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Chess transforms a difficult ESE student

Special needs (ESE) student has wonderful turn around due to the interesting game of chess.

Michael (name changed to protect the innocent)is an ESE student who came to my school two years ago that required special attention - to the point that he was required to be in a special room away from the other students with specially trained instructors. He was like many of the other students in the program who because of their uniqueness needed to be cared for differently.

In Florida, children who have special learning needs are called exceptional students. Exceptional students include children who are gifted and children who have disabilities. The purpose of exceptional student education (ESE) is to help each child with an exceptionality to progress in public school and prepare for life after school.

When Michael arrived at my school he had a special attendant whose only job was to follow him around school to insure that he would not - to put it lightly, get out of hand. He had several behavioral issues and a very short attention span to say the least. But Michael had one thing going for him, a teacher who was interested in starting a chess club. Mr. Dewberry was a very strict and to say the least a deferent type of teacher. In his desire to help his children in his special needs (ESE) class he also invited them to play chess - Michael was one who excelled greatly in the game.

In fact Michael improved his behavior in class and in his studies due to the realization that Mr. Dewberry had negotiated a deal with Michael - "behave in class and do well with your grades and you can join the chess club". That was his offer, of which he accepted and followed through with. Soon Michael did not need his supervised attention; he was doing well in class and in his grades - not to mention he was also one of our best players in the club. I was very privileged not only to be a part of the chess club but to be a part of the transformation chess caused in Michael. I was one of the instructors who taught him the basics of the game and like with all the children I instructed him in how chess can be used to excel in life.

Chess is a game of logic, patience, timing and focus - you have to plan, be flexible and adaptive and most of all, you have to be dedicated. These are things we all need; these are skills, tools and attributes we must acquire if we want to be successful in life. This is what I taught all of them, even Michael.

After two years I moved to another school and to my surprise Michael was also transferred to the school I started working at. He is still doing well in his grades and has no behavioral issues (that I know of), every time we meet he greets me with such warmth and always excitedly ask me "When are we going to start a chess club here". Because of Michael - it looks like the new school I am working at may have a new club - the chess club.

Funny politically incorrect holiday joke - run if you are easily offended.

Funny politically incorrect holiday joke - run if you are easily offended.
With all the holidays that come up - the food that becomes the focal point of all our holiday activities - I just wanted to mention something that is on everyone's mind - the challenge to control ones weight in the face of such insurmountable odds.
That is right - with all the food that is thrown at us during the holidays, people always start the new year with weight loss as one of the top ten new years eve resolutions.
So, here is a prayer from a man's perspective - please, do not be so easily offended...... it's a joke and you know you want to laugh.

funny joke politically incorrect

Skydiving joke fun great pictures.

Joke, funny or Crazy... What do you do when you want to celebrate your birthday - well, you jump out of a perfectly good airplane of course. Or at least that is what one of my friends did.
This is what I would have been thinking - but this is just me.

 Wow! we are going to have so much fun - we Rock!!
OMG! Am I really going through with it?
I guess I might as well go I did pay for this...
 Holy Crap! How high are we?

 Wait I'm not ready, wait....
I do not want ....
 to DIE .. ieieiei
 This is my hysterical face ..
 Uh .... when do we open the shoot?
When? Hello!
 Oh, thank you Jesus!
Get me out of this this now!
(Proceeds to kiss ground and vomit..)

Girl Power - girls can be engineers, success and more

I love this – Girl Power story. It is something I have tried to teach my daughter when she was small – girls can do more. Children can be more, better future, more possibilities.

teach girls engineer and more
Debbie Sterling is a female engineer and founder of GoldieBlox, a toy company out to inspire the next generation of female engineers. She has made it her mission in life to tackle the gender gap in science, technology, engineering and math.
GoldieBlox is a book series+construction set that engages kids to build through the story of Goldie, the girl inventor who solves problems by building simple machines. Debbie writes and illustrates Goldie's stories, taking inspiration from her grandmother, one of the first female cartoonists and creator of "Mr. Magoo".
Her company, launched in 2012, raised over $285,000 in 30 days through Kickstarter, and has been featured in numerous publications such as The Atlantic and Forbes. Prior to founding GoldieBlox, Debbie served as the Marketing Director of Lori Bonn, a national jewelry company. For the past 7 years, she has also served as a brand strategy consultant for a wide variety of organizations including Microsoft, T-Mobile, Organic Valley and the New York Knicks. Debbie's inspiration to create a mission-driven company came in 2008, when she spent 6 months volunteering at a grassroots nonprofit in rural India. She created a viral-video fundraising campaign called "I Want a Goat", raising over $30,000 for economic and educational development in the region. This experience helped pave the way to finding her true passion: inspiring the next generation of female engineers. Debbie completed her degree in engineering at Stanford (Product Design, '05) and currently lives with her husband in San Francisco.

