Tuesday, May 24, 2022

A Reindeer Career

“The NVIV (Next Vista Inspiring Video) series of posts are written by Rushton Hurley and designed to provide students and teachers with fascinating discussion prompts.”

In A Reindeer Career, Rushton features Davaajav, a reindeer herder who lives in Mongolia.

He gives the following prompts to accompany this video:

“Try to imagine at least five possible futures for Davaajav and his family. What is in the video, or in other research you do on reindeer (also called caribou) that supports each idea for a possible future path?

Are there jobs in your community that seem to have fewer and fewer people doing them? Do jobs have life spans?”


I found this video interesting because I’ve never heard of a reindeer herder. Students would find this intriguing also. I didn’t know there was anyone who did that kind of work. I wonder if some of their future jobs could be to sell reindeer fiber and reindeer milk (what healthy qualities does reindeer milk have?).

Since I like to knit and spin yarn, I am very interested in animal fiber. I know that people spin muskox and bison fiber and I’ve spun yarn from yak and camel but I wasn’t sure about reindeer so I did some research. I found an etsy shop that sells reindeer yarn: Alaska Natural Fibers. 

Here is their description of reindeer fiber and yarn: 

“But, you say, isn’t reindeer hair thick and stiff? Not all of it.

The down is fine and soft but difficult to extract and delicate to handle. We separate the hollow hair from the fine down and what is left is beautiful.

Reindeer are 90% covered with hollow, stiff, white hairs. Snuggled in-between that floatation and heat-trapping layer is a very fine springy and short down fiber. In a similar way that the muskoxen grow and shed a winter undercoat of qivuit, the reindeer grow an entire winter protection layer and shed it in the spring. Reindeer shed everything down to the skin - naked! Muskoxen don’t shed their long protective fibers.

Since reindeer shed their coat entirely every spring, this makes gathering the fiber from a herd quite arduous as handlers are picking it up off the ground and out of fields.

By micron count, the reindeer undercoat is as fine as qivuit but grows in kinky inch long spirals and is an extremely soft down. Magnified the fibers resemble a tightly coiled spring nestled between long, rigid toothpicks.

Reindeer processes into a lighter and airier fiber, yet, at 100% it’s sticky like Velcro so needs blending to calm it down and get it through our milling machines.

We consider carefully when adding another animal wool to smooth the reindeer for processing. This blend has merino from Unalaska, Alaska on the Aleutian chain.

With handling and wear a reindeer garment just gets lovelier for it keeps its integrity and with time and handling, it blooms a halo of fine mist.”


Please check out the video and think of other prompts you might come up with. Please share.

Monday, May 23, 2022

Green Gradient Mini Skeins

I want to knit a shawl that calls for a gradient and I decided to dye my own yarn for it. After watching several YouTube videos, I decided what I would do and I wanted to share my process. 




  1. I used 6 mason jars, Jacquard Acid Dye (Emerald), a 100 ml measuring cup, measuring spoons, a scale, and 6 disposable cups. 

  2. Soak mini skeins in water for at least 30 minutes. 

  3. In each of the 5 disposable cups, I added ¼ cup of water. 

  4. I measured out 2g of dye powder to 100 ml of water to make my 2% dye solution and mixed it well in a disposable cup. 

  5. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 1 and added it to cup 2 and mixed well. 

  6. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 2 and added it to cup 3 and mixed well.

  7. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 3 and added it to cup 4 and mixed well.

  8. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 4 and added it to cup 5 and mixed well.

  9. I took 2 Tablespoons of dye solution out of cup 5 and rid of it. 

  10. I then poured each cup into a mason jar and added water up to half the jar and mixed well. 

  11. Then I squeezed out the excess water from each mini skein and put them in each jar. 

  12. I let them sit overnight. 

  13. The next day, I put the jars in a steamer basket into a big pot of water and brought the water to a boil. Water should be just below the top of the water level in each jar. I lowered the heat once it was boiling so the jars wouldn’t boil and let it steam for 10 min. 

  14. I had to do this procedure several times because only 2 jars would fit in at a time. 

  15. I put all the jars outside to cool. 

  16. Once the jars were cool, I took the yarn out and squeezed the excess water, and let them cool. 

  17. I washed them well separately to make sure all the dye was out. 

  18. Hung to dry. 


Things I learned: 

I think I would start with a 1% solution next time. 

