What Is Jiujitsu

Pictured: (l-r) Bill (Taylor’s instructor), Taylor and Chad (Taylor’s other instructor) — Photo courtesy: Taylor Cox

Hi! I haven’t written about Jujitsu yet, so I’m going to give a brief overview.

For those who don’t know, Jujitsu is a martial art. The object is to make someone tap on you to signify that something hurts or that you’re getting choked. Another way to win is to win on points for doing certain moves. For example, for the mount, which is fancy for “someone sitting on top of you” you get four points. Almost all of the matches end up on the ground. You can take them down, which is kind of like tackling, or pull guard, which is just wrapping your legs around someone. There is no punching or kicking, thank god.

The sport works by a belt system. You start off with a white belt. Then, when you get four stripes which are made out of tape, by the way, you move to grey belt. Then, when you get four stripes on that, you become a yellow belt. Then, you get four stripes on that, then you’re an orange belt. Four more stripes and then you’re a green belt. When you turn sixteen, you get your blue belt. Same rules apply, only different colors. For adults, it’s blue, purple, brown, black, and legends get red belt. If you’re a new adult to this sport, you have to get a white belt before blue. It sounds confusing, but you get used to it. At least, I get used to it because I’ve been doing it for four years.

As most of you know, I’ve been taking privates with my instructor, Chad. I’ve only done about four, but I’ll be doing more. We have pictures, but we don’t have a lot of video. I’ll post it as soon as I can.
Another thing is that we had promotions on Friday, December 11. Its where kids or adults get more stripes or a new belt. I got another stripe on my yellow belt. Now the next step for me is orange belt! It was one of my best Christmas presents yet this year. Speaking of Christmas, I’m looking really forward to it this year. Hope to be writing again soon!



Social Media 101 for CTEBVI


Pictured:  Screenshot of CTEBVI's  Twitter page.

Pictured: Screenshot of CTEBVI’s Twitter page.

This article by Lisa Okikawa, appears in the Summer 2015 issue of the CTEBVI Journal.  Become a member of CTEBVI for immediate access to more articles like this and others related to the BVI field.  For archived journals, visit: www.ctebvi.org.  

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, blog, vlog…what does it all mean? In the last two years, CTEBVI has jumped onto the social media train that has been barreling down the information superhighway. Though the mere idea of social media can cause newbies or current-non users to shudder in fear, it really is user-friendly for all. Social media isn’t just something that the “young kids” are doing; nearly every major company has social media departments now to handle social media outreach. This article will help break down what social media is for you in a new series of painless articles.

Social media is defined by Wikipedia as: “…computer-mediated tools that allow people to create, share or exchange information, ideas, and pictures/videos in virtual communities and networks. ” With so many people glued to their smartphones and tablets these days, what makes social media so great, is that it’s an instant connection to the people and organizations that mean the most to you! Say you are sitting in your local coffeeshop and hear something about a new store or restaurant that piques your interest and you want to learn more…now! (i.,e., What does that new restaurant down the street that just opened serve?) What do most people do? They Google (or do an internet search) for it. The results will come up with a billion pages of information, but most importantly the top three or four links will likely include links to a website, Facebook and Twitter. These links are important because it allows seekers to know that:
A.) what they are seeking is legitimate proven by an official website which will share information about the person, place or thing.
B.) they have some kind of a following of people who want updates about this person/organization (Facebook)
C.) people are not only aware of this person/organization, but they are talking about it (Twitter).

CTEBVI wants to remain current and reach as many people as possible about our organization so we set up accounts to connect with those interested parties. I know there are more social media options out there than any of us can keep track of. In subsequent journals, we will focus on the in’s-and-out’s of each social media site. The following list includes our sites and the basics like how you can find them, how to connect with them and what you’ll find when you go there:

Website: http://www.ctebvi.org
A website is a collection of pages that includes information, images, videos about a particular topic that are accessed via the internet. CTEBVI’s website includes information about our organization, membership, our annual conference, scholarships, our blog, back-issues of the journal and more. Check it out!

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/CTEBVI
One of the major social network sites that we post news or CTEBVI updates related to the blindness community to reach as many people as we have Facebook followers. If you are a Facebook user, locate our page by typing “CTEBVI” into the search box or click on the above link and click on the thumbs up icon to “like” us. When you do this, you will begin to receive any updates we post in your feed (your feed is a listing of the updates or photos posted by your friends or any pages you “liked”). We are proud of our organization and encourage users to comment, like or share our posts with your network of Facebook friends.

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/CTEBVI
Twitter is another of the major social networking sites. The act of posting a message is called a “tweet” and these concise messages inform our followers about our organization or stories that relate to the blindness community. So what are the major differences between Twitter and Facebook in a nutshell, you ask? Essentially they both have the potential to share similar kinds of information, but think of Twitter as sharing immediate, breaking-news while Facebook is more of a read-it-when-you-want-it/ information on demand site.

Blog: https://ctebvidcysblog.wordpress.com
A blog is an interactive website consisting of articles (or posts) written by a person or organization about a particular topic. Blogs are typically informal and encourage it’s readers to comment their thoughts or opinions at the bottom of each entry. Our blog features posts most frequently by our current Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship recipient, but also includes information related to parents, educators, transcribers, students and Unified English Braille (UEB).

YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/ctebvi
YouTube is a video-sharing website. Users can record and share original videos of various content topics including information-based tutorials, original music sharing, vlogs (video blog), webseries (the equivalent of a television series that is streamed or distributed on this website). CTEBVI uploads vlogs to YouTube that appears on our Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship recipient’s blog.

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/CTEBVI
Instagram is a social media photo and video sharing site. Users can take photos or 15-second-videos that they can share with people who follow their accounts. CTEBVI typically shares photos or video associated with conference or the blog postings from our Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship recipient.

