5 reasons not to share that Common Core worksheet on Facebook

For months now I have been seeing post after post against common core, especially common core math, but with it being so new it was hard for me to express how I really felt about it. From the problems I’ve seen so far, I think it can be a great change for our children, and I think this is a great post to check out, written by an elementary math teacher.

Overthinking my teaching

(NOTE: If you arrived here via Facebook, welcome. You may also be interested in the perspective of a middle school teacher, Mr. Aion. Click on through for more.)

You are browsing Facebook on a Sunday evening. Someone has shared a baffling piece of math homework that was sent home with their child. Accompanying commentary bemoans the current state and future trajectory of mathematics teaching and learning, and lays blame for this at the feet of the Common Core State Standards.

You are baffled by the worksheet too. You are about to click the Share button.

But here are five reasons that’s a bad idea.

1. Credentials are not a trump card.

Almost invariably, the parent who shares the worksheet cites a degree as a credential for the critique. “I have a Bachelor of Science in electronics engineering,” wrote the parent in the recent “Letter to Jack”.

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The math…

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I ran a game for a 6 year old!

From my husbands new blog. I’ve been working on my new book (well, 12 year old “new” book which I’m editing, re-writing and finishing, so my blog is scarce, but this is what we’ve been up to. And yes, I’m a mess. Been writing non-stop! 😉 Oh, and go check out his blog!!! 🙂

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Today I was feeling a bit sick, congested, headache, just not very well. I decided to take a nap and woke up with my little girl digging in my dice bag next to my head. I woke up out of a nasty nightmare and said “Get outta there, girl!” She said “When are you playing with your friends?” I don’t think I’m playing tonight” I said. “Well, I can play.” she said. “Do you want to?” “YES!” She runs off screaming and telling everyone in the house that we’re playing a game tonight. So, I drug myself up and started combing through my sea of PDFs. As I was looking she came running up and said “Ooooo I want to play that one.”
I guess the picture caught her eye. It was a game called FirstFable, a kids RPG. OK, no problem.
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Reading through it reminded me a whole lot…

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People’s Responses to “THAT” Kid

I just read an article that made me tear up. It made me think of my daughter last year and her struggles in school. I could relate to what the article was saying, and I felt that it reached to the core of what our situation was like last year, with K frequently having tantrums and outbursts in school, and the teacher having to spend so much of her time and energy focusing on keeping K calm and focused while we struggled to figure out WHY she was having such a hard time staying calm and focused. To be clear, the article I read was written by a teacher, and was addressed to parents, not to the parents of “THAT KID”, but to the parents who’s children come home complaining about “THAT KID”. It discussed what it’s like to have a child who may bite, kick, scream, throw things, etc. in your class, and the fact that those things can distract from the lessons, and that regardless of the fact that “THAT KID” has those issues, the teacher will do everything in “her” power to help and love that child and help the parents throughout all of the meetings to figure out what’s going on, etc. Basically, I could relate to the article, because on so many occasions last year we were called to the school for meetings about K’s behavior, because she wasn’t doing any work, had crumpled it up and thrown it, she was lying in the bookshelves during nap time, she had become frustrated and kicked the desk, shouted at someone, was showing the other students her underpants (I’m sure the other parents heard about that one, several times) and there are more I can’t even think of. While I don’t specifically think she ever hit any of the other students, there are a couple of other incidents I’d rather not mention here that were real whoppers. We had notes with at least 6 infractions at least 3 days a week last year. So yes, last year, my child was “THAT KID” in her class. While I was happy to read an article talking about how much this teacher was willing to work with these children, describing the reasons why these children might be going through these different phases (she mentions divorce, adoption, moving in with a grandparent, and that the grandparent may drink, another child may be yelled at by her father because she writes her B’s backwards, etc.) she also lists the things these children do that make them wonderful (kissing their younger sibling every morning, helping sharpen the pencils every day, one child’s aggressive incidents are dropping from several a day to several a week, one loves to be rocked because she can hear the teacher’s heartbeat, etc.) I was appalled by some of the comments that I read in response to the article. One person talked about how, “some people will just be smart and others will just be dumb.” Someone else blamed it on Common Core (honestly, Common Core has just started, and so far all of the complaints I’ve seen about it haven’t held much complaining ground. I’ll probably write more about that later) Someone mentioned that if a child can’t be in a general ed classroom without disrupting the class they should be in special ed (they referenced their child who has autism, and while I’ll admit that last year I felt that K should be moved to a special ed class because her behavior was disruptive, she is now doing amazingly well in a regular ed classroom) If we moved every student with emotional difficulties out of the regular ed classrooms, the majority of students would be in a special education classroom at some point. At some point in a child’s life, and in a persons life, depending on the surroundings that the child is in (and children are especially susceptible to this as their young brains are still developing) there is a likelihood that they will go through a phase of defiance, and depending on what other issues may be going on they may experience greater emotional turmoil than their peers. The fact that the people responding to the article responded so harshly and inconsiderately on these children’s behalf makes me think that they have never had a child who has dealt with emotional troubles of any sort. It breaks my heart every time my daughter has a tantrum (and they still happen often, although not quite as often as they used to) and knowing that all I can do is let her get that anger out and release those feelings until she feels better, until that time when she finishes yelling, “You’re the meanest Mommy in the world!” and suddenly changes to “Mommy, I love you. You’re the best Mommy ever.” And gently walks over and kisses my cheek, those are the times I gain more understanding. I only wish I could share that understanding with others. Until it’s your child, maybe you’ll never know.