Take out a ½ c. of solution from each jar. 

I like the 5th darkest skein the best and wouldn’t mind making a full skein in that color. 


Original photos by Pat Hensley

Friday, May 20, 2022

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 05/20/22

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Flowers and their Pollinators - “Mister Brown and Squeaks take a look at some flowers and their pollinators, and learn about special structures that help them work together perfectly!” (L:E; SA:S)

Onomatopoeia - "Onomatopoeia" Crash! Bash! Boom! Pow! In this song, learn about special words that imitate sounds. What's that??? It's Onomatopoeia!’ (L:E; SA:LA)

Inflation - Instagram post; “I got to make a series of stop-motion animations for a @washingtonpost interactive feature about what’s been happening with inflation and the economy over the past couple of years.” (L:G; SA:M, SS)

Open National Field Day - “We have revised our set of traditional field day activities for you to use with your students. These activities were created by the OPEN members and contributors listed in the Field Day Overview. You’ll also find the collection of field day events that were created and revised between 2020 and 2021. Partner logos are displayed to recognized and thank the many organizations who joined our efforts during the COVID-19 Pandemic. Please enjoy all the resources provided. Happy Field Day Season!” (L:E; SA:A)

Life on Minimum Wage - “(link opens a Google Doc) is an activity that I developed almost thirteen years ago to help my civics students recognize how difficult it is to save money when your only job(s) pay minimum wage without benefits. To win at Life on Minimum Wage the students have to reach five financial goals that they select. To earn money the students have to complete the tasks of their assigned jobs. The students then have to pay required bills before using money for their selected financial goals. As the game progresses students will be issued "surprise" cards which require them to spend money on things like speeding tickets, trips to a health clinic, and increases in rent. All of the jobs in Life on Minimum Wage are connected so that if one business slows production or closes, the workers of another business are also impacted. The goal here is to demonstrate the effects of a business closing on a small town's economy.” (L:H; SA:SS,M)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Care Package


Here is another resource to use during AAPI month!

Care Package

“Poems, meditations, films, and other cultural nutrients for times like this.
Curated with love by the Smithsonian Asian Pacific American Center”

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Asian American and Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander Heritage Month


The National Park Service has a great resource to use this month!

We are AANHPI!

“Observe the power of the presence, contributions, endurance, and resiliency of Asian Americans, Native Hawaiians, and Pacific Islanders with the National Park Service and throughout our nation's history.”

Tuesday, May 17, 2022

Floods and Floating Schools

“The NVIV (Next Vista Inspiring Video) series of posts are written by Rushton Hurley and designed to provide students and teachers with fascinating discussion prompts.”

In Floods and Floating Schools, Rushton features Mohammed Rezwan who came up with the idea of a network of boats that are both school buses and schoolhouses for students ages six to ten in Northern Bangladesh.

He gives the following prompts to accompany this video:
“If you were to create a different kind of school, what might it look like? How could it make learning different from the school you attend now?
Are there ideas you have for making your school a different place? If so, what might that look like? Can you explain a problem that your idea addresses? Can you prove that the problem is really a problem?”


What a great idea! It shows how people in Bangladesh valued education enough to figure out a way for these children to learn. It would also show our students how much they take their education for granted. It was fascinating how the different boats were for different activities and it would be fun to think of other activities that could be done on the boats for the children. I would also have my students think of the challenges they might face on the boats and discuss how to overcome those obstacles.

Please check out the video and think of other prompts you might come up with. Please share.






Monday, May 16, 2022

Teaching Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage


Here is a great site by the NEA to use this month! 

Teaching Asian and Pacific Islander Heritage


“Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders have contributed to politics, military, medicine, aviation, entertainment, and sports in the United States. To help celebrate and educate about these contributions, we offer the following list of resources. Educators should be mindful of cultural appropriation when teaching about other cultures and understand that students of Asian and Pacific Islander heritage may experience lessons differently than other students.”


