Sunday, August 30, 2009

Two Weeks Later

So it's been two weeks in Urbana, and things have been moving at a fast pace. Like I said, I am working as a teacher's assistant at a local middle school. I'm helping out with the classes for the students with learning disabilities, emotional disabilities, and cognitive impairments. We're spending most of our time working on reading skills, as we are working primarily with 7th and 8th graders who have 2nd or 3rd grade reading levels. There are lots of challenges that spring up here, of course, but one that has surprised me the most is the issue of finding proper reading material for our students. In order to get them to be reading on their own, to themselves, on their own time - which is one of our biggest goals - they need to have texts that they can both comprehend and be interested in. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the literature that they can read doesn't interest them at all; you have no idea how many times last week that I heard someone tell me, "Man, I don't want to read that. That's kid's stuff."

And it's true; no 14-year old wants to read (or, even more so, be seen reading) anything about Amelia Badelia or My Teacher the Tyrannosaurus. Unfortunately, everything that I have found so far that might be interesting to them on a thematic level is above their reading comprehension skills.

So here's your homework - I know that a lot of you have some kind of experience in either early education or special education. So my question is: what resources exist for these students? There should be a program that publishes reading material that deals with issues appropriate for young adults that is on a young child's reading skill level. I have done some research into the area online, but, although I have found some interesting independently published journals aimed at middle school-aged students, I have yet to find anything that could possibly accommodate our students. So, please, if you have any leads on where to find literature designed for young adults with learning disabilities and remedial reading skills, or if you know of someone who might have some productive thoughts on this matter, please let me know.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

No Time To Blog! No Time To Blog! No Time To Blog!

We moved to Urbana! Mom and Dad came out to help us move out! It rained a lot! I'm working as a teacher's aide for Champaign Public Schools! R.A. starts classes next week, and will be working in the UIllinois library! 77% of Americans polled think that it is important to provide both a public health care plan administered by the federal government and a private plan for their health insurance! My cat's breath smells like cat food!

Friday, August 7, 2009

Yet Another Weekend Update

Well, I haven't been doing a very good job of blogging on a regular basis. But, in my defense, quite alot has been going on recently. R.A. and I are moving to Champaign-Urbana in less than two weeks, and my parents are going to come out from Oregon to help us move. R.A. already has a part-time job lined up in addition to her classes that she will be taking, and my brain has been pretty much fraggled with all of the shuttling back and forth between Chicago and Champaign that I have been doing for job interviews. I have one or two prospects down there, so please keep good thoughts/ pray/ make animal sacrifices/ invoke the Law of Attraction on my behalf. I would appreciate it.

In the meantime, well, it has been pretty cold and rainy here in Chicago. I feel kinda bad when I read about the sweltering and oppressive heat that my friends and family have been enduring on the west coast. It's almost as if our summers this year have been switched this year, with Portland being hot and muggy and miserable and Chicago being cool and rainy and damp. (Seriously! I had to wear a friggin' sweatshirt today, and it's August!)

So, in short not too much interesting has been happening in my life. At least, not much blog-worthy. However, the USA Today did release its first college football poll of the season!
And do you know who USA Today's preseason top 5 are? Florida, Texas, Oklahoma, USC, and Alabama. Seriously, Orrin Hatch should be spending his time trying to ban these preseason polls if he really wants Utah in the championship. (They have Notre Dame at 23, for Touchdown Jesus' sake! Have these people even been watching college football for the past ten years?)

Here is a weird and rather disturbing gender-biased article from the Boston Globe about the color of Red Sox fans hats: "Why is the Pink Hat so Hated?" If it were up to me, I would ban those green Irish baseball caps. They have those for both the Cubs and the White Sox now, and even though Chicago does have a long tradition of Irish violence, I still feel like those hats do nothing but encourage general douchebaggery.

And, finally, speaking of violent douchebags, what is up with all of the disruptions of Democrats town hall meetings about universal health care about?

Seriously, what is with these people? Barging into other people's political rallies, shouting down speakers and elected officials, threatening violence and rioting. It's like we have our very own brand of the SA! Only these are all old people. But, you know, they're old people with Second Amendment rights.

Pledge to attend a health care meeting here.

On a slightly brighter note:

I'm thinking of changing John Bolton's Wikipedia page to just a link of the footage of Hillary Clinton laughing derisively.

Saturday, August 1, 2009

Weekend Update

I haven't had much time to blog in the past week. R.A. and I visited her family in New Hampshire last weekend, and then we went down to Champaign on Tuesday for job interviews. We're moving in two weeks - it's coming up really soon! We keep telling the cat that we're going to put her in a box and drive her to a new home, but she doesn't listen.

In the meantime:

Why Your Stadium Sucks: U.S. Cellular Field

At the Cell our drunks aren't content to sit and look pretty while texting on their Blackberries and talking on the phone like the drunks at Wrigley. No, our fans rush out and beat the crap out of a Kansas City Royals first Linkbase coach. Our fans attack a first base umpire. At least once a month it seems like some asshat is delaying a game by running out on the field. If the Steve Bartman incident had happened at the Cell, he would have been torn to pieces and his head put on a pike over the front gate. In general, the fans are a reflection of Ozzie Guillen - foul mouthed, abrasive and a bit nasty at times but uniquely Chicago.
Iran Arrests 3 Americans Hiking in Kurdish Area

The three Americans hiked in an area along the Iranian border near the Kurdish villages of Biyara and Tawila, and they spent Thursday night camped out at the border, the Kurdish official said.

On Friday morning, the official said, they “trekked into Iranian territory, knowingly or unknowingly, and found themselves detained by the Iranians.”

Kurdish security forces found tents, blankets, food, notebooks and a bottle of whiskey among the belongings the group left behind at the campsite.

The porous and mountainous border area between Iraqi Kurdistan and Iran, which is a popular resort and hiking area, is also used by smugglers and Iranian Kurdish guerrilla fighters opposed to Iran’s government.
Who does that? Who would possibly think that this was a good idea? Who would be all, "I know, instead of going to Cancun this year, let's vacation in the mountainous and lawless region between Iraq and Iran, used by smugglers and guerrilla fighters. Oh, and let's be sure to bring plenty of whiskey with us, too. That won't reflect poorly on Americans at all. Nor will it raise suspicions of American agents working to overthrow the government of Iran at all. Nope, not at all."