Great, funny video about teaching Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math skills to girls - breaking out of their stereotypes. Even better if you remember the Beastie Boys #STEM

Funny silly healthcare Joke / Canada Has Death Panels ....

Funny silly healthcare Joke / Canada Has Death Panels ....

I recently read an article about healthcare and the title – of all things it reads like this:
Canada Has Death Panels … And that’s a good thing.

funny joke health obamacare

At first I thought it was a joke, sarcasm – I read the article waiting for the punch line but it never came. Maybe I missed it I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt – but I doubt I did. I found it odd that he could be so callus with his attitude. Personally I had a brother (Albert) who was very sick and I know what it is to have a family member so sick that you find yourself conflicted, struggling to come to grips with the debate in your heart: Is it better to let him go or to keep him alive?
No one should have to go through that and trust me I know how it feels, how much it hurts but we choose to help my brother live, for as long as he could until it was time for him to go – I choose to believe that He decided (he did or his body did, but it was not our choice to make).

Life is precious and who could ever place an accurate value on such a thing? But to listen to the writer of this article; it seems some believe they can.

“In Ontario, by contrast, the provincial legislature decided in 1996 to create a quasijudicial tribunal, the Consent and Capacity Board, to make these life-and-death decisions more quickly. If a patient’s substitute decision maker withholds consent, then doctors may apply to the board—comprised of lawyers, mental health professionals, and community members—for a determination that the proposed treatment is in the patient’s best interest. If so, the board has the power to consent on the patient’s behalf.”
It’s interesting that the point made is to “expedite” the process by appointing ‘decision makers’ who if a family member with-holds consent (meaning does not agree to order to pull the plug on family member) then they can go to this board who will decide for the patient.

Another quote: “The Hippocratic Oath’s promise to do no harm still applies. But they are also only wrong in part. When taxpayers provide only a finite number of acute care beds in public hospitals, a patient whose life has all but ended, but whose family insists on keeping her on life support, is occupying precious space that might otherwise house a patient whose best years are still ahead.”

The problem (in my opinion) is that if you have a state or government run medical health insurance plan, even with all good intentions – the so called free plan (or universal plan) requires that others make decisions for you. After all – money is money and even the government is not made of money. Just look how crazy it gets in congress simply trying to balance the budget. So imagine if you will – you get into a car accident and people you do not know, who feel nothing towards you decide that the odds, the percentages, the numbers do not warrant spending millions of tax payer dollars on trying to keep you alive. Farfetched I know – but in the realm of the possible.
Just ask Canada.

Article: Canada Has Death Panels And that’s a good thing.
By Adam Goldenberg

Rock Paper Scissors BANNED at school?

Rock Paper Scissors BANNED at school?

One of the things I love to do is play “Rock, Paper, Scissors” with the kids at my school. Being an adult and a figure of “authority” - I try to find ways to make the kids feel like they can relate to me. In most cases, it helps the school children feel like I can relate to them.

One of the reasons I love rock, paper, scissors is because we can play, have fun and it is relatively a simple quite game. There is no screaming, running, jumping, throwing, no debate on rules or anything that can be misconstrued in any way shape or form. Let’s face it, in today’s world we as administrators in a school, we have to be careful how we deal with children.

But rock paper scissors is such an innocent game and trust me – my kids love it. In fact not only did the group of children that I monitored during lunch duty love to play the game with me – but soon I had children in other class groups wanting to play. The first graders and second graders were starting to get the other monitors and even the assistant principal to play the game with them.
I was fun, I would walk into the lunch room and from a distance the children would start to wave at me, trying to flag me down, desperately wanting to play rock paper scissors with me. Many of the fourth graders and even fifth graders would play against me and since its such a simple game – its hard to cheat at it – so it wasn’t like I won every game. Personally I think that is what they liked the most – they were able to beat and win against an adult.