Friday, May 13, 2022

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 05/13/22

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

Digital Empowerment Journals - “Varsity Brands is providing FREE access to our full 40 week Empowerment Program with Google Slides and PDF formatted files.” (L:M,H; SA:LA)

Play.org - “We offer players hundreds of free games across every genre. All games in our collection are unblocked free HTML games which you can play directly in your web browser with no app downloads.” (L:G; SA:A)

Math Dictionary - “Wili the Word Wizard can help you learn the most important words you’ll need to understand Math and Science concepts. Click on the letters above to learn some new Math words.” (L:E; SA:M)

Birdo - a short video; “Selected by the Environmental Animated Shorts Contest, a partnership between Brazil's Culture and Environment Offices, "Box" was conceived and written by Luciana Eguti as a reminder that we are all part of the same planet.” (L:G; SA:S)

Public Art - “Use our interactive map or list to browse Columbia’s regional public art” (L:G; SA:FA)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Autism and Context blindness

Here are my notes from one of the sessions at the Converge Autism Summit. This presentation was: Autism and the predictive mind Context blindness 2.0 by Peter Vermeulen (founder of “Autism in Context,” where autism is understood in context).

Autism friendliness:
  • An autism-friendly approach starts from an understanding of autism from within!
  • Knowledge of “autistic thinking” is the key to success in education and treatment!
  • Copernican revelation in brain science
Default idea about the brain:
  • Input > processing > Output
  • Perception > cognition (thinking and memory) > Output (motor system)
What’s wrong with our current ideas about the brain?:
  • Information processing is not linear
  • Sense making is not just integrating all the details of the sensory input
  • There isn’t enough time to calculate and make that puzzle!
  • Processing all the sensory input (computing) is not very helpful for survival!
So, the brain does not compute, It guesses,
And it can make smart guesses because it uses context,
This is known as: the predictive mind

So, it does NOT work like this: Stimulus > processing >meaning

It works like this: Stimulus > checking prediction > prediction

The brain does not process stimuli, only what is different from the stimuli it predicted.

Living in a relative world:
  • Nothing has an absolute meaning! Everything depends on context.
  • Therefore, our brain became an expert in using context for making quick and smart guesses
HIPPEA: High, Inflexible Precision of Prediction Errors in Autism

Autism may be related to problems with making predictions sensitive to the wider context.

Autism and the predictive mind: context:
  • In ASD, the dysfunction of prediction based on context may impair the ability to adapt quickly to an ever-changing socio‐emotional world.
  • Autism may be related to problems with making predictions sensitive to the wider context.”
  • Comparably, reduced global processing in autism may reflect a reduced role for top‐down predictions in integrating sensory features into a more broadly coherent or context‐sensitive percept.
Autism as context blindness 2.0:
Reduced ability to use the context unconsciously and spontaneously to generate predictions about the world and process prediction errors.

Context and emotion recognition:
  • Relation facial expression – emotion is not fixed.
  • We never see facial expressions out of context.
  • Context is more important than the face!
  • But people with autism rely on the face, not the context
So, we thought emotion recognition went like this: Reading emotions FROM faces

But it actually goes like this: Reading emotions INTO faces

So we should teach people with autism to PREDICT emotions, using context, not faces:
  • Link emotions to context.
  • Action perception is not simply a reflection of what happens, but a projection of what will happen next.
Contextual variations are often seen as central or as fixed rules: e.g. having a dessert when going to a restaurant

Context and social competence:
  • The biggest problem in ASD is not social skills (knowing what and how to do)
  • The biggest problem in ASD is knowing where and when to do it and where and when not
Social competence requires contextual sensitivity

Understanding language and communication:
old model - Input (meaning, coding, symbols) > processing (decoding) > output (meaning)

Understanding language and communication:
new model - stimulus < > prediction error < > prediction

Context and predicting language and communication:
  • The brain makes quick guesses about what someone is going to say or show, based on context
  • Understanding language = predicting language

Context and communication:
  • Nothing has an absolute meaning, remember?
  • So, whatever we use to communicate such as words, gestures, pictures, or objects, their meaning is never fixed, but depending on the context
Context:
  • Does not only help us to predict and recognize communication.
  • It also helps us to avoid all the confusion of the ever-changing meanings of what people say or show us.
Context and communication:
What is difficult for people with ASD, is to find out what something (a word, a sentence, a gesture, a picture, etc.) means in this context.

