Feeling Blue

Welcome to Fun Friday in my Special Ed classroom.

It isn’t only the students who learn.

I put out paper, paint, water, and brushes. As I handed the last kid his brush I noticed paint on his fingers. I looked up. His cheek and lips were swabbed in navy blue paint.

“Why is there paint on your face?” I ask.

He says, “I no know.”

His teeth and tongue are also blue.

I say, “We don’t eat paint!”

He says, “No eat. Taste yukky.” And then he drank the paint water — luckily, it was still clean.

Fun Friday isn’t all fun and games. Some learning also happens — usually by me.

(For those now horrified, the paint is Crayola Brand, it’s non-toxic & washable. It is perfectly kid-safe. Some days, I am not sure I am.)

She’s Baaack!

Once again I have been given licence (and a license) to educate children.  I love to make kids think. Sometimes my methods are a little unorthodox, but they are usually fun.

Today I was in a special needs classroom with 3 hearing impaired kids and their aid, Ms. Ash.  Cognitively there is nothing wrong with these kids, they’re just a little behind because they are having to relearn life with cochlear implants.  It takes them a little longer to process verbal input because their brain isn’t accustomed to hearing, but they are plenty bright.

So, Jay was out of the room for a while for speech.  When he returned, I was sitting in his desk beside two other students and we were working on a science project.  Jay walked up to me. “Uhm — uh –” he pointed at his desk.

“Yes?” I answered.  He needs to verbalize his thoughts, not just make sounds.

“Uhm.” he said, and pointed again.

“Oh!”  I smiled brightly and said, “Hi!  My name is Jay.  This is my desk and here is my name tag.”  I ran my hands over the desk top and pointed at the name tag.

Jay glanced over at Ms. Ash.  She shrugged. He turned back to me and said, “What?”

I repeated, “My name is Jay.  This is my desk and here is my name tag.” I tapped on the name tag then asked, “Who are you?”

Jay looked over at Ms. Ash again.  Again she just shrugged. Jay turned back to me, put his hands on his hips, and said, “Your name is not Jay.”

“Really?!”  I tried to sound very surprised. I leaned forward and studied the name tag. Feigning confusion, I looked at him.  “Are you sure that’s not my name?”

Jay frowned again, and then answered, “Noooo.” He looked uncertain for a moment, then took a deep breath and said. “But I am sure that my name is Jay; this is my desk; and that is my name tag.”

“Really?” I exclaimed.

Jay nodded emphatically.  I grinned at him, we all shared a laugh, and I got up and moved.

Fast forward to the end of the day (about six hours later):

As we were cleaning up to leave Ms. Ash announced, “Ms. Teacher will be out sick tomorrow, too, so Ms. A. will be coming back.”

Jay looked up from putting the blocks away, “Who is Ms. A.?”

Ms. Ash pointed at me.

Jay looked at me, raised his eyebrows and smirked, “Oh, you mean Ms. Jay?”

*   *   *

Yep.  I am going back tomorrow.  They pay me for this.

~names changed to protect the sassy. 

Imagine That!

The sentence was: “The nice girl with long hair had a nice dress.” I put it on the white board and told the kids it was boring. I told them that “nice” is dead. They needed to remove “nice” and replace it with some “pop.” I said, “This sentence needs color, give me something I can “see”!” Hands shot into the air.

“Beautiful girl!”
“Green hair!”
“Curly hair!”
“Sparkling dress!”
“Pink Dress!”
“Black leather jacket, and don’t forget the chains!”
“High heels!”
“Blue shoes.”
“No, cowboy boots!”

I wrote everything on the board as they shared it, then I said, “Okay, let’s make an interesting sentence using words that will build a picture in our minds.”

Then I took ALL of their suggestions and wrote: “The beautiful girl with the long, curly, green hair wore a sparkling pink dress, a black leather coat with dangling chains, and blue high-heeled cowboy boots.” Then I said to the kids, “Now that is a much more interesting sentence. Can you “see” her now? The kids chorused, YES!”

We contemplated the board in silence for a few seconds then one of the girls said, “Somebody better take her to the mall and help her with her fashions!” One of the boys said, “Yeah, Mr. Pointbriand needs to teach her about crashing colors!”

I’ll Leave the Olive, Thank You.

Today I gave one of my students, Em, the first black olive she had ever eaten. She looked at it skeptically, poked it with her finger, and queried, “What is this?” She noticed her friends eating them off the tips of their fingers. She tried hers on for size and beamed delightedly when it fit. One of her friends urged, “Taste it!” Em’s frown returned. “Just a little taste,” she said, then delicately nipped the tiniest bite off the olive.

Immediately her tongue popped back out of her mouth with the smudge of olive on it. The sight was met by a chorus of “Ewww!” from the other girls at the table. The tongue and the olive disappeared back inside Em’s mouth. Her face made the most marvelous contortions as she choked down that speck of olive.

Finally, she opened her eyes and looked at the olive still on the end of her finger. Slowly, she raised it to her lips. I said, “Em, did you like that olive?” She replied, very politely, “I found it a bit unusual.” Again she moved the olive toward her mouth. I said, “If you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it.”

Em said, “That wouldn’t be polite. I have to eat it.” I responded, “No, Em, you don’t. I gave it to you and I say if you don’t like it, you don’t have to eat it. My feelings won’t be hurt.”

Em stared at me wide-eyed. She looked at the olive. She looked at me. “Really?” She asked. I pointed at the garbage can. “Throw the olive away,” I ordered.

Em effusively exclaimed, “Oh thank you! That really is nasty, you know!” She tossed the olive and scrubbed her tongue with the cuff of her shirt. “How can you people eat those things?” she demanded. We just wiggled our olive covered fingers and giggled.

Quilldancer Tries “Art”

I can write.  I can sew.  I have talents I am proud of.  Drawing isn’t one of them.

This I am proud of:

wall decor

I made this piece of fabric art. It is 33″ square. The base is 1/8th” particle board. I padded and upholstered the board, and used a curtain tie back to adorn it. I designed the piece to “pull-together” various elements of my living room decor. It hangs above our fireplace.

Those that know me know my first and most favorite art is that of word weaving.  Drawing has never been one of my talents and likely never will be.  I knew that going in, but I still signed up for an art class.  Below you will find my first composition.  Believe me, I have seen better work from 5th grade students.  If you know me, when you see what it is I’ve depicted, you’ll understand my “self-portrait”:

Words

Even in drawing, I cling to the comfort of words — the art I know and understand.