In light of all that has been going on recently, listening to the audiobook “A Psalm for the Wild-Built” by Becky Chambers was just what I needed.
I really enjoyed putting on my headphones and spending four hours (it’s a short book!) in a world where:
people and nature live in harmony. I don’t care if it’s a naive or unrealistic vision. It’s nice to “spend” some time in such a world. A world in which “going green” doesn’t mean living as people did in medieval times.
drinking tea is important. It’s a world in which it is acknowledged that people need to take some time out and drink tea.
a young person taking a journey into the wild to find themselves (plural is used in the book) is 29, not 18, which makes a lot of sense nowadays. In addition, it’s no spoiler to say that the young person in the wilderness does not die.
there is a super cute robot!
I enjoyed the style of writing. In fact, I have placed a hold on the next book (it’s a duology, a two-part series) on Libby. I don’t mind waiting a while – I prefer not to read two books in a row by the same author.
Oh! One last thing:
Having a friend is always a good thing – that takeaway is absolutely true!
If there is something I’m not using this year because I CHOSE not to do so, are WhatsApp Groups (or broadcast lists) for each of my classes. I spent too much energy, wasted energy, trying to get certain students to actually read the short messages I sent. I then had to keep track of who had read a message and who didn’t. To add to the confusion, in some cases, a student actually had read a message but I remained unaware of the fact because the two blue checkmarks failed to appear on my screen at all (he/she read the message without opening it). The students say they are inundated with WhatsApp groups and cannot keep track of their messages and frankly my colleagues with young children make the same complaint.
* Simple announcements such as “There will be no lesson tomorrow at 09:00” – are sent to one of the students to pass on. That seems to work.
* My classes of Deaf and hard-of-hearing students are small. I copy a prewritten message, add a name and send it. Messages with a name elicit a slightly higher percentage of responses. I resorted to sending question marks ( “? ? ? “) to three nonresponding students this year, and two of them actually apologized for not answering. I had written words of praise and encouragement, I wanted them to see them! The third student didn’t see the question marks either…
* I’ve completely stopped sending reminders before tests – reminders such as “bring a pen”, “bring your dictionary”, etc. The ones who need the reminders aren’t the ones who read the messages anyway…
BLUE on YELLOW
Fact – Some struggling students who have trouble reading, find it easier to read dark blue letters on a pale yellow background. This particular contrast is helpful in certain cases.
Fact – There are many struggling students for whom the SIDE EFFECTS of the contrasting colors make a difference. It’s not that the contrast is directly addressing the source of their difficulties, rather it’s a helpful step in convincing new students that we are truly trying to help them. When the students see that you made a special worksheet just for them, used scissors to cut their reading passage into paragraphs so that it wouldn’t be overwhelming and even gave them a personal set of flashcards they begin, slowly, to trust you. Trust is crucial…
Here are two samples of such worksheets (the yellow color isn’t as pale as I would like)
*** The new reading glasses I wear around my neck are blue, and their case is too (Monet’s Water Lillies, lots of blue)! As I’ve worn multifocal glasses for many years, having reading glasses is a big change for me.
My multi-level, personalized learning center is still reeling from the surprise closure of the learning management system I had been using, Edmodo. Imagine Google Classroom, but free and very easy to use. It turned out that a small class, one teacher, cannot use Google Classroom. So, thanks to the support of my principal, I’ve begun using a combination of Wakelet (free) and TeacherMade (an inexpensive subscription). While this combination overlaps with a large percentage of the functions I used to have, and both are very user-friendly, the material needs to be organized and posted! I had TEN YEARS worth of organized material there! All the new 10th graders have heard of Edmodo, as I keep saying things like: “We have a digital version of this, you can sit at the computer… oh wait, we actually don’t… Not yet…
That makes me feel blue…
Blue Skies and Blue Waters actually don’t make me feel blue at all – quite the opposite!
Teaching English as a FOREIGN language to Deaf and Hard of Hearing Students