Monday, December 28, 2015

Put Away the Labelmakers

Last fall a friend of mine took her little boy to be screened for preschool. After a battery of tests the screener told my friend they would put the little boy on a waiting list for the Title 1 preschool.  They also told my friend that her little boy would need services from the early childhood special education center.

According to the screener one of the tests they performed indicated the little boy did not have problem solving skills.  His mother told me that the test consisted of them taking the boy to a room that had a chair pulled away from the table.  To pass the test the child without prompting was supposed to recognize the chair was pulled out and go push it in.   Another indicator that the child needed special services was that he could not identify all the letters of the alphabet.

My friend was upset with the conclusion that her son would need special education.  I am an educator and I know the little boy.  I am angry that a screener would say this to a parent.  I don't believe that the child needs services based on what I have seen and even if he did--I don't think that a parent should be told like that.  How can you even label a 3 year old anyway?

A few days ago I was visiting my friend and her son had a snack and wanted to sit in the living room at the coffee table.  He looked around and then asked his mom where one of his play chairs were.  She replied that they were all outside and were not going to be brought in.  He looked thoughtfully around the room, then said "I know!"  Walking over to a small plastic tub full of toys, he dumped out the toys and brought the tub to the coffee table.  Flipping the tub over, he gladly sat upon it to eat his snack.  Now if that isn't problem solving, I don't know what is.

Please don't make quick decisions when labeling children.  And don't believe everything a supposed expert tells you.  

Sunday, August 30, 2015

A New Year Again

It's that time of year again!   Yellow busses are ubiquitous.  Little kids and big are getting up earlier and making their way to school.    Another year has begun!  

Hello Fall! 

Monday, August 3, 2015

What Not to do at your Garage Sale

A friend of mine asked if I were ready to purge my belongings and join in with her for a garage sale.  While I typically do not have garage sales, I let the delusion of making a bit of spending money guide me to say, "I'd love to!"  
Garage Sale- an event where you display junque, trash, and other sentimental artifacts from your life so that the public may come handle them only to offer you less money than the already crazy cheap price that you deemed appropriate-- or they outright reject your items completely.  

Here are some tips I picked up from experience:

1. Do not schedule your garage sale for the hottest days of summer.  
  Even if you hold it for a half day, the heat will sap your strength. The items you have displayed will heat up to searing temperatures and you risk being sued for burns when people pick it up.

2. Do not put candles in your garage sale if it is summer.  
Within a short amount of time, you will no longer have a shaped or molded candle, but you will have a blob of wax.

3. Do not begin your garage sale too early in the morning. 
While it is cooler early in the morning, it is guaranteed that your first customers will show up an hour before your opening time.

4. Do not price your items too high.  
People will not even attempt to haggle your price if it is too high to start.

5. Do not underestimate your change needs.
Have enough one dollar bills, a few fives and tens, and many many quarters, dimes, and nickels.  You will get $20 bills to pay for something that is 50 cents.

6. Do not buy your co-garage sale participant's stuff. 
You are trying to make a little money, not take home other people's junque.

7. Do not neglect to have a plan for disposing the leftovers.  
The last thing you want to do is carry everything back in your home.  Slash prices even more, use social media to advertise, be willing to donate to charity so that you avoid keeping your things.

How did I do at the garage sale you ask?   Well, I sold everything I contributed and made a little money.  Then I promptly bought some of my friend's things.  It could've been worse-- I came home with a net profit of negative $8.50 and a trunk full of new treasures to find places for in my home.

Thursday, July 2, 2015


Has the mother ship arrived?  Are aliens ready to invade?  Visions of Will Smith's Independence Day flood my mind.  This picture was taken last night just a couple miles from where I was.

Actually, it was just severe weather in my neck of the woods.  The picture is of a wall cloud with rotation--trying to form a tornado.  Thankfully no tornado actually made it to the ground and there was only little wind damage.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Don't Blink, You Might Miss It!

Today, June 29th,  we will get an extra second added to our day to keep our timing with the earth's rotation.  Instead of the usual 86,400 seconds we will have 86,401 seconds to use this day.

 I might sleep an extra wink, stay awake to finish a movie, or let it slip by unnoticed.

What will you do with your extra second?  

Sunday, June 28, 2015

A Fight in Public - What would You Do?

I slipped my change into my wallet and pulled my car up to the stop sign up ahead when I heard the yelling. A young couple were walking along the side of the road about 100 yards from where I was and they were screaming at each other.

I had seen the couple on my way to the drive-thru sandwich place.  At that time they were on a hill and I could tell they were angry.  The young man was walking away from the young lady who was yelling at him.  I figured they had been at the nearby pool and were now having an argument.

But here I was a mile or so further and they were still screaming.  Making my way towards the access road, I wondered if the girl needed help or was trying to get away.  Over and over the man was screaming,  "You f--ing B*tch!"  A car on the main road pulled over and began to talk our their window to the couple.  I wondered if I should call the community police to come check out the manner and help to de escalate the situation.

When I saw the young man try to get in the back seat of the car, I thought perhaps these were friends of theirs.  Now everything would be okay, so I went on my way to complete a few errands before heading home.

I was taken by surprise when about 15 minutes later and a mile down the road I see the young couple still walking on the road, still having words.  The car that had stopped to help was nowhere in sight.

What should I do, if anything?   They seemed to be less intense--or maybe they were just tired from walking and screaming.   I saw the young lady sit down with her back towards the man.
A tiny flicker of wondering if they weren't doing this for attention flitted through my mind.

I went on home with these questions:

Do we have a moral obligation to help people who appear to be in distress?

Will a middle-age woman alone be acting wise if she stops to intervene on two raving 20 somethings?

Should police be called for a domestic verbal fight takes place on the public roadway when shootings, burglary, and assaults may be occurring?

Why do people display their inappropriate behavior?

What would you have done ?

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


When people think of Americans, what do they think?

You may or may not find surprising how others think of us (Americans) in the clip below.  The question is asked "How do you distinguish Americans from others?"  Watch and see if how we see ourselves is how others see us.

Americans are plump, loud, eat hamburgers & drink a lot, don't care about how they look, and yet are positive and confident.  I think the best quote is that when you speak to an American you can smell freedom.

What kind of stereotypes might we hold on others?  (youth, religious, the poor,  Europeans, Africans, Asians, etc)

This brings me to two actions:
  • We must take a look at ourselves.  Do others see the true us?  Does how we think of ourselves align with how others see us? 
  • We must take a look at how we see others. Do we carry any stereotypes? Do our stereotypes color how we interact with others?

What stereotype of Americans do you find most surprising?