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My 7 year old has been in school for over half his lifetime. Never did I imagine the kind of heartache this would cause for us. After all, we read together daily, talked and shared our experiences, enjoyed outings to the zoo and the beach and the aquarium.

Being my first child, he went to activities such as Gymboree and Keiki Sports, all meticulously recorded for posterity. With typical parent over-confidence, I was positive that I had given him everything needed to insure that school would be the right mixture of challenge and creativity guaranteed to stimulate mind, body, and spirit.

Then reality struck.

Nightly homework, long commutes, and early mornings combined with a difficulty decoding text, “poor” penmanship, and letter reversals added up to near disaster. As an educator, I began researching strategies and systematically applying them, but as a parent, I despaired. Not because I needed a child that would be “perfect,” but because I hated to see what was happening to him. Someone who rattles off scientific facts (especially those pertaining to dinosaurs!), sings songs word for word after hearing them once, and spends enormous amounts of time building and rebuilding Legos and Bionicles without instructions, puts on a brave face every morning and counts the days until the weekend.

By no means do I blame his teachers or even the school he attends. But, I do wish that our school system would allow for the kind of learner I know my child is. Somehow, I don’t think that the completion of a worksheet will ever bring that same glow and satisfaction that the Lego city which spans our living room floor does. Not a day goes by that I don’t worry and hope and pray that something will click, and my son will be able to approach school learning with the same enthusiasm that he does his own pursuits. So when I read Who/What is Smart? on a blog that I follow, I saw my son and his struggles reflected in that post. It was a call to recognize different kinds of learners, and I’d like to add my voice, and my son’s, to that call.

Just the other morning, as he worked through his first chapter book, he told me, “You know, Mom, I kind of like it when there aren’t any pictures, that way, I don’t have to think like the author thinks.”

Out of the mouths of babes. Lessons for us all.

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Just for fun! It’s like a commercial… 
(Thank you to “Angela Maiers” for the tip on Animoto)

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I’m continuing to work on adding the podcast to this page, but, for now, I’ll just add a link to my page at podbean.com. Anyone interested can check out the podcast there!

The Last Game Podcast

Drumroll, please…Here is my newest experiment…podcasting.

I know, I know, lots of people have already done this and published that, but podcasting has real potential for classroom communication. One of the hardest things to do as a teacher is keeping that open line of communication with parents, not because teachers don’t want to, but because the real focus, the real consumer, is the child. Ninety-nine percent of my energy (and I would hazard to say that most teachers are quite similar) is spent planning, creating, facilitating, and reflecting on instructional delivery. This leaves 1 percent, give or take, to apply towards report writing, cadre work, faculty meetings, and the numerous other duties teachers fulfill, of which one is parent education and communication.

Weekly or monthly newsletters typically fill the communication void. In fact, many creative teachers have been able to relinquish newsletter duties to their students, thereby merging their duties and making efficient use of their energies. Unfortunately, as an upper elementary teacher, I’ve found that many times, these newsletters end up in the black hole of the child’s backpack, emerging only once a trimester when the backpack is cleaned. Podcasting is taking the classroom newsletter to the next level, where students are responsible, engaged, and creating content that is not only necessary, but readily accessible (assuming parents have an internet connection or are willing to access one elsewhere, perhaps at a public library).

So in an effort to prepare myself for the upcoming school year, here is my first attempt at an enhanced podcast. Many thanks to my six year old, who acted as a willing guinea pig, and narrated a “micro-mimi” slideshow of shots from his last teeball game. I understand that it is best viewed in iTunes, otherwise you will hear the narration, but not see the pictures. Here is the link for the free download for Windows (I believe most Macs already have it installed, if not, the Mac version is also available for free on the Apple website).

iTunes Download

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