Among my many blessings, Hilltop Home for Children has been a supremely treasured connection that sustained over many years of regular performing engagements. This home for children in need of critical care for their lifetimes stands alone as the one place where the vibe is always entirely all-LOVE--every staff member (and the children who are able to express emotions,) exudes love, love, love. Hilltop has become my family, and they continue to show me such gratitude, thoughtfulness and a magnificent connection that can not be inturupted. I feel the same way about every person there, and am beyond grateful that they, in surprising gratitude, offered me the position as their bimonthly music therapist, meaning that now, I get to bask in Hilltop love and some of the most fun I've ever had, on a frequent and regular basis. The picture of the lovely little lady pictured to the right captures her reaction every time I play what has become her favorite song: Ladybug Picnic. You should see the way she lights up--just as soon as I begin playing "her song!" There is no other place in this big ol' world of ours where I feel so loved--not only for what I do, but for simply who I am. Love you all for ever and ever!
Cotton's Favorite Thing!
WHAT AN HONOR~
A birthday greeting I recently received from Hilltop Home:
"Happy birthday to a sweet, loving lady whom we all adore. You bring smiles to our children’s lives and we love you for that! I hope you have the best day ever! Love (staff member, name withheld for privacy) "
With experience comes the wisdom of what works and what doesn't.
Cotton presents programs to support and enhance identified themes and objectives. Cotton knows when people (of all ages) feel happy and secure, they most easily absorb information/new concepts.
Cotton's frequent interjections of humor surprise her students whose response is to stay attentive.
A FEW "COTTON-TOOLS":
Listener involvement in the process
Sharing stories and sometimes singing songs, composed or selected by theme relevance and efficacy.
When a speaker or instructor directly states subject matter, the listener(s) does not actively listen, as he quickly assesses the relevance and effectiveness of the topic as it applies to his current status or mood.
If a story (often including humor) becomes the vehicle for educational purposes, the listener is entertained, thereby alleviated of responsibility to take a position, pro or con. Additionally, the recipient will be more likely to remember the topic, now having a mental association derived from the story. Here, the listener does not feel a direct connection to the outcome, subsequently remaining free to internally process more of the story's focus.
The element of surprise, carefully chosen, helps to evoke and reclaim audience attention. Often humor is the most effective vehicle for this purpose.
COTTON'S FUN, EXERCISE PROGRAM!
Kids make a connection between exercise and doing/being/becoming what they want. Developmentally geared, this program has proven fun and effective! Teachers often enjoy participating, too! A REAL workout!
MUSIC & MOVEMENT WITH COTTON
This program features group singing, the LIMBO, TUNNEL CRAWL, SINGING SONGS WHICH FEATURE HAND & BODY MOTIONS, PUPPETS and LINE DANCES with current pop music on PA system.
How does a word get into a Merriam-Webster dictionary?
This is one of the questions Merriam-Webster editors are most often asked.
The answer is simple: usage.
Tracking word usage
To decide which words to include in the dictionary and to determine what they mean, Merriam-Webster editors study the language as it's used. They carefully monitor which words people use most often and how they use them.
Each day most Merriam-Webster editors devote an hour or two to reading a cross section of published material, including books, newspapers, magazines, and electronic publications; in our office this activity is called "reading and marking." The editors scour the texts in search of new words, new usages of existing words, variant spellings, and inflected forms—in short, anything that might help in deciding if a word belongs in the dictionary, understanding what it means, and determining typical usage. Any word of interest is marked, along with surrounding context that offers insight into its form and use.
The marked passages are then input into a computer system and stored both in machine-readable form and on 3" x 5" slips of paper to create citations.
Each citation has the following elements:
the word itself
an example of the word used in context
bibliographic information about the source from which the word and example were taken
Merriam-Webster's citation files, which were begun in the 1880s, now contain 15.7 million examples of words used in context and cover all aspects of the English vocabulary. Citations are also available to editors in a searchable text database (linguists call it a corpus) that includes more than 70 million words drawn from a great variety of sources.
