Posts tagged ‘special education’

A HANDBOOK FOR SPECIAL CHILDREN AND THEIR PARENTS

Roadmap to Navigating Your Child’s Disability
Written by Chrissie Kahan
Illustrated by Blueberry Illustrations

I would heartily recommend this book for parents and educators who are interested in navigating the tricky world of special education. For parents who suspect that something is just not right, this book provides an introduction to the types of disabilities and treatments available. Teachers who have not been trained in the field of special education need a basic understanding of the problems and resources available to treat them.

This book is divided into three sections. The first part explores the endless jargon employed in the educational testing, developing the plan, and implementing the Individual Educational Plan that each diagnosed child is entitled to have. This is a very scary and confusing process for parents. In the second section, the author explains who are the members of the team, how long the process takes, and how a parent can successfully advocate for their child. The third section is an alphabetical listing of the most common disabilities found in children, accommodations available within the school, reference links to resources, and how to reinforce what is taught in the school setting right in the home.

The world of special education is often written in legal language fraught with difficulty to understand. The way an IEP is developed and implemented varies greatly from state to state and school district. This book gives parents and teachers a good introduction and provides a readable reference source. As an educator with forty years of experience in general and special education, I would highly recommend this handbook to those about to become familiar with the special education world.

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#LittleMissHISTORY #virtualreality #SANSAR #INTERVIEW with Bernhard Drax

I recently had the opportunity to present Little Miss HISTORY  in animation. Thanks to Silas Merlin, who created the avatar, the character has come to life.

  • Little Miss HISTORY insists, “If you don’t know your history, you don’t know what you’re talking about.” On the day of our birth, we become a character in history because each of us has an opportunity to create our story and place our mark on history.

 

  • As we stand here in the twenty-first century, technology allows us to immerse ourselves in history. In 2003, Linden Lab launched a program called Second Life. Its users, who are called residents, use this technology to create virtual representations of themselves. These avatars can explore the virtual world, socialize and participate with other residents in a group or individual activities. Second Life has its own virtual currency that allows residents to create, shop, and trade virtual property with one another.

 

  • In 2014, Linden Lab announced a plan to develop a new virtual world. Content creators began working on the program named Project Sansar. The platform was released in “creator beta” to the public in July 2017. Users create 3D spaces where people can create and share social experiences such as watching videos, playing games, and having conversations. Participants are represented by avatars they create. These avatars contain speech-driven facial animations and motion driven body animations.

 

  • Sansar supports virtual reality headsets but can also be accessed with Windows computers. The program is free to use, but like Second Life Sansar has its own economy. Users can buy and sell their virtual creations with the Sansar dollar.

 

  • HOW DID LITTLE MISS HISTORY GET INVOLVED IN VIRTUAL REALITY? A few months ago, I was approached by Bernhard Drax to appear on his Book Club Radio podcast. When I heard that Little Miss HISTORY would have an opportunity to appear in virtual reality, I jumped at the opportunity.

 

  • Via “draxtor”..and media for all! Drax and his team now offer audio-visual storytelling for many media platforms. Bernhard Drax studied audio engineering at the University of California at Los Angeles and music at the Hochschule fur Musik and Theater Munchen. He is an expert in user-created content in Virtual Reality. His award-winning mixed reality documentary series “The Drax Files: World Makers” is just one of his many video series featured on youtube. https://www.youtube.com/user/draxtordespres

 

I invite you to join us in a discussion about books, education, and history, past, present, and future!

 

Check out Little Miss HISTORY’s journey into virtual reality!

 

If you would like to read the entire interview on the podcast, please go here:

https://wp.me/p485L9-1N9

 

 

 

 

 

 

MAGIC AND MYSTERY

From the Magical Mind of Mindy Munson

Written by Nikki Bennett

MindyMunson,pic

I am delighted to take part in the Blog Tour for this book for which I received a copy in exchange for an honest review. It is an interesting middle grade chapter book story that combines so many wonderful elements.

This story relates what happens to the Munson family after their parents are killed in a car accident. Susie, the eldest at age eleven, narrates the tale. Other members of the family include Tucker, age nine, and twins Jesse and Mindy, age five. They have recently moved into a dilapidated house purchased by their Aunt Julie, who is now their legal guardian. Mindy has been traumatized by her parents’ death and refuses to speak. Her only communication is occasional whisperings to her twin Jesse. All the children still see a psychologist weekly.