Old Strategies for hyperreactivity:
  • Taking away stimulus
  • Reducing stimulus
  • Controlling stimulus
  • Stress coping
Instead, Tackle the prediction errors:
  • Changing prediction
  • Giving control
  • Changing stimulus
  • Stress Coping
We need to ‘feed’ the brain so it can update its models and reduce the prediction errors
(prediction errors = stress / unpleasant)

Pushing the context button clarifies the world and makes it predictable, certain, uncomplicated, unambiguous, and a safe place to be.

Contextualizing the concept of free time:
  • How much time do I have?
  • Do I want to do it with someone?
  • Where can I do the activity?
Pushing the context button helps to ‘predict’ an uncertain world with all its ever-changing meanings.

Contextualized teaching;
  • Do not use decontextualized materials
  • Do not teach ‘skills’ but start from contexts 
  • Link behaviors always to contexts
Teaching: traditional approach - generic skills

Contextualized teaching: Does not start from skills but from contexts

Contextualized teaching -  Teaching and clarifying context:
  • What can happen in that context?
  • What can you do in that context?
  • What can you say in that context?
  • Contextualized scripts

Wednesday, May 11, 2022

Autism: Dispelling Myths

Here are my notes from one of the sessions at the 
Converge Autism Summit. This presentation was: Autism: Dispelling Myths by Dr. Matthew Fisher (Adolescent Psychiatrist at Springbrook Autism Behavioral).

Research GI Flora (Gut Bacteria):
  • November 2021 Australia
  • 99 Patients with ASD
  • 51 Siblings
  • 97 Unrelated Children (Picky Eaters)
  • Stool samples showed no differences in gut flora between ASD and Picky Eaters
Waiting for the Diagnosis: 
  • Prior to Pandemic wait times ~12 months
  • “Post” Pandemic wait times ~18+ months
  • Waiting for a formal diagnosis potentially misses critical developmental stages and windows for improved interventions
  • Get referrals for Occupational Therapy, Speech Therapy, and Possibly Dietary
Occupational Therapy:
  • Improve Fine Motor Skills
  • Regulate Sensory Needs
  • Assist in Education
  • ADLs (Activities of Daily Living)
  • Social Interactions and Participation
  • Special Note: OT is not intended to find you a job!!!
Dispelling the myths of OT:
Contrary to popular belief:
  • Not every child needs a weighted vest Not every child has sensory issues
  • Not every child needs OT
  • OT is not Physical Therapy


Speech Therapy:
Speech and Language Pathologists: 
  • Improve Verbal Communication
  • Improve Nonverbal Communication
  • Feeding and Swallowing Concerns
Dispelling the myths of ST:
Speech and Language Pathologists:
  • Improve Verbal Communication
  • Improve Nonverbal Communication
  • Feeding and Swallowing Concerns

Direct Contact is Overrated:
  • Direct eye contact can be overwhelming and sensory averse
  • Best to have them face you so show that they are listening

Communication and ASD:
  • Many believe that teaching augmentative communication (sign language, picture boards, etc.) will decrease the likelihood of speaking
  • Alternative Augmentative Communication (AAC) facilitates the development of speech

Overly focused on a single goal/skill:
  • Too much focus is often given to mastering a single communication goal
  • Best to cycle through functional communication, social skills, and language skills to expose them to a variety of skills needed for daily functioning

Fixation on a single mode of communication:
  • Signs, picture communication, rudimentary gestures, and verbal communication should ALL be targeted.
  • A Total Communication approach expands skills faster than a single focused approach

Picky Eaters:
  • Some children may be picky eaters however, others may overeat as they crave sensory input.
  • Some children may appear picky but have sensory aversions (texture, tastes, smells)

Other Explanations for Picky Eaters:
  • Perhaps your child just doesn’t like certain foods. . .and that’s OK!!!
  • Maybe it’s genetic (ie: Broccoli)

Early Childhood Intervention Programs:
BabyNet

Making the Diagnosis:
  • Formal Diagnosis should come from a Medical Doctor
  • Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist or Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics. . .if you can find them
  • Many states “require” CARS or ADOS assessment to meet requirements for services

