Sunday, April 11, 2010

Busy, Busy, Busy!!!

January, February and March are the busiest times for me at work so not much gets done with my Blog or anything else for that matter. Anyhow it's update time and then back to serious Blogging.

My mother's continued problem with the tree is done! Not only has the tree been removed but the stump is gone too. I am really impressed by those on City Council who accomplished within a month what couldn't be accomplished for five years by going through the proper channels. I shall be writing a letter to the Senior Citizens group in Woodbury, NJ to let them know that some members on their Council do care for them. I suppose I should send that on as a Letter to the Editor as well.

I took the picture sideways so everyone could see where the tree was and the long roots aiming for the green capped sewer line. So a GREAT BIG "THANK YOU" shout out to:

Mr. William Flemming - Second Ward
Mr. Joseph Villari - First Ward
Mr. Thomas Louis - Third Ward
Ms. Heather Tierney - Third Ward
Mr. Harry Trout - Third Ward
Mr. Barry Sloane - Second Ward
Mr. Thomas Dukelow - Director of Parks & Recreation

The names are listed in the order of first respondents. On behalf of my mother and myself I can't thank them enough for their immediate attention to the issue.

Mr. Flemming contacted me immediately to lend his support and alert me that Mr. Dukelow would be involved. Mr. Trout took the time to call me personally while Mr. Louis accompanied the public works supervisor to my mother's house to determine the impact the tree had on the sewer line. Mr. Sloane was in contact throughout the matter and even followed through to verify that the tree extraction was complete. Mr. Villari sent a very nice e-mail indicating his support as well as Ms. Tierney. Thank you all for your efforts.

Firecrackinmama's World: Woodbury, NJ's Treatment of Senior Citizens - Part II

NEXT: We're getting ready for a BIG Birthday. My mother will be 90 years old in a couple of weeks and even though she now only celebrates in the moment, she shall have a full day of moments.

I designed the invitation and am going to order them today.

I'm hoping the kids will be available the weekend before the big event to help with the food - Firecrackinmama's World: Granny's Pigs in the Blanket, Chicken Marsala, homemade meatballs and Bollo's sausage. Side dishes include red skin potato salad, coleslaw, pasta salad and probably a Caesar Salad. Then whatever else the kids think we should make. I'm looking forward to it. Oh, and the theme of course will be a Beach Theme.

NEXT: Sometimes you do things that afterward you wonder if it was a good idea. While reading the forum at my Firecrackinmama's Zazzle, someone mentioned making ACEO trading cards. I had never heard of such a thing but have seen them unknowingly. People take their art work and place it on oversize business cards and frame them individually or in multiple settings.

I thought it was a great idea but went in a bit of a different direction. As an educator I'm always looking for ways to motivate kids without food. The first card I designed was the Achievement Award card.

Educators can customize the card with their name as it's a template. I wasn't sure how this would work, but I do now.

Many of the kids I work with don't often know me as I usually only work with them in an evaluation situation. However those that do know me really liked this card. I'm getting ahead of myself though.

During the same period of time that I was designing this card I started two other series: Scuba Dog Series and an Achievement Series. Please hang in there because this made a few of my days.

I happened upon a District that would hire me and has the same philosophy as me about kids. Child Study Teams often get a bad rap because Special Education is a very big part of a school's budget. But those who get even a worse rap are the Out of District Child Study Teams because that is even more controversial and costly. Of course I'm on an Out of District Child Study Team but I have a director that supports treating those kids as though they were in district. I like that!

As a Learning Consultant I have to be in the classroom to see my kids so that I have an idea of what they are getting in comparison to what they need. I put a lot of miles on my car but it's worth every bit of wear and tear and every penny. Added to all that was the enthusiasm the kids had towards my motivational ACEO cards. Yep, I had to order them and see how it went.

I was to test one student on another Team member's caseload. The young lady has a history of not cooperating, shutting down, or acting in a manner in which an evaluation could not be conducted. With that knowledge I prepared for the assessment by placing all my cards on the table so that she could see them. We started off with idol chit chat which led to her talking about her pet dogs. The whole time she was eying the cards. Next, I asked if she would like one. Why of course.

This was the first card she selected:

Two things happened. First she was very interested in discussing the card. Who were the animals, where was the picture taken and did the animals really go on the vacation. When I told her that it was photo manipulation she became very fascinated in the rest of the cards.

Second, I could not find anywhere in her records whether she needed glasses. That question was answered immediately when she pointed out the mouse sitting under the chair in which the cat was lying.

From there we went through the entire evaluation with her earning a selected card after completing a subtest. At times she was torn as to which card she wanted next. We only hit one road block and that was during her subtest on computation without a calculator. She immediately demonstrated some frustration because she said she couldn't do any of the problems and she was afraid that she would not get a card. When asked if she felt she deserved a card, she replied no. However I explained to her that by expressing herself in such a proper manner and saying why she couldn't complete the subtest was every bit as important as doing it. So yes, she did deserve a card but it would be one I selected.

You might have thought I gave her a million dollars. At that point I became her best friend. When she was completely finished I filled out her Certificate of Achievement Card. Guess what? She liked that one the best. Made my day.

I've given the Certificate of Achievement Cards and Motivational Cards to many who have done even the smallest task with success and have enjoyed the smiles and thank yous each child has given.

There's still more to come but it will have to wait until my next Blog.

For now have a Firecrackin Great Sunday!!!

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