The Penny

Example is not the main thing in influencing others. It is the only thing.

[Wednesday, March 31, 2010]

My Favorite Student


Don't believe any professional who tells you that they do not have a favorite. They do. It's only human.

My favorite student (MFS) is awesome. Of course, that's why he's my favorite. And trust me, the feeling is mutual. He doesn't show it as obviously as my other student in his class, who hugs me and pressed ILY handshapes into me, but I know I'm his favorite teacher.

I typically pull MFS for auditory training every Wednesday. This is his private session. He is happy when I come into his classroom to help with reading and journal, and he is happy when I pull his with the group, but he definitely makes it clear that he likes HIS time--one on one. A couple of weeks ago, I had a meeting on Wednesday afternoon, so I missed pulling him. Instead, I pushed into his content time at the end of the day. Or planned to. As soon as he saw me, he started gesturing and babbling--don't know why he didn't just sign it (probably because he's reprimanded for signing by some people). He finally went to his mailbox and showed me his library book. Ah, got it. Typically I pull him directly after media... We drop off his library book in the classroom on our way to my room. MFS gave me an annoyed look. I guess the message was, "Hello, woman, I've got a library book here, WHY AM I NOT IN SPEECH??" Naturally, we went straight to my room.

This child loves speech so much that he will choose speech over PE. In my experience, 7-year-old boys choose nothing over PE.

Today, I again had a meeting (today being Wednesday, his private session day), and I missed pulling MFS. I went into his classroom as they finished content and packed up, and MFS signed, "Speech none DARN." I told him that he will have speech tomorrow, and he was happy. And I told him that Elayne was coming to read a story tomorrow, and he was very happy! He met Laynie once a few months ago, but of course she made a big impression: She's the only deaf adult he's ever met. Also, she is Just. Like. Him. When she showed him her CI processors, he about fell off his chair. He picked up at least a half dozen new vocabulary words from interacting briefly with her, the most important being "cool."

So Laynie gets to go to the school as the yearly deaf adult visitor for our little D/HH group. We'll see how it goes. The teacher of the deaf is so disappointed that she will miss the morning pull-out group, when Laynie will read a story, because the TOD has to go to a CPI refresher (non-violent crisis prevention intervention). But I think Laynie will hang out for the pull-out sessions in the afternoon, so she can see MFS and another newly implanted child. And we're going to watch a fairy tale in ASL! The teacher of the deaf has a DVD of some fairy tale being told in ASL, so we're going to pull the kids out of content time to watch that. Hooray for an ASL literacy day! These kids really need it, because their program is so English-heavy. What a perfect last day before spring break.

Another story about MFS: The journal topic today was "bald eagle"--write anything you know about bald eagles, which the class (kindergarten) has been studying in content. MFS dutifully wrote his sentence, "Bald eagle have small egg," and then he went into this long story about a mouse nearly being eaten but getting away at the last minute. I had missed content the day before, so I asked the paraeducator if they had talked about a bald eagle eating a mouse. They had not. I asked MFS more about it, and he clarified that it was a cat trying to eat the mouse. Hmmm. I asked him if he had seen that on TV, and he said no, but he is pretty shaky with his vocabulary about home activities (because his family doesn't sign, so no language development at home). I didn't believe him. But he said, "Computer. T-O-M." Fingerspelled Tom. Of course, Tom and Jerry! Seriously, half of my time with my students is spent in guessing games like this.

And just for the record, MFS is also the favorite of both interpreters AND the teacher of the deaf. Everybody wants to take him home and give him language. But they'll have to fight me for him.

[Monday, March 8, 2010]

My Side of the Story


I was reading Laynie's blog post, describing her experiences with music in the car. Just for fun, this is my perspective of the same thing, a la Lion King 1 1/2.

