Category Archives: Loving children

The Leader in Me

This summer, I joined this book study with this group in Chatham, Illinois, via Google Docs. My lifetime friend, Pam Hogan, and her team started this move in Chatham in 2016 and as you will hear from the principal, Elizabeth Gregurich, who is an awesome top down supporter, the paradigm shift is visible on their campus.  The district technology lead, Josh Mulvaney, is now involved via the book study,  which took it to district level.

Why did this hit home for me?  As stated in the previous post, finding everyone’s gifts, talents, passions, skills is what I have been preaching about for years.  “Everyone is a Genius”  states Elizabeth Gregurich.  I believe we all put on this planet for purpose and to delve into what those gifts, skills, talents and passions are will help you find yours!  “What is your genius”?

Albert Einstein wrote, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.” The question I have for you at this point of our journey together is, “What is your genius?”

We know that ALL students can learn.  Students learn very differently just as you do.  How do we reach all students?  Differentiating instruction, meeting all modalities, understanding we all learn best at different times of the day, understanding we all don’t hear everything the first time, understanding that everyone is in a different place with prior knowledge, not everyone understands the academic language, and everyone has very different home situations.  These are the many concepts that educators must consider in a day while teaching their topic.

So, I have taken on the task to assist with “peppering” this cultural change onto their already full plate without the feeling of adding more to an already hectic schedule.  I’m looking for inspiration from all of you reading this.  Hoping someone in each district will look at the powerful positive outcome this creates and take it on for the sake of students and community.  Hopefully, this group will develop into assisting each other with ideas that create the interdependence necessary to produce best practices.~Sandy

Enjoy  the video below on how this school implemented the “The 7 Habits for Highly Effective People” through “The Leader In Me” as well as other resources.

 

I apologize for the quality but its about getting it said and done, not how perfect it is. ~Sandy

Autism

Autism is running prevalent today.  My question was, is it getting worse or is it easier to detect due to new brain spects and other technology.  I think it is a little of both.  I enjoyed learning the facts below.   I have great appreciation for all of you parenting and working with these precious children.  Enjoy the following from the Autism Society.  ~Sandy

What is Autism:

Autism spectrum disorder (ASD) is a complex developmental disability; signs typically appear during early childhood and affect a person’s ability to communicate, and interact with others. ASD is defined by a certain set of behaviors and is a “spectrum condition” that affects individuals differently and to varying degrees. There is no known single cause of autism, but increased awareness and early diagnosis/intervention and access to appropriate services/supports lead to significantly improved outcomes. Some of the behaviors associated with autism include delayed learning of language; difficulty making eye contact or holding a conversation; difficulty with executive functioning, which relates to reasoning and planning; narrow, intense interests; poor motor skills’ and sensory sensitivities. Again, a person on the spectrum might follow many of these behaviors or just a few, or many others besides. The diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder is applied based on analysis of all behaviors and their severity.

In 2016, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued their ADDM autism prevalence report. The report concluded that the prevalence of autism had risen to 1 in every 68 births in the United States – nearly twice as great as the 2004 rate of 1 in 125 – and almost 1 in 54 boys. The spotlight shining on autism as a result has opened opportunities for the nation to consider how to serve families facing a lifetime of supports for their children. In June 2014, researchers estimated the lifetime cost of caring for a child with autism is as great as $2.4 million. The Autism Society estimates that the United States is facing almost $90 billion annually in costs for autism. (This figure includes research, insurance costs and non-covered expenses, Medicaid waivers for autism, educational spending, housing, transportation, employment, related therapeutic services and caregiver costs.)

Know the signs: Early identification can change lives

Autism is treatable. Children do not “outgrow” autism, but studies show that early diagnosis and intervention lead to significantly improved outcomes. For more information on developmental milestones, visit the CDC’s “Know the Signs. Act Early” site.

