Thursday, September 13, 2007

A New School Year

I haven't posted any news in over two weeks...I've just been so darn busy! Labor Day weekend was filled with back-to-school shopping. We also had some distant relatives visit that Monday, which was very enjoyable.

Matt really is enjoying all his classes as an 8th-grader at his middle school. He has a 10th-grade honors math class at the neighboring high school three days a week (because they have an A-B schedule). The other two days he has a study hall period back at the middle school. He also has Health and Fitness (P.E.), Life Skills (required class - home ec., sex. ed., etc.), Honors English and History, and Science.

Missy is a junior this year, and continues with Stage Crew during zero hour for the second year in a row. The school decreased the amount of drama classes available, so she is taking Leadership instead, with the same teacher who taught her past drama classes and current Stage Crew class. She also has a second year of German, Honors English, AP American Studies, Human Biology, and Pre-calculus. The homework load is heavy this year...typical for a junior year. She started working at Cinnabon tonight and will be working three or four days a week, mostly evenings the latter half of the week and on the weekends.

In my classroom, we have only 13 students, none in wheelchairs for the first time ever. Five--or about 38%--of our students have some sort of autism spectrum disorder; three of them quite defined. One of our teachers is out on maternity leave, having given birth just a few days before the school year started. Her long-term sub is a mom of three, expecting a fourth. Two years ago, one of the assistants was pregnant. So we've had a pregnant staff member in our classroom three years running. I'm not drinking the water (or talking to the water boy)! I was able to slip right into the swing of things right away. First period is a combination of Technology and Social Skills (keyboarding several days a week in the library, social skills the rest of the week). Second and third periods are math and reading, respectively. Each of us staff is leading a different part of math; mine is measurement. Fourth is vocational training. We gather the recycling products around the building (paper, aluminum cans) and take care of the rags used to erase the white boards (gather dirty ones and do the laundry; fold the clean ones and replace the dirty ones with them). We also shred confidential papers (those particular students either can't read or can't comprehend what little they can). After lunch, I assist two of our higher-functioning students in a Humanities (Language Arts - Social Studies) two-period block.

Tomorrow our class will go to the Spokane Interstate Fair, something I look forward to every year. We don't do rides; just look at exhibits and animals, and enjoy our lunch. We usually see old friends (students and staff) from other special ed classrooms in the district.

Matt has some sort of injury or inflammation in his right foot. It started Labor Day weekend, and he ended up missing school last Thursday because he couldn't walk on it. I took him to the doctor and he couldn't find anything wrong with it. It still wasn't better on Monday, so I took him in again. His "knuckle" on his big toe was pretty swollen. They took X-rays of both feet for comparison; no fractures. They also ran blood tests to check for arthritis and synovitis (inflammation of the membrane that lines a joint). The results came back negative. He was given crutches to use if necessary, and it seems to be slowly healing.

His bowling league started up last Saturday, and he enjoyed hanging out with his old gang from elementary school all day.

Norm's been putting in his second week of overtime in a row. He also worked a full day Saturday. So not much has been getting done on the house, and I keep telling him not to worry about it; he needs his rest. He anxious to get things done before the cold sets in. He's just about got all the flooring done, so we can use the front door again. I got a new camera, but I haven't taken any pictures yet...I'll try to do so this weekend and get them posted here.

Both units in the duplex next door are filled: a couple on the south side and a mother with children on the north. Everyone seems quiet, so far, and friendly, so we are grateful!

Please keep my mom and dad in your thoughts and prayers. My mom's health has not been so great lately, and I know it is tough for my dad.

My sister just finished her classes and received her LPN certificate! I'm so proud of her! She just needs to take her state exam to be an official nurse. She'll continue on in school towards her R.N. degree.

That's all I can think of. We've been busy!

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