18 July 2011

Call Mr. Larson

Image Source: Here

 It's not everyday you have an experience that shows you what kind of an influence you have on your students, but it's really nice to have one once in a while. I received a phone call Saturday, July 2nd from my school secretary passing along horrible news that one of my previous students had just been attacked by three large dogs and had almost died. That information was bad enough to hear, but it was even worse when I heard which student was attacked.

This student (we'll call him Fred to make the story easier to tell and to also keep the innocence of the child in question intact) was a special student who was extremely low in reading skills and because of that, was very low in a number of other scholastic areas as well. To make things worse, he was also receiving speech services to try and correct a physical speech impediment that would need surgery to correct. Fred struggled all year long, yet his parents and the special education (SPED) department of my school kept telling me he was making HUGE improvements and was growing so much both academically and socially. They tried to say I was the reason, but I know that wasn't the whole truth, this young man was just growing up and I happened to have him at the right time in his life to help make a positive change.

As the year progressed, Fred was improving and growing at a rapid rate until he received word he would have to miss the last 8-10 weeks to recover from the much needed surgery to correct his speech impediment. He was going to have to be in a "halo" and wouldn't be allowed to attend school at all. We were devastated! Here we had worked so hard and he was making such great strides to improve academically and now he was going to miss the last two months of school. I wasn't going to let this stop his growth so I worked with the SPED teacher to re-arrange her schedule in order to allow Fred to attend her lessons at least so he wouldn't totally fall backwards. The student would come to the school an hour or so after school had started and after things had calmed down and receive very small group or even one-on-one time with the SPED teacher and her aide all while trying frantically to help him from falling too far behind. I would arrange to stay after school to work with him on special projects the rest of the class was completing so he wouldn't feel left out, and yet, I didn't know if my extra effort was helping.

Fast forward 8 weeks to the end of school and Fred was able to do most everything the rest of the class did, on his own time frame. He was even able to get through the required End of Level testing (not that I really cared except it was required) with very little problem. It appeared as though Fred had survived 4th grade, not finishing on level, but having improved from where he had started. Success! I visited Fred at his home to drop off his end of the year packet of "stuff" I had collected throughout the year and check on his recovery. All was looking good and it appeared as though he wouldn't have to miss any school at the start of the next school year.

Then came that phone call. Fred had been attacked by three large dogs and was in the hospital. The doctors weren't sure how bad the situation was and at one point they thought he might not even make it. Why did I get a phone call from my secretary telling me all this horrible information? I was on vacation with my family at the opposite end of the state and suddenly I was no longer with them mentally, but back home with my former student. I received a phone call because as Fred was being taken into surgery, his Mom asked him if he wanted anything for when he came out. What did Fred want, "Call Mr. Larson."

And I didn't receive just one phone call, I actually received three different calls from three different people. The first was from my school secretary, the second from my Vice Principal and the third from my Mom. I don't know who called my Mom, but they were so insistent on finding Mr. Larson that they cold called my parent's house looking for me.

It's amazing how three little words can cause such a stirring of emotions. I am thankful for those three words because they showed me that I had made a difference in at least one of my former students. Those three words sent my weekend into an uproar as I frantically found a way to get home to visit my student as soon as possible. I didn't get to the hospital before he got out of surgery, partially because I didn't find out about the events until he was already in recovery, but I was able to get to see him within 24 hours of those phone calls. I left my wife and daughter with my in-laws and I drove home to visit a young boy who showed me I am making a positive change in the world.

I don't tell this story to make myself seem like a wonderful teacher or to make myself appear great. I tell this story because I have had moments where I wondered if I made the right decision to become a teacher and this experience has shown me that I did. No matter how difficult teaching can be, there will always be three words that will help me to stick it out and push to get better, "Call Mr. Larson."

Fred has been released from the hospital and should recover enough to come back to school at the first of the year. Probably not the first week, but hopefully within the first couple of weeks. His injuries were pretty severe, but he should recover. Also, his face did not receive any major injuries, a miracle if ever one occurred.

29 June 2011

Free McGraw-Hill Apps Today Only!

** Note: This post ran on June 29, 2011 and the offers found here are not necessarily still valid. I have noticed that many of these same apps will come and go as $Free or discounted regularly, so you may still get lucky. Thanks!

As a member of UCET I received an email this morning letting me know about a special offer from McGraw-Hill. Today (Wednesday, June 29th) only you can get 11 iOS apps for $FREE thanks to the ISTE conference going on.

The best way to find the apps is to do a search on the iOS App Store for 'McGraw-Hill' with or without the dash. All of the apps are part of their 'Everyday Mathematics' collection and include addition, subtraction, multiplication, division, fractions, and other number games plus a vocabulary game too. The titles are:

• Monster Squeeze
• Baseball Multiplication (1-6 and 1-12)
• Divisibility Dash
• Equivalent Fractions
• Top-It (Addition and Subtraction)
• Tric-Trac
• Beat the Computer Multiplication
• Name that Number
• Bluster (Vocabulary Game)

You probably won't be able to see the full title of each app, but as long as you see 'Everyday Mathematics' you should be in the right spot.

