The weather changed today and the next few days doesn’t look too good. Kate kindly took me to visit Gloucester and Rockport on the North Shore today. I loved Rockport and I’m so grateful to Kate for taking me there. Even though the visibility wasn’t great, it was still lovely and I’d love to see it on a good day!
Had a day in Boston today. The weather was amazing. I think the pictures say it all.
I had heard that they go crazy for Halloween here in the USA, but had no idea that people loved this holiday quite so much. The costumes that people were wearing all over the city today actually had very little to do with horror. Just fancy dress crazy! Americans must be so disappointed with the British at Halloween if they're in the UK at this time of year. One teacher here mentioned that she expects about 100 kids to knock her door for trick or treat on the 31st!
Today I spent time with a new teacher to the Science department here at Perkins. In watching Drew it made me reflect on the time when I first joined the Science department at NCW and the time it takes to develop the skills to teach your subject to visually impaired students. He is to be admired for being so keen to try new teaching and learning strategies with the students and working hard to develop active learning. He has introduced a method to organise students’ folders which I really liked and have not tried. Thanks Drew! I’ll be trying that out when I return home.
We went outside to do part of his physics lesson, taking full advantage of the glorious weather.
Although there is the threat of a hurricane next week!
Spent a lot of time looking at the resources that Kate uses or has available to her. I also considered the differences in exams procedures and the use of modified exam papers. The bottom line is that there are certainly differences all round!
After ‘work’ Kate took me to Harvard Square and we walked around the Harvard campus in Cambridge.
The evening was topped off with a burger and onion rings at Mr Bartley’s, chased down by a raspberry lime rickey. I had ‘The Jersey Shore’. Wow, I’m so full now!
The Grousbeck Center for Students and Technology was the first stop today. Wow, what a great addition to the school. So modern (only a year old), bright and spacious. The Assistive Tech Coordinator, Jim, was kind enough to spend a few hours showing me the tech and facilities and telling me about how the school is developing best practice. A couple of pieces of kit were new to me and he also showed me the new Perkins Smart Brailler. A great piece of kit for those learning and teaching Braille. I am sure that this will continue to be improved further still and we agreed that it helps to promote the importance of learning Braille.
After being brought right up to date with the tech, I was then taken by Kate to see the wild animals. No danger! They were all stuffed. I am so jealous! I would love to have such a collection of stuffed animals for the children I teach. I couldn't help touching them all myself! When else do you get to be so close to these animals without being hurt?
I'm staying on this beautiful campus and the weather was glorious once again today!
Met with Sharon today, a fabulous teacher of deaf blind students, here at Perkins and spent time with her class. Some students have CHARGE and Perkins have a webcast about this condition, if you're interested. The idea of their webcasts made me reflect on the fact that it really is thanks to me watching the Perkin's Accessible Science webcasts that I contacted Kate Fraser here. So it really is thanks to these webcasts that I'm here at all, because it was so nice to view someone and get a feel for that person (something that text alone can't really communicate). Kate has been every bit as great as I thought she would be. We really do share so many views on teaching methods of visually impaired students and have already talked about several tactile models that we could make together in the two weeks that I'm here!
Saw some Science classes today. So much overlap with my own setting and it's so nice to be with others who are just as enthusiastic about tactile modelling as I am! That's not something that happens everyday! There are some great people working here at Perkins, who really care deeply about the education of visually impaired young people. In this way it is so similar to My own school, New College Worcester. The students are great too. Day 1 was a good day! The weather is glorious too and the autumn colours are wonderful.