CARS vs. ADOS:
  • CARS: Childhood Autism Rating Scale
  • Questionnaire answered by someone familiar with the patient (parent, teacher, daycare worker)
  • ADOS: Autism Diagnostic Observation Scale
  • Structured and detailed assessment that involves tasks of varying complexity

CARS:
  • A Questionnaire designed to identify those who might have developmental delays and/or ASD traits
  • The form is filled out by someone familiar with the child so results can be quite subjective
  • Results can vary widely

ADOS:
  • Modules based on functioning level
  • You must be specifically trained in ADOS and have the proper assessment kit
  • The scores are based entirely on the results of the test
  • Testing can take an extended amount of time

IQ Testing:
  • Intelligence Quotient
  • Often a “cut off” for services
  • Typical cut off score is 70
  • Highly dependent on the administrator of the test ◦ Requires active engagement by the child
  • You can always “fake” a low score
  • Unreliable Indicator

IQ vs. Functional Skills:
  • IQ provides a number to qualify for services
  • Adaptive Functioning – Actual Abilities
  • Tests may include: 
  • Vineland (VABS)
  • Woodcock-Johnson

ID vs. ASD
  • Intellectual Disability: The diagnosis formerly known as Mental Retardation (MR)
  • Borderline Intellectual Functioning: IQ 70-85
  • Ranges: Mild, Moderate, Severe
  • Mild: IQ 50-69
  • Moderate: IQ 35-49
  • Severe: IQ 20-34
  • Independent from ASD

Observation is the best assessment!

The Academic Diagnosis of ASD:
  • A medical/clinical diagnosis does not necessarily entitle a child to additional school resources or services
  • An academic diagnosis does not mean that the child will meet clinical criteria for the diagnosis.

What’s Up With Nonverbal ASD:
  • Nonverbal vs Minimally Verbal vs Echolalia
  • Do they use other forms of communication??? 
  • Sign Language
  • Communication Boards
  • Typing

Receptive vs Expressive Communication Can they follow commands?
  • Can they follow multi-step commands?
  • Indicator/Marker for overall progress if still nonverbal by 4 years of age

No Cause for Behaviors:
Just because you aren’t aware of a cause doesn’t mean there isn’t an actual cause!!! (antecedent)

Don’t Forget Medical Diagnosis:
  • Children with ASD often struggle to communicate discomfort, pain, or to indicate the presence of medical conditions
  • Even verbal patients often fail to recognize or convey information regarding physical symptoms

Children with ASD:
  • 25% lifetime chance of Seizure Activity
  • 25% with some form of Gastrointestinal Problems
  • Diarrhea (runny stools the most common) Constipation
  • Esophageal Reflux (GERD)
  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE)

Special Diets:
  • Gluten Free
  • Casein Free
  • Soy Free
  • You’re already dealing with picky eaters
  • Do they have a medical diagnosis or allergy? Often more trouble than it works Starting an unnecessary battle

Fish Oils:
  • Fish Oil has been found to have mild mood stabilizing properties 
  • Natural Sources yield broader health benefits than Supplements (change diets if possible)

They’ll Never Be Able To:
  • Hold a Job. . .
  • Live Alone. . .
  • Function Independently. . .
  • Complete Neurologic Maturity reached at 25 years old (18 isn’t remotely an adult brain)
  • Meanwhile in Ancient Rome. . .


Neural Wiring and Dendritic Pruning

Dendritic Pruning streamlines neural firing and functioning


Undiagnosed ASD:
  • Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) Abuse/Neglect/Trauma
  • Emerging Psychosis
  • ADHD & Anxiety

What happened to Aspergers?
  • “Former” Diagnosis that encompassed higher functioning ASD with no speech delays
  • Normal IQ range
  • No higher risk of medical diagnoses
  • Blame DSM-V


Closing Thoughts/Tips/Tricks:
  • Schedules
  • Logs
  • Maps
  • Pattern Recognition
  • Prescriptions

Tuesday, May 10, 2022

Autism and Happiness: From Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony

Here are my notes from one of the sessions at the Converge Autism Summit. This presentation was: Autism and Happiness: From Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony by Peter Vermeulen (founder of “Autism in Context,” where autism is understood in context).

