Friday, December 15, 2017

Donors Choose

So, as you may know (since it is in my profile and all), I am a Speech-Language Pathologist, and I am now working in Detroit Public Schools Community District.  I don't work directly for the district, but for EBS Healthcare as a contractor, but still...

I'm really enjoying DPSCD, for a number of reasons.  The Communications Disorders department is like a big family, and they are all very supportive.  Not only do I get great support from EBS (much more than from the contract company I worked for previously), my DPSCD supervisor is responsive to questions and concerns, and my coworkers are always willing to help when I have a question.  The department also has a materials library that we can go to once a month to borrow assessments and therapy materials so we don't have to purchase our own. 

One of my biggest complaints about my previous district (which I won't name here, but I probably have named in the past) was that we were not given sufficient direction when we were asked to do something, and supervisors were not responsive at all to questions (I mean, phone calls went unreturned and emails went unanswered for weeks, when we have timelines we have to adhere to in order to be in compliance with federal law).  That is certainly not the case in Detroit.  These folks are organized!  And I appreciate it.  And it still feels like a family, even in so large a district.

All that being said, I still like to have a bunch of my own stuff for therapy with my kids.  Working with preschool and elementary school age kids, I often like to do literacy-based therapy, especially at my Head Start.  Many of my kids don't get read to regularly, and I want to help instill a love for books and reading, as well as give them a good foundation for language growth and development, so I have quite a collection of picture books with related activities that I use a lot.  I also have my own iPad that I have purchased several speech apps for - articulation and language/concepts apps.  The kids really enjoy using the tech, and so it becomes something of a reward to have an iPad day.  I have even used some of the reinforcer games in the apps as a break when I'm testing a student - we will take a short movement break and they can play a game before moving on to another test.  The problem is, my iPad is getting old and glitchy, and since I can't update the OS any further (I'm currently running iOS 7, and most of the new apps require iOS 9 or higher) it crashes a lot.  It's getting frustrating.

Enter Donors Choose, the website mentioned in the title of this post.  Donors Choose is a website where educators can post projects with very specific requests for supplies and materials for their classrooms, and, like the name says, donors can choose which projects they will donate to.  You can see exactly what is being requested and exactly how much it will cost, and when the project is fully funded the website staff purchases the requested materials and sends it to the teacher at their school.  There are pictures of the classrooms, and when appropriate, students will write thank-you notes to donors and you get to see your donations being used by the students so you know what kind of difference you made. 

I have created a project asking for a new iPad to use with my speech students, so I can get some updated speech apps in order to engage them with technology that doesn't constantly crash on them and frustrate them when they are trying to learn.  If you want to look at my project, here is a link:  Putting the FUN in Functional Communication

If you decide to help fund me, thank you.  If you just can't right  now, I understand, but thanks for looking anyway.  Maybe you know someone who is interested and able to help. 

Happy holidays!

Thursday, November 16, 2017

More Art in the City

A couple of years ago, I posted some pictures of murals and graffiti I drove past in the city of Detroit when I was taking my son down to a summer day camp or going down for grad school.  I love that there are so many hidden pictures in the city!

And, of course, now that I am working in Detroit Public Schools Community District, I get to see a lot more of it.  Also of course, I am usually driving, and so not prepared to snap pictures of it - so it often takes me several tries/several drive-bys before I can get a halfway decent picture of a given mural. 

That being said, I want to post these few before I forget about them:

I drove around the block an extra time to take this picture - seen from Fourteenth, just south of Warren.  I was on my way to a meeting that morning, but this was worth the few extra minutes.

This one isn't a mural, obviously, but it made me laugh when I saw it.  It took several trips down to the school this is across the street from before I got a decent picture - I wish I had a Little Free Library this cool in my neighborhood!
  This one is on Grand River south of 7 Mile - I like how someone incorporated the hole in the boarding as part of the flowerpot.  It's a great metaphor for the community working together to make something beautiful grow where there is blight and decay.  I hope they can be successful.

And I really want to get a better picture of this one, but I never seem to be prepared for it, and I always drive by too fast for a good shot.  The colors of this one make me happy.  It's on the side of a charter school right off 7 Mile, though I never see kids there, so I don't know if it is still in operation.

Lots of art in the city, lots of creative people who work to make their surroundings more beautiful.  I'll post more when I have more pictures for you. 

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

New Year, New Knitting Challenge - Come to the crazy side (we have yarn)

Boy, I've been terrible about posting here this past year!  Of course, I've spent a lot less time playing on Ravelry in the past year also, so maybe that makes sense.

I  believe I mentioned in an earlier post that last year I participated in the Eat.Sleep.Knit Yarnathon, in their group on Rav.  Of course, I didn't really start doing anything until April or May, so I didn't do as much as I might have, but I did complete a really cool blanket that looks fabulous on the couch in my living room, and is really warm!

See - here it is on my bed.  Really pretty, right?  Anyway, I had a lot of fun trying to make my knitting projects over the past year fit into the Yarnathon structure, so I'm going to do it again this year.

The theme this year is Candyland (last year it was Space), and they have a really creative artist on staff who has made some adorable graphics for the different teams, as well as for the prizes and different games, badges, and knit alongs.  And I had a lot of fun chatting with the others on my team, and sort of virtually working together to finish projects and support each other. 

And I think I may be slightly insane, because they are doing another blanket knit along, and I'm gonna knit another crazy blanket!  At least I'm not doing the fingering weight version, although it is absolutely gorgeous.  I'm making the worsted weight version, and I think I might have an actual chance to finish it, because I'm starting in January, and taking it s-l-o-w!  (We'll see how that works - probably I'll finish it, because I'm knitting along with a bunch of other people, and there are prizes and stuff for certain finishing milestones.  Unlike the sock yarn mitered square blanket I started for myself YEARS ago, and have only got about 12-18" of the queen-sized blanket done!)

Anyway, the blanket is called Persian Dreams, and it is lovely!   Here is a link to the version of the pattern I am doing (it's a Ravelry link).  Come join the insanity - it's a lot of fun on the crazy side!