Archive for February 2015

Seasonal Shopping: It’s Below Zero Outside and I Need Gloves

Much to my horror, I discovered I had lost one of my warm gloves. It was a bitter cold February morning with the wind chill dangerously well below zero. Time to buy myself some new warm gloves. After all, Chicago will be very cold at least through March. Four department stores later, I still had... Read more »

Rethinking the School Calendar

A recent posting on the Evanston, Illinois Parent Facebook page exclaimed, “According to weather report, -4 at 8AM with -19 wind-chill. ACK!!!!! I’m not sure we can take another snow day!” Others responded like folks suffering from PTSD. The consensus was that they and their kids could not handle more days off of school, and... Read more »

Kindergarten Homework is Absurd

My grandson has kindergarten homework.  Starting in January, he receives a weekly homework packet that is due every Monday. I guess that’s a good due day because, like 64% of mothers with young kids, my daughter works.  At least she has the weekend to force him to complete it. Because my grandson can’t do this... Read more »

Photos and Little White Lies

“The camera never lies.” When photography was invented in the mid-nineteenth century, the photos it produced were supposedly objective and inalterable. They captured a moment in time. No one is sure of the origin of this statement about the “truthiness” of photos, but in 1895, The Evening News of Lincoln Nebraska stated, “Photographers, especially amateur... Read more »

6 Random Acts of Kindness for a Winter Day

Today is Random Acts of Kindness Day, another one of those holidays no one knows about and few celebrate. I’m thinking someone plopped this day in the middle of February for a reason. Of course, it’s close to Valentine’s Day, but for those of us who have to survive winter weather, it’s the perfect time... Read more »

Special Education, the PARCC Test, and Opting Out

Just how should a student with special needs that include significant communication and anxiety disorders express his desire to opt out of the Partnership in Assessment for College and Careers (PARCC) exam? Will throwing his laptop across the room count? How about banging his head on his desk? Does he need to scream or cry... Read more »

Valentine’s Day is a Good Time to Celebrate Friendship and Inclusion

There are lots of aspects of middle school that create PTSD in highly successful and competent adults. Let’s just say it’s not the happiest time in most people’s lives. So in honor of a week that includes Make a Friend Day on February 11, No One Eats Alone Day on February 13, and Valentine’s Day... Read more »

Looking at Diversity Through a Different Lens

My youngest daughter was part of the last cohort of half-day kindergarteners in my community of Evanston, Illinois. To put this in the context of the times, it was 1983 and very few schools offered full-day kindergarten. So when full-day kindergarten was first proposed, my friends and I fought it. And we won – for... Read more »

How Teachers Impact the Lives of Children with Special Needs

My granddaughter, who has so much trouble with her expressive language, has no trouble letting me know who her true heroes are. She can make a list on her iPad of every teacher she has had since age two.  When I ask her what she wants to be when she grows up, that’s one question... Read more »

How School Closings and Snow Days Hurt our Kids

Today it makes sense to close school. Roads are unsafe and side streets are not cleared. Sidewalks are impassible. Despite the inconvenience, most parents would agree that their kids should not be on buses or trudging through mountains of unshoveled snow to get to school. Too bad most school districts wasted two days last month... Read more »