’t untill he started riding that he talked.

The best part about it is that his first utterance was to his horse.  After every ride his main assistant would say, “Austin tell the horse thank you,” or “Austin tell the horse good job.” After about six months Austin said, “Good” at the end of his ride. Lisa was overjoyed. The healing power of animals never ceases to amaze me. Nursing home, hospital and reading dogs are more example of how the presence of animals is comforting and reassuring to people and trust me I never needed any convincing. 🙂

 

Technology of choice- Smartboards

Filed under: Technology in the Classroom — meganmeyering @ 8:08 am
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I chose to look at smartboards for my tech of choice this week.  I know that they will be discussed more in-depth in class, but since I’m not going I figured I should research the technology anyhow.

In all the placements I have had I have only seem smartboards in one classroom. The teacher uses it to grade math problems, show you tube clips and other images that relate to class. It seems like a great tool, but I wasn’t sure of the extent of possibilities before this post.

I did a small amount of research (the majority being from Wikipedia, since we established last week that it was a credible source) and learned that smartboards were actually created in 1991! Maybe it was naive of me, but I assumed it was a very new technology. Since it is over ten years old I am surprised more classrooms do not have them. I also learned that smartboards are primarily used in education as a means of easily differentiating instruction, I had assumed that they were also used in business meetings and such. Another great feature of the smartboards is the pen tray. Once a pen is picked up the tray can sense what color it is and then the pen will write in that color, which is great for group work and individual student accountability.  I was also unaware of the wealth of software available specifically to increase the useability of the smartboard in the classroom.

Smartboards have also been shown to really help ESL and special needs students since the children can learn in a variety of ways. The stmartboard allows the students to touch and see (not to mention the size and colors available for instruction) the combination of touch and sight is vital for most special needs as well as ESL students. Smartboards have also shown to decrease teacher stress. Studies have also shown that the touch screen capability comes more naturally to students, increasing it’s use and success with younger (preschool age) students.

One of the ways I would first use a smartboard would be in a math lesson. The smartboard allows different pages to be created and then ‘saved’ for later. I would take a problem and break it into different chunks on each page and have the students solve it from there. I also like the interactive grammar tool options that are available.