Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Mrs. D, are you deaf?

On Monday afternoon a bubbly, third grader came bouncing up to me during hall duty.

"Jenna said, you are deaf, are you?" bubbly third grader said.
"Yes, I am." I stated back


When did I become deaf? A year ago, I would have corrected the student by said no, I'm hard of hearing. I just use hearing aids, but I am just like you.

I am not sure when I started to develop my deaf identity, was it before surgery, after, or during 3 weeks of total silence. All I know is that I made that transition not kicking and screaming, but peacefully and happily. I cherish finding my identity. 

Now how do I move from deaf to Deaf?

***My whole hearing history has been challenged, I might have been born with a degree of hearing loss and not at age 3 from Rheumetic fever. As I try to explore the cause of my hearing loss, I will keep you informed.  It turns out my mom is a carrier of Ashkenazi Jews gene. My aunt has the dominate genes. So we are trying to find out it that has caused my hearing loss.  

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Technology - How did we survive before them?

On our recent trip to Nashville for Jenna's dance competition, a voice boomed out in the quiet car. Turn right now! Travel 4.5 miles on I24 to exit 24. What sound, what memory, what accurate directions.....What in the world did I do without a GPS!

I wondered how I made it 2, 5 or 10 years ago with some of the current technology that I have surrounded my life with. When did a GPS replace map quest or the pull out map? How did I cook dinner without a microwave? That electric toothbrush really cleans. The joy of itouch with music and Internet at the touch of a finger. Even my laptop with WiFi, so I can sit in the living room watching digital television while doing lesson plans. Don't even get me started on e-mail!
Some technology I choose to keep out of the house, not much some. I can't even think of what but there has to be something with technology that I don't use.
I struggle with the question, did I allow myself to be enslaved with technology advances or did I allow technology to decutter and simplify my life. I choose to think that some technology allow life to be enriched. I cherish the Internet and my blogging community. Without it I would be full of cochlear implant questions and no one to answer them. My GPS takes the frustration out of driving and I feel safer driving distances. The microwave allows the family to eat together quickly since we have very busy lives. My itouch allows me to enjoy music after 20 years of musical silences. And yes, finally my cochlear implants give the rich sounds, voices and peace fullness that hearing aids could not give me.
So as I sit on my computer, listening to music, enjoying my implants and texting my friend, I hope the next 5 years give technology as great as today. I really need an automatic laundry folder.

Friday, April 18, 2008

What I learned this past week?

Done.....finally done.....oh that is TCAP testing

Here is a little question for you. The answer will be at the end of the blog. Remember you can not take too long to answer and do not use a calculator. You can use scrap paper.

Math Question TCAP test has four parts, Reading, Math, Science and Social Studies. Each part has two sub test. The mean time for the test is 54 minutes. My class has extended time, which means 1.5 of the test time. We take each 2 sub test a day. There are two groups of students taking this test, a morning and afternoon group. Each group has the same accommodations. What is the told time, I spend reading the test aloud per day? How long the whole week?

Science Question
What moon phase do you not test any children during?
A. Waxing Crescent
B. Full Moon
C. First Quarter
D. Any Moon

Social Studies Question
Who Am I?
I created a law that holds schools accountable for academic progress of students.
I think state testing is the only way to measure if the schools are doing their job.
If schools do not "pass" testing, I will take money away from them and I will not support them.
I am the reason thousands of teachers have been pulling out their hair.
Who am I?

Reading Question
Read the top 10 list and find all the mistakes in grammar and punctuation.

This is what I have learned this week:
10. Chocolate is the best to jump start the brain.
9. McDonald's has the best sweet tea. Just wish they added an extra shot of caffeine.
8. When you are ready to start the test, someone will have to go to the restroom.
7. All pencils will break, always have backups.
5. Students really want to do their best, it is very stressful for them. Keep humor and hugs available.
4. M&M's are good, the green taste the best. Boys hate the pink ones, but will eat them too!
3. I paid 8 dollars to help the Boy Scouts go to camp. I was able to dress in jeans all week. Thank goodness for comfort.
2. Whatever you do, do not drink anything near a test.
1. Number one thing I learned from testing........It will never tell me what my students truly know. It will never tell me what I know and how I teach.
1/2 it's done......