All of these apps can be found in the iOS App Store. I don't know if the apps are available on the Android Market because I don't use Android, but it would be worth a check.

I just downloaded them all and am excited to see where they will work in the classroom. I haven't used any of them yet, but I figured a free app is a free app. If you downloaded the apps, what do you think? How will you use them in the classroom? Let me know in the comments.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

13 June 2011

Student Teacher

via D Sharon Pruitt

I just found out I will be having a student teacher next year and I'm a little nervous. It's not because I don't think I will be able to handle a student teacher, but more that I hope I don't harm the new teacher's enthusiasm and excitement for the teaching profession.

It's very humbling to think that I am being entrusted with helping a new teacher gain experiences that they can look back on after they have been hired and are teaching full-time. I know I won't be a perfect mentor but I hope I'm not totally awful. I hope that I am able to help this new teacher see the joy that I have for teaching and possibly help them to also gain a certain level of joy as well.

I wonder what this new teacher is hoping to get out of the experience of working with me? I think I was their first choice of mentors to work with which is also a little scary.  I wonder if they have any specific goals they want to achieve while student teaching? I wonder if they have any fears about working with me?

It appears as though I have a lot of questions about this experience and I hope I don't have to wonder long. I am hoping the student teacher is willing to meet with me this summer to address these questions I have and hopefully establish some great ideas on how to make this next year a huge success.

One thing is for sure, I am going to do everything in my power to get them to start using technology as soon as possible. I plan on making sure they understand what Twitter is and recommend they start tweeting about their experiences in the classroom, or at least listen in on the many others using the service. I hope to get the new teacher excited about blogging, hopefully helping me to also re-catch the bug and post more regularly as well.

Overall, I am excited to have the opportunity to work with a new teacher to see what is being taught in the teacher-prep courses at the University level. I just expect so much of myself that I want to make sure I enjoy the experience and not just spend my time worrying about how I am doing. I have total confidence in the new teacher, and I hope to learn as much as possible from her while, hopefully, passing on some good ideas and insights to her as well.

26 March 2011

Making Time for Blogging

It seems that no matter what I am trying to do, blogging just can't get it's fair share of time to get done. I feel really bad abut that, especially since I presented at UCET 2011 in Sandy, Utah about different tech tools teachers should be using. In that presentation I talked about blogging and the benefits it can have for educators with regards to reflection and the learning process and how it can allow you to learn and grow from other educators experiences. I truly believe that statement. Even though I haven't been writing on any of my blogs (yes you read that right, I have 3 total blogs) I have definitely been reading the thoughts and reflections of others. I don't know what I would do without my RSS reader and feeds with the ability to follow many talented and inspirational educators. But I don't just follow educators. I actually follow as many, if not more, computer/technology blogs as education themed blogs. I find that the more I read, the happier I feel and the more I am actually learning. And when I say "more" I'm not just referring to the "number" or articles, but actually the amount of different articles, topics, and authors. I think it is an important part of learning, allowing yourself to be immersed with as many different topics as possible. Just as we try to persuade our students to not always read the same genre, we as educators need to be open to reading different topics and ideas.

To go along with the RSS feeds I read, I also listen to a number of podcasts. I am fairly new to the podcast world, but I am already in love with what I have found. I think it is very interesting that I have found so much joy in listening to "experts" discuss the topics of education and technology because I have never enjoyed listening to Talk Radio and have even used the words "hate" and "detest" to describe the genre. I am a music man, not a talk man. Well, maybe I am a little bit of a talk fan. If you haven't tried listening to podcasts, you should! One of the easiest way to find a large group of podcasts is to go through the Apple iTunes Store. Once you have logged in, click on "Podcasts" and then start a search for a topic of interest. Most, if not all podcasts are $FREE to "subscribe" to, and I recommend you subscribe to them if you enjoy what you hear. I typically download one or two episodes just to get a feel for the show and if I enjoy what I hear, then I go back and subscribe to that show. The nice thing about subscribing is that iTunes will automatically check for new episodes and download them for you. You definitely need to check out podcasts, you won't be let down. There are many different topics to select from and I am sure you will be able to find something of interest. And remember, don't just limit yourself to one "genre" of podcast, allow yourself to look around and try out different themes.

I hope this is the beginning of a new leaf for me. I hope to find the time to do more writing and reflecting on my teaching as well as the different technologies being used in my classroom as well as in other teachers' classrooms.

22 February 2011

Welcome to my Journey

Welcome to my journey into blogging with Ed-Tech Babble. This is a place where I hope to write about all things Education, Technology, and other crazy thoughts I may have that remotely fit into the Educational Technology world. If you happen to enjoy what you read here, please feel free to forward the address on to your friends and colleagues. I will try to respond to any questions and/or comments in a prompt manner, but realize I am first and foremost an educator in the classroom and my initial time and devotion is to the students in my care.

My posting schedule will be as follow, when I feel I have a post with substance ready, I will post it. I am not the kind of person who will post something just because I "should" hold to a regular posting schedule. I will not throw together a post just to have something daily, but will make sure what I am writing is of value and substance

Thanks for reading and welcome along on my journey.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...