HERE ARE SOME SIGNS TO LOOK FOR IN THE CHILDREN IN YOUR LIFE:

  • Lack of or delay in spoken language
  • Repetitive use of language and/or motor mannerisms (e.g., hand-flapping, twirling objects)
  • Little or no eye contact
  • Lack of interest in peer relationships
  • Lack of spontaneous or make-believe play
  • Persistent fixation on parts of objects

SYMPTOMS:

The characteristic behaviors of autism spectrum disorder may be apparent in infancy (18 to 24 months), but they usually become clearer during early childhood (24 months to 6 years).

As part of a well-baby or well-child visit, your child’s doctor should perform a “developmental screening,” asking specific questions about your baby’s progress. The National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) lists five behaviors that warrant further evaluation:

  • Does not babble or coo by 12 months
  • Does not gesture (point, wave, grasp) by 12 months
  • Does not say single words by 16 months
  • Does not say two-word phrases on his or her own by 24 months
  • Has any loss of any language or social skill at any age

Any of these five “red flags” does not mean your child has autism. But because the disorder’s symptoms vary so widely, a child showing these behaviors should be evaluated by a multidisciplinary team. This team might include a neurologist, psychologist, developmental pediatrician, speech/language therapist, learning consultant or other professionals who are knowledgeable about autism.

For more information, visit the Infants and Toddlers page or the CDC’s “Learn the Signs. Act Early” program.

DIAGNOSIS:

When parents or support providers become concerned that their child is not following a typical developmental course, they turn to experts, including psychologists, educators and medical professionals, for a diagnosis.

At first glance, some people with autism may appear to have an intellectual disability, sensory processing issues, or problems with hearing or vision. To complicate matters further, these conditions can co-occur with autism. However, it is important to distinguish autism from other conditions, as an accurate and early autism diagnosis can provide the basis for an appropriate educational and treatment program.

Other medical conditions or syndromes, such as sensory processing disorder, can present symptoms that are confusingly similar to autism’s. This is known as differential diagnosis.

There are many differences between a medical diagnosis and an educational determination, or school evaluation, of a disability. A medical diagnosis is made by a physician based on an assessment of symptoms and diagnostic tests. A medical diagnosis of autism spectrum disorder, for instance, is most frequently made by a physician according to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-5, released 2013) of the American Psychological Association. This manual guides physicians in diagnosing autism spectrum disorder according to a specific number of symptoms.

A brief observation in a single setting cannot present a true picture of someone’s abilities and behaviors. The person’s developmental history and input from parents, caregivers and/or teachers are important components of an accurate diagnosis.

An educational determination is made by a multidisciplinary evaluation team of various school professionals. The evaluation results are reviewed by a team of qualified professionals and the parents to determine whether a student qualifies for special education and related services under the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) (Hawkins, 2009).

CAUSES:

There is no known single cause for autism spectrum disorder, but it is generally accepted that it is caused by abnormalities in brain structure or function. Brain scans show differences in the shape and structure of the brain in children with autism compared to in neurotypical children. Researchers do not know the exact cause of autism but are investigating a number of theories, including the links among heredity, genetics and medical problems.

In many families, there appears to be a pattern of autism or related disabilities, further supporting the theory that the disorder has a genetic basis. While no one gene has been identified as causing autism, researchers are searching for irregular segments of genetic code that children with autism may have inherited. It also appears that some children are born with a susceptibility to autism, but researchers have not yet identified a single “trigger” that causes autism to develop.

Other researchers are investigating the possibility that under certain conditions, a cluster of unstable genes may interfere with brain development, resulting in autism. Still other researchers are investigating problems during pregnancy or delivery as well as environmental factors such as viral infections, metabolic imbalances and exposure to chemicals.

Genetic Vulnerability

Autism tends to occur more frequently than expected among individuals who have certain medical conditions, including fragile X syndrome, tuberous sclerosis, congenital rubella syndrome and untreated phenylketonuria (PKU). Some harmful substances ingested during pregnancy also have been associated with an increased risk of autism.

