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 🙂
 

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.

 

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. 🙂

 

Ughh Technology April 12, 2010

Filed under: Classroom Culture,Technology in the Classroom,Uncategorized — meganmeyering @ 6:52 pm
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So as much as I may LOVE  technology right now is a time I definitely DO NOT!.

Last week I found out my hard drive was about to crash. Hate. But I was able to upload all my documents to google reader and burn pictures onto dics. Love. I was able to keep all my bookmarks from delicious.  Love.

My mom took my computer home and my boyfriend is lending me his, but when I went to reply to Jeff, Lauren and Emily’s blog I was unable to. Hate.

This is jsut a little rant, probably being shared, when it really shoudn’t, but I had to express my frusteration somewhere and where better than a blog shared with other students, who most likely have expereinced something similar or the same!

I’ll restart the computer and try replying later- wish me luck!

 

wikis in general April 8, 2010

I tend to think of wikis more as actual websites compared to weebly or blog websites. Wikis are great resources for group work as well as individual work for students. It allows them to colloborate when nessicary as well as work on the project from virtually anywhere. Wikis are also very user friendly and allow work to be divied well, for instance each person could be repsonsible for a page.The students are also learning authentically as they create the page, by determining what is necessary information as well as how to organize it.

One of the most important features of a wiki is the history feature of it. It is essential to be able to view the history and edit changed made for the product to be successful. The history tool is also a great resource for te teacher to monitor student accountability and contribution.

I also like that the teacher can grade and monitor the wikis from anywhere and throughout the whole creation process. The wikis are also great becasue it gives the students ownership and the feeling of real accomplishment when they are done. One last great feature is that the information can be shared with grandparents and aunts and uncles, etc.  anywhere, as long as they have access to the internet!