Thursday, June 16, 2011


Except for Casey Anthony and Rep. Weiner, it seems the only other news stories lately have been about the aftermath of bullying. Now that I'm home for the summer, I got to watch Dr. Phil yesterday. The dad was on that is being legally reprimanded for going onto his daughter's school bus and confronting the children that were bullying his special needs daughter.

Well, he used the F word a lot and he said he'd kill the kids if they didn't quit it. So it's got a lot of those parents of kids on that bus freaked out and angry. I gotta tell ya, I am not angry about it. I wish I could shake that dad's hand! I'm SICK AND TIRED of this happening to our young people. Some parents are upset because their children weren't involved, but were scared by this man's rant. Well, ya know what? I say your kids WERE involved because they did not stick up for the attacked child, or tell their parents about it, or something! We've got to teach our kids that this is NOT okay! That when they allow it to happen to someone around them, they are just as guilty!

Do I get that this is a hard thing to do? Of course I do. It's incredibly hard to stick up to someone. It's frightening and can cause stomach cramps from the fear...I totally get that. But if we teach our kids to do it, and we practice how to do it and then tell someone...I swear it will help. When I was being tormented in high school, I would have loved for someone to come to my aid. It would have shown me that someone was in my corner. Cause I gotta tell my case, I was never afraid for my physical safety...but the absolute fear of what they were going to do to humiliate me next...was enough to give me ulcers and turn me into a self-loathing teen who turned to "bad things" to self medicate.

And do NOT even get me started on the parents of these bullies! I teach high school. I see bullies. Do I report it every time? Sure I do. Schools do what they can. But legally, our hands get tied pretty quickly, and in this day and age, with teens, it happens more online than it does in person. Pretty easy to be a tough guy when you're not face to face. But these parents! Quit defending your children when they are WRONG. Quit teaching them there are no consequences. Cuz guess what? There are consequences in life and when they act like punks in adult life, they end up in jail or dead.

I'll end my post today by saying I wish I could meet that father. I hope I would act the same in his shoes. His heart was right. And maybe some kids got scared, and that's too bad, but I think even the kids on that bus that weren't involved, learned something that day: that their actions have consequences. I have already had to deal with my daughter having something happen to her because she couldn't speak up for herself. I plan to keep doing this, and this dad was an example I hope to follow.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Wednesday means Grab a Good Book!

This year, I taught a new book to my tenth graders. It's called The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night Time by Mark Haddon. Now, let me tell you. When teaching a novel to high school sophomores means I have to use all my tricks. Overall, teens groan when you mention you're about to start a new novel. In a world where they can tweet and change their FB status within seconds, committing to the time it takes to read a novel seems absolutely insane to them. You have to really "hook" them.

Overall, though, with this book....I didn't have to "hook" too much. It was amazing! The first thing we did before beginning to read, was I chose ten words from the first ten pages, and listed them on the whiteboard. They had to predict what they thought the first ten pages would be about, based on those words. We shared with our peers what we thought. Then we read those pages and talked about our predictions compared to what actually was written. It was fun. We had a good laugh or two. The kids were INTO it. The book did that from the beginning.

It's a great story about a boy with Asperger's who finds a murdered dog in his neighborhood and decides to play detective to find out who killed the dog. His journey, though, leads him to discover some incredibly powerful secrets about himself. Everyone should read it!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Tuesday is Help Others Day

Recently, my little town was on the news because Sarah Truitt, a resident, took it upon herself to arrange help for Joplin, MO, her hometown. To see her facebook page, go to facebook and then Iowa's Effort-Joplin Tornado Relief.

People from all over the area donated items for Sarah to take to Joplin. So many items were donated that she had to get a truck/trailer to haul them all.

So the helping others lesson is to be sure to pay attention for efforts like these. Nova and I talked about it a lot. One of my goals as a parent is to raise a child who understands the gift and reward in helping others, whether she has autism or not. Truth be told, since her diagnosis, we've had to rely on the help of others, something that does not come easy to me.

We don't have a lot of money, so we looked around the house for things we could donate. We found buckets, medical bandages, and other bathroom supplies. While looking, we found a few bucks around the house and used them to buy paper plates and cups.

The most important part of everything, in our house, was the conversation that took place between me and my daughter. She helped me put the things in the van and we drove it over to be dropped off. In the car, we talked about helping others. I don't always know if Nova sees "big ideas," but some day it will click!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Summer Blues

Lord have mercy, summer is tough when your child has autism!! The first week out of school, Nova really had a hard time. Less structure, mommy (a teacher) is exhausted, trying to find our way. Then week two, mini-vaca with grandma and mommy, which again, means different routine. Hotel rooms. Restaurants. Excitement over new experiences. All things Nova needs. All things a melt down waiting to happen.

Overall, she did great. Overall, my patience held out. (with a few hits of nicoutine outside the hotel---something I'm not proud of). Sure helped having grandma there! Crayons and work books, fave toys all made it okay.

So let's talk about it....what things help you when routines are broken???

Friday, June 10, 2011

Trying to Stay Positive

It's so hard sometimes!!! I want to be a positive force in others' lives. I want this for my family, my students, my friends. But's so hard. Then I read about a young woman like this...and it really puts things into perspective. Please read and send her a message!!