What a Way to End one Year and Start a New One

01/03/2014

I ended 2013 by undergoing the neck surgery I discussed in my last post. It would be cruel to not tell you how everything turned out.

The collaboration worked. Surgery lasted longer than estimated, but apparently much of that time was spent positioning me so they could get my head immobilized in the proper position to do what they had planned. In that process my top cervical vertebrae snapped back into place, making the eventual surgery easier.

I come out of the recovery room at about 4:00PM, eight hours after I was put under with nerve monitoring wires attached to all my fingers, toes and various other points on my body.

Surgery Image 5

Surgery Image 5 (Photo credit: UCDMedicine)

Thanks to the excellent surgeons and the high level or care I received at Valley Hospital, I went hope less than 48 hours after that. The plan was to keep me in the hospital for up to four nights but after just two I progressed so well I was sent home. I have already ditched the narcotic pain medicine for Tylenol.

My head is back on straight, I can turn it and move it up and down and side to side. While the range of motion is still limited, it will improve over time. I’m still not allowed to do anything, and I still have to wear my Miami brace 24/7 for a few more weeks, but a return to normal activity is in sight.

I am extremely grateful for all the support I’ve received from friends near and, in some cases, very far.

I have never been one for new year’s resolutions. I reflect enough the rest of the year and don’t normally feel a need for year-end reflections. But 2013 has been a particularly rough year personally and professionally in ways I cannot talk about now. I’m just glad that it is over.

I start 2014 with a new outlook. I have a sliver of a cadaver’s hip in my neck to remind me that life is fleeting but our usefulness does not end with death if we don’t want it to. I already signed a donor consent form noted on my driver’s license, but I’m redoing my living will to also specify organ donation in any form useful.

I am growing a beard, just to see what it looks like. Its a safe risk, but I need to start small. The bug risks are too scary for now.

I have a new opportunity to grow and develop into the best school librarian I can be, and I’ve certainly learned the value of collaboration. Don’t be surprised to get a call, text, email or tweet from me proposing some joint project.

But most of all I have learned I need to take better care of myself, physically, emotionally and in every other way you can imagine.

I hope your 2014 will be all you want it to be. I will be working hard to make sure mine is.

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I matter

09/18/2012

I used to be very shy. VERY shy. Then Angela Maiers showed me that I matter. 

It was three years ago at a major technology education conference in Washington, DC. I thought of it again this weekend because I was in DC with Angela for the first Bammy Awards for Excellence in Education.

The NECC was my first education conference and it is a huge one. Five days and tens of thousands of people. I had been on Twitter for a few months and had made some soft connections; I’d had some conversations with people and I knew a few names. At that time my handle was @spedteacher, being shy I used my job at the time instead of my name as a moniker. I was a very small presence despite my large size.

In many ways the NECC was a huge step for me. I had not yet met anyone I knew through Twitter face-to-face and I was in awe of the knowledge, the experience and expertise of the people I followed there. I was learning so much and wanted to learn more. I always want to learn more. Curiosity is my driving force. So I decided to go to NECC.

Attending NECC was an expensive proposition. Registration is a few hundred dollars; DC hotels were not cheep and were at a premium, especially those within walking distance of the convention center. When a teacher from upstate NY, who I didn’t even know through Twitter, contacted me to ask if I’d be willing to share my hotel room so we could both cut our expenses I only hesitated for a moment before agreeing. Fortunately, Ryan Wassink and I got along well.

One of the features of the NECC is what they call a Bloggers Cafe where people gather to write their blogs, chat with others and generally just process the huge amount of information being presented. In this instance the cafe was a collection of small tables and cushioned benches and couches of different heights. I would go there and sit off away from anyone else. I was VERY shy.

One afternoon I got to the cafe and it was fairly empty, I sat on a bench leaning my back against the side of the empty couch next to it. I did not yet have this blog so I was on Twitter looking at tweets about the sessions I was not able to attend. Some people came and the cafe began to fill up. There was an interesting conversation going on behind me and I was listening intently. At one point I turned around to see who these people were and as soon as I did this very pretty woman looked at me and said, “You’re spedteacher!”

