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Squirmily Studious

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Yes. I know squirmily is not a word.

Those who know me know I'm a teacher. Am I employed as one right now? No. Does that change the fact that I AM one? No. For the past school year, I was employed as a Special Ed aid in a tiny school in the Lassen foothills...because that's the job that was open and available.
Because of the levels of resources available in the boonies with under 20 students in the whole K-8 school and with me having all of one semester of general instruction in special ed under my belt, I did a lot of trial and error built on my personal instincts as a person and as a teacher.
Patricia Polacco, author of Thunder Cake, My Rotten Red-headed Older Brother, Chicken Sunday and dozens of other amazing children's books shared this link on Facebook today:

What a thought. Kids fidget because sitting still for hours on end is not a normal human condition, never mind a normal developing-child condition? Wow. Who'da thunk it?

Seriously though, as a special ed aid with one of my students needing occupational therapy but not having it in her IEP, I can tell you this blog is dead on. Does this mean there's no such thing as ADD or ADHD? Heck no! Does it mean there are a whole lot of kids who don't have these conditions who not only learn better if allowed/encouraged to involve their whole bodies in the process but really have fewer activities in their lives that keep them able to do so? You bet your sweet bippy!

Is this all the parents fault for not getting them active in a variety of ways? Not ALL. I've had families where each parent worked two jobs to put food on the table, there were no parks nearby and there simply wasn't enough available time and space to give them the opportunity to move! For the record, these were often the parents who would hang out after school with their kids so the kids would have some more active play time on the only playground/grassy area they had in their lives.

I don't do the blame game, folks. I've been raised to do the what-can-I-do-to-affect-it game. As a parent, this means my kids get to parks as often as possible, have some guided play but a lot of free time, and are encouraged to try things like rolling down a hill, climbing a tree etc. while they're there.

As a teacher it means my class learns to record/analyze data like how long each student can stand on a balance board each day and how fast they can completely cross a balance beam. It means they learn vocabulary by wandering the room to music with a list of words in hand, looking for posted definitions. It means my youngest students have to apply physical labels to the room, sticking my laminated "door," "window," "library," cards to the appropriate places in the room, reinforce counting with hopscotch, dance the macarena to memorize the months of the year and many other things. It means my classroom library reading space has both a beanbag chair and a therapy ball chair. It means sometimes I read a story to sitting children, and sometimes I have them move puppets to act out the story.

Little bits count. Life keeps moving all around us. We'll learn more from it if we learn to move with it.

Just my two cents of the day.
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