There are positives and negatives to every situation. Such is the case of being “stuck” in quarantine due to COVID-19. The negatives is the lack of being with loved ones, friends and in public places. The positive is discovering new ways to keep the mind active. CUDOO is a very big positive.
After communicating with the company, who asked me to “test drive” their product, I decided to take advantage of looking at their version of American Sign Language instruction. I opted for the BUNDLE and started my way through the various lessons.
The dashboard and menus are very easy to negotiate. I appreciated that there was considerable content, but not too wordy or boring, about the nuances of sign language. Terminology used was common and very basic – perfect for beginners.
Clear examples are offered with each vocabulary word – both as an illustration and as a video. And, there are quizzes at the end to help with comprehension. I purposefully missed a couple and was sent back to “relearn” before moving on or getting my certificate.
Let’s chat about the certificate! It is an excellent feature as having proof of completion of a course that allows a student to add to their resume, bring to a current employer as proof of skill development and initiative or just have bragging rights!
See for yourselves!
Sometimes photos and video is a much better “explainer” than words, especially when it comes to sign language. So, I created this video to help you see the program “in action”.
There are a few things that I would recommend for this online American Sign Language course. My top request would be for additional learning levels to address more advanced ASL concepts and vocabulary. Also, games would be a fun addition or suggestions for creating games for hands on learning!
Cudoos is priced very reasonably for individuals and families. The ASL bundle that I reviewed has a price tag of $49. As a reviewer, my disclaimer is that I received a complimentary subscription. However the opinions expressed here are 100% of my own and without input from the company.
Due to the Corona Virus (COVID 19), parents have been given one of the biggest challenges of their lives – teaching their children in the absence of teachers, structured curriculum and school support. That means parents, regardless of their own careers, are now home assuming the role of their child’s / children’s teacher.
Educators and parents all have one goal – to keep the learning curve going up while the COVID 19 curve declines.
Parents – don’t worry! I have compiled a long and comprehensive list of educational resources for you. Some of these links are chocked full rich content. One link may lead you to dozens more – so take your time and peruse! Good luck and feel free to comment below if you have additional websites you think we can all benefit from or just wish to comment!
STUDENT and PARENT/ CAREGIVER RESOURCES
Education.com – There is a way for teachers of preschoolers to third grade to give their students a code to have entry to chosen lessons. Favorites are thisLEARNING GAME LINK.
ABCTeach.com is a favorite of mine! They have support for preschool, elementary, middle and high schoolers. Including calculus. There are some freebies, but for $20 you can have a year-long membership. Click here to discover more about this terrific website(And you may find some familiar Signing Families content under Sign Language Learning)
California Department of Education- Resources for All Students, All States
The CDE has put together a comprehensive list of online learning opportunities and support. This site is GREAT! Their FREE Educational tab is chocked full of interactive and very helpful resources. Seriously, this site can be an answer to a parent’s prayers for help from educators worldwide! Click here to get to the site.
*** THE PBS App Store is extensive and has a lot of great independent learning opportunities.
YouTube is no joke! There is some serious curriculum support and teaching happening on this social channel. Amazing teachers are available and many have offered opportunities for continued learning via their websites.
Rosetta Stone – FREE to students
Rosetta Stone has posted a free subscription to students due to the crisis. Learn more here.
Hello All! What A WEEK! I hope you are all healthy and staying safe from COVID 19 (Corona Virus).
I am planning to continue posting about activities / online events that you can do to keep you and your loved ones busy during this Corona Virus pandemic crisis. Many of the sites listed below are educational and appropriate for students of most ages. Several were chosen to help reduce the boredom factor being experienced by teens and adults.
Part one of my “boredom busters” was published earlier this week and can befound here.
You will find the details and articles associated with thel suggestions below where you see CLICK HERE
Have a suggestion? Add it to the comment section – (Remember keep it G-rated!)