Laynie wanted to listen to audiobooks and music in the car, and obviously the SLP in me had to encourage that. I let her use my CDs and burned her some, with a variety of musical genres. The reason I went with CDs is because they would provide her with the best possible sound quality (because unfortunately her car does not have an AUX jack) and because they're pretty much fool-proof. Pop them in and go. In my car, I connect my iPod using an FM transmitter, which is basically the worst possible sound quality you can get. Seems silly to use something that has the worst possible sound, doesn't it? I'm stuck, because my car is a 2002 and definitely does not have an AUX jack, and I haven't gotten around to switching out the stereo. What am I going to do, use CDs? This isn't 1998. Kidding, it's just that most of my music is in the form of bits and bytes--I've bought maybe one CD in the past two years.

Anyway, the FM transmitter sometimes needs to be switched to another frequency band when interference causes static or when other channels break through. It doesn't happen often for me, but it does happen, especially when I drive on I-695. That's the way Laynie drives to go to Towson. I considered setting up an FM transmitter in Laynie's car but decided against it, because she couldn't reliably tell the difference between music and static. But recently she has made some improvements in her listening skills (got a better map), saying that things were sounding clearer.

A few weeks ago, I began showing Laynie what static sounds like. I pointed it out to her when I heard it while using my iPod setup. I showed her what happened when the button accidentally got pushed on the transmitter and the channel wasn't in sync with the car, how to make it right again. So when she said she was bored with the CDs she had in the car and hinted strongly that she would like to get a wire like the one I had, I took her straight to Best Buy.

A few days ago, she said she got in the car and the signal was all static. She checked the transmitter and sure enough, the channel had been changed (the buttons are easy to press if you lean on them). Laynie was proud of herself for changing it back and having a nice drive with music. I guess she was ready.

Big Snow, Part 4


For our final installment, we move to the backyard...

Katie decided to go swimming.

I'm not the only copycat.

We were all ready to take a picture when Laynie toppled over... hehe...

It really made me nervous when Katie sat on the fence. There's a little stone ledge behind it, then a 40-foot drop.

Of course she had to scale the fence and hang over the abyss.

Unfortunately, Laynie died after climbing back up the hill.

Sigh. One guess who's to blame for this...

Give yourself a bell!

Re-enacting the climb up the hill. We really did crawl up. Apparently it is not possible to walk uphill in four-foot thick snow.

Just wanted to include this photo (despite the double chin) to show off my awesome Brandi Carlile shirt. Holla!

The next day: ice on Laynie's car. We had cleared the snow before this, so the ice is all from what dripped off the roof of the building.

So that's our fun in the snow! Katie spent the night, because she literally could not drive down her street. Baltimore was much worse than Owings Mills (the suburb where I live), just because the streets are so narrow. What a nightmare. Luckily our apartment complex did an awesome snow removal job, and we had no problems. Also helps that we have a driveway. Anyway, we had a fun couple of snowed-in days.

Big Snow, Part 3


We did not build this, but we certainly wished that we had.

Inside the awesome fort.

Katie decided to go straight down the hill, instead of using the path.

Laynie joined her... crazy girls.

I went down that way too (not rolling, duh), and Laynie saw...

... me get stuck!

Kate helped me up.

Or tried to.

Yeah, I was pretty stuck.

Pah! Yea!

These two are so cool.

Big Snow, Part 2


We did a lot of shoveling.. probably about every two hours.

Go team!

Yup, my eyelashes froze together. Always happens to me.

Just watching the snow.

Big Snow, Part 1


It snowed so much in Baltimore!

Cold! Cold! (me and my sister Katie)

Laynie and Katie
I love this picture; I think it's so cute.

Vertical snow angels take real talent.

Me and Laynie
It was so windy, we had to hold our hoods down.

She's on top of the world!

Katie tried to help Laynie up, but it didn't really work.

Yup, I'm a copycat.

Yowza. And it wasn't even done.


Laynie pushed Katie in the snow. Bad Laynie!

Katie didn't seem to mind.