Now that you know what you’re dealing with, the concepts are hopefully a little less daunting. This article is meant to be an overview of the social media sites that are used by CTEBVI. Subsequent journal articles will go more in-depth with each of the social media sites so you can learn how to join, what the lingo means for each site and how to optimize using the site for you.




Excerpt from the Spring 2014 Journal


There is so much to see and learn at conference. Of course, the workshops are planned far in advance. The exhibit hall is full of the latest in tools and toys. There is no lack of food or time for visiting. The announcements of programs and job openings and events fill the information board. But here’s something that has become an integral part of conference that has not been advertised enough: Sharing tips. Every year there are dozens of new and old ideas shared among the people attending conference. Sometimes the ideas are actually written down by a member who is happy to make dozens of copies to pass along. This year, the new/old idea came from Angela Van Appelen from Sweetwater Union. Angela shared the recipe for making colored puffy paints for tactiles. The handout she provided even showed a squiggle of the colored paint. Thanks so much, Angela, for your generosity and forethought.

For the entire recipe or to access the entire spring journal, click here: http://ctebvi.org/journals/Spring2014.pdf

What exactly is the Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship?

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As adults, most of us think of scholarships as having something to do with academics – knowing the funds will likely be used for things such as tuition, books or the like.  So when we hear of a youth scholarship opportunity for our BVI students, likely your mind goes directly to the description above. Lets be honest, you thought, “eh…that sounds nice…”  Right? Or you might be thinking that the department of rehab already covers what they might request. But wait…because that isn’t exactly what we are offering.* Well, not exactly.

So what exactly does this Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship offer???

SO MUCH MORE than you think, my friends! The Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship (DCYS) wants to give BVI students a chance to:

  • Explore what makes them “tick.” Is it sports, art, music, cooking???
  • Inspire their creativity and individuality.
  • Discover who they really are.
  • Further investigate areas of their academics they need assistance with.
  • Help them to become the most well-rounded, best versions of themselves!

It’s not everyday that a scholarship opportunity exists for our students that encourages (and welcomes) the development of not just academics, but social skills! What?!

CTEBVI’s Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship is just that scholarship you and your students are looking for and what a great opportunity it is! So please take a look at the application and encourage your student to apply!


  • If submitting via email: application and supporting attachments are due by Friday, February 27, 2015
  • If submitting via snail mail, application and supporting attachments must be postmarked by: Wednesday, February 25, 2015

* ok to be fair, the Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship absolutely promotes academic development, but we want you all to think outside of the box!

How Using Blogs Can Help Our BVI Students

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ctebvi logo

Dear TVI or O&M Specialists,

We are a busy group; there is so much we need to accomplish and not enough time. You see your students and work with them on academics (ie., math or science) or their IEP goals, and can’t imagine having time to add anything else to the mix. The fact that you’re spending time to read this blog (THANK YOU!) is fantastic and you’re probably multi-tasking as it is right now anyway. If the concept of social media seems daunting, don’t run away when I say that social media is an excellent vehicle for learning and multi-tasking (not just for you, but your students too)! Blogs and social media are a great way to engage with your students on a level that they will appreciate (because it is current and relevant to their lives) and you can kill three birds (or concepts) with one stone in your job by encouraging blogging!

Technology. Braille. Social Interaction.

CTEBVI has set up this Donna Coffee Youth Scholarship blog featuring a new student recipient annually. Every few weeks, our recipient will blog or vlog (video blog) about an academic or social experience. This is a safe, moderated online environment where students can read the blog post and share their thoughts and experiences with others. The blog is accessible via computer, braille note taking device, tablet, smart phone. Use the blog in your technology lesson by navigating to different sections of the blog or writing comments tdo a post.

So your student isn’t quite experienced with technology to access the website? Copy and paste the text into Duxbury or Braille2000, emboss it and use the blog post with your student as part of their braille lesson or as their free reading material. Students can then use their Perkins or braille note taking device to write their own response to a particular blog post while working on spelling, contractions or formatting practice.

Social Interaction
This is perhaps the most important piece of the puzzle. Throughout my career, the common phrase I hear from students is that the are “the only kid who is visually impaired” (or at most, one of a few) in their school. Some of these students live in an area where they are the only ones for miles and miles who are blind/visually impaired while others might be fortunate enough to be a part of something like the Braille Institute Youth program and have peers in relatively close proximity. Though the blog doesn’t solve feelings of isolation or lonliness in their school, it will hopefully give them a way to interact with other young people by giving them a safe forum to share thoughts and connect.

We hope that as TVIs and O&Ms, you will read the blog and see the value in it for your students. Access it weekly, monthly or daily…whatever works for you and your students; we would love nothing more than to see a community for our students to share and interact and feel understood and inspired by one another.

What do you think?  Realistically, is this something you have time for? Are you doing something similar?  We want to hear from you!  Comment below or connect with us on social media!


What Do You Think?


We are so excited that so many of you have discovered and are enjoying Heaven’s blogs. Heaven has loved writing and sharing her experiences with all of you. For those of you who are less comfortable with blogging and how this can be used as an education tool, we are here to help!

This blog is meant to be an interactive tool. We love that you are reading and supporting Heaven, but how many of you are sharing this with your students? How many of you are letting Heaven know that you support her? Heaven’s first blog post received quite a bit of activity and comments and she just loved knowing that people were reading her blog and letting her know what they thought about it.

Blogging & vlogging is a new process for not just Heaven but CTEBVI also and we all want to know what you think. Comment below and let us know what you think. What do you want to see on the blog? We have some great ideas and feature coming up including how to use this blog with your students in their classrooms. Blogging as an educational tool? Yes! We are just getting started and will include lesson plan ideas too. Stay tuned!