Friday, June 26, 2009

Summer Training!

So, it's looking like a summer training is shaping up. Who knows what life holds....but I'm glad this is happening. I can see AMPed sustained! At least teachers are considering using the program curriculum (Project M3) and hopefully maintaining the websites and supervising the high school tutors. I am happy to coordinate it all! What a fabulous turn of events :) I am...happy!

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


Seek patience
and passion
in equal amounts.
Patience alone
will not build the temple.
Passion alone
will destroy its walls.
~ Maya Angelou ~
(Life Mosaic)

Patience is what I need as things unfold as they will :)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Post Sabbatical

Well, I think that's it, I'm done, onto the book and then I get an e-mail. Who knows where this will all lead. A group of teachers over at a school want to meet and use the Project M3 materials! Woohoo! I'm up for that. I can imagine one of them supervising the high school tutor who plans to return (and there could be more tutors if they want). I need to get going on the open-source website (Ryan, Gabe let's meet!) where all the materials and websites will be stored...lots to do again!

Sustainability...that's what we're talking about. Honestly, it's so easy to spiral once the district has no money to support the programs I have so lovingly developed, but just maybe there are other ways to work this out that don't involve a lot of money at this point in time. Thinking, thinking.....and staying positive (well, mostly)!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Reflections on the Final Morning

by Neobaily

The photo I took on the first day of my sabbatical, last January, was of a beautiful and inspiring sunrise right out my back door. This photo of a glorious and colorful sunset clearly captures how I feel this morning, the last morning on sabbatical, as I reflect back on my long and wonderful 5-months.

With less stress and more time than I usually have, this past winter and spring I have been afforded the opportunity to spend a lot of time thinking about education vs. just doing it. I have come to believe several things to be true. I believe in excellence. I believe learning can and should be challenging but fun! I also believe every student deserves a proper, individualized education whether he is a challenged learner, a typical learner or clearly gifted. I believe that if we don't strive for excellence and teach all students, we embrace mediocrity. Without research-based, well-designed curriculum for our most capable, yes, gifted students, we leave them behind. Leaving bright, eager, talented youngsters (who are our next generation of lawyers, doctors, politicians) behind to learn on their own is, to my way of thinking, a shame. They are so much more deserving while still in elementary school, undeveloped, untrained, enthusiastic and thirsty for knowledge. I hope some of what I have developed during this long and happy sabbatical will continue, if only in my home school.

Good bye sabbatical! Woohoo!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

AMPed's Future?

It is the eve of my last day on sabbatical. Tomorrow is the last day for the kids. What will come of all my work? The AMPed logo, above was designed by one of my creative, intelligent, inspired 4th grade AMPed students. Excellent job!

All Things Come to an End

One more day left. What a wonderful experience this has been. The school district tells me, sadly, that there is no money to carry on programs I developed tho we will continue to talk and see what can be pieced together. Interestingly, the school district required that I imagine sustainability of my programs but isn't willing to commit any money or much of my time. I do understand, tho, when schools are in-need (our sped kids are not able to take grade-level tests - duh - so we are in-need) the focus is on kids who are struggling. Capable kids are left on their own, as happens most of the time. I guess nobody feels like they deserve an individualized education - which is such a shame. To my way of thinking, these are the kids who are now left behind.

I will try to get the schools to continue on with the high school after school tutoring - it was so amazing on so many levels - but somebody other than me needs to get excited and put time, effort, and even money behind the excitement. And, I know, unfortunately, everybody is busy and stressed in schools these days. I would love for the websites to continue but, again, somebody needs to step up in the other schools if not just to supervise a high school computer student meeting with elementary kids and managing the websites.

There is talk of using the Project M3 curriculum in the schools and that would be very exciting. It's an excellent program, designed for these kids and could be the curriculum for them after they test out of the math program we use for all kids. I will continue to teach in the after school math enrichment program in some form or other. I have they say...blessed! I am ready to fall back into my old job....I have missed my students! I have come to realize, however, even more fully than I knew while I was drowning in it, how absolutely draining all the paperwork and constant. frequently emotional meetings are in special ed....there really should be another structure. Too much time is spent in a myriad of activities other than teaching! In any event, after a summer of writing, I'm back to my job :) All things come to an end and there are always new and wonderful, unexpected beginnings :) Life is.........exceptional!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Websites for all Three Elementary Schools!

Photo of our town by JEFF SCHLEGEL

Three websites were launched today! Hooray! I have to edit all of them (why do you immediately see all the problems with fonts and grammar and weird links once they are launched?) and get that edited version online tomorrow but they are launched. Thanks, Ryan and Alan :) Launching websites was one of the last things on my long list of things to do as my sabbatical comes to an end. I still have 3 newsletters to get out by the end of the week but I am almost done teaching. All the after school tutors and after school programs ended some time ago. I miss my daily visits with my high school tutors and look forward to their return next year :)

This has been a long and happy sabbatical. Somebody saw me yesterday at a school where I hadn't been in a couple of years. We spoke for a brief moment and then as she walked away she looked back at me and commented, "You look younger all the time." Haircut and highlights, I thought? Marriage? Maybe all the working out I have done? Nope, I finally realized and responded back at her, "It's what being on sabbatical does to you!"

Check out all our websites (which should be edited by the time you read them :)

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Money, Money, Money

To continue the programs I have developed during my sabbatical, I need money. I want to start the after school programs earlier, buy more materials, involve more high school tutors. The school district I work has been trying to work things around so that there is more money for me to carry on the programs I have designed and nurtured these past 5 months, but in this economy, money is hard to find. So, I am looking beyond the school department. The program I am using for much of the instruction, Project M3, was developed by a professor at the University of Connecticut. In a phone call with her, she told me that her program was underwritten by Traveler's Insurance. Hmmmm.....Liberty Mutual here I come :) Beyond the money, and maybe more importantly, I have a key person in both of the other elementary schools who are excited about the programs. I can see it all come to be :) The future is bright...where are those sunglasses!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009


Wow. Yesterday I worked with the very top math students in one of the elementary schools I teach in. The students I worked with yesterday were bright, quick-witted young scholars, perfectly behaved (they were all over the place the first time we met), totally attentive and completely engaged with what I was teaching them. When I taught them what a growing pattern was (12123123412345) they asked what a pattern like 543214321321 would be called. We laughed calling it a shrinking pattern or a reverse growing pattern. They made funny and perceptive jokes throughout the lesson, had a twinkle in their eyes, worked well with their was so much fun and so rewarding to see them happy and learning and stretching those wonderful minds of theirs.

As I walked away after our session I thought, sponges....these kids are so eager and thirsty for academics at their pace and level that they soak up every last drop of the math I teach them. They gain so much with so little on my part. Hopefully my program will continue to meet the needs of our most capable math students next year. These bright and bored kids deserve it. I know there is talk :)