Link to article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/answer-sheet/wp/2014/11/14/teacher-to-parents-about-that-kid-the-one-who-hits-disrupts-and-influences-your-kid/

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(K getting ready for a school event day in Kindergarten)

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New Family Traditions

Someone new came to our house the other day. It wasn’t Santa- he’s been here before. It wasn’t the Easter Bunny, he’s been here too. No, this time it was a little floaty, fairy of a thing! Yep, it was the Tooth Fairy! K lost her first tooth! But of course we couldn’t do things the old fashioned way. No, K just HAD to have her tooth to show he teacher and friends the next day at school (and she also managed to mostly lose it while eating chicken noodle soup!) so she wrote the good ole Tooth Fairy a note which she tucked under her pillow with that cute little tooth. 🙂

The note said: Dear Tooth Fairy, Can you please please pretty please bring my tooth back to my Mama and Dada so I can show it to my teacher? Thank you, K

The Tooth Fairy obliged, and responded with a note which stated:

K, since you asked so nicely I will let you borrow your tooth, but you must return it to your Mama and Dada tonight so I can collect it! XOXO T.F.

She was mostly happy about that, although she wanted to keep the tooth herself. Is it just my LO?!? Now, I know it might have seemed like it would make more sense to just let her keep the tooth until the next night, but for one thing, there’s no way she would have waited until the next night to get that thing under the pillow (MONAYYY) and for another thing, there were no promises that that tooth was coming back home again. The pleading note from the Tooth Fairy was pretty much all it seemed would work for the tooth’s safe return (and return it did!) It was an exciting night of firsts for us, and we now have a cute little toothless grin girl! She also found a website called The Real Tooth Fairies, and for all of it’s advertisements she’s in love with it. She can go online and enter in when each tooth is barely loose, really loose, and when the tooth comes out, in a little flower pot. Once the tooth has come out a flower grows in the pot. She can also send messages to the tooth fairy and to us (they all come to my email address) and I got an email addressed to the Tooth Fairy the night I pulled her tooth out.

The letter says- K recorded that she lost a tooth. See what K said about it: “momo pooid it out”

I think she still needs a little work on her typing skills. I got a little chuckle when I read it. 🙂

Once again I get to feel the magic of parenthood overflowing. And magical it truly is!

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What’s been going on…

So what’s been going on during these past few months? What’s new? A lot, actually! And a lot of good things have come up recently, which is a welcome relief for us! Last year, if you’re not familiar with my old posts, or just because they’re “so last year”, K had A LOT of struggles in school. K is my LO with ADHD who this blog is really about, although it has now also become about my struggles with my seizures and mothering, as well. Anyway, with her struggles last year and being diagnosed a couple months into the school year, and having a first-year teacher, and a doctor who we THOUGHT was a really good doctor who we were putting a lot of trust into, etc., she was rarely ever getting any schoolwork done and she barely passed the year last year. I still have all of her schoolwork in a binder from last year and the majority of it is incomplete, the pages are drawn on, scribbled on, ripped in half, crumpled up from frustration, etc. I’m sure you get the point. Last year was BAD! The tantrums were bad, the schoolwork wasn’t done, plus we had accidents out the wazoo and no answers from her doctor about them! I would bring them up and he would say they were age related. Then she also had bowel accident issues and she was put on Mirilax, but the problem is that half the time she seems constipated and the other half she seems to have diarrhea. (I know, I know) So, anyway, these are all a lot of problems that all of the other doctors, and her doctor last year repeatedly pushed under the rug and missed! Well, when we moved up here there was only one Dr.s office that would take our insurance, and it’s run by two nurse practitioners. I was so upset when I found out that they’re the only ones who would take our insurance at first because of K’s list of health needs. Surely they wouldn’t know how to properly treat her when none of the other doctors could, right? Well, I’m so happy to say my concerns were completely unprecedented! These ladies have been completely wonderful for K and for our family! First, over the summer we took her off of the Concerta she was taking and let her have a break from it because she had lost so much weight and we found that it was having a horrible effect on her behavior and her sleeping patterns. Unfortunately when school started it was back to the same routine with the teacher immediately writing to us and calling us to tell us that she had to put K on the floor by her in the class and that K was spinning around in circles, playing with her pencil all day and hadn’t gotten any work done. So, it was back to the Dr.s office. The ladies were upset for us that the teacher had called so soon, but sent the paperwork to school so we could evaluate K again and find out for sure if she had ADHD. After a few days the teacher sent back the forms and confirmed she has ADHD, so they decided to start her on Strattera, which is a non-stimulant alternative. While adjusting to a new medication and testing levels to be sure of correct dose is never fun (we had to change it because the second dose was too high and caused horrible tantrums and lack of eating) we finally settled on the first dose which is working better than the Concerta ever did for her. She is now a straight A honor roll student!!!! (besides her handwriting, which we’re working on, which is known to be poor in children/ people with ADHD) I couldn’t be prouder or happier with my LO! She has been working so hard this year! She is at reading level and is doing great. We do still have behavior issues and she gets easily frustrated, but we take everything one thing at a time, one day at a time. Another thing that these ladies have helped us to figure out is that the accidents were out of K’s control, which I always felt to be the truth! They sent us to a urologist who found out that she has an overactive bladder and she now takes medication and she has not had a wetting accident since! As for the bowel accidents, we believe that she may be lactose intolerant, but we are still working on that one since she doesn’t want to give up dairy, but we have been able to limit it so that the accidents are much less than they were before! (Yay!) And as for new developments for me, I’ve started working on a book again, one that I originally started writing when I was 15! (Yes, I’m a procrastinator) Actually, with my seizure medication it’s now becoming easier for me to write again, and especially for me to read, which is something I’ve always struggled with as the words will blur together and I will repeat words and sentences while reading when not taking my medication. So I’m excited that it is becoming easier for me to focus now so that I can work on my book again. I’m also taking tips from some of my favorite authors, so I hope that will help me to be successful this time around. I will write more soon. I know there is much more to share! 🙂

