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Posted by on in General

hand turkey

Twenty-one paper turkeys (looking suspiciously like twenty-one first grade hands) flocked together on the window at the entrance of Mrs. Dodd's classroom. The finger-feathers on each glistened in colors never intended by nature but ever so vivid in the giant 64 crayon box with the sharpener on back - colors like "magenta," "Caribbean green," "periwinkle," "salmon," "carnation pink," and "robin egg blue." Each bird’s thumb-head was complete with wattle, giant smile and soulful human-like eyes. Some were even adorned with necklaces and baseball caps.

As I entered the classroom, I was immediately surrounded by my adoring six-year-old fans each clamoring to give me a hug, each eager to share his or her work with me. Mrs. Dodd, accustomed to my daily walk-throughs, endured this interruption with immense grace. I love first graders, but I certainly do not have the courage to spend six hours a day locked in a room with a flock of them.

This particular group of kids was one of my favorites to visit during my morning tour of campus. The students beamed as I listened to them read their journals aloud to me. They delighted in “teaching” me how to add problems on their little white boards. And they laughed as I sat on the floor with them in their reading circle and waved my hand impatiently when Mrs. Dodd asked a question. They even composed a "stop in your tracks - just relax" song especially for me which they willingly sang upon request on days when I needed it most.

Thanksgiving week marks the beginning of the holiday season, the beginning of "hyper-energy mode" for children of all ages who can barely contain their excitement. The three day school week helps to ease teachers and students alike into this stressful time and provides a little motivation for getting the work at hand accomplished.

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Posted by on in Special Education

turtles

The little boy dropped his backpack on the kitchen floor and thrust his writing assignment at his mother. She could barely understand him through his sobs. “She didn’t even read it!” he shrieked. “I spent all night writing. She told us to write about what we know…and she didn’t even read it!!”

His mother wiped away his tears (and then her own) and put her arm around her son. She took the wrinkled paper and said, “Then I’ll read it.” 

Turtels

Turtels are reptils that live on land and in water. Thay have hard shells that protect there sensativ bodys. Sometimes thay pull their bodys into there shells, espeshuley when thay are fritend.

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Tagged in: special education

Posted by on in General

 dimes

My college education was earned one dime at a time.  

I was fortunate to be able to attend the university on an academic scholarship supplemented with a government grant.  In turn, this was supplemented by my father’s paycheck already stretched to support a family of seven kids.  This allowed me to stay at home and use the family car to travel to and from school.  Free breakfast and dinner were also part of the package.  

Although I never asked, I know things must have been rough for my parents as they raised their many offspring.  I am sure, as the days built toward the next paycheck, they were living on their own mere handful of dimes as well.

College was so different in the late seventies and early eighties - certainly nothing like it is today.  There were no computers, so all papers had to be constructed on old-school typewriters.  These had no “delete” buttons, only messy correction fluid and correction tape.  To cut, copy and paste, one literally had to yank out the working draft and start all over.  Adding footnotes and page numbers was a nightmare as the typist needed to estimate the amount of space needed at the bottom of the page and continue carefully with the body of the text.  Messing up resulted in yanking the paper again from the roller and perhaps saying a few choice words in doing so.

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Tagged in: Change

Posted by on in General

 principals office

Stocky kindergartener Leonard was sent to my office on the fourth day of school for hitting another little boy and for refusing to do his work. He was to return several more times that first month of school for similar transgressions. Visits with his mother were somewhat encouraging - and behavior problems subsided - but only temporarily. Before long, the little boy was back in the office lobby waiting for the assistant principal to intervene again.

Free-spirited eighth grader Tony was also a frequent flyer for similar reasons. Couldn't work quietly. Wouldn't keep his hands to himself. Disrupted and distracted in every one of his classes. Tony was a likeable kid - a little goofy, but relatively harmless. After the first month of school, I was a little tired of his presence in my office.

One afternoon, both boys found themselves sitting in my office at the same time. Tony had been sailing paper airplanes across his math classroom. Leonard had been urinating on the outside wall of the kindergarten building. "I told the playground aide I had to go to the bathroom," he explained, "and she said, 'Then just go,' so I did!"        

Tony raised his right hand and little Leonard high-fived him. Too tired to reprimand the older boy, I turned my attention to the kindergartener and asked, "After you went, did you wash your hands?"

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Posted by on in General

race car

Valerie stood in my doorway and quietly tapped. "Here's the file you asked for, Mr. Ramsey," she said. "New boy, Gonzalo Pomelo, eighth grade, Mrs. Duarte's homeroom."

I took the file and thanked my secretary. As I opened to the first page, she added, "By the way, he's here in the lobby waiting to see you."

"Really?" I sighed, slapping my forehead. "He just started this morning!"   Valerie quietly waited for me to tell her what to do with the child waiting for discipline. I exhaled. "Give me a sec," I uttered finally. "I just want to take a look at Mr. Pomelo's file. I'll come get him in a minute."

Quickly, I scanned the first few pages before me. Eighth grade. Last attended school in New Mexico. Parents divorced. Dad given full custody. Son sent to Arizona to live with grandparents temporarily until Dad could sell the Albuquerque home.

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