GUESS WHAT! You can dance with Debbie Allen! Instagram Live – Use @MsDebbieAllen to follow along
I, like everyone else, cannot wait for the ghastly COVID 19 (Corona Virus) to be GONE! And, like many people, I have chosen to self-quarantine. But, let’s face it- one day in the house is fine. Two or three days is not optimal. But a week, two or three? Now I have issues! I figure I am not alone manifesting a fear of the” boredom factor”. Surely there are parents who are trying to rack their brains to come up with enough activities to keep their kids busy!?! As an educator, parent and individual who bores very easily, I decided to help others by searching online sites for activities that could be fun while we wait out this “CORONA- geddon”.
Below you will find my list and I would LOVE if you add a link(s) at the bottom or an idea on how to stay busy during these challenging times. (Remember, this is a family blog – so play “nice” with your suggestions.)
12: Lastly, SCRAPBOOK and PHOTO ALBUMS. NOW is the time to organize your photos, create family scrapbooks and enjoy reminiscing! Need ideas? Simply jump over to Pinterest.com for TONS of examples and DIY projects. Also, keep in mind that Snapfish and Shutterfly are both offering HUGE discounts for photo projects.
Tag you are it! Your turn to suggest how to keep busy when you are “stuck at home”.
I am writing this blog because within the past two days I have had five inquiries for School Psychologist job positions. They were for both part and full-time employment. Many of the agencies that reached out to me had multiple job offerings throughout California, Nevada, Arizona and other states. Some were flex-time, a few added bonuses for signing and one event mentioned moving assistance. There were “temporary full-time” placements, as well – meaning that there was a psychologist on emergency or maternity leave and they needed someone to finish a contract. All in all there must have been 25-30 positions for the remainder of this year and next year.
So, I decided that perhaps I should write about the career of School Psychology and why I believe there is such a need.
I believe there are a multitude of reasons why this profession is much needed and perhaps the need has even increased.
First, there are more children who survive premature birth. These children tend to have more complicated developmental patterns and they are at risk for learning disorders. Plus, the increase of autism identification and awareness results in an upswing of children receiving early intervention services.
Moreover, sadly we live in a complicated world. Many children have been subjected to abuse, witnessed violence, been born to drug effected parents or have other circumstances that make their lives “atypical”. Schools often have to address the needs of these children and their very heavy “baggage”. School Psychologists also are called upon to to help school staff with children who need much more than traditional teaching and curriculum.
Course of Study:
School Psychology is an “amalgam” career – a blend of many disciplines of psychology in to one position. First, a School Psychologist must know a lot about testing and measurement. They are often tasked to complete full psycho-educational batteries on students that include intellectual, educational, processing, behavioral and adaptive behavior measures. (Note: if you hate statistics don’t become a School Psychologist.) The reason for so much testing is to determine if a child with learning differences is in need of special support within the school. For example, a child may have processing challenges that qualifies them for extra services in reading or math. Or another child may need services for severe mental health issues. And, a child on the autism spectrum also may have special services availed to them. These “needs” all can fall under the umbrella of “special education’.
A psychologist in the schools needs to be up to date on behavioral programs, curriculum, administration best practices, counseling, and crisis services. More and more – crisis intervention and prevention is a skill-set that a School Psychologist must have.
School Psychology is a field that usually requires a doctorate or at the very least a “super -sized ” master’s degree. When you have finished your course of study, internships and thesis – you are then subjected to a multitude of state and national board exams.
Most states accept the NCSP (Nationally Certified School Psychologist certificate) – with a few exceptions. California is an exception. Once you have your NCSP you often are able to practice School Psychology in many states and the District of Columbia.
There are many plusses to this career. Obviously, there are jobs available. The pay can be substantial. There (almost) is offered a comprehensive benefit package. And, if you passed requirements in your state – you may be able to work exclusively or in addition to a school setting in a private practice.
Some “School Psych” positions allow the employee to follow teacher hours and schedules. Meaning you work school hours and have a nice summer vacation.
