Sunday, January 29, 2017

My Philosophy of Gifted Education

    I recently wrote my philosophy of gifted education for my college class. I thought I would share it on this wall. It is in 3rd person because that is what the school required. I got 100% on it. 

      In a world of education that places its main focus on school scores, data, standardized testing, and teaching to the test. The shift in education has been heading on a downhill spiral for many years. The main focus has been on making sure all students “pass the test” so the school will score well. The echo of many administrators is “how well did your school score?” “Did the kids do well on the tests?” “We better make sure all students are proficient.” Words that are rarely echoed anymore are “are the kids learning, are they gaining new knowledge, are we preparing them for their life as adults?”  Education has been on the road to dumbing down for years. In this type of educational world the gifted and higher achieving students are being left behind. Their needs are not being met. They are not leaving school with new knowledge. It is important that education maximize advanced students potential. It is important for every educator provides gifted students with advanced materials and told they need to progress successfully (New Mexico Department of Education [NMPED], 2011).

     Gifted and talented students are our future leaders, philosophers and entrepreneurs. It is up to all educators to nurture, not hider those special skills so they are able to reach their full potential. To better meet the need of gifted students many schools hire highly qualified educators to work with the gifted and advanced students. These teachers study to understand the needs of these unique individuals. As a teacher of gifted students Ms. Miller’s philosophy of gifted education is to promote and enrich each student’s critical thinking and problem solving skills along with focusing on projects that progress their special talents. They must be provided with enriching and creative projects along with the tools they need to explore and enhance the world around them.

     Since the regular education classroom is not prepared to meet the needs of gifted students it important that schools provide accommodations for gifted students and high achievers. The purpose of gifted education for gifted students is to provide them with programs and services that focus on their individual talents. It is to serve as a stepping stone for future success. Students who receive services have proven to advance to secondary level degrees. Gifted education also helps student achievement and interest level while in elementary and secondary school by promoting student interest. Gifted education provides the students with a variety of projects and objectives so they are not learning subjects they have already mastered over and over again. This keeps them interested in school which serves as another stepping stone to success (National Association for Gifted Children. Society benefits if gifted students receive the nurturing and services they need which prepares them to become future leaders and productive members of society [NAGC]).

     An appropriate instructional environment for gifted students is one in which their individual needs can be addressed. Class size should be relatively small so the teacher is better able to provide individualized instruction and projects. The smaller classroom also gives the students more room to move around and explore the classroom while engaging in a variety of activities and tasks. The teacher is there to guide, not instruct. She creates engaging projects and opportunities based on each student’s area of giftedness. This way the students can create and discover. The classroom environment must be safe and comfortable to meet social and emotional needs (Sandha, 2017).
Cross disciplinary education influences the productivity of students as adults because through this type of education they are able to make meaningful connections across different subject areas. This provides them with a better understanding of ideas and concepts. This ability follows them into adulthood benefiting their future endeavors ("NCAG,”).

     Ms. Miller will prepare her students for a career in a multicultural society by providing them with projects and lessons that incorporate other cultures. Multicultural projects connect students to each other because they gain an understanding of one another’s beliefs, traditions and culture. The projects help build a community of learners. Through the projects students learn to take pride in their own culture while embracing others (Davis, Rimm, & Siegle, 2010).

     Ms. Miller’s goals for her students are that they leave her class enriched. They know how to think, not what to think.  She wants her students to be able to use their creative thinking and problem solving skills to the best of their advantage. These goals correspond with her philosophy by promoting and enriching their problem solving and critical thinking skills and placing focus on their special talents.

      Ms. Miller’s philosophy is evident in the classroom through the set up and style of her projects. Ms. Miller introduces a project, provides students with a list of expectations through a rubric and then provides them with the tools they need to explore their topic. This allows them to drive their own education. They know clearly what is expected of them and reach toward those goals. The students are offered different ways to reach the end goal which meets with their different learning styles. She is not telling them what to learn. She is teaching them how to think and how to learn.

     The thinker whose theory most supports Ms. Millers stance is Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligence. Gardner’s theory is that not all students learn in the same way. They are not all the same and have different styles and ways of learning. The tasks should be presented in different ways to each student. Ms. Miller presents her students with an idea and allows them to find their own way to explore that idea. Each student will use a different way and in the end will become enriched through the experience ("American Institute for Learning and Human Development,")

     Ms. Miller has high expectations and great plans for her students. Focusing on each students special talents by allowing them to create, experience and explore will promote critical thinking and problem solving skills students will keep with them thorough their school career and into adult life.

