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Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Celebrate National Dog Week

The last week of September is National Dog Week!

Basia with Mancha, 2017

Sleepaway Camp at The Working Farm

Off she goes!

Daily Routine:

…begin with a fresh, farm-made breakfast and daily chores.
Farm Teams then break out with farmers and engage in fun and work in the garden, barns, or forest. Daily rotation allows students, over the course of three days, to experience each area. Students become farmers and see the farm as a living, changing place where their team’s care, adaptability, an attention matters. After a full morning, Farm Teams reconvene for a healthy, farm-made lunch and time for reflecting on the morning’s events through guided conversation.

…are a special time for serendipitous options!
Small groups form around a daily opportunity … looking for bird nests in the forest, knitting scarves in the barn, creating art in the meadow, enjoying yoga in the sunshine, giving students a chance to pursue an individual interest in the context of life on a farm.

…bring bonfires and board games, stories and sing-a-longs after another delicious, farm-made meal and final chores.
Children and adults cannot help but smile as they sit together around a blazing fire, with a sky full of stars overhead. When bedtime arrives, everyone feels ready to sleep tight in comfy beds tucked into cozy cabin-tents, listening to the soft music of chirping crickets and peeping peepers.

It is a powerful experience for teachers, parents and farmers to see children of all ages dynamically engaged, enthusiastically learning.

From bus arrival to departure, your school group will feel the care and mindfulness Red Gate Farm brings to each visit. After a warm welcome and brief orientation meeting, students are organized into Farm Teams, toured around the property and introduced to our focus areas: the garden… tilling, sorting, planting, watering, harvesting … the barns… feeding, grooming, mucking, mending, building… the forest… hiking, clearing, navigating, tracking, nurturing…”

A Big Thank You from 
a Grateful Participant - Basia

Red Gate Farm (with the words of Paul Harvey)
A Little History

Quoted passage and video links come from Red Gate Farm Educational Center

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

United Nations (UN) General Assembly in New York This Month

Knotted Gun sculpture at U.N.

What the United Nations is?
The United Nations (U.N.) is an intergovernmental organization established on 24 October 1945 to promote international cooperation to work together to prevent and end wars. At the time it was founded, the UN had 51 member states; there are now 193 countries.
Basia was very curious about it, so has visited U.N. lately. See pictures

The goals of the United Nations are:
  • to keep world peace
  • to help countries get along
  • to improve living conditions for people all over the world
  • and to make the world a better place.

The United Nations Headquarter, NYC
More Info:
What are the United Nations for kids
United Nations for kids - Episode 1
United Nations for kids - Episode 2

Friday, September 15, 2017

Dysgraphia and a Good Reader

The DSM IV identifies dysgraphia as a "disorder of written expression": "writing skills (that) ...are substantially below those expected given the person's ...age, measured intelligence, and age-appropriate education".

Dysgraphia is a difficulty writing coherently regardless of ability to read.
People with dysgraphia often can write, and may have a higher than average IQ, but lack co-ordination, and may find other fine motor tasks such as tying shoes difficult.
Dysgraphia effects motor control, hand-eye co-ordination, and the processing of thoughts and words in written form.
People with dysgraphia can lack basic spelling skills and often will write the wrong word when trying to formulate thoughts on paper.

Types of dysgraphia
  1. Dyslexia dysgraphia where written work that is created spontaneously is illegible, copied work is good and spelling is poor. A student with dyslexia dysgraphia does not necessarily have dyslexia.
  2. Motor dysgraphia where the condition may be caused by poor fine-motor skills, poor dexterity and/or poor muscle tone. Generally written work is poor to illegible, even if it is copied from another source. While letter formation may be legible in very short samples of writing, this is usually after extreme efforts and the dedication of unreasonable amounts of time on the student’s part. Spelling skills are not impaired.
  3. Spatial dysgraphia where the condition is caused by a defect in spatial awareness and students may have illegible spontaneously written work as well as illegible copied work. Spelling skills are generally not impaired.

Indicators of dysgraphia
  • Inappropriately sized and spaced letters or unfinished letters
  • Wrong or misspelled words despite thorough instruction. 
  • Excessive erasing may be evidenced as may a misuse of lines and margins.
  • Poorly organized writing on a page.
  • Poor organization of ideas, poor sentence and/or paragraph structure and a limited expression of ideas.
  • Reluctance to complete writing tasks or refuse to do so.
  • Unusual writing grips, odd wrist, body and paper positions, and complain discomfort while writing.

Interventions for Dysgraphia
  • Start early training
  • Learn to form letters correctly
  • Begin training with the formation of individual letters written in isolation
  • Alphabets need to be practiced daily, often for months
  • Strengthen kinaesthetic memory
  • Provide muscle training to increase strength and dexterity
  • Practice kinaesthetic writing (writing with eyes closed or averted)
  • Pencil grips might be helpful
  • Writing on a slightly inclined plane may be helpful
  • Teach the use of a word processor, by-passing the complex motor demands of handwriting. Many students may find learning the keyboard by the alphabet method easier than beginning with the home keys. For many, touch typing offers a whole new opportunity to learn to spell through a different kinaesthetic mode.
  • Photocopy the notes of another student
  • Provide an outline, with spaces left for the student to fill in information
  • Modify written assignments so that less writing is required
  • Allow extended time to complete tests and assignments
  • Allow the student to answer questions orally or into a tape recorder instead of writing 
Art by Basia Panko, 2017

Dysgraphia Accommodations and Modifications by Susan Jones (1999)

Well condensed and to the point source of information about dysgraphia on BRAIN.HE

Good site great resources to help for dysgraphia

What is Dysgraphia?

Book to read The Mislabeled Child by Dr. Fernette and Dr. Brock Eide

Types of Tests for Dysgraphia

Dysgraphia screening test by Lisa Harp