Your Chance to Help…

puzzle_pieces_community_400_clr_6966“We have all known the long loneliness and we have learned that the only solution is love and that love comes with community.”

–Dorothy Day

This page is meant to provide information and an opportunity for those who would like to provide some financial support to the Ginn/Gebo children. If you know of additional opportunities or needs that should be posted here, please let me know. Please share the link to this page so those who want to help these kids can!

A GoFundMe Account has been established called Gebo Children’s School Fund. “We all know the cost of raising children today and though the children’s’ lives will never be the same without their mother… friends want to be sure both children can grow up as normally as possible and have the opportunity for a good life and a future education.  Please help make that happen.”

An account to benefit the kids has also been established at Maine Highlands Credit Union.

One major local fundraiser is the 61 Day Raffle–many prizes have been donated. Tickets are $5 and can be ordered by mail.  Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Causes and Friends, Maine Life

Substitute Teaching — FAQ

teacher_colaberation_pc_400_clr_3388When announcements of the Substitute Teacher Training Course are made, I always get a few calls and emails with questions. I occasionally joke in classes that “It depends…” is rarely a wrong answer, so before I try to answer a few, I’ll make a general disclaimer: Individual school districts set policy and procedure–including the required qualifications for substitutes, amount of pay, etc. That said, here are some questions I hear often and general answers.

Am I required to take this course before I apply or substitute teach?

No!

What are the requirements for being hired as a substitute teacher?

It depends! In general, you’ll need a minimum of a high school education. You’ll also be required to be fingerprinted and pass a background check. The fingerprinting and background check is universal–districts may vary in terms of educational level and other requirements.

Does this course include help getting a job?

The course will briefly review the general process, including information regarding fingerprinting. We cannot, obviously, guarantee you’ll be hired.

Will this course qualify me to be an ed tech (also sometimes referred to as “para professional)?

Given the topics covered, this course will likely be helpful to an ed tech, but is not an “approved course of study.” Unlike substitute teacher, there are very specific state requirements. For more specific information, see the Department of Education’s website.

What topics does the course include?

A lot! Some of the topic headings are: Expectations of stakeholders, a “typical” day, classroom management techniques, teaching strategies, legal aspects,  and special education. Of necessity, some topics are handled as an overview.

How will I be paid as a sub?

This may vary by district, but in our area the most common schedule seems to be bi-weekly (every two weeks).

I’m already a working substitute–will this course be of any benefit to me?

Some districts offer a slightly higher pay rate for substitutes who’ve attended this training. That aside, subs who’ve taken the course have often found the course beneficial either because they’ve learned new techniques or because laws and rules have changed since they started.

What’s the easiest grade level to sub for?

Do you like chocolate or vanilla ice cream?  Seriously, this is truly a matter of personal preference based somewhat on the age/grade the sub is most confident with.

If you have a question, please send it along… or better yet, bring it to class! I encourage class participation and questions–and we try to have fun learning!

Leave a comment

Filed under Classes and Courses, Teaching

Stress Relief in a Box?

custom_colored_crayons_box_17397Feeling stressed? Grab your crayons!

I’ve often used crayons… myself, with adults, and as a way to occupy children who are visiting. So I wasn’t surprised when I learned recently that the New Canaan, CT Library has colored pencils and coloring sheets for adults to “check out” and use to relieve stress and even help with writer’s block. What a great idea!

Of course it’s not just crayons and coloring. Art therapy is accepted method of reducing stress and increasing creativity. The experts tell us that activities like coloring help us by serving as a distraction–even if only for a few minutes. Even coloring a picture means thinking about color choice and concentrating on “staying inside the lines.” When we become completely engaged in an activity we achieve a state of “flow” that can be almost meditative. Consider the “runner’s high” as another form of this.

Personally, I think coloring is even more fun if you can do it with a kid. When my nieces and nephews were younger, holiday visits often meant finding a quiet corner and engaging in coloring marathons. At the time, I thought we were playing, In retrospect, we may have been practicing a little stress management. Holidays with the family aren’t always easy.

But coloring can be useful with adults. When I was doing lots of organization design and development programs, I would often have the conference room table set up with boxes of crayons and art paper. The president and vice president would arrive and, while waiting for our session to begin, many would open the crayons and smell them, smiling with evoked childhood memories. The activity itself might be “draw a picture of how you see this organization…” It always took a while to get them started–unfortunately our childhood art skills and courage get surpressed as we “grow up.” But there were always some great and often revealing results.

I was a little disappointed recently when a friend who is very artistically talented said that she’d never call herself an artist because that is not a career choice she’ll be making. We are all artists, really. Art is about many things such as creativity and expression. We can see and use art in different ways. We don’t have to make a living with art, but art can help us make a life.

So I salute the Canaan Library for the reminder. Drawing and coloring are good. In fact, I think I’ll start keeping a box of crayons on my desk.

Leave a comment

Filed under Just for Fun, Personal Growth

The Pepper Hacker!

This advertisement comes from our good friends in Australia… they do seem to have a lot of things figured out. No, I really do not think this product has been invented. But it should be:

Leave a comment

Filed under Just for Fun, Personal Growth

Wait, I have to ask…

20120208_9_28

This vehicle has GPS–the horse usually knows the way home.

We have a large population of people in America who cannot go anywhere without their GPS–even to places in their own town that they truly were able to find, on their own, just four or five years ago. But now they must take their mobile performance support system with them. They have become completely dependent on the box. I can’t help but think they are in danger of losing the skill of thinking their way through a route by, say, using a map. Or perhaps they have never even learned to read a map!