That woman was Angela Maiers. Angela is an award-winning educator, speaker, consultant and professional trainer known for her work in literacy, leadership and global communications. She is a big deal. She recognized me. And she introduced me to everyone else in the conversation. Then Angela asked me what my take was on the topic.

I have no idea what the topic was, but I will never forget that Angela thought what I had to say mattered.

Angela has been telling people that they matter for a long time. She talks about it, she writes about it, and she lives it.

I’m writing this to tell you that you matter, and I’m writing this to tell Angela how she mattered to me. Angela recently started a group on Facebook called Choose2Matter. She, and it, have helped me change my teaching this year.

I’m telling my students that they matter. It started the first time I saw them and played them this message (make sure your sound is on, then click the play button!)

There are geniuses here!

I asked them to tell me about the kind of genius they are. Engagement was instantaneous. They all wanted to make a Voki and tell their message about the kind of genius they are and how they matter.Everyone got right to work, thinking, writing planning.

All except one small girl who just sat there staring at her paper. I went to her, knelt to her level and asked if she was okay. She nodded yes. I asked if she was having difficulty writing. She nodded yes. I said, “you’re very shy, aren’t you?” She nodded yes. I told her to whisper in my ear the problem she was having.

She leaned over, cupped her hands around my ear and softly said, “I don’t know what kind of genius I am.”

I whispered back, “I don’t know you yet so I don’t know and can’t tell you what kind of genius you are, but my first job this year is to help you discover it for yourself and learn how to show it to the world.”

She smiled.

I mattered.

Thank you, Angela.


Student Progress: Sometimes Its Not the Teacher

06/18/2010

Teacher accountability is all the rage.

March 6
Image by lorenabuena via Flickr

I don’t think there is anyone who would argue that teachers should not be accountable for what they do or fail to do, not even me.

The only argument is how to measure what teachers do.

Oh yeah, we also have to define what it is that teachers do.

Part of the problem is that part of what teachers do is not done in the classroom, part of what teachers do affects student development but has nothing to do with academics, and teachers are not the only ones in a school who help kids develop.

For one child in my school the teachers tried and tried, but it was the school secretary who made the difference.

And what a difference it is.

K came to our school three years ago as a hostile, extremely withdrawn and occasionally violent sixth grade girl.

Every day she wore this large black trench coat that she would pull up so that she could be totally hidden by it.

She was mute.

She ignored any teacher who tried to speak to her, no matter how gently.

She ignored any teacher who tried to speak to her, no matter how insistently.

She ignored students who tried to speak to her. If they got too close she would lash out with the sharpened pencil always ready in her hand. More than once a student would get stabbed. K just missed piercing one girl’s eye.

K did not like school.

K especially did not like the school lunchroom, a near toxic blend of cacophonous sounds near manic energy.

K was not at all manic.

K seemed to be an empty shell of a girl.

Our school secretary is a dour, efficient woman who does not tolerate teachers or other fools well.

But she has a heart a mile wide and twice as deep when it comes to kids.

Ann invited K to spend the lunch period in the office with her.  K accepted wordlessly by showing up.

Ann would continue to work while K sat there.

Eventually K began to draw.

#2 Pencils, A Lot of Them

Image by alex.ragone via Flickr

And draw.

And draw.

The first positive thing we learned about K is that she is a talented artist who, with only a #2 pencil, created pictures filled with texture and emotion.

Eventually we heard from K’s father who lives overseas. He told us some of what K had been through and we began to understand why she behaved as she did.

It was not a pretty picture, especially when K eventually drew it sitting at a desk in the office eating lunch with Ann.

K ate lunch with Ann every day.

In 7th grade K travelled with the rest of her class to their different subject teachers. K still wore her trench coat but she didn’t hide in it as much.