Outcome of autism in adulthood:
  • Outcome is highly variable
  • Diagnosis is generally stable, although autism symptoms and adaptive skills often improve
  • Outcome in integration and independence: +50% not good or even poor
What are the criteria?
  • Employment
  • relationships/friends
  • Health
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Living situations
  • Autism symptoms
Shortcoming of outcome studies: Objective criteria don’t say much about quality of life.

Measuring outcome in autism - objective criteria (societal norms) plus subjective criteria (wellbeing)

And when we focus on well‐being:
  • then it is from a negative side: focus on the lack of well‐being: Co‐morbidity
  • Mental health issues: anxiety, depression
  • All kinds of measurements and questionnaires have been developed to measure negative feelings in autistic people
Happiness - pleasant life vs. meaningful life

Pleasant life:
  • Positive feelings
  • Joy - pleasure
  • Absence of pain
  • Safety
  • Activities you like
Meaningful life:
  • Contentment
  • Purpose in life
  • Personal growth
  • Serving others
  • Life satisfaction
Focus on (emotional) wellbeing, but:
  • Avoid forcing a person with ASD into neurotypical concepts of happiness
  • Avoid forcing a person with ASD into stereotyped ideas about autism
  • So, ask people and do a well‐being assessment – Find out what makes people feel good
  • – Assessment of interests
Assessment of Sensory Preferences - don’t make assumptions.

Talent scouting: The success stories in autism like Temple Grandin, show that focusing on strengths and interests leads to a more happy and successful life with autism

Quality of Life (QoL) - no link between IQ and Severity

This is how many think it works:
Less autistic → more well being
This it works like this:
More well being → less autistic

Happier people are more successful in life.

Why focus on happiness and wellbeing?

Because happy autistic people will have better outcomes in:
  • Employment
  • relationships/friends
  • Health
  • Cognitive functioning
  • Living situations
  • Autism symptoms

H.A.P.P.Y - Happiness in Autism Personal Project for Young people

www.petervermeulen.be

Monday, May 9, 2022

Working in a System - Why Can’t We Get It Right

Here are my notes from one of the sessions at the Converge Autism Summit. This presentation was: Working in a System - Why Can’t We Get It Right by Dr. Brandon Clark (Director of Autism Clinical Services at Springbrook Autism Behavioral Health in Travelers Rest, South Carolina).

Dyadic vs. Systems Theory

Dyadic: 

  • 2 party relationships
  • Traditional ABA 
  • Focuses on the individual 

Systems Thinking:

  • Overall organization and process for execution
  • All the factors that contribute to successful outcomes

Weaknesses of Dyadic:

  • narrow focus
  • undesired effects on the environment
  • behavior change may not last
  • How to identify? Lack of progress or behavior not generalizing

Levers of Change:

  • Behavior - What we want and how to do
  • Process - How we are supposed to do
  • Organizational Levers - Why we do

Weaknesses of Systems Approach: 

  • Too much emphasis on process and not on the human component
  • We must learn the art of interaction 

Healthy systems integrate both approaches. 


Behavior change is not sustainable without identifying and addressing barriers. 


Barriers to Implementation - there are 31 of them. 

  • Top 3 barriers are managing problem behaviors, remembering to implement, and competing responsibilities. 
  • Other barriers are school culture, conflicting beliefs, administrative support, and structure and time. 

Change Resistance:

  • Education: The less education an individual has obtained, the less likely a person is to accept change.
  • Age: The older someone is, the less likely the person is to accept change.
  • Tenure: The longer someone has been employed, the less likely the person is to accept change.
  • Role conflict: When expectations of a job are incompatible with a person’s skill set, or willingness to assert additional effort, the person is less likely to accept change. 

Framework for Intervention:

  • Organizational level- Funds available, materials, space and equipment, organizational health. External level- District community, government, federal policies, etc. 
  • Intervention level- Complexity, time, materials, number of people and resources needed. The more complex it is, the worse the integrity.
  • Implementer level- Implementer competency, professional development, competing responsibilities for other tasks/students. 

Strategies to Address: 

  • Modify intervention
  • Modify timing
  • Re-teaching expectations/intervention
  • Problem-Most strategies are simply aimed at re-teaching expectations. This doesn’t solve the problem in a non-supportive environment. 