Sandha, I. (2017). Learning Environment for Gifted Children. Retrieved from 

Keep Trashy Commercials Where they Belong

     I believe that trashy commercials belong...well in the trash....but since society seems to think they are acceptable...which saddens me, it would be nice if they would at least keep them with trash TV or at least adult TV instead of wherever they wish to air them.
     There is nothing more annoying than to be watching a game show in the middle of the day only to have the commercial that comes up be about KY Gel. Seriously!! That is not an advertisement I would expect during a game show.
     Worse yet is when you are watching a children's show and granted it is at night but another commercial for KY Gel comes on. Do they think the audience they are targeting will purchase this item?
     It would not be quite as bad if they just stated what they are advertising but they don't they show the couple hot at it and talk about their passionate sex. Kids do not need to be exposed to that. There are adults who do not want to watch that. There used to be a time that people had respect enough for themselves to keep their sex private. Now they air it on TV for anyone to see.
     Many years ago my mom and I joked about how one day there would be a tampon commercial with a woman walking down the street with a red spot on her bottom. It has become that bad now.
     Thankfully due to my DVR I do not have to watch commercials much anymore. When I do though it is sad they are trashy. I certainly will not buy their product and if it keeps up I might stop watching the channels that air them.  
     This is a shout out of sorts to see if anyone else cares that trashy commercials are aired during just about any show these days. Any show that an innocent child might be watching. A show that a person who has some values is watching....Have we become such a trashy, immoral society that no one cares? I sure hope not.

Monday, January 16, 2017

American Educations' Testing Frenzy Forgets about Logic and Reason

          In their frenzy to make sure students are able to pass a standardized test, to make sure no child is left behind, educators are forgetting what the purpose of education really is. I wonder sometimes if it is because so many administrators’ egos have become so inflated that they want to show their district is the best, their schools are the best and their students can outscore other schools. I wonder if it is all just an ego trip in which administrators are in the driver’s seat claiming they want what is best for the kids, claiming they want “none to left behind” while in the end all they are doing is cheating the very students they say they want to help out of a high quality and beneficial education.

     Administrators should stop making schools main focus on all of the testing which is mostly just should focus more on teaching logic and reasoning skills because at the end of the day people use those skills more than the skills it takes to test and in reality most humans forget what they memorize in time but they never forget how to use their logic and reasoning skills...which are being lost in the frenzy of teaching to the test.....

     When I look back at my school years I don’t remember much of what I memorized, I do remember being taught how to think, being taught how to do something as simple as look up a word I did not know how to spell or define in a dictionary. I learned how to study for tests, how to complete the basic tasks I needed to function as a human with a brain. I learned how to use my brain.

     While much of what I memorized in school is in my long-term memory I don’t remember many of the things I memorized for tests, yes we did take tests when I was in school but most were based on the unit of study we were working on. I don’t remember most of that content but I do know how to recall it, how to research and rediscover what I once memorized.

          The important things I took out of education back in my day were the reasoning skills schools taught us before the standardized testing frenzy, before the bloated egos had to be nourished by high scoring students, before students became just a number and before no child was supposed to be left behind.

     In leaving no child behind education is leaving most children behind. The ones who succeed most are those who learn how to reason, how to use their God given logic to learn the things they do not know and how to apply that information to daily life.

     I look at so many of the young adults today, many scored high on the tests in school, they got good grades and made their school and district proud however they are struggling as adults because they do not know how to use their logic and reasoning skills to survive in the new world they have entered.

     I am not saying all young adults struggle but many of them are spending so much of their time as adults learning the logic and reasoning skills school did not teach them that they are already over stressed in life. They are experiencing stress they should not have to experience. But hey, they can pass a test with flying colors.

    These young adults should not be under this kind of stress, they should be focusing on their new adventures in the adult world and have the tools they need to succeed in whatever it is they choose to do. The frenzy of testing needs to end, egos need to be placed in check and the focus placed back on teaching logic and reasoning so that all those children who were not supposed to be left behind will stop leaving them behind.