And she stopped stabbing people.

Every time I saw K I’d say hello and smile at her.

Eventually she would look up at my face as I did that.

One day I got a crooked, shy smile back.

K ate lunch with Ann every day.

The black trench coat was replaced with a very large sweater.

K continued to communicate with drawings. Sometimes we got what she was saying, usually not.

K ate lunch with Ann every day.

K did very little schoolwork. But she started to give other people that shy, crooked smile.

One day K whispered something to me.

She asked to go to the office to see Ann.

It wasn’t lunchtime, but I let her go. She spent the rest of the day there.

K started talking more.

And more.

She continued to draw, and she continued to eat lunch with Ann every day.

This year K is in 8th grade.

The sweater is gone.

K smiles and talks to anyone who will listen or smile back.

K made a few friends.

And there were even days when K did not eat with Ann because she wanted to be with her friends. She went to the lunchroom.

But most of the time you could find K in the office where she would sit opposite Ann drawing or helping out at odd tasks.

Now K holds her head up high and her bright blue eyes sparkle.

K is confident, relaxed and even kids around a bit.

K went to the prom! And had a good time. I know because she told me.

Last night I went to a retirement dinner for four colleagues. Ann is retiring in a week when our school years ends.

Last night was the first time I saw Ann smile and laugh.

Her work is done.

On Monday K will graduate with the rest of our 8th graders, all of whom have grown tremendously since they came into this school three years ago.

But none has grown and developed as much as K.

Today K will have her last lunch with Ann.

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10 + 1 Not To Miss

05/16/2010

I recently got tagged in a blog post by Shelly Terrell (@shellterrell) one of the many people I rely on for my continuing teacher education.

Tagging sometimes seems like the blog equivalent of literary logrolling in which authors conspire to praise each other’s books, but I really do read and recommend the blogs I am about to tag.

If you are tagged, follow these rules:

1) Insert the picture above into your blog with a link back to the blog that nominated you
2) List 10 blogs you feel others should read
3) Tell the bloggers you have nominated that you have tagged them.

Here, in no particular order, are the ten blogs that have made a difference in my teaching and/or my thinking.

SpeEdChange by Ira Socol (@irasocol) Ira is the single most interesting person I have met on Twitter. He’s a dyslexic former NYC police officer, author, and now doctoral candidate in Special Education and Educational Technology at Michigan State University. He is a passionate advocate for Universal Design in Education.

Philly Teacher by Mary Beth Hertz  (@mbteach) An inner-city technology teacher reflecting on teaching, learning, leadership and life with intelligence and spirit.

For the Love of Learning by Joe Bower (@joebower) challenges the “deeply rotted myths” that modern teaching and schools live by and explores more progressive forms of education. Always interesting, stimulating, incisive and quite often fun.

Keeping Kids First by Kelly Hines (@kellyhines) The title says it all. This blog is focused on teaching and learning, but takes a broad view of those topics. Don’t let Kelly’s easy-going North Carolina charm distract you from the deep thinking going on in these posts.

Learning is Messy by Brian Crosby (@bcrosby) His students are 4th graders, mostly second-language learners, many of them in special education. Brian focuses on how policies, processes and politics affects his teaching and students.

Upside Down Education by Amanda Dyles (@amandacdykes) She’s passionate about “using technology to ignite learning” and the subjects she teaches her 6th graders: science and social studies. And, despite living in Alabama, she’s a passionate Red Sox fan.

Human by Tomas Lasic (@lasic) A tinkerer who likes to ask ‘what if…’, Tomaz says “Rather than teaching people, I prefer to make them think and learn together.” And he plays water polo.

A Geeky Momma’s Blog by Lee Kolbert (@TeachaKidd) Asks questions. Asks lots of questions. Really good questions. Sometimes she finds answers.

ClassRoots.org by Chad Sansing (@classroots) One of the people with whom I often disagree. Here’s where we meet: Classroots.org presents failure and learning from it as equal partners with success in innovative teaching.

