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Teachers have always been under appreciated and underpaid and with recent economic issues, getting a job as a teacher has seemed harder than ever. However, studying to become a teacher has proven to take more time in college and require more credit hours. Even more challenging of a career is in Special Education where teachers must work harder to engage and educate children with various disabilities. So why would young adults still pursue this kind of career? For Central Michigan University student, Katie Knopp, the answer to that question is simple:

“ I do what I do because I want to advocate for them because people with special needs don’t get to speak up for themselves,” Knopp said. “They’re people just like you and I. They have the same dreams, needs, and wants and I’m helping them to live without their disability running their life. That’s why do what I do, to help them.”

Knopp’s interest in Special Education comes from a personal place. Her cousin, Maggie, has severe Down syndrome. Through interacting with Maggie, Knopp became very interested in how she adapted and lived her everyday life and developed a passion for working with kids with special needs.

Knopp is currently in her fourth year at CMU studying Special Education, concentrating on Cognitive Impairment with a minor in Adaptive Physical Education. After she graduates in December of 2015, she hopes to return to her hometown to work with the school she interned with during her senior year of high school.

“I would really like to get a job working with more mild to severe disabilities,” Knopp said. “I think I really have the ability to connect with these kids and help them to look past their disabilities.”

The academics at CMU

The Special Education program at CMU is very good with a variety of course topics and opportunities to gain field experience. Knopp mentions that Dr. Judy Chandler and Holly Hoffman were two particularly helpful people during her time at CMU.

“We have some really great professors here,” Knopp said. “[They] really are experienced in the field and do a good job of sharing their experiences with us and letting us learn from mistakes they’ve made and challenges they’ve faced.”

Dr. Chandler has been working with kids with special needs since the late 1970s and is specifically experienced in the area of adaptive physical education, which she teaches at CMU. The class consists of coursework two days a week, and once a week Chandler’s students work with a kids with special needs from the Mount Pleasant community. The students with special needs only get one other time during the week devoted to physical education, so this class allows them a second time to be active which is very important, according to Dr. Chandler.
The adaptive physical education course is also very valuable to the college students. They gain valuable experience working hands-on with individuals ranging from mild to severe disabilities. All CMU students studying physical education are required to take this course even if they were not originally planning to educate in a setting with students with special needs.

“Eventually Michigan will become full inclusion, “ Chandler said. “They will have kids with disabilities that they will have to accommodate in their classrooms.”

Both Chandler and Hoffman agree that there is great value and a great need for people to become special needs educators. There is a really high hiring rate for special education teachers and from CMU as students learn to teach in a variety of settings, Hoffman said.

Tori and Katie

This semester Knopp has been paired up with Tori Blanshan, a 19-year-old girl with severe and very classic autism. Knopp meets with Blanshan for about one hour every Friday to work on her physical skills. They have done things such as bowling, swimming, throwing balls, various station activities, and walking around the track.
Lack of communication is common for kids with autism so working with Blanshan can prove to be difficult at times.

“You can tell her to do something over and over again, but she won’t respond to anything auditory,” Knopp said. “The technique I use is to write on a white board; she can read functionally and that’s how we communicate.”

Knopp’s career goals include teaching physical education in an environment with students with more severe disabilities. She feel’s she can not only help them live without their disability running their lives, while advocating for them in society and to let people know that people with special needs are not so different.



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Personal Video Profile

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Personal Video Profile

Allyson Garstecki

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Thoughts on Chapters 11, 12, 13

Chapters 11, 12, and 13 were really interesting to read and really helpful with my knowledge of video journalism and how to make a great video story.  Chapter 11 was all about interviews.  I learned a lot about how to do background research and find more information to be better prepared for an interview.  I didn’t realize that to conduct a really effective interview there are so many things to think about.  For example, Kobre talks a lot about planning for an interview and how important researching your subject is for developing good questions to get good answers to use in your story.  The section about what to do if people don’t want to talk to you was particularly helpful for me.  Through past experience of video interviews, I have come across several people that haven’t really wanted to talk to me or didn’t seem to really take me very seriously.  Now that I’ve read some of Kobre’s helpful hints such as not calling it “interview” and how to rephrase your intent or convince the person that they really have an important viewpoint to contribute. 

Chapter 12 was interesting because it was all about writing a script for your final video story.  I honestly had never really thought about writing out an actual script for a video story, mostly because I never thought about narrating my story.  I was always under the impression that the best video stories were created using natural sound and sound from interviews with the question edited out.  Kobre does say natural sound tends to make better stories, however, he mentions that it all depends on what will tell the story the best.  It was also interesting to read about how the editing process can be really involved as well. At first I was thinking that going through shot material and logging the clips with notes about what happens in each of them was too long of a process to have to do before editing.  However, now I can see how logging would be very beneficial in the long run because it will help you to easily find the clips you want to put together to best tell the story. 