Jenna and I are off to Georgia for dance competition and visit with my mom and dad. I am going to enjoy it.

1. too long
2. Any moon
3. Like you don't know
4. too many to count....

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Why I love CI Children's Blogs?

The reason why I love to read CI children's blogs are it gives me a glimmer into what my mom had to go through with me. Thirty-six years ago mom did not have the support system or Internet that is in place today. I went through school without an IEP, FM system, CART, Interpreter, or note taker. I had only one year of speech therapy. But I had Mom and Dad!

I admire the hard choices parents make for their children. I wish it was available 36 years ago.

I was asked about educational practices. My teaching does not pull from one philosophy or teaching. I take some from each. One practice I use daily in my classroom is Dale's Cone of Experience(went to school in the 90's, during Whole Language movement). In theory or in a nutshell, the more the student involve in the teaching and learning process, the more they remember and understand.

I use others like Rigor and Relevance, Best Practices, and others. Teaching has changed so much in the 14+ years I have been teaching. Everything I do is based on research and data. Progress monitoring and common assessments are the norm. I loved teaching when it was just teaching. Now I understand teaching. Teaching is not just for giving out the skills, it enables the student to build on prior knowledge and develop into a lifetime of knowledge. That in a nutshell is my classroom. Hey it's 4:40 A.M. and state testing week, I'm whipped!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Can any of them talk too?

I thought I heard it all. This one comment just kicked it! WTF!

Can any of them talk too?

It was posted as a comment following a fantastic video on ASL-Cochlear Implant Community:

I was raised an oral deaf student. I was very successful. I have been a successful adult. I wear CIs and love them, BUT it is wrong to pass judgement on others because they do not follow the "only way". I have not seen the world through rose colored glasses. I mean, I teach.

As an educator, when you met a child for the first time, you welcome them. In welcoming a child you accept their strengths and weaknesses. Not all children aquire knowledge the same way. This above comment discriminates against children who use ASL. That is wrong.
The first step in education is knowing that not all children needs are the same. Some children will use their voice and others their hands. Many use both. Educators don't pick the weakest skills, they use the child's strongest skill and build on it. All CI children should have the option to use ASL, speech, or both. Nothing should be held back. Accept all or accept none!, not just the ones who fit the perfect package.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

I have been tagged! :)

I'm very excited that David at Life in Cone Silence has tagged me. Here are the rules:

1. The rules of the game get posted at the beginning.2. Each player answers the questions about themselves.3. At the end of the post, the player tags 5 people and posts their name, then goes to their blogs and leaves them a comment, letting them know they've been tagged and asking them to read your blog.

I have to answer questions and people I tag have to answer the same questions, so here I go.

What was I doing 10 years ago:
Ten years ago I was just around 2 months pregnant with Jenna. I was teaching 3rd grade at the same school I have been for the past 14 years. Since I had terrible morning sickness, I did not cook for 9+months. I lost 20 pounds in the first 3 months and Alex gained around 30.

Five Snacks I enjoy:
In a perfect, non weight-gaining world
1. Nachos with extra guacamole
2. Dr. Pepper - it is a snack by itself
3. Banana Pudding - the real kind with whipped cream from Golden Rule
4. Raspberry Scone with a large Chai Latte with extra Whipped Cream from Starbucks
5. Pecan Pie, not the frozen kind. I burn all mine.

In the real world:
1. Rice Cakes with water
2. Hot tea with equal and coffee mate
3. Sugar Free Jello with fat free whipped cream
4. Diet Dr. Pepper with the label covered
5. Watching Food Network and dreaming

Things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Buy our dream home.
2. Keep teaching just for the fun of it.
3. Set up scholarship funds for all the students in my school. Give them the dream of get a degree and hopes for the future.
4. Setting up funding to cover hearing aid cost. Most insurances do not cover the cost of hearing aids.
5. Get Alex the phone he wants. Since he has to wait until I am a billionaire, not getting it any earlier.

