Saturday, December 10, 2011

Where did time go?

My youngest (the Clover) turned seven yesterday.  Seven.  It seems like only a few days ago, I was trying to fit my very pregnant belly into a student desk during a grade level meeting at another school (you know the kind where the chair and the tabletop are connected so there's no scooching).  She wasn't a baby for very long (even though we called her Baby for a long time).  As soon as she entered school (parochial preschool for starters) it was as though someone hit the fast forward button.

Nothing brings home that fact that your baby isn't a baby anymore like looking at her with eyeshadow on.  The Clover, much to the chagrin of her dad, got her first makeup set last night (good call Aunt B, it is a big hit!).  She was all about trying it out.  Before the night was over, she had on more eyeshadow than is appropriate for anyone and every shade of lipgloss in the kit.  It made me want to cry because I know that gone are tea parties with the stuffed animals and playdough pizza making.  I am just waiting for her to ask me to get her ears pierced.  I wonder how old a girl has to be before she can enter the convent?

Friday, December 9, 2011

Rudolph is in my social skills group?

Like teaching anything else, there are a ton of strategies and options when it comes to presenting a lesson.  One of these is role playing.  We have been working tirelessly on being flexible in our thinking.  It is one of the Super Skills, and so very important to life.  You and I have it (clearly, or we wouldn't be teachers now would we?).  Sudden changes are super hard for students who are on the Spectrum.  Like, catastrophic.  Our culminating project for this skill (as well as cooperation, kind talk, being a good listener) is to present a puppet show to another class.  So here's what we (with a lot of guidance wrote).  If you want to copy and paste it, feel free (I'm all about helping a co-teacher out).

North Pole Flexibility

Rudolph:  I am so excited to pull Santa's sleigh tonight.  I get to be behind Dancer and Prancer!

Santa:  Rudolph, it is so foggy, and your nose is so bright.  You should be in front so we can see where we're going.

Rudolph:  SANTA!  I'm too scared, and YOU SAID I would be behind Dancer and Prancer!!!!!

Santa:  Do you remember your steps to success for being flexible?

Rudolph:  I can't even think!  I'm too upset!  What are they?

Santa:  Stop and take a deep breath, let it go.  Now think what's happening and make a plan.

Rudolph:  (Takes a deep breath) OK, you need my help.  I will try being in front.

Santa:  GREAT JOB!  You are really using your steps.  And now, we can deliver the presents.

It takes a lot of rehearsing and scenarios to really generalize this, but as I said yesterday.  It's a process, not an event.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Oh Thursday

- or - if I hear the first year band students murder "Up on the Housetop" one more time, I'll be the one up on the housetop ready to jump.  Today was one of those days.  The one where my constant game of putting out fires/whack-a-mole got out of hand (didn't win any tickets today).  Sometimes, I feel like for as many steps forward we have taken this year, we are back in August for the day.  I know, I know, it's a process not an event.  But still, I get frustrated when not one thing goes the way it should all day long (including the strength of the cafeteria coffee that I just discovered).  So here's to the potential for a late start tomorrow and the fact that every day is a new one.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Coolest Download EVER!

Today was Wednesday, so it was consultation day for me.  That's when the queen of all things on the Spectrum, comes to visit me and make suggestions.  I do so love it because a). I get to interact with an adult and b). Her wealth of knowledge is amazing.  Toward the beginning of the year, I think she was worried that I would be offended by her suggestions until one day I told her, "Look, the only way I am going to get better at this is by having someone coach me.  Any suggestions you make I will immediately carry out and be thankful for.  I promise not to cry in your presence." Since that day, I have learned so, so much from her.  Like today.  She made a Power Card for me (not actually for me as I certainly don't have any behaviors that need to be modified, but as an example).  It was Super Mario themed and totally awesome.  I geeked out and was like, "How?"  So she showed me the best program I have seen in a while (except for Boardmaker, of course).  It is called Comic Life, and it can be used for so much more than Power Cards.  So. Much. More.  It has a 30-day free trial (which I am now on day 1 of).  The great thing is, it only costs $25 to have it for your computer for all of time.  So here's the link to what will prove to be invaluable in my world.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

I truly don't hate my job...

I do, however, love puttering around the house in my jammies more.  When winter comes, it is hard for me to get up from my nice cozy bed and head out in the dark to school (one hour earlier is killing me slowly).  Especially on days like today when it didn't get above freezing, and it was snowing when I left.  In fact it snowed (albeit lightly) into the afternoon.  This got my hopes up for an early release (silly I know because there was no accumulation).  That was not to be, so we the teachers, continued teaching the GLE's and basically holding the students against their will for the remainder of the day (long).  Maslow should have added "touching the first snow (or any snow for that matter)" to his physiological needs tier in the hierarchy.  Tomorrow and for the remainder of the week, it will be above freezing with no precipitation, so at least Saturday/loungeday is just around the corner.

Monday, December 5, 2011

I'm a little fishy...

watch me swim.  Yes, that's right.  I swam today.  My Best Para Forever (sorry to the one who worked in my room two years ago, but girlfriend has you at the least tied for best), texted me around 5:50 (ten short minutes before I have to leave) that she wouldn't be coming in today.  She reminded me that it was her student's day for swim.  So, I grabbed my suit, towel and flip-flops while thanking the good Lord that I had bothered to shave my legs today (not that little boys notice and/or care, but still).  And away I went.  The swimming hour rolled around and I suited up as fast as I could.  I threw on my shorts over my momsuit (something had to cover some of the glare from my oh-so whiteness) and made my way to the hall to meet my guy.  At the very moment I walked out of the girls locker room, my assistant principal walked by me, did an almost unnoticeable double take and said, "Going in today Frau M.?"  I said, "BPF is absent, so it's me."  He said, "Good, good." and kept on walking (I guess he figured better me than him).  Our conversations for most of the year have been just about the same length, yet somehow he always knows exactly what is up with my students (uncanny and a little nerve wracking).  After swim time was over, came the cold part (and the reason I am still wearing my coat and hat right now).  I had to get out and go into the regular building.  Brrr!  I changed back as fast as I could and pulled my hair back into a bun (not a great look for me, but what can you do?).  All in all, not too bad.  I am not saying I would do it again voluntarily, but if the need arises, I can and will give the school population something they can't unsee.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Challenge Accepted

There are two different ways to react to difficult situations.  This phenomenon is known as fight or flight.  Some people cower in the corner at the hint of confrontation.  Some people pretend not to see you and turn the other way.  Some people go home and cry.  Not this girl.  I have decided that killing with kindness isn't working for me.  So my new tactic is fight.  Those who know me are aware that there are times when I don't mince words and say what I am truly thinking without the use of any kind of filter.  I try to control that aspect of my personality most of the time.  However, when pushed hard enough I will tell exactly what I think without an edit.  So if you find yourself sitting by me and notice my ringtone has changed from Raspberry Beret (Prince) to We're not Gonna Take it (Twisted Sister), you'll know why.