Chapter 13 really got more in depth with the editing process. Kobre mentions several video programs and the importance of a hard drive and saving often.  The section that explains different kinds of cuts in video was very beneficial.  As I was reading this part, I was thinking of how often I have seen these techniques in documentaries and even commercials, I had just never known the name for them or the benefits and strategies of using each.  I learned about he common cut, cutting on action, cutting on the rest, cutaways, parallel cutting, match cuts, split edit, and transitions between two clips like cross dissolve. 

I watched the video “Pathology of Errors” produced by Stephanie Saul and Shayla Harris from the New York Times.  This was included in the section talking about the importance of showing contrast of two different points of view.  The video would have been very bland and uninteresting and just simply one person’s account if the video only included Monica Long.  However, the producers included interviews of a patient with a similar case and several doctors that really added interest and depth to the story.

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The 3/50 Project: Pick 3, Spend 50, Save Your Local Economy

Spending money locally to support small business impacts the economy in a bigger way than most people realize.  Many are not aware that for every $100 spent in a local business, $68 will stay in that community.  When that same $100 is spent in a larger chain store, only $43 stay in the community.  This fact is one of the reasons that retail consultant and professional speaker Cinda Baxter created the 350 Project.

The 350 Project is a campaign brought about to raise awareness of the positive impact small businesses have on their local economy. The tagline created for this awareness is “Pick 3, spend 50, save your local economy”.

The “3” represents three independently owned businesses that would be missed if they were not in that area anymore.  The “50” represents the fact that if half of the employed population spent at least $50 in those local businesses every month, $42.6 billion would be generated in the local economy.

Baxter originally got the idea to start the 350 Project after several media stories related to the current economy.  Early in March 2009, Oprah aired a show that discussed how consumers spend too much money on “wants” rather than “needs”.  A few days later a news story from CBS reported consumer spending drives that 70% of the economy.

On March 11, 2009, Baxter put the 350 Project into effect through a blog post.   Her post discussed how consumers supporting small businesses in their area could channel money back into local economies.

“The goal is simple: Ask consumers to frequent three local brick and mortar businesses they don’t want to see disappear, and to spend a very affordable $50 per month doing it,” Baxter said.

For one town in particular, small businesses are what drive the character and economy of that community: St. Joseph, Michigan is a small town located on the southwestern part of Lake Michigan.

Several aspects of the location, such as the beaches and the lake, are what drive tourism.  However, perhaps the largest contributor to the successful community is the small businesses that make up downtown St. Joseph.

Miranda Skibbe, manager of JUST BEAD IT-a small bead and jewelry shop– is one retailer that really appreciates the downtown area.  She said the location creates a lot of foot traffic and the three blocks of shopping all in a row really allow a “something-for-everybody” feel.

The success of the downtown area is the main reason for the welcome center, St. Joseph Today.  The main mission of the organization is to improve the image and recognition of St. Joseph to further business and tourism growth.

They are dedicated to serving visitors, residents and local businesses.  Through encouraging the support of the small independent businesses, they are promoting the same ideals that are advocated by the 350 Project.

One element the organization helps to bring to the area is local festivals. Since the town is very tourist driven, the spring and summer months bring a lot of people to the area.  To help bring more business in the fall and winter months, St. Joe Today organizes various festivals and events to draw people in.

“The festivals keep people knowing that things are happening down here in the middle of winter [and that] brings people knowledge about what’s down here”, Erika Langbehn of DK Boutique said.  Langbehn is the manager of a small clothing business downtown.

Exposure for the shops downtown also promotes the community by introducing a variety of unique shops and items that are offered through small businesses.  One example is the local surf shop.

“Nobody believes that you can surf on the Great Lakes. It definitely helps us sell more in our area by exposing people to the fact that you can surf on Lake Michigan”, Cameron Mammina, manager of Third Coast Surf Shop said.

A community’s economy can be strengthened in a very easy way through the support of small businesses.  Cinda Baxter wanted to spread the word about this so she created flyers and resources that are free to any independently owned business that wants to help advocate their importance to local economies.  Baxter says her message is positive and achievable.

“Slamming the brakes on all spending stalls economic recovery. It’s just that simple,” Baxter said.

Take a closer look into how a specific small business, Forever Books, is operated and is successful in downtown St. Joseph.


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Rommate’s Facebook Status

Here is a Wordle about my annoying roommate’s Facebook statuses.


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Places of Importance in Michigan

Here is a map of some cities in Michigan that are significant in my life.


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