Saturday, September 30, 2017

Life Happens!

I have not been blogging here in quite some time.  But great things have been happening.  I now work at a school close to me.  I have great students and staff to work with.  I have a new student teacher, Carly.  Next week two first-year students start their journey toward obtaining their special education credential.

I have the opportunity to go into general education classes and set them up with google docs.  I help the teachers and the students become more familiar with it.  I also teach them how to use google read-write extension.

I also am a resource of how to make your iPad work with ST Math.  Students come into my room for help.  I took the plunge this year and wrote a grant on and wow, I have two grants funded already.

My students love their wobble chair and bouncy chair.  I love my new book cart and movable white board.  We have 12 students learning phonics in my room every day.

My tutoring business is still doing well. I currently work 4 hours a week and find that is doable.  I am involved at my church with choir, bells and prayer quilts.  I am involved with the community with La Playa Trail - a historical group in Point Loma.

I have two grandsons, 8 and 4 and another grandchild on the way.  I still enjoy skiing, boogie boarding and walking my dogs.  There never seems to be enough time for everything.  But life is good.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Power of Tiny Distractions

This information comes from an article in the March 3, 2015 Wall Street Journal written by Sue Shellenbarger.  Another name for this article could be "How desk toys help office workers stay  on top of their mental game." Many teachers find some of their students seem to have ADHD or some variation.  They are the students constantly moving.  They can't keep up with you.  They seem to be in their own world focusing on everyone else but not you.

This article is talking about working adults playing with items that might increase creativity, or help with focusing.   So I would like to know if you think any of these manipulators would work with your students.

  • Rubber toy/ball which can be squeezed to vent frustration or lighten the mood.  (Would your students throw it?)
  • Pen ( could you stand having students clicking a retractable point pen over and over?  This is to help the mind sustain attention through mundane tasks.  (Just imaging over 30 of these pens clicking at one time...)
  • Magnets (as long as your students would not swallow them - they are highly toxic.) 
  • Sandbox.  "Playing with sand is relaxing and can spark conversation." (I personally would not allow this at each desk.  But sending a child to the sand station might be an option.)
  • Smooth stones.  (Again as long as a student would not throw the stones it might work.)  I would recommend they keep in their pocket or in their desk.)
  • Clothes  pin.  "randomly attaching a pin to another object, such as a pencil, helps an office worker avoid zoning out when bored."  So this makes me wonder are many students acting out because they are bored?  Are teachers talking too much?  What would happen if you had that distracted student teach the class?
  • Slinky (I would avoid this as they are easily broken if pulled.)
  • Coat toggle This is a great idea as long as it is cold enough for coats.  I teach in CA so this would only be a good option for a few month.
So the research says that "certain kinds of hand movements have an impact on cognitive functioning, improving focus or sparking fresh thinking or faster learning."  So it might benefit you class to have object to move, click, squeeze, poke, feel...

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Valulable Lessons in Learning

I was just browsing the New York Times when I found this article by Tara Parker-Pope.  I am helping a student prepare for the SAT's and found it to have good advice. (Oct 7, 2014)

The author was looking at a book that challenges the notion that high test scores equals true learning.  He feels students need to study smarter.  "How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where and Why It Happens" by B. Carey.

I summarize these as follows:
  1. Change your study environment time to time. Desk, kitchen table, Starbucks, etc.
  2. Talk about your learning to either yourself or study mates.
  3. Review the information one to two days after learning it the first time.
  4. Sleep better ie: foreign language test go to be early and wake up to review.  Math test study late and then sleep as long as possible.
It is amazing what the brain can do if you just change the way you study...

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Interesting News on Brain Synapses and Autism

In the article "Study Finds That Brains With Autism Fail to Trim Synapses as they Develop" by Pam Belluck in the New York Times 8/22/14, scientists discovered an effect inform studying brains of children with autism.

They found, "malfunctions in the system of clearing out old and degraded cells, a process called autophagy".  A child is born with many  synapses or connectivity in the brain.  As a child grows, the brain lowers these synapses.  Scientist found that children with autism had too many synapses.  This could be causing the noise sensitivity, flapping, etc.

"If all parts of the brain  talk to all parts of the brain, all you will get is noise."  This might be one of the causes of autism.

Now the real research begins as what we can do to intervene help reduce the synapses.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Almost the 4th of July

Life was very busy for the last six months.  I started two other blogs.  One for parents on how to help with their child has trouble learning.  I also wrote a blog for teachers on teaching in 2013.  I see I need to update the title.

I was busy about six hours a week.  Other students came in and out for help on an as needed basis.  My student who had trouble learning to read now likes reading.  My high school students still can not do math.  Mainly because they won't study, do homework, or show up to school on a regular basis.  Tutoring once or twice a week cannot overcome an attitude that says "I can't".

When a student tries, I can make a difference.  Trying to learn math in three sessions because a student is confused is still difficult.

I do make math interesting and fun.  I combine technology and repetition.  I purchased math books because many students today say their teacher does not use a book.  They only have worksheets to work with.  I am old school.  I like a book to look through.  I like to see examples.  I do google things often.  I have trouble learning from videos though.  So not every student can look at a video and understand.

I am enjoying a small summer break but plan to start tutoring again in August so students can feel empowered for the new school year and keep on track.

I bill once a month.  That keeps down on the paper work.  Next year I will try to sub more.  It is a great way to see what is going on in the classroom.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

November - Giving Thanks

Working with six students is so much fun.  I need to decide when I have enough students to no longer sub.  I do like subbing though.  It keeps me current and updated to what is going on in our schools.  I would love to see some input about San Diego Unified Schools…

I do need to set policies about canceling a tutoring session.  I understand when a student is sick but I would like them to reschedule not just drop me for the week without notice.  But that is something to work on later.

I attended my first meeting as a member of the board for Point Loma Association.  7:30 am is early in the morning.  If I could have a job at 9 am I would take it but the two that called were 7:20 am and 8:20 am.

I enjoyed taking the class Digital Literacy's 2 though the district.  I learned some cool things.  I made my first pod cast.  I like it.  I also made this video using screencast-0-matic, You Tube and Caption tube.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

It Takes Time to Build a Busines

All summer I had only one student as my customer base.  I worked twice a week with him.  In one week I now have five more students.  I am excited about all the new students.  I am working with three students for 7th grade math and one student in pre-calculus. I also want to sub in the local school district.  It is a way to see how the material is being taught.  I like to make relationships with the teachers to supplement what they are doing in the classroom.

I have joined a few local organizations to make contacts- The Point Loma Assembly and the Point Loma Association.  I also attend the La Playa Trail Association meetings.  I enjoy learning about the community where I live.  I also like to learn.  I think I bring the love of learning into to my tutoring business.

I still have not purchased the Woodcock-Johnson general intelligence test because of its $1,600.00 cost. I would like to purchase a portable printer to bring on the road with me at students' houses.  My home computers seem to run slower and slower so I need to remember I will have to replace my technology equipment on a regular basis.

I set up a new and separate checking account and credit card account.  I hope to keep my records in better order.  I paid my business tax online so I am set up for another year.  I still have a lot of work to do on my web site.  I am enrolled in a technology course through San Diego Unified.  This is helping me set up more technology for my business.  I have Google+ for Point Loma Tutor as well as a facebook page.  I learned how to do a screenshot and sent a lesson to one of my clients when he was away on vacation.

So I am making progress but it still seems slow.