The biggest “perk’ is at the end of the day you have made a difference in the life of a child or several. This can be a huge reward and reason to go in to this field. It is what motivated me to get up early and stay late. Each child and their educational needs was important. Whether they were the first child I saw early in a school year or the last child before summer break. Their education mattered.
Read more about this field, expectations, experiences of others and requirements per state at NASPonline.org
Father’s Day is always tricky for me. I never know what presents to buy for hubby and this year was no exception. So, I took a “page” from our daughter’s philosophy that experiences far exceeds “things” when it comes to present giving. I took that sage advice and gave hubby a pass to the National Presidential Libraries (NARA.org) with our first stop- the Reagan Library.
This summer the Reagan library is hosting the Da Vinci collection. In essence, it was a handful of his mechanical drawings of tools. From his attempts to draw prototypes for flight to weapons that could create massive amounts of injury or death. Yes, the painter of the Mona Lisa must have spent many hours thinking dark thoughts to create such drawings that were more like “Dexter” than the angels he depicted in his earliest paintings.
Da Vinci’s multi-catapult weapon
Da Vinci's Artwork
Da Vinci’s life and artwork have been long chronicled. However, there remain many unanswered questions about his greatest works and the thought processes that were involved with his artistry and his mechanical drawings.
For example, The Mona Lisais one piece from Da Vinci’s portfolio that is veiled in continual mystery. Was ‘Mona Lisa” a woman or a man that captured the love interest of the reportedly homosexual DaVinci?
Secondly, the painting of the Last Supper has kept the interest and populated many a question by art and theology aficionados. Why did Da Vinci paint the 12 disciples and Christ as he did?
Also, at the Reagan library you will find Andy Warhol’s rendition of the Last Supper. The two juxtapose exhibits presented an interesting mix of pop culture meeting ancient masterpieces!
Below are the replicas on display at the Reagan library.
Don't leave without visiting other wonderful exhibits at the Reagan Library.
Allot two hours to really walk and enjoy the DaVinci exhibit. Then treat yourselves to lunch or a snack at the cafe on the grounds.
I would recommend not leaving before you visit the other notable parts of this vast library, including Air Force 1, Marine 1 and the gardens.
In the outside gardens you will find the burial place for the President and First Lady. Surrounded by a vista that is simply lovely.
Roses bushes adorn the exterior and must have been a favorite of Nancy Reagan.
You will also find a slab of the Berlin Wall. The docent indicated that this particular section was chosen as President Reagan looked the butterfly drawing that was on the Western Side. The Eastern Side is blank. Just concrete.
Inside, there are scores of exhibits that chronicle the two terms of the Reagan presidency and his life before and after. If visiting expect to add at least two more hours to cover these exhibits and visit the actual Air Force One and Marine One aircraft.
This past year I have had the pleasure of teaching high school students American Sign Language. I also had the experience of mentoring a senior during his required senior internship. While many thought that he would be my ASL intern, “J” found himself in the midst of my quirky world of social media marketing.
What is involved in mentoring a senior who has designs to be an engineer but by “default” ends up in media marketing? Well, first you have to set up some reasonable expectations. For me, I wanted “J” to learn that media marketing isn’t about taking selfies and posting them, but implementing strategy to help a client grow their business or promote an event.
Most of all, I wanted my high school intern to have a fun experience to put the final cap on his senior year!
I gave “J” a few activities to complete over his two weeks. What we didn’t count on was a respiratory virus to hit him like a ton of bricks, virtually cancelling all but a few hours of his first week.
He did, however, manage to get quite a bit done from the comfort of his home. Included in his mentorship was helping to create some Throw Back Thursday posts for client Donna Marie Robb, the author of HALFLING.
Then, “J’ did a comparative analysis for the confections store, Bon Chocolat Shop. Learning about who is your competition and who may be your power partners is important to the growth of a business.
This lesson was followed one about how to “take a meeting” to help local organizations grow. “J” was given an inside look in to the tourist industry of San Pedro, California from director, Scott Gray. To extend his learning, “J” created a digital billboard that illuminated for a few days in various spots throughout Los Angeles County.
