Wednesday, June 24, 2009

CAID 2009: Day Two

What a great day! But it was long, and I'm exhausted. Here is a list of the presentations I attended. I promise to post more about them tomorrow.

CAID Regional Discussions
Utilizing Cloze Exercises to Improve Both Reading and Writing Skills
Remedial English Computer Software for Deaf Students
Using Teacher-generated Vocabulary Software for On-line Practice
Shakespeare for Everyone!
Film Showing: The Heart of the Hydrogen Jukebox

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

CAID 2009: Day One

Last night, my mom and I arrived in Washington D.C. to attend the Council of American Instructors of the Deaf's bi-annual conference. Shortly after graduation, I found out about the CAID 2009 conference from their website. Not only did the proposed presentations look exciting, the conference was also the perfect excuse to visit Gallaudet for first time.

Presentations start tomorrow and continue through Friday, but CAID also offered pre-conference workshops on Monday and Tuesday. I chose to attend a one-day workshop, "Going with the Resistance," focusing on a paradoxical approach to descalate and avoid power struggles with adolescents. The conference lasted all day, so we had a lot of opportunities to discuss and work with what we learned. The presenters from the Laurent Clerc Center provided us with print outs of their presentation as well as a resource workbook.

Immediately following the workshop was the conference's first keynote address delivered by Mindy Hopper. She discussed the necessity of connectedness in exposing Deaf/HH students to the information-rich informal curriculum that surrounds them. Before concluding her address, she invited individuals from the audience to come up front and dream about the future potential of Deaf education.

During this dream session, the audience expressed varying levels of optimism about the role technology may play in the future. In her address, Hopper mentioned the trend of mainstreaming Deaf/HH students in separate public schools. As educators, we may have little control over decisions like these that the district or state makes. Whether we like the situation or not, the students still need our services and support, maybe now more than ever. I think today's technologies are great resources educators can use to combat the isolation that threatens the connectedness Deaf/HH student need to succeed.

Digital literacy is becoming more of a common ground that Deaf/HH students share with their hearing peers. Even if hearing students know no sign language and a Deaf/HH student has limited oral skills, shared technologies like texting/IM or twitter or myspace/facebook, make effective communication possible and informal curriculum accessible. Technology can also be used to support collaboration between the Deaf educator and parents, mainstream teachers, interpreters, or other support staff and thus strengthen the connections among the students' caregiving community.

I returned to my room for the first time in 12 hours after some post-keynote mingling. It was a long day, but a good one. I met some awesome teachers from KDES and MSSD as well as two other recent graduates from Kent University. Tomorrow will be just a jam-packed with learning and networking opportunities, and I can't wait. :)

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Wishlist

Last night, I found an online catalog for Butte Publications. For any future birthdays, Christmases, or miscellaneous special occasions, those interested in purchasing a gift for me may refer to this catalog. While I would use and enjoy almost anything published by Butte, I have my eye on the following items...

Picture Plus Dictionary by Virginia McKinney - $54
Both of my practicum placements had this dictionary as a resource, and I used it more than any other sign language or English dictionary. The pictures visualize the definition so well, and they have multiple sign entries for multiple meaning words. After working with a few Hispanic students, I think the Spanish Translation would also come in handy.

Parts of Speech and Life Concepts CD by Bob Newby - $49
Visual Verbs: Teaching State-of-Being by Kristin Di Perri - $17
Picture This Series by Kristin Di Perri - $40
As a grammar freak and a visual scavenger, I find these resource very appealing.

Metaphor Magic by Katy Preston - $15
Yay! Extra practice in understanding and using figurative language. This past spring, my nine-graders needed extra support with this in their inclusion English I class.

BASICS! Cards Sets Christina Abramowski - $35
Whenever they had spare time, my high schoolers would play Uno. Although these card games may not become their new lunchtime entertainment, they may help engage students in constructing better sentences and varying syntax and vocabulary.

And this is only up to page 5. More coveted items to come. Also, I'll list some of the curriculum that they sell. I'm curious to see what experiences other teachers have had using them and their opinions of them.


My second student teaching placement was with a inclusion high school program. During those two months, I scoured the internet for transition assessments and curriculum, but I didn't come across iTransition by PEPnet until yesterday.

"iTransition is a free, online transition curriculum to help students who are deaf or hard of hearing prepare for life after high school. There are four separate trainings with activities to help students learn about themselves, their career goals, and the skills they need to be successful in the future."
It's My Plan!
Career Interests and Education Choices

This unit includes self-assessments, interest surveys, personality checklists, and career descriptions in the form of a computer-based learning activity AND teacher-administered paper evaluations. What I like most about this CBL activity is that each section includes an ASL video in addition to the reader-friendly print.

iTransition contains three other units that I have not yet explored. First Year College Success: Be the One! requires students to navigate a virtual campus in order to complete various tasks. Essential Skills for College Living: It's My Life! provides training in survival skills including time management, studying, goal setting, and advocacy. Although the target audience for this unit is postsecondary students, I think I could use this in high school. Once I review the unit, I'll write more about it in another post. Finally, iTransition offers an online eFolio. Currently, PEPnet only sets up these portfolios on an individual basis, but I look forward to exploring this resource once they open up their system.

Check out PEPnet to find out more about iTransition, where you can download teacher's guides and register to preview the CBL units.

No Longer an Undergrad

As of last Friday, I have officially graduated from Vanderbilt University. Although I have an unquenchable thirst for learning, I am ready, at least in the area of teaching, to transition from "knowing" to "doing." Through Peabody College at Vanderbilt, I had a unique opportunity to work in real classrooms each semester. Although Peabody is ranked highly for it's pedagogical instruction, I have learned the most through my practicum experiences, where the rubber meets the road.

No longer an undergraduate student, I am ready to continue learning as a teacher. I decided to postpone graduate school in order to gain valuable field experience. This summer, I will continue my job hunt and work on transitioning into the real world. Right now, everything that I learned in college seems like a vague blob of refined intuition, but I plan on devoting time this summer to materializing and synthesizing this knowledge. Hence, this blog, through which I will record resources I find and reflections I make on my upcoming teaching experiences.