Tuesday, October 14, 2008


People sometimes wonder why teachers are known hoarders. This year my classroom population changed pretty significantly and I found myself digging out materials I made during my student teaching, graduate school and first year of teaching (which feel like a long time ago, but were really in 1997-1999) when I worked with students of similar abilities.

Having changed employers twice and buildings six times since then it is pretty shocking how many items I have that still say "room 8" (my first classroom). The big yellow Judy clock isn't a surprise for surviving, but the hand drawn math tic tac toe game my current students have been playing practically every day (somehow it has become a favorite in the past six weeks) is a little amazing! (I will post a picture tomorrow.) What if I didn't save everything? I would have to start over.

Thinking back to that time and working with a graduate student in the same program I was in somehow lead to me pawing through my box of other (non-teaching) materials too. There were Polaroids (please tell me you know what a Polaroid is) of former students with hand written captions saying, "switch placement, left temple". There were all of my graduate school observation forms which reminded me of how new ground was broken taking medically fragile students on community based instruction trips (it was unheard of, plus we had eight wheelchairs and only myself and an aide). My personal favorite was the sign that hung inside my classroom door that said what every student needed to leave with at the end of the day. A couple of students had to leave with "laptop computer, charger, switch, switch interface, keyboard cover, switch mount and wheelchair tray". We were the cutting edge, I tell you, just twelve years ago mounting laptops running Boardmaker with Speaking Dynamically (not Pro, just Speaking Dynamically) with a switch interface (with serial connections) hanging out of it, a (regtangular) switch on a universal switch mount (with those damned levers that always broke and made greasy ball bearings spray across the floor) and a piece of carefully cut, taped and painted tri-wall cardboard cover to protect the keyboard. (And, yes, we would set all that up when we headed into the community and walked around in Boston like that.)

So there is a little post about recycling materials and a few recycled memories.

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