The Power of Words

Today was our final class in SPED 428.
To reflect on what we had learned this semester, we went around the room and each shared an “ah-ha” moment.
Someone said that their “ah-ha” moment was discovering the power of words, and how much of what you say, matters.
This immediately reminded me of Maya Angelou…
This clip is from the show Master Class, which airs on the OWN network.
If you haven’t seen this episode yet, it is truly a must see.
“I intend to use my energies constructively, as opposed to, destructively.
If you can do that about the negative, just think what you can do about the positive!
If a human being dreams a great dream, dares to love somebody…
If a human being dares to be Martin King, Mahatma Gandhi, Mother Teresa, or Malcolm X…
If a human being dares to be bigger than the condition into which she or he was born, it means, so can you!”


This Sunday!

I am super excited to see The B’More Abilities performance of “The Hard Nut Cracked!”
This performance is created and performed completely by people with disabilities.
You can get advanced tickets here or the day of the event at the door.

An Apology From Your Child’s Former Teacher

I think all teachers need to read this blog post.
It is a letter addressed to “parents of special needs children” from a “former teacher.”
The author shares how they now have a child with special needs and they realize all of the things they wish they would’ve done differently.
It is an interesting read and a feeling I have heard expressed before by former teachers who are in the same situation.


Here is a link to my symbaloo page!

There you can find links to tons of great sites for teachers/parents/students on…

-Social Studies
-Language Arts/Reading
-Interactive Whiteboard
-Kid Friendly Search Engines
-In Class Response Methods

& more! Be sure to check it out.

Turning Tables

As a Special Educator, we often ask parents to make “vision plans” for their children.
Vision plans include items such as your dreams for your child, where do you see them in 1, 5, 10 years, obstacles, opportunities, strategies, action steps, service delivery, etc. To see examples of vision statements, check out this awesome blog, Surviving & Thriving.

So this week’s challenge was to practice what you preach- To make a vision plan for yourself as a teacher.
What kind of teacher do you want to be? How do you want your students and faculty members to describe you? What characteristics do you believe make a good teacher?

Here is what I came up with.

Do you agree? Anything I am missing?

UDL Interactive Activity

Today in class we did an Interactive UDL Activity that you can find here.

“When building UDL goals, remember that it often helps to stay focused on what you want your students to learn, rather than how you want them to learn it.”

Although this is something that I already do as it is the basis for UDL, something about the way this was worded just clicked with me. It is still hard for me sometimes to think about ways I can vary student’s assessments and still ensure that learning occured. I guess it is just easy for many teachers, including myself, to do things the exact same way we did them when we were kids. I mean, it worked then, why wouldn’t it work now?

This idea was also brought up this week in Nightly News with Brian Williams. You can watch the short, two minute clip here. The segment was on Waldorf schools, something I had never heard of before. In the most simplistic way possible, Waldorf Education uses old fashion teaching methods which do not include technology.

So, here were my thoughts while watching the video:
– Really? You are a Google VP? A little backwards.
– $24,000 for each year of High School? WHAT?
-“Just introducing technology has not been shown to have magical effects on student learning” Says who?

I guess by now you can probably tell my thoughts/feelings on the issue, but I think I can probably better express my opinion on the matter with an example.

Let’s apply this principle to a completely different field: Dentistry

– In 5000 BC, it was believed that “tooth worms” inside of the teeth caused cavities.

– Insturments used to cure tooth related disorders? Bow drills!

– Dental Chair? Wasn’t invented until 1790. Novacain? Wasn’t discovered until 1905.

-Crooked teeth? Need braces? Check out this earliest form of bling!

-Braces not enough? Need headgear? Try this on for size- Just don’t get too close to anybody!

-Missing teeth? Need dentures? Early dentures were made from animal’s teeth and wood!

So next time you are wondering why we need to incorporate technology into our lessons and incorporate UDL, ask yourself if you would go to a dentist who is still practicing dentistry with 5000 BC techniques?

While I would like to note that I do believe that a good education program does incorporate “old fashion,” or more “hands on” techniques, I  completely disagree with the idea that technology should not be used in today’s classrooms.

Math Links

A few helpful Math Links!

UDL Project 1

Hey guys,

Below is a link to a digital book I created using CAST UDL Book Builder.
Check it out!


My thoughts on Stimeyland

What has this experience been like for you?  Have you followed a blog consistently before?  Do you feel connected to this parent?  Do you have any ideas of resources that you might suggest for this family?  If so, what are the resources and why are you suggesting them.

I’m really enjoying read the blog, Stimeyland.

This is not my first time following a blog. I actually have a long list of blogs that I read regularly. As I look now at my “Blog Folder” under my favorite tabs, I notice that all of the ones that I follow are very different. I read blogs on fashion, education, medicine, radio station blogs, and even ones that just post funny pictures and videos.

When I think about what makes a blog “good”, the most important part for me is the language. I really need to feel a personal connection to the author for me to keep coming back for more. I want to feel like the blogger is an old friend. I want it to be as if I am having a casual conversation with the author, not reading a manual, listening to a news broadcast, or sitting in a lecture hall.

I think that is what makes Stimeyland so wonderful. Stimey is a fabulous writer. She is witty, well-spoken,  and a great story teller. When I read her blog posts I am either doing one of two things; a. Laughing my butt off at her hysterical retelling of her day or b. Nodding my head in agreement as I relate her words to something similar that has happened to me.  Stimey is no holds bar- she doesn’t try to paint her story as some fairy tale life. I love how authentic and real she is.

In terms of my future as a Special Educator, Stimey is a great example of a parent who has accepted that their child has a disability and is OK with it. Stimey accepts Jack 100% for who he is. She is very involved in her son’s life and supports everything that he does.  Since Stimey is so active in the Autism Community, I really can’t think of any resources that I could recommend to her that she doesn’t already know about. I would actually be interested in hearing from her any resources that she, as a parent, could recommend to me, as an educator… Maybe I should e-mail her that very question!