Summer Sharing and Paring

garbagePailIt’s vacation, June 21, and officially the first day of summer. It’s also been an extremely rainy June, providing me more time indoors than at the pool. Last year by this time I was swimming daily half miles in our neighborhood pool; this year the weather has allowed just 3 swims since the pool opened on Memorial Day. It’s been somewhat likewise with our kayaking.

Rather than get frustrated, I have used the time to majorly clean up and out my files, papers, desk and email. There is something immensely satisfying in seeing my load get lighter, in overfilling a garbage pail, in organizing my Google Docs into folders, in paring down my collection of books. I like the act of organizing; heck, I volunteer to organize professional development at school!

So I’m starting the summer by paring down, but also by sharing. Here are some goodies to ponder for the summer.

HOW DID I GET INTO THIS PLACE?
In my experience, most tenth graders do not decide they’d like to write a book and then not only follow through with their plan but self-publish and have the book sell over kristi book100 copies within hours. However, this young person is not your typical tenth grader. In fact, she is now a high school senior as of her last day of school a few weeks ago!

Back when she was in tenth grade, Kristi decided she wanted to pursue an independent study project as an eleventh grader, the project being to write a book that would serve as a guide for students with learning differences to help them navigate the world of high school.

While Kristi’s book is written for students at the school she attends, and where I teach, it is applicable to any student who has a learning difference and struggles with the process of school.

I had the privilege of being Kristi’s advisor throughout the process, which she initiated as a tenth grader, several months before her independent study proposal had even been submitted. The result of her fastidious organization and preparation is an 80 page book that is eminently readable and packed with useful content for both students and teachers. How Did I Get Into This Place? is available for purchase, which is exactly what my school did for all 170 faculty, staff and administrators as summer reading.

THE DANA ALLIANCE FOR BRAIN INITIATIVES
The Dana Foundation is located in New York City, at 745 Fifth Avenue. The Foundation provides resources, both in print and online, including The Dana Guide to Brain Health, a wiki that “is a practical family reference from medical experts.” In addition, the Foundation sponsors events such as the Learning and the Brain conference, “reports news, supports scientists, and supports arts education.” A senior project manager at Dana was most helpful in providing 40 copies each of two publications (Staying Sharp: Memory Loss and Aging, and Your Brain at Work) for me to hand out at the April CAIS conference at which I presented.

THE YALE CENTER FOR DYSLEXIA & CREATIVITY
Who knew this center even existed! A colleague first introduced me to Yale’s center sometime in the spring when the center advertised A Special Conference for K-8 Independent Schools – Dyslexia & Creativity: New Research & Implications. The conference registration filled up quickly, and my colleague and I wound up on the waiting list. The Yale Center for Dyslexia & Creativity has a worthy mission “to uncover and illuminate the strengths of those with dyslexia, disseminate the latest innovations from scientific research and practical advice, and transform the treatment of children and adults with dyslexia.” I leave you with another part of the center’s mission:

Dyslexia is often spoken of as a hidden disability. What is not at all appreciated is that dyslexia can be also a hidden source of great abilities and frequently unrecognized powers.

p.s. Ah, the SUN is out and I am going to go for a swim!

6/22/09 UPDATE: I missed the swim – sun was only out briefly, but the “sun” was shining on the Yale Conference wait list, and it turns out my colleague and I will both be attending the conference!

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