Monday, May 14, 2012

Senior Project Post- Day 1

Hey guys! So, sorry but this post is not about Tourette's. I started my senior project today! Yay! And every day of our senior project, my school requires that I write up a blog post based on the daily prompt and post it on the school blog. I figured that I would post the posts I write about my senior project here on this blog too because it's a part of my life right now and this blog is about my life. I also won't have a whole lot of energy to write TS based posts this week because of the senior project posts I have to write so I figured posting those here is better than posting nothing at all for two weeks! The posts sort of relate to TS/OCD/various neurological disorders though because I am working in a speical-ed school primarily with kids who have Aspergers Syndrome. So enjoy!

Day #1 – Describe how your first day began.  How welcoming was your mentor?  What was your first impression and what questions remained at the end of the day?
My first day working at Litzinger for my senior project started off very well. I arrived early so the teacher of the classroom would have the opportunity to give me any updates or let me know what she wanted me to help out with for the day. Ms. Rolston was very welcoming. I have worked with Ms. Rolston before and she is always very welcoming, warm, clear, and good at delegating work and leadership.
I started off the day by having a child read his self selected reading out loud to me and grading some reading comprehension worksheets for Ms. Rolston. Ms. Rolston then asked me to go work with a boy named Blake with a reading comprehension activity. She then spoke to me outside the room to let me know what Blake’s needs were so that I could do my best to help him. She let me know that repetition is always helpful for Blake and that although he sometimes isn’t as mature as he should be, he is very intelligent. Blake and I worked on reading comprehension for a long time and he was almost always able to get the right answer on his own or be helped towards the right answer with the use of repetition of ideas in the story we had read together.
Some therapy dogs came to visit with the children and while the kids were playing with the dogs “Pepsi” and “Kenzie”, Ms. Rollston told me that Blake had not been able to get that much work done in a long time. I was so glad I was able to help Blake stay on task longer than he usually would and that I was able to help him understand the reading as well.
After the therapy dogs came, the kids and I ate lunch together. The kids got a special pizza, soda, and cookie lunch because it’s near the end of the year and they had just finished preforming a play about Autism. During lunch I helped the kids engage in conversation by asking them about their special lunch, their play, and their favorite things to do in school.
After lunch I went to computer class with the kids and engaged in computer based activities with them. Unfortunately, after computer class I had to go to a doctor’s appointment that could not be rescheduled, but I really wished I could have stayed for the rest of the day because I was really enjoying getting to know the kids and getting to help them with their work.
Overall, my first day of my senior project was a great day. I got the impression that Litzinger is really a wonderful place for these kids and that the teachers are so dedicated in helping them improve on all aspects of their life, not just academics. Although the kids sometimes have a hard time getting to work, I think a new and friendly face in the classroom was something that helped some of the kids stay engaged and interested in the school work. I was so glad that I could be this new and friendly face and that I get to help the kids out for the next two weeks. I have a lot of questions though going forward. Will the kids be as co-operative with me as they get to know me better and as I become less new and exciting? Will I have to deal with the difficult situation of when a student that I am working with looses their temper? Will I deal with this situation well? Will the kids who were more shy around me become more comfortable with me over the next two weeks?
Today I think I learned and grew. I learned more of how to help the kids stay on task and how to let them take a little break if they really needed to in order to avoid meltdowns and frustration. I learned that progress and success at this school is not necessarily measured by how well they compare to other students, but instead how they have improved according to their own personal goals.

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