For me, one of the most fascinating realms of research is cognition and the physiology of the brain; what is happening in the brain during certain thinking activities. As such, I often find myself in journals which many would probably use as sleep aids: Clinical Neurospychology, Developmental Cognitive Neuroscience, and Brain and Cognition. The studies published in these journals often rely upon brain scans, but not just your run-of-the-mill black and white MRI of yesteryear. Continue reading “DTIs and fMRIs, Oh My!”→
If you had previously followed this blog, I thank you. Though it was temporarily hidden because I did not anticipate needing it again, I am back and with a pretty exciting journey to chronicle. The last several years, I have been working with Learning Disability students through the Discovery Program. This year, I have been given the privilege to work with gifted students in what we call the STEWARDS program; a student environment for arduous studies.
This pull-out program for 3-6 grade students, works through differentiated enrichment units. The purpose of these units is to foster the gifts the students have and to train them to be good stewards of those gifts. This year the topics are as follows: Conservation, Architecture, Constellations, Circulatory System, Bizarre Animals, Aerodynamics, Culinary Arts, Inventors/Inventions, and Travel/Touring.
This blog will primarily chronicle the journey that will make up the architecture unit. Why you ask? Because we are not going to be talking about bridges or the history of architectural design. No toothpicks and marshmallows here!
For about three years I have extensively research a growing movement within our country – the Tiny House. Though I am certain I will not live in a house that is a mere 117 sq ft., I might just own one for traveling the country. My vision for this unit consists of briefly covering the history and impact of the movement as well as contrasting the benefits and drawbacks of such houses. Along with that, I thought this unit would prove the ultimate platform for HANDS ON learning.
How would I accomplish this? Why not build one as a class and auction it as a fundraiser?
I laid out this crazy idea, not thinking it would legitimately take hold, and am now at the stage where plans have been purchased, the trailer is being ordered, and timelines are in place. Here is the outline of how it happened…in one weeks time.
Monday – Topic Ideas were given to my boss.
Tuesday – Upon inquiring what project I would consider for the Tiny House unit, I cast the vision for building a house.
Wednesday – Next came the question of cost – a mere $25,000. I thought the project would stop here, but momentum kept building.
Thursday – By this time, the Administration was behind the idea. Now we had to be about finding a donor.
Friday – I participated in a 45 minute meeting with a Lees Summit Plans Examiner, Project Manager, and Planner where preliminary approval was granted!!! (The City is stoked and wants to watch what happens.)
I am completely blown away. We went from concept to preliminary approval in 4 days.
After approval was granted, the search for a donor commenced. Though it was a short time, it seemed to drag on. My hope waned and I began to draw up lesson plan B. The donor deadline came and went without funds. Yet, three days after the deadline, through a providential conversation, a donor stepped forward and is gladly putting forth the whole amount for the project.
I was sitting at home after back-to-school night, pondering what would be taking place in “lesson plan B” when my boss called me and informed me of this incredible provision. I was stunned to say the least. I don’t think I said anything during the conversation except an emotionless OK. I hung up the phone and let the news sink in. I had given up hope, but now I was back in the midst of the project! I raced back to the school at 10pm and began to collect all the material I had shelved and to produce parent letters, schedule spreadsheets, and project timelines.
Since then, many details have fallen into place, and I’m ecstatic to announce the following:
During the 2014-2015 school year, Summit Christian Academy’s Stewards class will be building a Tiny House and auctioning it off as a school fundraiser!
For the last week and a half, I have been pouring over material lists and blue prints. Little by little, I am seeing this grand dream come into reality. Yet, I am still completely blown away that this is actually taking place. (I also have the occasional “What have I gotten myself into” moment). Never did I think it would move beyond a crazy idea! The Lord has already worked in incredible and unexpected ways. What a year this will be!
Well, the week has come to an end and I have successfully completed both the online course work and residency training for level two of educational therapy! (With a final score of 94%) The last month has been non-stop work since I returned from vacation June 1. (This probably explains why June vanished…)
This past week of residency training has been incredible. Generally, I really struggle with online course work since the in-class interaction with teacher and peers is absent; I thrive on immediate interaction and being able to hone ideas with my peers. Accordingly, a week of residency training (5 days, 8:30a-4:30p) is essential for me to solidify the new knowledge I gained during the course work. Further, I find learning and growing in community to be invigorating and rejuvenating. (Something much-needed after my overloaded first year.) Finally, I found that gathering with my peers this week proved beneficial in growing my understanding of how to be more empathetic with students. I am sure we all rubbed off on each other and will benefit from our collective experience for years to come.
Therefore, I am so thankful to the Lord for placing me in a field that is consistently stimulating intellectually and involves frequent problem solving as I study student’s tests and determine which techniques will best stimulate the deficits. Further, I am thankful for such a dynamic instructor for the course and partner in the field; Tony has been with NILD almost longer than I have been alive. He is zealous for the cause of NILD, 100% convinced of the efficacy of the techniques we use, effective in his instruction, and encouraging in his critique of growing therapists. Finally, I cannot imagine taking the class with a better group of people; we had interacted over the course of the 4-week online work, but really clicked when we gathered together this week. These ladies brought so much life to the course and imparted to me their years of experience and working with students; I can’t wait to meet back up at conferences.
I walk away from this course holding many memories (the “I like you mouse“, and the “panic button”), equipped with new techniques, encouraged in my field, further skilled in previous techniques, and ready to take on the new year of school.
Recharged and writing from the desk,
P.S. – You may be asking, “What is NILD Educational Therapy?” I will answer that question on Monday! Stay tuned.