I cannot believe this semester is finally over. It has honestly been a tough semester for me with all of the work, but I am proud that I was able to accomplish everything that I did. One of my classes, EDDI 515, was a class that I really enjoyed. One of the awesome activities that we were able to do over the course of the class was to plan an activities night for students in the 4th and 5th grade at Windermere Boulevard School in Amherst.
The night that we were planning for all started back when we first visited the school earlier in the semester. Our professor, Dr. Julie Henry, wanted us to see what a gifted program was like, and the teacher Lindsay, was actually an alumni of the program. She was great! She showed us many different things that her students have done as well as some of the things she was planning on doing with them. It was actually really nice to see some of the things that can be found in a gifted classroom. It wasn’t necessarily hands on, but it was first hand experience that I am sure eased a lot of minds in the room that night. Everyone, including myself, were learning about gifted children throughout the semester in this class and EDDI 520, but none of us never really had the experience of working with gifted students. We didn’t really know what a gifted classroom should look like or what type of work a gifted teacher has to do. It was really nice being able to see these different things so we do not enter an environment like that blindly.
After that day, the teacher at WBS came back to Canisius help us out with the case study that was a course requirement. Without getting too much into detail, each of us had to watch a student for a few days and then create a plan for that gifted student. Lindsay was giving us the option to come back to WBS and observe a child from her class. While she was there, we started talking about doing a night at her school that would give her gifted students, as well as other students in the school, a “Mind Crushers” night. This night would have us all creating high level games for students to come in and try.
From then on out, we spent some time each class thinking about this idea. What would it be called? What would we do? What grade levels would we include? How long would it be? We decided to call it “Mind Crushers” and include students in 4th and 5th grade for an hour. The graduate students would create puzzles or different activities that would push children to think more creatively and critically. Most of us paired up and we began to create the activity we would bring with us that night. Our professor even got her husband and his science methods class involved from Buff State. This was great because it gave the children more options to choose from!
That night, I was not sure what to expect. I was not sure if a lot of parents would bring their children or if the children would have fun with what we provided. In that hour, we had a line of students that were waiting to try our activity. We also notice lines at every other station around us. It was full! Many parents decided to bring their children! I was so happy to see so many families there. And on top of just bringing their children, they were super involved with what was happening. Many of the parents decided to sit with their children at each station and actually participate with them. Often times during nights like this, we see children that are participating in the activity while the parents gather in a corner and talk to one another. That was definitely the opposite situation here. Personally, I loved seeing the parents and children working together!
Overall, I think it had been a successful night, as did my fellow classmates and teacher. I think the children and parents enjoyed themselves as did we. I hope this is something that my professor continues to do. What an enjoyable way to end the semester!
I am not a winter person. I cannot ski, snowboard, or ice skate. Basically, I am part of the minority here in Buffalo. A girl like me should be sitting on the beaches of Florida with a good book. But since I never want to leave this wonderful place, I need to find things to keep me busy throughout the winter.
For many people, the newest attraction here in Buffalo is Canalside. During the winter months there is this amazing ice rink with string lights and small shops. It opened this year and it has been a hit! Not only can you skate there, but there are also bikes that can be rented that glide on the ice. A nice alternative for people like me who don’t function in winter. Ha! If you don’t go there for the ice skating, it is nice to get go there and take a walk because it is decorated so beautifully. Near Canalside is a new restaurant called (716) Food and Sport. This place is great! I was able to visit there this past Sunday and it is heaven for a sports fan. There is a huge screen TV along with many other TVs that line the walls of the place. It is also lined with sports facts from every sport and bar counters that look like ice rinks. I got a burger there and it was amazing. Again near both of those places if First Niagara Center, home to the Buffalo Sabres. Granted, they are not doing their best this season, but it is still a fun place to go (and if hockey is not your thing, the Buffalo Bills play only 15 minutes south of downtown in my hometown of Orchard Park)! With all of those things near by, that area makes a great day trip! Plus, you can always hop on the 90 and be at the Galleria Mall in minutes 😉 I definitely am not a winter person. I mean, this year we got over 9 feet of snow, with 7 of them coming during #Snowvember. It has been a long, tough winter, but it is nice to know that in-between all of those travel advisories there are plenty of things to do for those who are like me and cannot function in winter.
My favorite time of year by far is summertime. I can spend more time outside, and less time in front of Netflix (I’m telling you, it’s a serious problem I have). Canalside is also a summer destination because there is a Naval Park. For roughly $10, you can tour two naval boats and a submarine that contains the history of both. It is also still set up like it was back then, and for me it was an eye opener that those people slept in the bunks that they did. You can also rent a water bike and other cool things that I have yet to try but I cannot wait to! Concerts happen there, as well as other events. Even if there isn’t an event happening, there is a long stretch of land that can be walked. This land faces the water and it’s a beautiful place to catch the sunset. On Canalside, there are adirondack chairs to sit in and on the Marina side (which is connected) there are benches. You can even bring your own blanket or chairs! There are also tours that can be taken downtown, some free and some with a small charge. I have only done one free one and this one takes you to the 28th floor of City Hall and gives an amazing view!! Again, if that gets boring, the Galleria Mall is minutes away!
No but really, downtown is really an up and coming place. With restaurants like The Chocolate Bar and Chef’s, along with the waterfront, there is plenty to do! A little south of Buffalo there is a line of beaches that are jam packed during the summer. Since we only get so much summertime, everyone in Buffalo cannot wait to enjoy it. If you are an out of town student looking to come here for graduate school, don’t worry, there is plenty to do when school work from the DI Program isn’t keeping you up at night.
I have attached some pictures that I have taken of some places that you can see around Downtown 🙂
P.S Can you tell I love summer so much more than winter?
This is my first blog ever and I am so excited that it is with at Canisius for the Differentiated Instruction Program. I decided to do this blog so hopefully the word gets out about this amazing program. As a second semester graduate student, I want people to know the amazing things about the program and why it is important to obtain a differentiated instruction degree, no matter what grade level you plan on teaching.
First a little about me: Before coming to Canisius, I attended SUNY Fredonia and got a degree in childhood education with a middle school extension in social studies, giving me the ability to teach grades 1-6 as well as 7-9 respectively. I just graduated this past May and started at Canisius in the fall. Right now I am working toward the Differentiated Instruction degree and I am getting an extension in special education as well as early childhood (don’t worry, I will explain all that another time). The nice thing is, the program is only one year, if you choose to make it that way, so I am going to participate in the required summer camp over and still be able to graduate in May. As I write in this blog, expect gifs, especially ones that come from two of my favorite TV shows: How I Met Your Mother & New Girl. Also, if any of my classes show me videos I think will benefit you, I’ll add them here as well!
I hope that as I blog about my time here at Canisius that you will fall in love with the program just as much as I have. I also hope that as you read this blog, you will become more confident in the program and the future it holds in our education system. If you ever have any questions that I can help you out with, please email me!
Until next time, check out the video and see What is Differentiated Instruction? Also, I often see this picture tossed around when talking about D.I. Let me know what you think of it!