From citation to entry
How does a word make the jump from the citation file to the dictionary?
The process begins with dictionary editors reviewing groups of citations. Definers start by looking at citations covering a relatively small segment of the alphabet — for example gri- to gro- — along with the entries from the dictionary being reedited that are included within that alphabetical section. It is the definer's job to determine which existing entries can remain essentially unchanged, which entries need to be revised, which entries can be dropped, and which new entries should be added. In each case, the definer decides on the best course of action by reading through the citations and using the evidence in them to adjust entries or create new ones.
Before a new word can be added to the dictionary, it must have enough citations to show that it is widely used. But having a lot of citations is not enough; in fact, a large number of citations might even make a word more difficult to define, because many citations show too little about the meaning of a word to be helpful. A word may be rejected for entry into a general dictionary if all of its citations come from a single source or if they are all from highly specialized publications that reflect the jargon of experts within a single field.
To be included in a Merriam-Webster dictionary, a word must be used in a substantial number of citations that come from a wide range of publications over a considerable period of time. Specifically, the word must have enough citations to allow accurate judgments about its establishment, currency, and meaning.
The number and range of citations needed to add a word to the dictionary varies. In rare cases, a word jumps onto the scene and is both instantly prevalent and likely to last, as was the case in the 1980s with AIDS. In such a situation, the editors determine that the word has become firmly established in a relatively short time and should be entered in the dictionary, even though its citations may not span the wide range of years exhibited by other words.
Size does matter
The size and type of dictionary also affects how many citations a word needs to gain admission. Because an abridged dictionary, such as Merriam-Webster's Collegiate® Dictionary, has fairly limited space, only the most commonly used words can be entered; to get into that type of dictionary, a word must be supported by a significant number of citations. But a large unabridged dictionary, such as Webster's Third New International Dictionary, has room for many more words, so terms with fewer citations can still be included.
Authority without authoritarianism
Change and variation are as natural in language as they are in other areas of human life and Merriam-Webster reference works must reflect that fact. By relying on citational evidence, we hope to keep our publications grounded in the details of current usage so they can calmly and dispassionately offer information about modern English. That way, our references can speak with authority without being authoritarian.
CONVERSATIONS WITH PAUL:
COTTON: My prediction is that within the near future, we will have relegated most communications to acronyms. IS WEBSTER BRACING FOR SUCH A RADICAL CHANGE?
PAUL: "As for acronyms, we do already track the use of acronyms and abbreviations just like we do other words in the English language. Should acronyms and abbreviations become more predominant in general English, as they have to some degree in online text communications, then that change would certainly be reflected in our dictionaries."
Paul Wood Merriam-Webster, Inc. 47 Federal Street, PO Box 281 Springfield, MA 01102 pwood@Merriam-Webster.com http://www.Merriam-Webster.com http://www.WordCentral.com
COTTON: Does an adjective form of the word "integrity"exist?..
In the absense of support, I have fashioned the word integritous for my own use. It would need some advertisement in order to circulate news of its mere origin. I.E., "One glance around the room and she realized that she may not find integritous company there."
PAUL: Adjectives related to integrity do exist in the English language, but they have largely become obsolete. The Oxford English Dictionary includes four currently rare and obsolete adjectives that all express the sense of being marked by integrity: integre, integrious, integritive, and integrous. A much more common adjective, integral, also shares similar origins with integrity and the above adjectives. However, its usage has remained limited to the notions of mathematical integrals and of being essential to completeness. It carries none connotations of incorruptibility that we find in integrity.
I am not sure that we can really uncover a better explanation for the lack of an adjective related to integrity other than the fact that, for whatever reasons, there has never been a compelling need among English speakers to make one standard in the English lexicon. There is some very limited evidence of integrious, integrous, and integritous all being used as adjectives meaning “marked or characterized by integrity,” but none of these adjectives currently achieve anywhere near the level of usage that would be required for them to be considered for inclusion in Merriam-Webster's Collegiate Dictionary. Nevertheless, integrious, integrous, and integritous could all likely be used in most contexts with little confusion as to their meanings, though you might encounter occasional resistance from some who will claim that such words are not, in fact, actually words (though in the cases of integrious and integrous, you would have the historical record on your side).