Sunday, January 8, 2017

Recess is the Time for Kids to Re-Charge: Teachers Know it, Administrators Deny It

     Sometimes there are things that really frustrate me as a teacher, things teachers in the classroom know are wrong but they can't change because if they do administrators will reprimand them, things that could cost them their job. Yes teachers get reprimanded for giving students recess, not for giving too much recess but for giving them any recess at all.

       I wish school administrators would see the importance of recess, recognize and care about the damage they are doing.
  So many school children from grades 2 and up  only get lunch recess for 15 minutes a day which includes the time they line up to go outside and the time they line up for lunch. They might play for ten minutes a day, if they are lucky.

     To add to the lack of recess time, kids in most schools only get PE one day a week. Teachers know their students need recess, they know their kids need the active/creative time to just play, interact and "get the wiggles out" and just re-charge. However teachers are not the ones in control. The administrators are the ones who make the decisions. The ones who are not in the classroom with these kids on a day to day basis. The ones who say, "recess doesn't fit into the schedule." the ones who blame the teachers when the kids are not performing as well as they should.

     Teachers know what would help kids, teachers know that recess is important, vital to education, vital to their students physical and even more important, mental health.. Teachers know that their students would be more attentive and on task if they just had some time to re-charge. But again, teachers are not in control and jeopardize their jobs by doing what they know is best for their kids.

     As adults we become burnt out when we are not given time to re-charge, we become stressed out and reach a point when we just do not care. Why is it that education administrators in the US can't see that  is what they are doing to the kids, they are causing them to burn out at such a young age. How can these young people be expected to stay focused, excited and interested when their batteries are full. Their entire day is, think, study, learn, work, think, study, learn, work oh and add test, test, test. There is rarely time for a break for kids. Administrators need to allow teachers to give their students time to re-charge and refuel their batteries to avoid burn out at an early age.

Recess is Important
+recess +recharge +important

Saturday, January 7, 2017

Vitamin A Palmitate: Parents Need to Shout "Stop Poisioning Our kids!"

   For those who do not know what Vitamin A Palmitate is, it is a synthetic isolate. It is added to low fat milk for some reason, milk does not contain vitamin A naturally so why they add an isolate to it baffles me. It is a dangerous additive, it is in many low fat and other foods that people eat. It is also in the milk that the government requires schools to feed to our children.  Most parents are not aware of the synthetic vitamin schools are feeding their kids, actually they are unknowingly feeding it to them too.

     This stuff is in just about everything we eat anymore. You have to become an avid label reader to avoid it. What makes me most upset though is that it is placed in low fat milk, the milk children are forced to drink in school. I do not understand why a child needs low fat milk myself, kids need fat but that is another blog. 

     When Michelle Obama took chocolate milk from the schools I was upset at first but then I was glad because it stopped children from drinking the milk that is poisoned with Vitamin A Palmitate. The kids where I worked started bringing soda and other drinks. As much as I dislike sugary drinks for kids, they were better off with the soda than the Palmitate.

     This stuff, the stuff kids drink in school is harmful to their liver if they ingest too much of it, so why make them drink it?

     I had never heard of Vitamin A Palmitate until my youngest son was 2 years old. It was purely by accident I discovered it and learned that it was the Palmitate, not milk causing his problems.
     One day my son broke out with a rash, the rash was eczema and he was miserable. At first I thought it was from plums, I had never fed them to him before but had the day he started breaking out. I stopped the plums but he still broke out. He was miserable. Finally I narrowed it down to the milk. I had accidentally bought 2% milk and decided it wouldn't hurt to give it to my kids until the gallon of milk was gone. But after the rash remained I decided to see what was different about 2% milk and learned they added the Palmitate to it. So I stopped the milk and my son's skin cleared up.

       I had to get a doctors note so that I could get my son on whole milk at school but, it was no problem. I gave the prescription to the food services and they ordered whole milk for my son. They have to provide an alternative if your child is allergic. I am thankful my son is allergic to this poison, the more I learn about it, the more harmful I learn it is.

          We became label readers because he would break out sometimes and I would find that he had ingested food with Palmitate. It also makes his asthma worse when he ingests it.

     I have suffered from eczema too and determined if I drink or eat foods with this synthetic poison, I break out too. My oldest son does as well. So I wonder what it does to our internal organs. I wonder what it is doing to the kids who have to drink it at school and at home.