5 Emerging Themes:

  • Establishing supportive culture
  • Admin leadership and support
  • Attending to structure and use of time
  • Providing ongoing support for professional development
  • Facilitating family and student involvement 

Feedback = Task Engagement: (Variable  leads to Outcome)

  • Task significance  leads to Higher task dedication
  • Task autonomy leads to Higher task dedication
  • Frequent feedback leads to Higher task dedication
  • Perception of tasks as unnecessary leads to Job burnout
  • Employees prone to burnout leads to Less likely to use critical thinking skills used for problem-solving
  • Staff not aligned with company mission leads to Job burnout/failure to thrive 

6 Boxes:

Expectations and Feedback: Information about what to do and produce, how to do it

  • Align expectations with consequences. ASK if people know what to do!
  • Provide Feedback

Tools & Resources: The environmental and human resources needed to do a job.
Supportive physical space and ergonomics, sufficient time to do the job


Consequences and Incentives: Formal and informal, tangible or intangible results of behavior that increase or decrease its likelihood of occurrence.


Skills and Knowledge: Specific capabilities or expertise that the individual must use to perform a job. “Never assume that training is the solution. Training without a foundation in the “first three boxes” will probably not work or be cost-effective” 


Selection and Assignment: Having the right people for specific jobs, based on their social skills, personality, willingness to learn, etc.


Motives and Preferences: What types of incentives, work, and other job factors people prefer.

  • Check to see if the person is inherently interested in the work.
  • The success of a behavior plan is mostly dependent on someone’s willpower. And that load is much lighter when shared by many people.

Friday, May 6, 2022

Useful Information In and Out of the Classroom 05/06/22

Here are some interesting sites that I’ve found this week, thanks to my PLN. As a teacher, I feel we have to keep up to date concerning research in our field and current issues in the education system. I hope some of these inspire you, inform you, and even have you asking questions. Thank you for coming by and visiting!

Note: Each resource is labeled with a level and subject area to make it easier to use.

Levels: E: Elementary; M: Middle; H: High; G: General, all levels; SN: Special Needs; T: Teachers

Subject Areas: LA: Language Arts, English, Reading, Writing; M: Math; S: Science; Health; SS: Social Studies, Current Events; FA: Fine Arts; Music, Art, Drama; FL: Foreign Language; PE: Physical Ed; C: Career; A: All

How to Make and Study Flashcards – The Best Study Hacks to Know - “In this article, our team has outlined how to create flashcards of different types and use them correctly.” (L:G; SA:A)

What are Pickles? - “Squeaks and Mister Brown learn all about how to use brine to make homemade pickles!” (L:E; SA:S)

ExpeditionsPro - “Expeditions Pro takes off from where Google Expeditions ended. The same great features you are used to – Classroom content, working offline, instant annotation and simple touch interface that worked so well.” (L:T; SA:A)

Countdown Timer - from ClassTools; you add multiple times at once. (L:G; SA:A)

Poetry Activities - from ReadWriteThink for all grades. (L:G; SA:LA)

Original photo by Pat Hensley

Thursday, May 5, 2022

Converge Autism Summit 2022

Last week I attended the Converge Autism Summit in Greenville, SC. It was a wonderful conference and I highly recommend going to it. I can’t wait until next year to learn some more.

Here are the sessions I attended:
  • Working in a system - Why can’t we get it right by Dr. Brandon Clark.
  • Autism and Happiness: From Neurodiversity to Neuroharmony by Peter Vermeulen. He was an extremely entertaining and knowledgeable speaker.
  • Life Animated by Ron Suskind. He is a famous journalist whose son was diagnosed with autism. He shares about his family’s journey through this experience.
  • Autism: Dispelling Myths by Dr. Matthew Fisher
  • Context Blindness, Absolute Thinking in a Relative World by Peter Vermeulen. I would love to hear him in other sessions!
  • You Can’t Make Me: Proactive Strategies for Positive Behavioral Change by Jim Ball
  • The Use of Video Modeling for Learners with Autism by Jim Ball
  • Techniques to Assist Children in Crisis by Dr. Brandon Clark, Peter Vermeulen, Dr. William Killion, and Dr. Matthew Fisher.
  • The Way I See It: A Personal Look at Autism and Aspergers by Temple Grandin
I will be writing up my notes and sharing the information that I learned so please check back next week to see what I learned.

