Monthly Archives: July 2011

New beginnings


When I found out that my position with the school district was being cut for the 2011-2012 school year, one of the things that made me the saddest was the fact that I would not get to continue to work with Ginny Thompson (an extremely talented speech-language pathologist at Perry Harrison). We did some pretty amazing collaboration on the district’s Autism Team and worked hard to combine the behavioral and social approach for students on our case loads.

I found out yesterday that Ginny and I will get to continue to work together next year thanks to the Osman Foundation that funds pilot programs in local schools. Needless to say, I am thrilled!

Now, because I know all of you are dying to know what we are going to do, I will share some more…

Ginny introduced the Social Thinking curriculum in Aidan’s classroom last year in an effort to help a very heterogeneous group of students learn to work together better. We collaborated behind the scenes to figure out ways students could be reinforced for using the skills she was teaching. This was tough at first, since 1st graders are naturally egocentric creatures and usually think of themselves before others. The results from Aidan’s class were amazing, which made us want to continue what was started last year in a more systematic way. Also, I wanted to be more involved and learn from Ginny. After 7 years of working together, I think we make a gosh darn good team 🙂

We have secured funding for the training materials for teachers at Perry Harrison, and right now we are planning on implementing the curriculum together in all 1st and 2nd grade classrooms next year. There will be some money for my time, but the Osman Foundation is also willing to serve as my fiscal sponsor so that we can apply for more funds for my time, and maybe even reach more classrooms next year. While the kids are at MeMa and PPops next week, I will be working hard on some grant applications. But, the hardest part (having a non-profit to support our work) has already been achieved.

I am excited about our new adventures and look forward to doing more proactive work (vs responding to students in crisis). I think this next phase of my professional life will be much less stressful and very rewarding.

Ginny and I have already been asked to present at the next Social Thinking providers conference in June to share what we learn from this school year. How exciting!

For folks that want to know *even* more about the Social Thinking approach, click here.

If you want to check out the website that Ginny and I are putting together (still a work in progress), click here.

Can you tell I am excited? Probably not…haha

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Happy birthday George

Yesterday was George’s 11th birthday. He got lots of treats and a special dinner. I also talked with him about his special day. Check it out –

http://www.youtube.com/get_player

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Lazy 5 Ranch

The kids have been hanging out with Nana for a few days, and we all went to the Lazy 5 Ranch today with Samuel. It was a fun trip. Here are some highlights:

Ostrich aggression – each kid got a bucket of food, but as the driver was explaining that animals with 2 feet were fed from the bucket and animals with 4 feet could be fed by hand, an ostrich took Aidan’s entire bucket of food…not once, but twice!

We fed the cattle. How cool that they only have bottom teeth.

My favorite pic. This giraffe thought my camera was some food coming his way.

On the pond bridge. I think all the kiddos were smiling. How often does that happen?

The camel had the best feeding strategy. Just hook your teeth around a square in the fence to get the optimal amount of food tossed in.

We all wiped and hand sanitized our hands a lot, but I still felt a little germy when we got home. What is summer without germs, though.

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cooking update

I am proud to report that my cooking commitment has continued this summer. Even more proud (or more prouder as my kids say 🙂 of my dish tonight. Now, the dish is pretty easy….chicken and pasta with zucchini, squash and peppers. I decided to use Barilla Pasta Plus that is a multi-grain pasta with 40% more protein than regular pasta. I also added some sauce to the dish. What this means is that I took an existing recipe and changed it up a bit. Maybe Kristan is getting the hang of cooking!

Here us a pic of tonight’ dish.

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Samantha’s money

Samantha created her own currency this weekend. In case you need help with the phonetic spelling, here is what is says: George Washington, for buying things, cash, real money.

My little lady LOVES to write, and write, and write some more. And, she will write on anything she can find in the house. I think she is happiest with some kind of writing instrument in her hand 🙂

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Camp fun

Camp Clearwater continues to be a hit with the kids. Today was Wacky Wednesday, and since this week’s camp theme is Harry Potter, kids were supposed to dress up like a character from the books. Aidan immediately wanted to be Harry Potter, but he was quick to add that he would be a brown-skin Harry Potter 🙂 Samantha wanted to be a wizard, so I was charged with helping come up with good costumes. Thankfully, our neighbor Seton was a huge Harry Potter fan as a kid so we were able to borrow some official Harry Potter glasses from her. Her mom offered the Hogwarts robe as well, but I declined thinking a black robe with 100 degree temps at an outdoor camp was not the best idea. Aidan did wear his Darth Vader cape, and a snazzy tie I got him from Target to complete his look. Samantha was set on creating her look solo. She used a witch hat from her 4 yr old Halloween costume and her Wild Things recital outfit. Of course there were wands!

So, here is a pic of Harry Potter and the wizard before camp this morning.

The camp stories get funnier and funnier each day. Big Bob (the resident snapping turtle at Clearwater lake) gets bigger and bigger with each story. And, I should not forget Dirty Derek, the other turtle. Oh, and Johnny Trixx, one of Samantha’s counselors that does random things to make the kids laugh. Apparently if they chant or sing, he will do even crazier things. The kids talk about their group’s “Groovy Points” for following the rules (this part makes mom happy 🙂 and friends they are making, etc. Such wonderful memories.

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Camp Clearwater


Today was the first day of summer camp. Samantha was a little nervous at drop off, but thankfully Aidan’s counselor shared a story about his first time at camp and how nervous he was, BUT that he had a great day. I snapped this pic when I picked them up this afternoon. They were super sweaty, stinky, and had a BLAST 🙂

Kristan

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