But apparently, it seems that my days of playing rock, paper, scissors with the students has come to an abrupt end. Yes, I have been asked to halt any and all rock, paper, scissor games with the students. Not, not because we were being disruptive – because we were not. Many of the students quietly played against each other during lunch time and never once did we have an argument or any outburst of any kind. No, neither was it due to any child not doing his or her work – after all, it was lunch time. Neither was it due to anything that could be considered any type of disturbance, bad behavior or anything of the sort.

school ban on rock paper scissors game
The reason I was asked to stop playing rock, paper, scissors with the child was: drum roll please ...

The ban was brought about because; (as I was told) some of the children could not handle the level of energy.

What? Are you kidding me?
Is this a joke? Has the world gone mad?

First of all – I thought schools wanted children to have energy? Don’t you want your children excited, energized and motivated to learn? And how in the world can playing a round of rock, paper, scissors be so energizing that it would affect the students ability to learn or to control themselves?

I have a sneaky suspicion that the people who work with me during my lunch duty – the ones the children dislike, the ones the children even hate; you know the type. The ones who even though it’s lunch time, they don’t want the children to talk, to laugh, to even move because that would be outrageous. I think these wonderful mean spirited cold hearted people find it difficult to believe that an adult can keep order and still have fun with the students. After all, they themselves have become so ridged in their lifestyles that to crack a smile might cause their faces to go into an uncontrollable spasm.

A few days before I received the email placing a ban on playing “rock, paper, scissors” I had several students from a table three rows down from the children I regularly attend to ask me a simple question: Can you dismiss us today. When I asked them why they wanted me to dismiss them they (each individually did the same thing) they looked around, lowered their voices and said: we hate Mrs. (name remove to protect the innocent). I explained to them that my duty was over before their lunch time was and that in order to not offend Mrs. (bleep) I could not dismiss them.

I could see the heart break, the hurt and it filled me with sorrow. I could see how she treated them, her harshness, her over bearing ways, her desire to create an atmosphere that was more like eating at a military base – God forbid if you spoke to loud. But what was to loud because depending on her mood, a whisper was too loud for her.

So here I am. I have spent the last three days discouraging children from playing “rock, paper, scissors” with me. They ask me visibly disappointed “Why can’t we play ‘rock, paper, scissors’?” And I tell them, because someone complained that we were being too noisy. They look at me with that – “What the?” kind of look at me and it pains me, to which my response to them: I know, it makes no sense to me either.

Pumpkin Treat Contest - oh Yeah!

Pumpkin Treat CONTEST!

Here we GO – Pumpkin Treat Contest!

Who doesn’t like to get involved in a nice competitive contest – sure people say that competition only brings out the worst in people but I personally believe it also brings out the best in people. After all, most people never truly give it their all, unless there is something to win or something to be lose (like pride).

At our school we proved we can have a contest, meet a challenge and still – even with many showing their strong competitive side, we can get along well and be gracious winners and losers. After all, despite everything people say – everyone can’t be a winner, just ask all the people who play the lotto every week. A contest, any contest requires a winner and a loser.

Now I know people hate to lose – so do I. But lets be real, losing can drive you to work harder, can create a drive, it can cause you to strive to be better and fuel a competitive spirit that in truth, is what made this country great in the first place. Then again most people want to avoid having people’s feelings hurt, they want everyone to be winners – so in the end, there is no real reason to strive for excellence if mediocrity will always be enough to win you a prize. Since no one can lose and no one can truly win – what’s the point of even trying to do your best?

Pumpkin Treat contest
School mascot dress as Frankienstien
But with all that said – we had a blast. We saw how competitive our co-workers could be and we also saw how well we enjoy the spirit of a good challenge. There was no arguing, no back biting, no snickering behind closed doors – no, we took it for what it was worth. We each did our best, we enjoyed displaying our hard efforts, laughed as the children happily enjoyed the pumpkins on display (each class having their own favorite) and in the end – the winner was the Cookie Monster Pumpkin.

I love these events, I think it can certainly bring out the best in people, creatively, emotionally as they bond to work together to create a master piece and in the end – it reveals the truth about you and me.

You can say what you want, but the bad, the ugly and the mean spiritedness people exhibit during competitions is not something that came about unexpectedly – it was always there to begin with.

Congratulations to the Fred Wild third grade department for your well deserved win.

Duck Dynasty Pumpkin

Minion Pumpkin

Leadership Pumpkin - 7 Habits
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