Wednesday, May 4, 2022

Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month


May became American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in 1992. In 1978, it was first only recognized for a week to coincide with two important milestones: the arrival of the first Japanese Immigrants in 1843 and the completion of the Transcontinental Railroad by Chinese workers in 1869.

Here are some interesting facts about Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. In a 1997 US OMB directive, the Asian or Pacific Islander racial category was split into 2 separate categories.

In 2020, there were approximately 24 million people who identified as Asian alone or in combination.
In 2020, there were approximately 1.6 million people identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone or in combination.

There are approximately 5.1 million people who are of the Asian alone or in combination population of Chinese, except Taiwanese, descent. Chinese was the largest group.
In 2020, there were approximately 619,855 Native Hawaiians.

In 2019, there were approximately 2.5% Asian alone or in combinationwho are military veterans.
In 2020, there were approximately 35, 152 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander alone who were military veterans.

There were approximately 7.2 million of the population 25 years and older who had a bachelor’s degree or higher level of education.
In 2020, there were approximately 71,224 people identified as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 25 years and older who had a bachelor’s degree or higher.

There were approximately 11.4 million Asians 25 years and older who had at least a high school diploma or equivalency.
In 2020, there were approximately 337,408 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander 25 years and older who had at least a high school diploma or equivalency.

In 2019, there were approximately 581,200 Asian-owned employer firms.
In 2019, there were approximately 7331 Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander-owned employer firms.

Tuesday, May 3, 2022

Taking Flight

“The NVIV (Next Vista Inspiring Video) series of posts are written by Rushton Hurley and designed to provide students and teachers with fascinating discussion prompts.”

In Taking Flight, Rushton features Bin Xu, a farmer who created his first successful aircraft out of his family’s farming equipment.

He gives the following prompts to accompany this video:
“Think about what people you know hope for, or perhaps something you yourself want to do. Perhaps there are barriers that seem insurmountable. Can you think of a clever way to make it happen?
What personal qualities does Mr Xu have that you admire?”


What an inspiration this video was! My mother used to say that where there was a will, there was a way. I felt the same way about going to college in the 1970s. My parents couldn’t afford to send me to college but I was determined to go. I found a way through loans, scholarships, and the work-study program. I want to encourage my students to find a way if they want to achieve a goal and never stop trying.

Please check out the video and think of other prompts you might come up with. Please share.

Happy Birthday to My Sister

Today is my sister’s birthday! She is ten years older than I am and lives in New York. Even though we live far apart, we are very close. I’m so glad that with technology we are able to connect every day. We always say good morning to each other every day and say good night every night.

Happy birthday, Dotty! We love you and hope your day is filled with lots of love and laughter!

Monday, May 2, 2022

2022 Goals Review for April

We had a very busy April. We’ve worked in the yard as well as in the house. Plus we spent a lot of time catching up with friends over lunch.

1. Lose 5 lbs. - my weight is the same but we started exercising more regularly at the senior center. Even though my weight hasn’t changed, I feel that I’ve toned up some.

2. Finish my national park blanket. - complete!

3. Year of the Gnome - knit at least one gnome a month. Completed 4 gnomes.

4. Knit a sweater. - Complete!

5. Yarn - more out than in (use more yardage than I buy)

-Yarn used - 5419 yds.

-Yarn bought - 5210 yds.

6. Design 3 new patterns. - started on a new sock design.

7. Learn something new.
- Complete! I’m mosaic crocheting a blanket and dabbling with watercolor painting.

8. Read 12 nonfiction books - read 5 books so far.

-A Serial Killer's Daughter: My Story of Faith, Love, and Overcoming by Kerri Rawson

-Chinese Cinderella: The True Story of an Unwanted Daughter by Adeline Yen Mah

-Captive: A Mother's Crusade to Save Her Daughter from a Terrifying Cult by Catherine Oxenberg

-That Time of Year: A Minnesota Life by Garrison Keillor

- The Cat I Never Named : A True Story of Love, War, and Survival by Amra Sabic-El-Rayess, Laura Sullivan

How is your progress towards your goals? Please share.

Photo by Adam Winger on Unsplash