Reflections of a Science Teacher by Sandra McCarron (@sanmccarron), who describes herself as scientist educator and life-long learner. She likes to blow things up; all in the name of science, of course.

And one more…

Living the Dream by Diana Laufenberg (@dlaufenberg). Diana teaches social studies with passion and it comes through in every single post of this blog I recently started following. Diana discusses her teaching at Philadelphia’s Science Leadership Academy and explores larger themes of teaching and learning.

Challenge:

Take time the rest of the week to read these blogs and see which ones to add to your daily read! If you’re tagged in this post, please spread the love.

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Echoes of the Ancient and Tomorrow

03/28/2010
Seder Plate
Image by Daniel Greene via Flickr

It’s been this way for years

Monday night I’m participating in a Seder at my best friend’s apartment and the following night he and his wife will do the same at my house.

My first Seder was 40 years ago when a group of socially aware and politically active teenagers gather to celebrate the “Freedom Seder.”

Although my grand parents were all Jewish, I was not raised in the Jewish tradition.

dying easter eggs
Image by PaperNest via Flickr

My family did not celebrate the rites of any religion, but we adopted the symbols of many.

At this time of year we would dye Easter eggs that my parents would put into little baskets along with fake grass, jelly beans, a chocolate bunny and, often, a dreidel. There would be a box of matzah in the house.

My maternal grandmother would come over to cook a meal featuring homemade gefilte fish, and chicken (bones and all) in a soup filled with carrots, celery and onion. She would also make a peppery, oniony potato kugel so dense it did not dissolve even when Grandma served it sitting in the middle of the soup bowl. (I have never found anyone else whose relatives put the kugel in the soup. If yours did please let me know)

P1040074.JPG

Image by PlaysWithFood via Flickr

While my father was still living with us we’d also have a happy Buddha or two somewhere nearby.

My parents had largely rejected the religion of their parents. That’s why we annually had a beautiful Christmas tree with hand-blown glass ornaments from in front of which we open presents before eating our Chanukah gelt, chocolate coins with Hebrew lettering on them.

There were symbols all over the place, but no one ever told us what they meant or connected them to any particular religion. If we wanted to know we were directed to several of the hundreds of books in living room.

Instead of deities, doctrine, ritual, and the other accoutrements of religions, we saw models of compassion, sharing, brotherhood, acceptance, and what I have come to identify as an echo of the ancient Hebrew sense of tikkun olam, acting to heal the world.

Earth
Image by Satoru Kikuchi via Flickr

Despite the lack of notions of God or Gods of any kind in our upbringing, our home rituals, such as they were, carried echoes of their ancient origins even if they lacked their rigor.

What we do as parents and teachers also echoes through generations.

When we teach our children, as parents and in our work in schools, our actions carry more weight than our words.

The same applies to our learning as adults. We act the ways we see modeled by others.

Collaborative principals create collaborative teachers.

School leaders who rule by coercion and threat get teachers who do the same.

Tomorrow night, and for the following eight days, I will celebrate freedom even more than I do on all days. Others will celebrate the cycle of birth, death, and rebirth.

When I return to work I will model leadership, collaboration, trust, ethics, taking responsibility for my actions and responsibility to heal the world.

I wish I could be around to see how that echoes through my students’ lives.

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Goodbye 2009, Thanks For All The Lessons.

12/31/2009
Surely we must be learning
Image by tonyhall via Flickr

These past few days of relative idleness instead of work have given me time to think, consolidate, reflect on and synthesize from what I have learned in the past year.

I wanted to write a post thanking the people who taught me this year but there are far too many of them to name individually.

Of course my wife and son top the list, here is a brief rundown of some of the others I want to thank:

–my PLN on Twitter has been an incredible resource of knowledge, advice, support and amusement;

–my principal who asks his teachers open-ended questions about grading philosophies, for example, then actually listens to what we have to say;

– the other administrators and colleagues at my school are daily sources of inspiration, encouragement, kindness and challenge;

– my students, they think I’m teaching them but I’m learning more from them than I could possibly put into a decade of lesson plans.

