The Root Word Is Root Beer

, , , , | Learning | December 28, 2018

(I work with students with special needs. As most are nonverbal, we speak with a mixture of simplified English and simplified ASL, and have the students use TalkTablets, which we refer to as “Voice.” A student just got his Voice and is having too much fun with it.)

Student: *pressing TALK button* “What what what what button blue green yellow red what what what…”

Me: *speaking and signing* “[Student], no! Voice is speaking, not playing!”

Student: *quickly presses more buttons, then presses TALK* “I want beer! I want beer! I want beer!”

Me: “No, [Student], no… What?!”

(I took the tablet away and sure enough, there was a subsection under FOOD/DRINK for alcohol! We checked the other students’ tablets, and they had it, as well. Because the school provides them with the tablets to keep, and the students are expected to use them for life, the speech therapists ordered the adult version, instead of the kid version. Luckily, they were able to block the grown-up sections. As for my student, he is still learning how to properly use his Voice.)

Either That Or They Have A Low Opinion Of Coldplay

, , , | Learning | December 27, 2018

(I am teaching a student, who is autistic and nonverbal, to recognize sign language. We are reviewing colors. I show her a flashcard with a square of the color on it and she is supposed to show me the corresponding ASL sign.)

Me: “Okay, [Student], what color is this?” *shows yellow*

Student: *signs “pee”*

Me: “Oh, you need toilet?” *shows sign for “toilet”*

Student: *shakes head, taps flashcard, signs “pee”*

Me: *trying the sign for toilet again* “[Student], do you need the toilet?”

Student: *shakes head, signs “no,” taps flashcard, signs “pee”*

Me: *suddenly understanding* “Pee is…” *signs “pee” and taps flashcard*

Student: *signs “yes”*

Me: *pulls out red flashcard* “What color is this?”

Student: *signs “apple”*

(Essentially, instead of learning the sign for each color word, such as “yellow” or “red,” she used signs that commonly are those colors, such as “apple” for “red,” “water” for “blue,” etc. On the one hand, it showed awesome creative ability. On the other hand, it meant none of her sentences made sense, as she did this for numbers, letters, and other words. But hey, gotta love the imaginative ones!)

Suddenly Passed With Flying Colors

, , , , , | Learning | December 26, 2018

(My family immigrates to the US and I attend ESOL classes in the local school. Many of the other ESOL students are refugees from poorer countries than the US or my birth country, so they are going through major culture shock as well as learning English. One particular student struggles with very simple concepts, such as colors. No one understands why he can’t progress, especially since he studies so hard. One day, I come into class and he is wearing glasses.)

Me: “Oh, you have glasses? You need glasses?”

Student: “Yes, the teacher give to me these glasses!”

Me: “You could not see before?”

Student: “No, I could not. The teacher, she give to me these glasses, and now I see the colors!”

Me: “See the colors?”

Student: “Yes, I am what is called colorblind!”

(It turns out, there are many countries that, for various reasons, do not recognize or test for colorblindness. He steadily improved and caught up with the rest of us. A friend of mine whose younger sister is still going to that school told me the ESOL administration now regularly tests for colorblindness and other learning barriers in the ESOL students to help them integrate and learn English better.)

Holiday Roundup 2018

| Friendly Healthy Hopeless Learning Legal Related Right Romantic Working | December 25, 2018
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you be of good cheer
It’s the most wonderful time of the year(*)

Long before we started NotAlwaysHopeless we had lots of stories that put smiles on our faces and cheer in our hearts.  We offer you a present of a sampling of those older stories!

Faith In Humanity In Small Doses — You never know who will turn your day around.

We Love (To Pay) To See You Smile — A smile on your face today can mean a new job tomorrow!

Good People Are Not A Dime A Dozen — A small good deed becomes a special experience.

Please Let The Coffee “Be Good” — A joking and friendly clerk give a big boost!

How To Make An Employee’s Day — Something that seems small can make someone feel very important.

Not All Knights Are In Shining Armor — When the best people turn up at just the right time.

Tipping The Scale — One big smile earns another.

Random Acts of Cuddleness — Helping others inspires.

Good News For A Change, Part 2 What starts out as a typical NAR story turns into a feel-good tale.

There’s Something In Those Poppy Seeds — BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL BAGEL


Want more stories to warm your heart and lift your spirits?  We have plenty over at NotAlwaysHopeless.


(*) “It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” Pola & Wyle, 1963

Best To Just Say “Hakuna Matata” And Move On

, , , , , | Learning | December 25, 2018

(This story takes place when I am in the second grade. There is some kind of school-wide book writing contest going on that everybody is supposed to participate in. I decide to make an animal counting book with weird adjectives and interesting animals. One of the animals I pick is the meerkat, which I love to watch on “Meerkat Manor” after school. I submit my story to my teacher and am surprised when she calls me up to talk about it.)

Teacher: “Oh, this is nice. I like what you’ve done. But sweetie, you know meerkats aren’t real, right?”

Me: “What? Yes, they are.”

Teacher: “No, sweetie, I don’t think so. They’re just in that Lion King movie.”

Me: “Meerkats are real! I watch them on TV all the time! It’s on Animal Planet!”

(After more protests and my second-grade self rambling about the show, she Googled it on her computer, still extremely skeptical. As pictures of very real meerkats came up she seemed bewildered and dismissed me. She actually seemed so confused, I’m not sure she even trusted the pictures on Google.)

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