Their adventures are told by Susie even though most the imaginary characters are seen through the mind of young Mindy. Oh, yes, this house is haunted. There are monsters, spiders, ghosts, dragons, a leprechaun and something sinister that lives in the basement. Together with Danny and Anna, the kids who live next door, the children spend the summer exploring the huge backyard and house. The older children suspect that Mindy is imagining all these things, yet they hear the noises and see the clues left behind like a toy triceratops and a red feather. When the new school year comes around, the children are apprehensive about beginning all over again. At first Mindy is bullied because she does not speak. The winter brings more adventures like a new boarder named Adam who lives in the cottage, an abominable snowman, and a close call when Tucker falls through the frozen pond.

In little more than one hundred pages, Bennett manages to deal with so many issues: death, bullying, unsolved mysteries, coming of age, blended families, and childhood fears. The story is told with lots of humor, authentic dialogue, and well-developed characters. Chapters are short; many have charming pencil drawn illustrations. This keeps the book interesting for the younger reader. Length of chapters make it a good choice for a classroom read aloud. Highly recommended for boys and girls ages seven through twelve. Don’t miss it!

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AUTISM AWARENESS DAY

The Thursday Surprise:A Story About Kids and Autism

The Saturday Surprise: A Story About Kids and Autism

by Ryan R. Ennis

Illustrations: Brenda Stroud

The Thursday Surprise picSaturdaySurprisepic

This post reviews two books written about autism. They were written by an educator who works with autistic children. It is his belief that typically developing and autistic children have a lot to teach each other. As an educator who has worked with both populations of children, I can empathize with his perspective. These books are not boring tomes about educational theory and practice, but stories with characters who display the real emotions of these children. For parents and students who are currently being co taught in one of these classrooms or for adults and children who do not understand autism, these two books will shed a lot of light on the topic. Ennis has also thoughtfully included a section of discussion questions about the story as well as teaching resources and techniques that might be found effective in working with a blended classroom.

In The Thursday Surprise, we meet a fourth grader named Katie who is best friends with Melissa. One Thursday, Mrs. Burnette ends recess early informing the students that she has chosen a few of them to take books in to read to students in Mr. Appleton’s room. He teaches students who have autism. Katie and Melissa find the room well-organized but stark and boring. The students act different, and there are a lot of rules. Katie is paired with a boy named Michael who does not pay attention and will not look at her. She can’t get him interested in anything. Katie is so frustrated that she does not want to go back again and is still upset when she gets home. Her mom explains that each autistic child is very different; you need to be patient and try different things. Katie promises her mother and teacher that she will try, but nothing seems to be working. Will Katie find a way to help Michael and gain a new friend?

The September Surprise is not a sequel in the strict sense of the word. We do meet some of the same characters sharing the same problems. As the story begins at the end of the summer, Katie is eagerly awaiting a letter from Parker Elementary School informing her who will be her fifth grade teacher. She is hoping that it will be Mr. Sanders or Mr. Greenley. Instead she finds out that her teachers will be last year’s teacher, Mrs, Burnette along with Mr. Appleton. Katie is convinced that she needs reading help because she is in a class with two teachers and last year Mr. Appleton taught the autistic students. To make matters worse, she finds out that her friend Melissa is in Mr. Greenley’s class. Melissa suggests that maybe Katie did not so so well on her reading test.

On the first day of school Katie reluctantly enters the class and finds herself paired with an autistic child named Brianna, who has echolalia, which means that she repeats everything Katie says. Katie is not amused. She wants Brianna to respond and gets more suggestions from Mr. Appleton. When Katie hears about a writing contest, she is determined that will find a way to communicate with her partner, make her a friend, and win that contest! Katie is beginning to think that this class is a special one and not in the negative way she thought originally.

Ennis presents parents, educators and students with an explanation of autism and a wealth of information on how to handle it. Autism encompasses many issues, and no two autistic children have the same needs. Ryan succeeds by using a simple story with believable characters that make it more understandable and meaningful. The reader will walk away with greater knowledge and compassion.

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