I’m a huge fan of technology, make no mistake. Even on a short trip to Bangor I’ll often “fire up” Greta (Garmin). She helps me keep a sense of my progress and estimated arrival time. She reminds me occasionally to make a turn and sometimes annoys me when I deviate slightly to stop for coffee with her constant recalculating. I confess I somewhat enjoy taking a shortcut that she doesn’t have in her data bank.

We have a tenuous relationship because I refuse to yield my independent thought and directional capabilities to the support system she represents. I gently remind her that she has, more than once, let me down.  I like to think I can still get myself out of a lost situation when she leads me astray. I’m discovering that the only time I can’t get myself out is when I’ve been blindly following her commands without thinking or paying some attention to where she’s sending me.

Developing a dependency on her not only may dull the senses, I get concerned it might even reduce my sense of adventure. (I am rarely lost, but have been known to have some adventures.) A few years ago I had a great deal of trouble locating a hotel where I had a reservation. My repeated attempts took me past a visitor information center so I decided to get Greta some help. After briefly stating my problem, the staffer said, “Well, the first thing you have to do is turn off the GPS.” I chuckled at this suggestion as he grabbed a pen and unfolded a paper map, and we ultimately had an interesting conversation covering topics such as “sense of direction,” conflicting messages, and self-reliance in a world that’s increasingly driven by technology.

“Getting lost” may be more about losing a sense of place than about finding things. I learned years ago when hiking in the woods that’s it’s important to turn around frequently–the world is going to look differently on the return trip. We become lost when we aren’t feeling oriented or connected to our surroundings. “This doesn’t look right! Where am I?”

As vacation travel season approaches I usually rethink my relationship with Greta. I remind myself she’s pretty good when it comes to goal orientation, but she’s not likely to say things like, “Did you notice…” or “You know, you could try…” Perhaps some day technology will develop sufficiently for Greta to say things like “Nice lane change!” and “you noticed that before I did…” It would reinforce the fact that she’s working for me, it’s not the other way around. I think she should give me a little more credit than she does.

But for now, it’s going to be up to me to be aware of my surroundings–the way it should be. Better yet, it’s my trip and my vacation. Since I gave her the goal, I can change it. For that matter, since it’s vacation, there will be mornings when there is no goal. She’ll spend a lot of time in “map only” mode as we meander. In the kindest way possible, I’ll let her know, “If I need your help today, I’ll ask for it. Let me see what I can find on my own.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Just for Fun, Personal Growth

More P.C.E.S. Fun Events

As the school year winds down (or should that be “as the school year winds up?”) there are more fun events coming up! Yearbooks will be distributed early next week!

2015 Arts Alive Logo-1On Friday, June 5, students, staff, and community volunteers will drive into Arts Alive! This annual tradition celebrates art, learning, community and life! Students have an opportunity to participate in workshops that include book-making, cartooning, crime fighting, decorative initials, ditty bags, dizzy dancing discs, name signs, mini-foosball, message boards, masks, martial arts, resistant painting, sand art, sculpture, slate etching, thumbprint art, tie-dye, tumbling, drumming, finger painting, flubber, origami, origami people, painted pots, paper lanterns, slate welcome signs, stop motion animation, stretch bags, and string art—nearly 30 assorted activities!

On Tuesday, June 9, Sixth Graders will host a Culture Fair–the culmination of a project in which students chose and study a country in depth, then share that information.  During the day, sixth graders share their projects with other students, then with friends and family in the evening from 5 p.m. to 6 p.m. The fair features create a displays elements of the students’ studies such as history, foods, music, maps, games, puzzles, and sports.  Many students chose a recipe to make in order to give people a “taste” of a dish from their country.

Remember, the District Budget Validation Referendum will be held at the local polls on Tuesday, June 9, 2015, during regular polling hours. 

On Wednesday, June 10 Sixth Graders offer a fast paced Showcase of Skills that includes plyometrics–a form of exercise that involves rapid jumping skills, designed to increase strength—and cartwheels, round-offs, dive rolls, back walkovers, and walking on two hands. Students will also demonstrate a 3-Person weave into a  basketball layup, advanced jump roping skills, hula hoop tricks, and stretch bags—a creative movement piece with a surprise ending. The beat goes on with a very creative mix of percussion performances including recycled percussion, body percussion, and traditional African songs with authentic instruments. This is the fourth year for the drumming program at PCES and sixth graders have working very hard this year to put a fun program to demonstrate their skills. The program begins at 1:15 p.m. in the gymnasium.

On Thursday, June 11, Fifth Graders will be featured in a graduation ceremony celebrating the completion of the D.A.R.E. Program at PCES. The program will include reading of essays written by a representative of each participating class followed by the musical, “Just for Fun!” which is a collection of fun songs and lots of jokes and movement. It is a wonderful way to conclude their fifth grade year — the title says it all “Just for Fun, a lighthearted revue for young voices” The play is written by Teresa and Paul Jennings and directed by homeroom teachers with the assistance of Michelle Briggs, Music teacher, and Sheryl Allen, Physical Education Teacher. The program starts at 6 p.m. in the elementary school cafeteria.

On Wednesday, June 17 students leave the school for the last time… until fall!

Leave a comment

Filed under Just for Fun, Learning, School Programs

37 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Reading | Edutopia

An outtake of the pop star and the hunk!

Part of my summer reading program will be reading about reading! This morning I found a great resource–37 Ways to Help Kids Learn to Love Reading | Edutopia. Some of these are really awesome. Admittedly, most are from and for classroom teachers, but many are adaptable for home use or at a public library. One that sounded like tons of fun is creating “voice cards.” A deck of cards is created identifying various voices (cowboy, teacher, etc.) The child draws a card and then reads aloud using that voice. I can hear the laughter, pardner!

Leave a comment

Filed under Teaching