FACTS AND STATISTICS:

About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)

Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)

More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)

Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)

Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)

Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014)

A majority of costs in the U.S. are in adult services – $175-196 billion, compared to $61-66 billion for children. (Buescher et al., 2014)

Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. (Autism. 2007 Sep;11(5):453-63; The economic consequences of autistic spectrum disorder among children in a Swedish municipality. Järbrink K1.)

1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder. (Brugha T.S. et al., 2011)

The U.S. cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a person without intellectual disability. (Buescher et al., 2014)

35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)

It costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism. (Lavelle et al., 2014) (The average cost of educating a student is about $12,000 – NCES, 2014)

In June 2014, only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities in the U.S. were participating in the labor force – working or seeking work. Of those, 12.9 percent were unemployed, meaning only 16.8 percent of the population with disabilities was employed. (By contrast, 69.3 percent of people without disabilities were in the labor force, and 65 percent of the population without disabilities was employed.) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014)

FOR MORE INFORMATION OR TO DONATE:  https://www.autism-society.org/

Looking for Algebra 1 and Math 1 teachers!

If you are an Algebra I or Math I teacher, please see below.

WestEd, a not-for-profit educational research agency, has been funded by the U.S. Department of Education to conduct a study during the fall 2017 semester to evaluate the Querium StepWise™ Virtual Tutor for Algebra. StepWise is an online supplemental homework and quiz program that uses artificial intelligence to help students improve their mathematics problem solving. Aligned with Common Core State Standards for Mathematics, the intelligent tutoring system provides real-time, personalized tutoring to Algebra 1 students with the goal of achieving outcomes similar to those found with 1:1 tutoring.

Participating math teachers will receive stipends up to $850 for their involvement in this 8-week study! To participate, teachers must: a) be currently teaching Algebra I, and b) have at least part-time 1:1 student access to a computer, laptop, or tablet.

Please indicate your interest in participating by Friday, May 5th:

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/QueriumStudy

Please also forward this information to any Algebra 1 teachers who you think might be interested in participating. We look forward to the opportunity to work with you!

Sincerely,
Bryan Matlen, Ph.D.
Research Associate, WestEd, STEM program quierum@wested.org

Causes of ADHD

Causes of ADHD according to cdc.gov

kids playing on balls

Scientists are studying cause(s) and risk factors in an effort to find better ways to manage and reduce the chances of a person having ADHD. The cause(s) and risk factors for ADHD are unknown, but current research shows that genetics plays an important role. Recent studies of twins link genes with ADHD.1

In addition to genetics, scientists are studying other possible causes and risk factors including:

  • Brain injury
  • Exposure to environmental (e.g., lead) during pregnancy or at a young age
  • Alcohol and tobacco use during pregnancy
  • Premature delivery
  • Low birth weight

Research does not support the popularly held views that ADHD is caused by eating too much sugar, watching too much television, parenting, or social and environmental factors such as poverty or family chaos. Of course, many things, including these, might make symptoms worse, especially in certain people. But the evidence is not strong enough to conclude that they are the main causes of ADHD.

For more information about cause(s) and risk factors, visit the National Resource Center on ADHD.

FREE Distance Learning for all of Arizona

FREE distance learning for Kindergarten through Community College available online for Arizona students.  FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, GO TO:  http://www.sequoiachoice.org/

FOR FURTHER INFORMATION, GO TO:  http://www.sequoiachoice.org/

Mindfulness for Students

Found this great video for quiet time for yourself or your students.  I am falling asleep trying to write this little blurb. It creates relaxation so quickly. Let your mind be in the here and now.  Don’t think about the past, can’t do anything about it.  Don’t think about the future, it will come when it’s time.  Think only about the NOW!  Please try it!  For more information on Mindfulness and helping students, educators and parents, go to Mindfulness in the Classroom~Sandy

 

Teaching At Home/Addition

Once your student understands counting with manipulatives and identifies where whole numbers fall on a number line, you can add using both of this visuals.  Start with adding 1+1, put out two beans and push the one and one together.  The student should come up with 2.  Have the child count the one and one and then count it again as 2.  Show the numbers with dots on a paper.  One dot plus one dot equals two dots.  Now add 2+1 and move through the same process.