Five jobs that I have had:
1. Office Manager at a Print Shop - I worked with Jamie Bishop. He was killed at Virginia Tech.
2. Salesperson at Family Dollar - Mom got the job for me. The customers were stealing garage bags full of stuff daily.
3. Sub teacher - Great job, never had to stay in one classroom for more than a day.
4. Teacher -same school same Principal, moved into 5 different rooms.
That is all the jobs I have had, what can I say I don't like change.

Three of my habits:
1. Making the bed even before Alex gets up. I just roll him off.
2. Keeping desk clean, I hate fluff and mess. My drawers are messy, but the top clean.
3. Double checking to make sure I have my extra batteries.

Five place I have lived:
1. New Jersey - born in Neptune
2. Kingston, New York
3. Jackson, Georgia - home of the state jail.
4. Pine Mountain, Georgia and also the Valley
5. Ft. Campbell, Kentucky

Add one new part, What do you want others to get from your blog:
I hope others see my humor, dedication to my family and friends, and love of teaching. It is not about CI this and CI that, it is about a way to connect with others and hopeful learn something.

Five People I Want to Get to Know Better: (a nice way of saying TAG!) But don't feel obligated! Just do it if you want to.
1. - my buddy Abbie
2. - rock n roll mama Tiff
3. - my cyborg queen
4. - awesome Alex
5. - the first original Val

I love all your blogs and visit them often. I can't wait to read your answers.

Love ya,

Saturday, April 12, 2008

What a long 2 weeks!!!

This has been one of the busy weeks since state testing(TCAP) starts on Monday. Here are some highlights of my two weeks.
*Broke up two fights, two girls and two boys. Girls are the worst since their arms and hands are everywhere. Boys are strong and hard to separate. I worry about damaging my processors. So I had to be careful.
* Jenna's dance competition in Nashville last weekend. Both dances won Gold. They also won the spirit award.
* I was up until midnight last Friday making my "spirit shirt." It said C.I. love the Dance Force. Only I understood what it meant.
*5 IEP meetings in two weeks and 2 left to do. No chance that 6 IEP meetings. It takes a good hour and half to complete the paperwork on each. I still have two to write or is that right.
*My students have forgotten everything since August 8, 2007. Worst I have forgotten too. If I hear the words mean, median, and mode or figurative language, I will scream!
*Run through - Principal lost her e-mail, Alex wants a new cell phone, Jenna wants a cell phone, can't see utube video for princiapl on school computer, can't copy it, and finally the dog is crazy!
* I heard the words I hate! You speak so good, I can't believe your deaf. My comment back was if I spoke so good, then you would never know I was deaf! I'm tired of that ignorance. Teachers should know better.
*A group of students said on Friday after the fight in the classroom, Mrs. D., I'm glad you broke up the fight and your okay. I don't want you to get hurt. So I guess there really are good kids, been so busy I forgot.

I am working on my blog on IEPs, it seems long and I want to see if I can make it shorter and more interesting.

I'm off to get my hair cut and out for BBQ with the gals. And NO Jenna and Alex have not gotten a new cell phone, I'm not listening to them.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

But Mom, I'm deaf!!!!

This weekend I was reminded of something I use to say to my mom when I was growing up. But mom, I'm deaf! I can't do it, I don't know how. But mom, I can't hear!

This pass weekend I had the joy of watching my daughter dance at dance competition in Nashville. There is nothing better than watching your child do something with so much effort and determination. Then over to the side during awards, I heard two parents talking. Each were making reasons why their child did not "win" within their category. One reason was the dance teacher had not "helped" her child and the other was her child being tired. WHY.....I had to bit my tongue. Stop doing that! Accept the outcome without blaming others.!

My mom's comment back to me was, Val stop it! Do what you can, study what you can, learn what you can, ask questions, ask for help, and finally just do it. Who said it would be easy. The important things in life are not easy, but worth it. If you don't believe in yourself, who will! And most importantly, who should if you don't.

So finally after awards on Saturday, They won two gold awards. I looked at my child with those big brown eyes and said Jenna, I'm proud of you! She said back to me, mom this was the best day. I got to dance!

Stop blaming others, start accepting responsibility and finally if you fall along the way, ask for help to get back up.