I’ve grown and learned an amazing amount this year, just like every other one. It is what I’ve learned that’s different.

Humans are sponges, we learn all the time. Sometimes students even learn what we want them to and what we think we are teaching them.

All of us teach all the time. The only difference between someone called a teacher and everyone else is that we get paid for our efforts.

The difference between teaching in school and teaching through our lives is that professional teachers, like me, are under the delusion we know what we’re teaching when we plan a lesson.

Academics are a very small part of the lessons we deliver each moment through our behaviors, tone of voice, manner of dress, choice of vocabulary and sets of expectations.

——

I’ve learned that if you want a student to learn a new skill you name the skill, show what it looks like, model using it, and give students time to practice using the skill in a low-threat environment before asking the student to perform the skill in a summative assessment.

Why do we forget this when we teach teachers?

One of my Twitter friends, Eric Sheninger (@NHMS_Principal), posted this today:

Prof. New Years resolution: provide even more PD so my staff realizes the true potential of edtech and web2.0

Tech PD is great, but if you really want teachers to use the tech you have to give them time to practice, to learn from mistakes made privately, to develop enough skill so that they have confidence they won’t look like complete fools once they are in front of students.

Asking a teacher to use or teach using the technology without adequate time to practice is equivalent to giving a student a summative assessment the day after a lesson.
——-
I’ve discovered that change is easier for me than I thought it was, but it is still not easy. The problem isn’t change per se, but how it can challenge one sense of control and one’s place in the general organization of things.

The same things that make change difficult for me also makes learning difficult for my students.

The place a student knows, his home, community or school situation  — as bad as it may seem to us — is often less threatening to a student than any new one.

I seer this when I try to move students in self-contained special education classes into inclusion classes. The students have mastered survival in a class of 12; the skills and behaviors required in a class of 32 are very different.

While the student may be able to do the academic work, the social adaptations required are often overwhelming because they threaten the student’s self-definition.

——

My professional resolution for the new year is to be more aware of, more tuned-in to my student’s need and the factors that interfere with their learning. I resolve to make my classes even safer environments for growth and development.

Happy New Year, everyone. I hope it is a safe, healthy, enjoyable year filled with opportunity, growth and love.

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This Is America; Ain’t It Great?

12/23/2009
From upper left: Manhattan south of Rockefelle...
Image via Wikipedia

Today one of my Islamic students gave Jewish me a Christmas present.

There are not many countries on earth where that could happen and I am very, very happy to be living in one of them.

There are those who look around them, see people who speak different languages, have different religions, wear different kinds of clothes or who possess different skin tones and retreat into enclaves of people like themselves.

I have never understood that way of life.

I grew up and work in diverse neighborhoods of what may be the most diverse city in the world.

I look around me at students and colleagues from more than two-dozen countries, who come in a rainbow of skin tones and who speak a babble of different languages that contribute to and color their English.

I want to set off fireworks in celebration.

It is common at this time of year to wish for peace on earth and good will to all.

I saw a demonstration of those ideals today.

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When You Have Lemons…

10/13/2009

lemonadestandawardThis blog never fails to surprise me.

I started writing this blog because of Twitter. On Twitter I found dozens, now hundreds, of people who seemed interested in what I was contributing to the discussion.

But saying all I want to say in just 140 characters requires a better writer than I

Here, I have all the space I need so I just start typing.

I am frequently surprised by what I write.

Sometimes I start typing intending to write about one subject and say one thing and I end up writing something completely different.

When that happens I usually learn something about myself, my teaching or my students. Those insights are addictive. That’s why I keep writing.

Some of the responses to this blog surprise me.

Most have been very gratifying.

My father now tells me he likes my writing. So do a few other people.

