Thursday, December 4, 2008
The world was glued to their TVs this summer for the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, but hardly any air time was given to the 2008 Paralympic Games. Tune in this Saturday December 6th at 4:30pm EDT for the re-airing of an NBC special about the amazing Paralympic athletes as they prepare for and compete in the 2008 Paralympic Games -- get "WOWd", inspired... and show your support!
Thursday, October 30, 2008
For the longest time I had a Can Do! People page featuring artist Chuck Close on the Can Do! Web site.... but discovered the other day it was missing. I have no idea if I took it down for some reason, or if it was inadvertently removed, but I added it back the other day when I was poking around Hulu.com and found this great Sesame Street video clip of Chuck Close with Big Bird.
One reason I really like this clip (besides the kids voices - adorable!) is because it shows Close's art from two different perspectives - up close, and then from a distance. It's a great metaphor about how things aren't always what they seem - sometimes we need to stand back and look situations in a different way. It's also a great metaphor for how people are more than the individual details of their life... rather, people are the whole of those parts. And even greater than that!
Sunday, October 26, 2008
Around the end of July I received an email from Debra Shirley, author and former Administrative Director of Physically Handicapped Actors and Musical Artists League (PHAMALy). Debra asked that I consider including her new book, Best Friend on Wheels (Albert Whitman & Company, 2008), on the Can Do! list of Disability-related books for kids. I read the information Debra sent about her book, as well as looked up info about it on the web. It looked like a great book, yet I couldn't add it to the Can Do! site as a recommended book until I read it. Well, I'm happy to report that this week I finally put my hands on a copy of Best Friends on Wheels, and it is a book I highly recommend. It's a wonderful picture book - fun, lively illustrations, and a very positive story about how one girl overcame her apprehension about meeting the new girl at school... someone who happened to need the use of a wheelchair. The story acknowledges the somewhat awkwardness (i.e what to say, what not to say, etc) some people have when they meet someone with a physical disability:
"When I saw she was using a wheelchair, I froze,
I fidgeted, twisted, and stared at my toes.
I was so nervous , I stammered, and stuttered.
I might say the wrong thing, I thought, so I muttered."
However, the book hits home with the realization that there is a lot more to a person than his or her disability or challenges, and that if you get to know the person, you'll most likely find you have a lot in common. The girls in the story become fast friends as they get to know each other, and in the end, though the disability isn't ignored, it doesn't define who Sarah is, nor does it define their friendship:
"I still think her wheelchair's a pretty neat tool,
but now I see Sarah first - and she's cool!"
Not only do I think this would be a great book to help kids understand how to approach and interact with others who have a physical disability, but it's a great book to use with kids to learn how to make connections and get to know any potential friend - to get to know their likes and dislikes, and who they are on the inside, rather than focusing about what they see on the outside. The girls in this story demonstrate how kids can make a new friend - regardless of whether the friend has a disability or not. I'll definitely be adding Best Friend on Wheels to the Can Do! list of recommended books, and will also be adding it to our guidance library at school!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
My dear friend, Peter H. Reynolds, has a great blog called The Stellar Cafe. He recently wrote a very inspiring article, Stories Wanted, on his blog encouraging, almost daring, people to take the plunge and write that story they've always been meaning to write, or wanted to write but weren't sure if they could, or weren't sure if anyone would be interested (I'm sure the excuses could be lengthy). I posted a comment in response to Peter's "Stories Wanted" article, and after I was done decided my response would be a fitting blog article for CanDoozle, so here it is:
They say that invention is born from necessity, and I think children's books are born that way sometimes as well! About 5 or 6 years ago I was working with three first grade girls who were deeply entwined a friendship triangle - two girls unable to share the third. I searched and couldn't find a children's book on the topic, so I fired up my trusty Wacom tablet and Flash program, and created (wrote and illustrated) my own story! I made a print copy with my printer, but also created an online version that my students could read at home with their parents. However, as it turns out, many educators found the online version of my story over the past five years, and many emailed me to ask if there was a print version of the book available for purchase. I started sending my manuscript around to "traditional" publishers for a couple of years, without any luck, while still receiving emails from very eager and interested educators. At some point not long ago, Peter mentioned Lulu.com to me, so I investigated, and publishing my story, Sharing Friends, via Lulu.com was my summer project this year... in other words, it's "What I did this summer." I have to say, it's was a mighty exiting moment to hold the first copy of my book in my hands! So, yes, not only should you take the plunge and write that story, but there are many ways to "publish" these days - from online versions that you can post on a Web site yourself, to self publishing via a "Print On Demand" (POD) company like Lulu.com, for one.
My advice? Go for it!
p.s. My story, Sharing Friends, is at http://www.lulu.com/sharingfriends, if anyone wants to take a peek. And/or you can check out the original online version at http://www.falmouthschools.org/k2counseling/SharingFriends.html (I did revise/polish the story a bit before publishing the printed version - fine tuned, tweaked, etc... but it's very much the same story).