1+1, 2+1. 3+1, 4+1, 5+1, 6+1…

Then add 1+2 and look at 2+1 again to show student that 1+2 and 2+1 gives you the same number of beans or dots.  This is COMMUTATIVE PROPERTY.  Shows that you can add in either direction and get the same thing.

Move to the number line now.  Put your finger or a pencil on the number 1.  Adding one means moving right by one number.  This will also show that 1+1=2.  Show it with beans, dots and number line for several examples.

Go back and ask if 4+5 = 5+4 to revisit commutative property.

Continue to practice single digit addition until student feels confident.

Lake Havasu City is looking for educators!

Lake Havasu City is in need of one Administrator at District Office Level, 25 Certified, 21 Classified and 2 Substitutes.  Jobs are currently open for applying. Jobs begin on January 1, 2017.  Looking for a change?  Take a look! ~Sandy

Welcome to the Lake Havasu Unified School District Personnel Department home page. Lake Havasu City, home to the world famous London Bridge, is a growing desert community located in the foothills of the Mohave Mountains in western Arizona on the beautiful Colorado River. We are a community inspired by possibility and rich with promise. Our young city responds to a common purpose: To build a future dependent on our single most precious resource, our youth.

Our school district consists of 6 elementary schools (pre K-6), 1 middle school (7-8), and 1 high school (9-12). Total student enrollment is over 5500 students. We have about 650 staff members with 300 certified positions.

Our mission here in the personnel department is threefold.

  1. To offer an attractive, competitive wage and benefits package.
  2. To market Lake Havasu Unified as a great place to work, and Lake Havasu City as a great place to live.
  3. To help provide a strong support system for our employees.

We are currently accepting applications.

You Are Supposed to Struggle

The butterfly is SUPPOSED to struggle. In fact, the butterfly’s struggle to push its way through the tiny opening of the cocoon pushes the fluid out of its body and into its wings. Without the struggle, the butterfly would never, ever fly.  As you go through school, and life, keep in mind that struggling is an important part of any growth experience. In fact, it is the struggle that causes you to develop your ability to fly.”

cocoon

From Caterpillar to Butterfly

Think about the caterpillar morphing into the butterfly, a beautiful analogy for change in the spiritual sense. We all feel like a caterpillar at times, an ugly, undeveloped self (I personally don’t think caterpillars are ugly, I think they’re kinda cute in their pudgy way!). We all want to be the butterfly, the gorgeous finished product, flying about in grace and beauty, experiencing bliss everywhere we go. We all want to be seen as beautiful, respectable, and lovely. How do we get to that? It isn’t so easy, some would say.

We see people who have become the finished product, a successful, beautiful, powerful human being who has it all together. We all see people who we respect, admire and wish we were like, right? However, those people did not come into it without a lot of work on themselves spiritually, emotionally, mentally and physically.

We all want to be the butterfly, but do we really want to go through the process that it takes to become that? There is a molting period, a liquification of self that is part of that process of going from the form of caterpillar to butterfly. It doesn’t necessarily look like a pleasant process, morphing into another form. Literally there has to be a breakdown of the first form, a dissecting or dissolution process, and then there is room in reality for the new form to be born.

It is a death and birth process, and both of those processes tend to be messy, dramatic, and difficult in their own respects. When you do both together, it gets even messier and more difficult! Death and rebirth at the same time are a superb event indeed.