Over the weekend, “J” was tasked to write a travel blog based on a unique experience. He was to pretend he was a tourist in Long Beach and for under $50 explore the city, have a meal and do something that would be considered, “unusual”. He checked off the “musts” and added a few of his own.
One highlight of the mentoring experience was that “J” received a personalized tour of the Sony lot in Culver City where he talked with Steve Leblang, TV researcher. While this future engineer wasn’t too excited about creating digital content for other assignments, he was happy to have an opportunity to look behind the scenes of the TV/ Movie industry. He saw the Ghost Buster cars and some other notable pieces of history, such as the numerous Oscars that Sony Films have won. Plus, he passed Bob Saget in the commissary eating with another “familiar face” (Norman Lear!)
The two – week internship culminated in a presentation. Little did I know that my life would be chronicled to considerable extent – (blushing).
As for that blog that “J” wrote about tourism in Long Beach – here is HIS BLOG. Enjoy and remember – keep learning!
My Senior Internship – Travel Blog
For my school, I must have two weeks of internship as a graduation requirement. For my internship, I had the opportunity to check out the world of Media Marketing. One of the things I challenged to do was to go to downtown Long Beach and act like I was a tourist and have a day of fun for fewer than 50 dollars.
I did some searching and one of the most interesting parts of Long Beach was Shoreline Village. It is overlooking the Harbor and the ocean. Parking is $2 for 1 hour or $8 for 8 hours. From here you can see the Queen Mary and lots of interesting boats in the harbor. In Shoreline Village make sure you stop at the hot sauce store – Hot Licks. They have lots of different sauces that you can sample. Some are CRAZY hot. You can also go into Village Hat Shop and try on lots of interesting hats. Ever wanted to be a pirate or safari hunter – then they have the hat for you! If you are into sweets – check out Sugar Daddies Sweet Shoppe or Rocky Mountain Chocolate. Sugar Daddies has extra large items of out of the ordinary candies. Shoreline Village also has many shops where you can get souvenirs or gifts as well as many different choices for food. They even have an arcade that has games for the young as well as the young at heart. If you would like a really unique photo of you and your group – stop by Smile for the Birdie – and take a photo with the exotic birds! Shoreline Village definitely has something for everyone.
I ate at Gilan Pizza & Grill. (429 Shoreline Village Dr. Ste C Long Beach, CA 90802) I shared a large pizza with two other people and we were all satisfied. The pizza was very good. The service was fast and very helpful. After that, we grabbed some ice cream a couple of doors down. Honestly, it was nothing special but it definitely is convenient if you want ice cream after you eat pizza. If you like Ferris Wheels then you are in luck. Across the street, at Pike’s Park (it’s more inland towards downtown Long Beach) you can ride the Ferris Wheel and get a great view of the shoreline and Long Beach. You can find tickets for around four dollars on the discount service- Groupon.
Of all the activities we did, my favorite was a scavenger hunt. This scavenger hunt is all on your phone. You can buy the game code on Groupon for $18 for 2 people (Groupon prices may vary). I chose Operation City Quest since it was the cheapest. After you download the app “Goosechase” and input the Groupon code into the app, you make a team name. Once you have a team name you will get all of your questions. The objective is to find everything on the list. When you find what you’re looking for on the list you take a picture on the app to submit your evidence. The app sends you clues of things to find like, “I am tall and man-made but I am not a building. What am I?” OR “Some may call me art – others are not so thrilled to see the spray painted likes of me. Find me!” Gotta say Long Beach doesn’t have much graffiti but found this art piece on the side of a building.
I had a great time during my day as a Southern California tourist who explored Long Beach. I learned that a person is able to absorb the sights and sounds of a Southern California community with just a few dollars and a good pair of shoes.
That is how long it has been since I heard the diagnosis that I had Stage 3 thyroid cancer and received a total thyroidectomy with neck dissection. Over 80 nodes removed from my thyroid and neck – with 1/3 or more of them to be found riddled with papillary cancer. Thankfully, I was in AMAZING care thanks to Dr. Ralph Tufano, my surgeon from the renowned Johns Hopkins University Hospital. Eight years later, I continue to be in his debt – as his surgical skills earned his place in the global medical arena as “Top Doc”.
