Sunday, March 27, 2011

Avatars as a teacher's tool

I think it very important that kids are taught internet safety.

I have written previously about these issues,
such as:

A Girl's Nude Photo, and Altered Lives

Law enforcement officials and educators are struggling with how to confront minors who "sext."
but here is a fabulous tool, advertising for a movie, but simple and free.

Diary of a WImpy Kid has achieved some fans.

The movie is geared towards teen boys, read a review here, but you can create your own female avatar, too!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Canadian Federal Election 2011

Yes, another Federal election, with a provincial one coming up in the fall. Will you work with your Canadian students to achieve some understanding of the electoral process?
Below are bulletin board activities we used to help us understand the differences between federal/provincial/municipal responsibilities.

Here are some of my posts on this topic:

Dec 19, 2005
Federal Election 2006. 1. To begin: here is a basic information page in Powerpoint overview I created - based on the book: Canada Votes Also: on-line user-friendly guide to voting in Canada: I Can Vote! ...
May 12, 2009
Upcoming classwork will revolve around the Canadian Federal Election 2006. Next we will be doing some Language Arts work on the Flag Winter Olympics .
Jan 25, 2006
The last assignment , the day of the election, was predicting the outcome by creating a "front page" for a newspaper. The results are not yet in. The grade 7's created a Jeopardy game, during which they created questions based on ...
Jan 18, 2006
Our Election Day activities have been a challenge. Encouraging students to think about the election, to respond critically to all they hear and read has proven effective, despite low voter turnout in the 18 - 24 year 
old age bracket. ...

Feb 09, 2006
Welcome - 8C We have worked really hard on our Election unit. Your powerful work on PPT has been great. I am sorry we can't go to the canal skating today, but it will be opened next week! In the meantime.... Friendship and love mean ...
Jan 12, 2006
It is based on one aspect of the Election process: it could be about a candidate, a comparison of candidates in your riding, a discussion and comparison of the election process in another country. Do not forget to use COPS! ...
Jan 12, 2006
Research on the Election (Jan. 23rd) and review Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad (Feb.).
Oct 12, 2008
Great events, on a four year cycle are great fodder for ideas: The Olympics and Election 2006 were great sources of inspiration. I have found that many of my materials are transferable to different ages and stages. ...


Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Parental lobbying

Lobby groups in education proliferate. 

Individual lobbyists, AKA mothers, proliferate and get air time as they complain about their child's placement. 

School are staffed, students are not. 
Each school is assigned a certain number of teachers, and Educational Assistants (EAs), according to their staffing models.
Individual students are not assigned an EA, the EA is assigned to the school and the principal must use him/her time as best assisting all the school population, specifically the special needs kids. This would allow a Developmentally Disabled (DD) kids to be integrated into a regular classroom with support.

The special education class in which a child was placed may or may not be designated for DD kids, but it may well be designated a special needs class, and a mother has no right to tell the school, and the media, that her child should have individual attention, with her own EA, any more than the kids with autism. Clifford Bowey and Crystal Bay do have segregated classes. They are wonderful schools, with great programs, but many kids have to be bussed. In the 90s parents were big into keeping kids integrated, bringing advocates to IEP meetings, and demanding special programs.

When Mike Harris removed the ability of trustes to set tax rates, and therefore determine the level of needs and how much local taxpayers were willing to pay, the system fell apart. Without the staff and the funding, children with special needs require smaller class sizes, and a differentiated program, extra support with different curriculum, which is unavailable in the regular classroom. By grade 2, more abstract thinking is required in the regular classroom. And it only increases with the expectations of junior grades (gr. 4 - 6). I have taught classes: 35 gr. 4/5, with 6 gifted kids, two with Autism Spectrum Disorder, one with severe behavioural issues, 3 with learning disabilities. It is only getting more difficulty with more integration. 

When I sat on the Special Education Advisory Committee as a teacher rep, where policy, procedures and principals were determined, we constantly saw articulate, powerful parents lobbying for their special child to have special attention (mostly it was gifted kids then). The principal and the superintendent determine how staff allocations are made, based on funding models by the provincial government, with the needs of the entire school population in mind. In most home schools the children are paired with buddies and socialize with regular students. 

How this mother could demand to send the other kids off to another school is beyond me.  And CBC gives her air time. Shame.

Then there is the other end of the spectrum: a school without special services that straps a kid into a chair. I think the Ottawa mom ought to see the bigger picture.

CBC News - Ottawa - Deeply disabled son failed at school: mom

20 Sep 2010 ... Rice said it is important for special needs children to be able to socialize, but the school also has to look at the impact of other 

Lobbying is a long-serving activity: this family has been fighting OBE and now OCDSB for years. Their son in 21 and no longer qualifies to be in the public school system. This father has been arrested for trespassing on school property. He sure is a fighter. It is a difficult balance to work with a school and a school system. Wise parents know the difference. Many battle like this take up school and teacher time and energy. 

Parents fight to keep special needs son in school after 21

15 Jan 2011 ... The Bonnah family fought long... His mother Marilyn says it's her son's only chance at success. ... Board policy, however, states that special needs students must leave the...
At a case conference last Friday to discuss Zach's studies past the age of 21, the board informed family members his options include Storefront, which is designed to help students 19 to 21 with developmental disabilities learn life skills, education and gain work experience. There is also a program at Algonquin College.

Read more:

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