Think about what you see in yourself as the caterpillar, the undeveloped and “first form” type of self. You might be all caterpillar in your opinion, or some percentage of caterpillar versus a percentage of butterfly. Perhaps you’ve been working on yourself for quite a while and you already transformed some parts of yourself that were “ugly” or undeveloped before now. Perhaps you feel like you might even be getting close to being a butterfly. Just examine where you think you are in the morphing process of the death of the old self and the birth of the new self.

Truly, the new self was always there, just as the butterfly was always there in the caterpillar. It isn’t visible before the transformation, but the blueprint and the potential was always there and present. I think of the new self as the eternal, deeper self, the You that was always present, even as the idea of yourself as a human seemed to take precedence for a while in the first part of your life.

The eternal self that you are is the butterfly, and it was always there. It isn’t born or created, it is only the idea of being a human version of self as the sole identity, the caterpillar, that needed to be liquefied and disintegrated. Then the already present butterfly underneath the illusion can emerge from the cocoon of change.

What is your version of the cocoon? What is your version of the cauldron or catalyst for change? How is it that you are disintegrating the idea that you are just a human, mortal self with a specific name and identity? How are you molting into the new form, seeing yourself as immortal and eternal self? How are you becoming aware that you are consciousness dreaming itself to be a specific human with a certain collection of experiences? Your cocoon of change is unique to you, and you are inside it, searching, seeking, and spiritually growing.

I would encourage you to simply stop and be the butterfly that you already are. Stop all the figuring, strategizing, fixing of yourself, and all the searching. You are already what you want to become. All you have to do is literally “drop” the old form, the old ideas of self and step out of who you think you are for just a moment. It is only a matter of readjusting your perceptions of who you think you are in the journey between caterpillar to butterfly.

It doesn’t actually take work or effort on your part to become the new self. The caterpillar does not “work” to become the butterfly. It doesn’t “do” anything! It simply waits for the old form to drop away, being patient while the discomfort of dissolution happens, if it is uncomfortable at all. Maybe it’s not.

Maybe it is us who makes the morphing process so difficult. We are so mind focused as a species and it might well be ourselves who are interfering with how easy the process of letting go of the old form. We can simply let it fall away, but in our own minds we find that hard to be at ease with. We have to make it hard and uncomfortable, for some reason.

Discomfort and difficulty might not be the nature of the process of transformation at all. Perhaps the period of transition from caterpillar to butterfly is not that difficult. Perhaps it is a state of bliss and relaxation for the caterpillar as it becomes the butterfly.

I encourage you to look at how you might be interfering with your own process of transformation from the old self to the new self. Perhaps it would be so much easier if you just rest your mind, don’t try to fix anything, and simply be present in the moment in a relaxed state of mind, patient with the process of the old falling away and the new showing up. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, and perhaps that is where much of your dissatisfaction with the process is coming from. You want the butterfly to be in full flight already, but there is a period of dissolution and resolution still happening. You can’t rush that process.

Be patient. The butterfly-you is present and already perfect, already formed. All you have to do is relax, drop the old stories and identities, and simply let your eternal nature emerge. It is actually very simple. Sure, some of your old caterpillar ways might reappear and assert themselves now and then, but you can always redirect your awareness back into the butterfly-you at any and all times.

You could think of the human condition as the caterpillar, and the eternal self that you are as the butterfly. Both exist, both have form in the same lifetime, and you are able to switch back and forth between both of those forms. The goal is to rest in the butterfly version of self more often than you might now, but that comes. It is a lifelong goal, a lifelong period of readjustment.

Be at peace. You do not have to fix everything in your personality. That all becomes “fixed” automatically when you shift your point of view into that of the eternal self rather than that of the struggling human. You do not have to find anything that you don’t know about already, it is all there inside you. It is innate knowing within you. All you must do is relax and let the butterfly come forth. It is already here, present and completely whole. Simply drop the old forms and ideas, the old ways of being, and the new you is already here, fully functional and present.

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