     What I wonder is how many people blame milk products for their eczema when it is Palmitate instead? 

     My children are not the only ones who suffer from this reaction, one day a friend of mine told me her daughter had a horrible rash, eczema to be exact. She showed it to me and I asked if she fed her low fat milk. She said she had been drinking it, I told her to stop the milk, she did and her daughters skin cleared up.

     Not all people I have noticed are as sensitive as my son, some can ingest it in breads and other foods but only suffer when they take it in larger doses such as in milk. My son can't ingest it at all.

     I have a conspiracy theory about this, I am sure I am wrong but, you never know.... they know it is harmful to the liver and other vital organs so they feed it to people to drive medical is a thought...

     All I can say is if your child has a rash, try cutting this stuff out of their diet and see if it maybe is the problem. The biggest thing though is to tell the schools it is time to stop poisoning our kids and bring back whole milk. It is only 2% more...fat...whole milk is 4%, which is not that much. Cut out the junk at home, leave out the chips, get them off the couch and make them exercise. Shout out to stop poisoning our kids!!

Monday, January 2, 2017

When Memories Become Memories

As I was driving to work today, I decided to put in my Disneyland CD's. The first was actually a Disney California Adventure Park (DCA) CD. I purchased it back in 2007 or so, back when they still had Golden Dreams. These CD's brought with them some very special memories. Memories of memories.

   So what is a memory of a memory? It is remembering a time you were enjoying your memories...Ok so let me explain. My boys and I used to put in the DCA CD and remember Soarin Over California as we listened to the song. We did not just remember it, we were there. We knew every detail of the ride and as the music played, we discussed and remembered being there. As we flew over the river on Soarin, we said, "now we are over the river and look out below I'm going to kick the guys on the raft." We would laugh at the memory and talk about our feelings when we were done.

     When we listened to the Haunted Mansion theme we would do the same thing, we acted out the ride with our words.

     Along with these memories today flooded many other memories from when my sons and I would act out our vacations. Yes, we usually acted out our Disney vacation but that was because it was the main one we went on every year and our happy/laughing place.

     Among these memories I had today was when we would go for a walk in the local park where we live. As we started our walk, we would say, "Ok we are leaving The Carousel (our hotel) and we are walking to the light. We push the light and now we are heading through the main gate where we toss our troubles away...” then we'd say, "can you hear it, the music is now playing, can you feel it?' What was so special is that we almost heard the music and we did feel the magic. We did this our entire walk around the City Park and Disney Resort in our minds from our memory.

     From the time we came home from our vacation we would look at the video we took and at our pictures as soon as they were developed or on the computer. Then a few months before our next vacation was to begin we would watch our Disney Vacation DVD. We watched it several times throughout the year with excitement. When my mom who goes with us every year came over, we would watch the Disney DVD.

     This all might seem a bit silly but it was magical for us. Our memories were not like being there but they made us feel the same magic we felt when we were there. They were special times spent together.

    As I was remembering these memories, I reflected on how vivid those times are in my mind, how special and how magical. I don't remember the money I spent over the years,  I don't remember the purchases I made or what I bought. What I do recall are all of the things my boys, my mom and I did together, the fun we had and the special times we had remembering all of the fun we had.

     Memories of memories are so extraordinary. My wish for everyone is that they can have such amazing memories to remember with their own kids because as time moves on and parents become less important in their kids’ lives these are the memories they hang on to. I hope all parents have these special times to look back on.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Finally Accepting This Chapter of My Life is Closed: No Longer a Drama Mamma

     It has been a wonderful run being a drama mom. I have been involved in the high school theater program since hmm, 2009 I believe when my oldest son entered as a freshman. Then his brother entered his freshman year and well, last year was his last year and sadly also mine. I enjoyed it so very much and have had a hard time knowing I am no longer a drama mom. I loved my theater family a lot but things change.

     The theater family has changed and well I am no longer thought of as a part of the family by many. It is just how things happen, things change and we move on. It is a chapter in my life that is closed. It is not always easy closing the final page to a great book though and this one has been the hardest of all.