I hate to disappoint, but that is all for my walk down memory lane. If you are really curious about the first seven years of my journey hit this link >> Louise’s Cancer Journey.(Note; the first blog is here)
Now I am going to fast-forward with an effort to educate and enlighten readers with a few new updates in the world of thyroid disease.
Also, new information about thyroid cancer is the updated research regarding this cancer’s genetic components. After participating in a few medical studies, I was interested in these findings about which variations of the cancer can be passed on to family members and which are just due to bad luck happening in your own body! (After genetic counseling and testing, I found out I had bad luck but my relatives are all “good to go”!)
Lastly, a reminder to trust your intuition. I have said this year after year – I KNEW something was NOT right with my body. I was gaining weight at a rapid pace and just didn’t have the energy I usually did. For someone as hyper as me, that was a concern! Only after a crazy string of events was my cancer discovered and by then it was aggressive. Thankfully, I received GREAT medical care and am happy to report that all is “status quo”. I did receive a bit of a lecture this year from my other Top Doc, Dr. David Cooper, from JHH. He advised me to reduce the stressors in my life so I can stay healthy. I took his advice to heart and I deleted what didn’t need to be in my life. It hard for someone as ADHD as me to work on having more work-life balance – but I am!
Feel free to share your experiences with thyroid issues in the comment section. We are all here to learn. Also, here is a PSA I made several years ago with the corresponding outtake video.
Also, the number 8 when placed on its’ side looks like the INFINITY ∞ sign. I would say that is quite apropos!
Last week I was asked to help start aGoFundMe page for a person I have never met. She is a physical education teacher who through a series of life events now has debilitating back pain due to a spinal disc that has partially broken off. Surgery is needed to alleviate the pain and start the healing, but due to red tape, her insurance company is denying or limiting much of the coverage she will need to pay for the “must have” medical procedures and after care.
I don’t want to make this article about insurance issues in our country, but rather how a community has come together in less than five days to donate a serious “chunk of change” to get Ms. Monica Wood back on her feet again. They have given her not only financial help but the gift of their love and community spirit.
Side note: I know the agony of back pain and my experiences have been nothing compared to what Monica is having to endure. Read related blog.
Monica Wood and I have communicated via good old fashioned texts and what I have learned is this is a vivacious woman who is beloved by the students, staff and parents at Grand View Elementary School in Manhattan Beach, California. She exudes all the traits one needs for a speedy recovery as she is hopeful and keeping a positive outlook. She also believes in not wasting a moment or wallowing on her situation as she recently asked a group of friends about how to get connected with area organizations who knit blankets for families with new babies. Geez – that is one incredible woman!
Monica’s unique story is best told by the many comments and photos that have been left on the walls of the GoFundMe campaign. I am simply inspired by each and every one. These days we are all so busy and focused on our own lives – but, the outpouring of love and generosity to help this educator simply is a testimony to the willingness of community members to stop everything in order to help. Not only are they demonstrating their support with their wallets, but also with their hearts and social sharing to others. Those who are in social media call the act of social sharing: #SocialGood!
From the GoFundMe “Giving BACK to Monica Wood” campaign:
Monica, You are the best! Always positive, encouraging, and energetic. We are so sorry you are having such pain. We wish you a speedy recovery. Love, Kate, JT, Edie and David <B>
Ms. Wood- you were the first person to really see Brendan and to help him have happy time in school. You gave him a safe place and a teacher’s love. I’m so sorry you are going through this. You deserve the best of everything. ~ <B.P/>
We got your back, Monica!!!!! ~ Kari
Monica Wood has responded to all the amazing folks in her GoFundMe “sphere” with these words
Lastly, I conclude this note to all with a video from the GoFundMe page and also my thanks to all for reading this very special story.