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Where Have I Been?

It seems that I’ve been missing for the past several months, but where have I been? Well, in this room mostly, but I guess in a way I’ve been far away, out of my head sometimes, wallowing in depression perhaps, trying to adjust to a new lifestyle after having lost the things I was most familiar with. In February I began having seizures and I had to stop going to college after school became too confusing for me and I had to stop driving because I became a danger to myself and others while behind the wheel. Soon after that I stopped working when it became apparent that the seizures were making it too difficult for me to function at work, and I also found out that I had a vitamin deficiency that made it difficult for me to function, almost at all. Adjusting to the new seizure medication I was put on was also no walk in the park. The first medication I tried didn’t sit well with me, and I had a lot of bad reactions, which I won’t go into in great detail here, but it was far from pretty. I became lost in my own mind, withdrawn from the world, confused as to whether the effects were from the multiple seizures I was now experiencing on an almost daily basis or the medication itself. We extinguished the last of our funds paying medical bills trying to figure out what was going on with me, getting an EEG, an MRI, going to the neurologist multiple times, paying for my prescriptions, all without the help of insurance and also using that money to pay our bills. Without my income the money went quickly and we asked my mother-in-law and her husband if we could stay with them until we could get back on our feet, with the knowledge that soon we would be evicted from our apartment. They agreed, though they lived 6 1/2 hours away, but my husband was to stay behind to continue working until we could all move back down together when my in-laws bought a house closer to where we had been living and my mother-in-law’s husband would retire a few months later and join us. (That time will be coming up in January) However, the plans changed when my seizures continued to be bothersome and my in-laws decided to call my husband and ask him to come up and join us here, 6 1/2 hours away from our home, where we’ve always lived, and where we had expected to return. Him coming here and staying here led to everyone deciding to stay here, because my in-laws are helping us out, and this is their retirement, so we want them to be happy, so here we stay, in a new place, trying to slowly adjust. There have been a lot of new adjustments over the past several months, many changes, I’ve changed. Sometimes I feel stuck here, but I’m learning to adjust. One thing I want to do is write again. So that is what I am going to do. I will add more in my next blog. I think this is enough for now. Welcome back. I hope this will help you catch up some, help explain why I haven’t written, and help lead into me writing again.

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Garage Sale- Six Years in the Making (this is an old post I had accidentally posted to another blog- the original post was from 5/19/2014)

Fell asleep in K’s bed putting her to bed. Woke up on time naturally with the sun! Got ready EARLY! Feel like I’ve been hit by a bus, and still a ton to pack today, but happy about the progress we made yesterday. Vowing to never allow that much extra junk to enter my life and house again! Lol (I guess at least until the next baby 😉 ) It only took me 6 years to finally let go of all of it. Maybe I just needed to hear the song from Frozen, over. and. over. again… Oh! And I also want to mention how amazingly K did! She barely complained about us getting rid of anything at all in the end! I couldn’t believe it! After all we went through at home she was actually out there helping other kids find toys to bring home, making suggestions, and the only thing she brought home was a new toy she bought herself for $1.00 that my dad bought himself for the calculator. (A toy cash register) It really wound up being a great day. Now, it’s time to leave for school! Until next time.