Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Chapter 66, Traditions

With Thanksgiving and Christmas fast approaching, I was lying in bed last night and began thinking of what I wanted to get done. So much of what I want to do for the holidays centers around tradition. the making of fudge, peanut brittle and English toffee, homemade ornaments, handmade gift,foods made only this time of year. I have noticed it is harder for me to get into the swing of things being so far from my family, as Anthony really doesn't have any traditions, and the kids have not been raised with the same type of traditions. So really, I only make and do things for me. But I have decided this year that I will mail a box home with all the homemade goodies I can cram into it, and I will work on a couple of gifts for next year. Katrina and Joey both need homemade stockings, so I will begin theirs this year and get them mailed out by next October. Then I would like to make some for Anthony, Nicholas, Amanda and I. I also plan on making 1 extra for any new baby that should come along back home, someone back there should be able to add a name. I want to make sure the kids have a set of handmade ornaments, so I was thinking if I could get 2 a month done, then by next year they would have a nice set. even if I only get one a month done, they would still have a set for their tree's someday. I also think I am going to write a journal of holiday memories and traditions. I plan on including pics from past holidays. I know the journal will be more than a year long project, but I will at least get it started. I was thinking of maybe getting a scrapbook and trying scrap booking to accomplish it. I will think on it some more this week, and maybe get a chance to outline a plan this weekend. Anyone with ideas or advice, please share it!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Chapter 65, What a student taught me

We are learning about literary techniques in class right now, and as we were covering mood, dialogue and sensory details, one of the boys made a comment that really hit me. I had asked each student to think of something they read, watch or do that could illustrate our three techniques. One of them raised his hand and said, "Video games, Miss. You see all the images, you feel the buzzing and crashes in the controller, in some of the games you have dialogue to find answers or clues, and they use images and colors to set the mood, to make you feel anxious (great use of a vocab word!!) or excited." I was really impressed with his answer as this is an autistic student, and he vary rarely volunteers to speak in class. But what really got me is that he came up to me during lunch and continued his observation. Due to behavioral issues, my students usually eat in the classroom with my Para, and most of the time I eat with them. They enjoy challenging me to checkers, beating me at chess and just talking. Often when they are talking to me I am knitting, crocheting, stitching, or doing something. All of them get involved in my projects, and a few like to try. I have two extra pairs of knitting needles in my desk, and more than one of them has worked on the scarf that was started last year. But this student came up to me and sat and watched me knit as I talked to my Para during lunch. then he tapped my hand and said, "Miss, this is you using the techniques. You touch and feel the yarn, you have dialogue with us, and it puts you in a good mood and you smile more. Maybe you see the colors of the yarn." I was dumbstruck! both by his observation/connection of literary technique to real life, and by the fact that he was right. All my "crafts" involve fiber (touch) colors (sight) they make me happy, (mood) I enjoy talking and joking while I am working on them (dialogue) I love the sounds of the knitting needles, sewing machine, or sorting through buttons, (sound) I love the smell of yarn and fibers (weird, I know), and I love sipping tea or coffee as I work. As I think about it now it is obvious, but until he came up to me, I had not made the total connection. People often ask me why I teach the class I teach. 5th - 8th grade Special Education students with behavior problems that will not allow them to be successful in a regular classroom setting, and I don't know how to answer them, but it is moments like this that remind me. The connections and breakthroughs these kids make can be humbling. The way there actions and discoveries can open my eyes and change my way of thinking. I have an awesome class! even if I am the only one who sees it. Oh, LOL, that student also asked me if I would make him a hat. I promised him I would start one next week. (how can you say no to someone who just blew your mind?)