My last post got a particularly surprising response.

Hi,

Thank you for your blog. It’s good to see that people are still passionate about teaching. I’m glad I found you through Twitter.

Your blog has touched me for many reasons, mostly because I have a son with special needs, and his teachers are my heroes. To that end, I left you a present on my blog – I’ve nominated you for the Lemonade Stand Award. To accept, you must comply with the following conditions:
- Put the Lemonade logo on your blog or within your post. You can lift it off my blog (http://jonsmomblog.com).
- Nominate at least 10 blogs with great attitude or gratitude.
- Link the nominees within your post.
- Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.
- Share the love and link to the person from whom you received this award.

Please accept the award. I can’t wait to see and follow the people you give it to.

Here goes. The blogs I’m going to list are mostly aimed at teachers. Some of them have to do with teaching children with special needs but many just help me reflect on my teaching and the context in which I do it.

http://teachingeverystudent.blogspot.com is a blog for special education teachers that introduces us to tools, techniques and ideas that help us help all kids.

http://learningismessy.com/blog/ Teachers aren’t miracle workers, we just do the best we can. This blog tells how one dedicated teacher does it and provides ideas, inspiration and information to the rest of us.

http://mizmercer.edublogs.org/ Alice gets it. She understands that students have needs that go beyond books and academics. She works hard to meet those needs as best as she can.

http://budtheteacher.com/blog/ Bud is a smart man who has a different perspective and comes to different conclusions. I don’t always agree with him, but he makes me think.

http://www.empowerpeoplechangelives.com/ In her own words: I am a disability advocate. As a young woman affected by a disability and a special education major, it is my hope that parents, students, teachers, and other professionals who assist students with challenges will find my work informational and educational.

http://lisaslingo.blogspot.com/ Lisa is the general ed teacher in an inclusion class who does amazing things with her students

http://christinesouthard.blogspot.com/ A look at the same classroom from the special ed teachers point-of-view.’

http://www.vickiforman.com/ Writer, mom, advocate for people with disabilities. Put them in any order you like and you come out with a literate, readable, sensitive blog.

http://www.specialeducationteacher.me/ Is written by a special ed teacher in Atlanta who loves her kids but not always the logistics of teaching them.

http://katjewave.blogspot.com/ A passionate advocate for public education, this blogger always titles her blogs with song lyrics.

I wonder if these bloggers also sometimes are surprised by what they write.

This time I wasn’t.

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Hard Beginning, Harder Ending?

09/13/2009
Bloomberg giving a speech.
Image via Wikipedia

This has not been the best start to the school year and definitely not the beginning I Imagined.

First, the teacher whose room I was to move into, let’s call her Z, refused to move out.

Back in June I suggested that she box her stuff and I would come in and move it to her new room before we were due to report to work for the new term.

I arrived a week early on wheels. The wheels were on my hand truck and mover’s dolly. I was ready to work, but the room wasn’t.

Nothing was packed.

Meanwhile, the new teacher moving into my room from last year was also in the building ready to start fixing up the room for her students.

I had to take all my things out of the closets and move them to the front of the room where they sat for a week until all teachers had to report to work on Tuesday.

I was sure Z would start moving her stuff.  I was wrong.

At two PM, just three hours before the building would close on the day before students arrived she finally came to the room where I was doing my best to set-up around her stuff.

When she said, “I guess I should go find some boxes,” I just growled.

Needless to say, my room was not ready for students when they arrived on Wednesday. Or Thursday.  Finally on Friday I had students in my room.

But I had no desk and no bookcases.

Eventually desks and chairs arrived, but still no bookcases.

The school was out of bookcases.

Imagine, a reading program with no bookcases.

Also on Friday the room’s computer arrived, but without a keyboard or mouse.

The school was out of them, too.

In addition to teaching reading to special education students I teach social studies to general education 6th and 8th grade students in a different room.