Excerpt from syllabus of the conflict resolution programs I currently offer:
1.Generate smiles 2.Encourage students to success by : ·Learning and practicing our best behavior, contrasting differences needed for group activities versus one-on-one time. ·I recognize classroom conflicts as opportunities to practice class problem solving skills.Others present become enlightened through observation of the process.I believe we teachers often miss our calling by ignoring such behavior. 3.I have found that conflicts usually result from misunderstood action, followed by inappropriate reaction.Usually the distress felt by each child is justified.Adults can take advantage of these “moments” to gently foster the building of skills and diplomacy needed for healthy socialization.While I understand that initial remedial efforts are time consuming, most nurturing teacher responses to disruption and inattention will result in greater overall class esteem and classroom peace. 4.My favorite method for helping children resolve their own conflicts with others: I have discovered that once a class understands that their teacher(s) will respond to discord swiftly and positively until resolved, each class member will seek to avoid opportunities for conflict.
First, pause from current activity to focus to students involved in conflict.
Ask offended party (#1) to explain why they are upset/details of what happened
Ask alleged perpetrator (#2) to explain what happened, to include motivation/purpose for same.
Ask #1 to share their feelings resulting from action/(offense) taken by #2 (Acknowledge justification of their feelings)
Ask #2 to share their feelings resulting from consequences (Acknowledge justification of their feelings)
Ask #2 to share a more appropriate method they could have used for accomplishing desired result
Ask #1 to share a method that would have been more acceptable to them
Ask the class to share their ideas on how the conflict could have been avoided through better communication
Ask #2 to apologize to #1
Ask #1 to accept apology
Where applicable, ask #1 to apologize to #2
Assure both/all parties involved that I/we all truly care about them, while conveying enthusiasm and pride over their ability to address the issue at hand, and resolve it.
Request class applause
Close with laughter-producing statement or action
Show each student his or her importance to the class, their family, and the community
Enable development and practice of effective communication skills
Teach cooperation methods through understanding differences/unknown facts
Provide tools for feeling great/teach as a daily objective
Develop patience and problem-solving skills by re-thinking details
Remind students to talk to their parents, value their parents’ wisdom
Equip to Realize, practice and develop each student’s individual abilities and strengths
Support each student to like who they are, the way they are, their own thinking style
Show positives when we practice respect for authority (i.e. Parents & teachers)
Help each to discover resiliency, providing tools to deflect discouragement
Teach how sharing, supporting and encouraging others doesn’t take away from us
Provide a wealth of fun and laughter, which paves the road of success!
Cotton requests that students who present habitual wandering or inattention be addressed creatively.When maladjustment is met with routine adult responses, the non-participating child often begins a “tune out” patterned response.Through a teacher’s creative responses to chronically disconnected students, such children may begin to respond more positively.Adults convey care/safety to children in our midst when we model willingness to provide positive attention to redirect them toward worthwhile pursuits.Showing that we desire their participation in class activities demonstrates to each child that he or she is valuable.When we make allowances for chronic disconnection, I believe we are silently showing the child that they are unimportant to the class.
1.Seek to understand the “mind behind the methods”.To some, MissCotton’s methods may sometimes appear silly and randomly delivered.Education, experience and much study are behind every comment, every foray.MissCotton will be happy to share details with anyone, as requested.
2.MissCotton’s mission is to encourage each child to realize his or her own worth and to have fun during the process.
Words paint pictures that form lasting paradigms.Each of us can recall times when we were deeply affected by the words of others.I believe that when we complain (even justifiably so), we create discontent for ourselves and others present.When we have positive things to say, we begin to feel better as we encourage and support those around us, finding the good elements of our environment.I believe if we are to make the most of each day, it will require us to work (together) toward the goal of seeing the best in each other, and generating happiness in each moment.