Friday, October 10, 2008
At any rate, not letting anything, not even my back, or a heavy oxygen tank, stop me from voting today - I called the oxygen supply company yesterday to ask if they could bring me a little cart that I could use to wheel my oxygen tank around in... which they dropped off this morning. So, this afternoon, off I went to City Hall - oxygen in tow! My Mother picked me up and we made it a "Mother/Daughter" event... proudly wearing our respective "I voted today!" stickers after we did our civic duty. We stopped at a local cafe for coffee and cookies afterward to celebrate.
It feels VERY good to vote. Regardless of the outcome, I always feel excited to know I did my part - shared my opinion. But, I want to do a little more by encouraging others to vote - no matter what your challenges or obstacles. Most towns have volunteer groups willing to give rides to individuals who can't drive themselves to the polls, and you can always request an absentee ballot ahead of time - so you can vote early and avoid the crowds. If you're 18 or older, and a citizen of the United States, then be sure to register, and be sure to vote! It's one very important, powerful thing to you CAN do... and it's something that makes an enormous difference. Your voice, your vote, counts!
Yikes! It's been over a month since my last post! That's not good! But before I move forward, I want to go back to the 2008 summer Olympics. I already mentioned Michael Phelps and all his accomplishments, despite having ADHD. However, I want to be sure to talk about one other Can Do! Olympic althlete (though let's face it, all Olympic athlete's are Can Do! by nature!) - and it happens to be another swimmer: Dara Torres.
Dara Torres is the first woman in history past the age of 40 to swim in the Olympics. Not only did she swim in the 2008 Olympics, but she won three silver medals! It's great proof that "it's never too late" - a great "can-do" motto!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
To learn more about Wings of Epoh, click here.
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Saturday, August 23, 2008
Yesterday I came across the two articles below - good reads for parents (and educators) who have a child with ADHD. Click on the titles to be linked to the articles.
Michael Phelps' Mom Gives Parenting Advice - Here's a great article from ADDitude Magazine about the moms of Michael Phelps, Ty Pennington (from ABC's Extreme Makeover: Home Edition), and Danielle Fisher, the youngest person to ever climb Mt. Everest, as well as all of the "Seven Summits." The article explains how these moms parented their children with ADHD, and how their support made a positive impact.
ADHD and After-School Activities: Finding the Right Fit - from WebMD
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Last Saturday my Mother and I went to the Farmer's Market down in Deering Oaks Park. It was a lovely morning and always great to not only have a reason to stroll through the park, but to buy the freshest produce around. And then there are the people - running into people I know, meeting new people... and simply the fun camaraderie among all the shoppers, whether they know each other or not. But, I had no idea that we'd run into some wonderful performers at the Farmer's Market! A Mime juggling fire... lit torches... while another performer played the accordion! Later the Mime walked, and even rode a unicycle, on a slack rope strung between two large trees. And the show ended with a woman doing aerobatics on a rope hanging down from a tree. Kids, please don't try this at home - at least not juggling with fire, or doing tricks on ropes.... but, by all means, DO try something new! Even juggling (just not with fire!)! Question: What was the last "new" thing you tried to do? I think for me it was... to create a blog! : )
Sunday, August 17, 2008
The new school year is about to start! Consider kicking it off by having your students complete a Can Do! Ability Survey. It's a great way for kids to start recognizing all the things they CAN do, as well as how they use their many abilities. Students can store their completed survey in their individual student portfolios, and then complete another copy of the survey again at the end of the school year. Students, parents, and teachers will have fun comparing the "before" and "after" surveys - seeing how students and their responses have changed and grown over the course of the school year, as they've learned new things, gained new perspectives.
Sunday, August 10, 2008
Saturday, August 9, 2008
Friday, August 8, 2008
Whether dreaming about using abilities to participate in an Olympic sanctioned sport, to create a new computer game, to create a best selling book, to create a cure for cancer... or to simply ride a bike to a friend's house... I hope all children learn to develop an appreciation of their abilities, whatever they can do, no matter how big or small, no matter where those abilities take them.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Friday, July 25, 2008
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
UPDATE (8/15/08): I just picked up a copy of "You Can Do It!" from my local library, and I'm happy to report that I think it's a great book. It's certainly a very motivating book - with a lot of practical suggestions for how get started in making your dreams and goals come true - even tips/exercises to help you figure out what your big dream is. The book is broken down into sections, and chapters/badges within those sections. Each chapter is then broken down into tips for getting started, getting motivated, advice from a mentor, "badge steps," and a list of additional resources (books, organizations, web sites). There are also 60 badge stickers in the back of the book. All in all it's a book that makes it very hard to say "I can't" when it comes to something you really want to do. A very can-do book indeed!