The sixth graders fit into the room. There are 28 desks and chairs and there are 28 sixth graders in the classroom.

There are 35 eighth graders and when they came into the room they were sitting on the bookcases (yes, that room has them), on the windowsills (not allowed, but what could I say, the only alternative was the floor), and leaning against a wall.

There are 35 desks in their homeroom just down the hall, but that room’s teacher was giving the seventh grade students ELA instruction. There were seven empty desks because there are only 28 of them, but it is too difficult to move desks and chairs from room to room every period change.

It is especially difficult because in the process of moving the dozens of boxes of books from my old room to my bookcase-less new one, I pulled muscles in my groin and abdomen, which set off back spasms.

Like I said, not the best of starts.

Now I’m not a complainer, but I was frustrated and posted about it to Twitter. My Personal Learning Network responded. My PLN includes classroom teachers, tech specialists, principals, librarians and university professors from around the world, and they have taught me more in my year on Twitter than all my years of college and grad school did combined.

Ironically, my first responder was former NYC policeman Ira Socol, now a doctoral student at Michigan State University

tweetdeck 5

Mike Bloomberg, the billionaire mayor of NYC, insisted that if he got control of the schools they would run better and he’s been loudly and consistently claiming success ever since.

Ira doesn’t vote in NYC anymore, so he set his sights a little higher in trying to get me what I need.

ira #1

This was quickly followed by…

courosa

Retweets spread news and ideas like ripples around a stone dropped in a pond. Each retweet is a new stone.

tweetdeck #3tweetdeck #2tweetdeck #1

A little time passed, then a second wave began…

secondwave #1

And so on.

I haven’t heard from the White House yet, but I understand the President’s been busy trying to get health care straightened out.

Maybe when he gets done with that I’ll get some bookcases, a keyboard and a mouse.

Don’t hold your breath.

Unless you have really good health insurance, that is.

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Celebration now, come on!

03/08/2009

This has been a week-end of celebrations.

Last night was my son’s fifteenth birthday, and I celebrated it by actually seeing him for the first time this week. I leave for work before he is awake enough to come downstairs, and this has been hell-week for his high school’s musical, Disco Inferno. Hell week means rehearsals after school until 11:00 or later every night. I try to be asleep before then, what with the alarm going off a little after four each morning.

Disco Inferno, if you’re not familiar with it, is a Faustian comedic-dramatic musical set in and around a London disco during the summer of 1976, and its filled with platform shoes, ruffled shirts, double-knit polyester leisure suits, and the beat-driven lyrically weak music of the era, including the song Celebration, originally done by the Trammps.
.
Jonas has acted in several shows, but this was his first time working as a member of the crew. He celebrated opening night by going to what appears to be the first of a series of cast parties all four nights of the show. I got to see Jonas for the ten or so minutes it took to drive him there. I celebrated that, and staying out past midnight for the first time since New Year’s Eve by going to bed as soon as I got home. I would have stayed up until he came home at 2AM, but I had to get up early to catch a 6:15 train into the City to attend another, bigger, celebration.

Today was the second day of the Celebration of Teaching and Learning, an annual two-day teacher professional development marathon (actually more interesting than it sounds) and education trade show. I attended several sessions dealing with autism, including a speech by autism celebrity Temple Grandin. I al scored four tote bags (!!), the stereotypical teacher trade-show loot, and two t-shirts, one of which fits me. Celebration!

I also learned precisely how hard it is to find people in a crowd when you don’t know what they look like, so I had another celebration(!) when I finally managed to meet three of the new friends I’ve made on Twitter (where I’m known as spedteacher): @LParisi, @Karenjan and @CSouthard. Its usually nice to put faces and in-person personalities to on-line friends and this was no exception.

Now all these celebrations might lead you to think I’d want to put on my dancing shoes, and boogie down, but I have a different kind of celebration in mind. Man, I absolutely know how to get all the way down and have a CEL-LE-BRAYYYYYY-TION!

I’m going to bed.


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