     I was able to hang on the first part of the year because my youngest son was involved in the Haunted House and the Fall play as a crew member. However it was not the same, I did not feel a part of the family, I felt like the in-law who was no longer needed. Yes many of the kids still knew me and I felt welcomed by them but then there were those who either did not know me or I never got close to and well, I did not feel they wanted me around. I mean they either did not like me or did not know me. So that was my wake up call to the fact that while I might be a member of the old theater family, I am not a member of the new.  I miss the group of kids who welcomed me into their hearts and who really saw me as a part of the theater family but most of those kids have moved on past high school. There are a few who remain but they won't be there much longer either.

     This ended my run as drama makes me sad because I did love my theater family and I will miss them dearly. But I understand that it is what it is and it is time to move on. Time to move on, past being a drama mamma. However I do hope someday that I can be one again. It will not be quite the same because my sons are grown, they won't want me around like they did...which is normal but I hope that my oldest goes on to reach his dreams of being a musician and I can watch him play. I hope my youngest gets involved in college theater like he plans so I can watch him act. So in a way I will be a drama mom but never again to the same group of kids...and so this chapter of the book in my life is closed and it has been a hard final page to turn.

     Both of my sons are very talented, my oldest is no longer in theater but is a part of the arts, the youngest had a wonderful high school run and I look forward to the chapters in their lives that will open them to amazing new adventures.

    Kyle as the Child Catcher
    The Air that I Breath performed by Arsenic Kitchen, written by Blake Miller, lead guitar Blake Miller

Clinical Trials: Being a Human Guinea Pig Out of Desperation

      As I watched and actually paid attention to commercials today I got to thinking about clinical trials and being a human guinea pig. The commercials were a real eye opener for me.

     For those who do not know what a clinical trial is, there are companies that perform trials using humans to discover how they react to new drugs. Many of these companies pay rather handsomely to use people as guinea pigs.

     I have been financially down on my luck many times in my adult life, down enough that I turned to the clinical trials for money. Some of them paid as much as $7,000.00. That was a lot of money for me at the time and I did not think of the consequences. I just saw the money and how it would be the difference between eating and starving, paying my bills or losing everything I had.

     Thankfully I did not qualify for the trials I was looking into and I looked into several. I was upset at the time but I found a way to survive. When I signed up for the trials however I did not even consider that by doing the trial I might not be here today to write this. I felt like I had to do something, my kids needed a home and they needed food. I felt if I did not survive the trial they would at least have a home and food, they might not have me but in my desperation to survive that did not matter, as long as they were taken care of. I mean I couldn't do it so what good was I at the time? Yes I was willing to take that risk to provide for my family. I know now that my sons needed me more than the money but I did not see that at the time and was willing to do anything legal to earn money even if it meant jeopardizing my own health and life.

     I wonder how many people go into it with that same desperation that I had. I wonder how many would do it no matter what. I know the clinical trial companies make you sign a contract and they are upfront about the risks but I wonder how many people who agree to enter the trials really care about the risks, I didn't when I was desperate and would have gone through with it regardless of the risk. I needed to survive financially and in that despair my own survival was not an issue.
     The side effect list I heard recited about a certain drug while watching the commercial  is what got me to thinking. I can't even remember the medicine but the side effects were long, as they are with most drugs. Some of the side effects were extreme,some were effects that might not show up for a while and one of the side effects was...death. Actually many drug side effects are extreme and include death.

     This got me to thinking about the clinical trials and I wondered if those effects were discovered because someone using the drug because they had the condition it treats died or if these side effects were discovered because someone who needed money desperately died during the trial. I would tend to think the latter because pharmaceutical companies have to list side effects even if only one person experiences them....I would tend to think that in many instances people don't report the effects, they are determined by the human reactions during the clinical trials.

     This post is not meant to criticize the clinical trials, it is to bring attention to the fact that many who sign up for them do it out of desperation, desperation to survive.  I hope the companies really look into the people who sign up, That they know the person is doing it for the "greater good of science."

     Would I look into clinical trials again? I am not sure, it is hard to say what I would do if I became that desperate for money again. I am close right now and even knowing the risk I have considered it a time or two because sometimes financial despair out weighs the odds. I hope however that I do not get to the place where I feel no other way out and if I do get to that point hopefully I do not qualify again. I wonder how many of those who have suffered long term effects or died during a clinical trial have felt so desperate that nothing else mattered except financial survival even when that risk meant they no longer survived?