Thursday, July 29, 2010

Tutoring Day 2 and Day 3

Yesterday was day 3 of tutoring.  We had such a good time.  It is so much fun to see someone who wants to learn succeed.  First we worked on the finger exercises.  On day 2 she did well so I had her put her hands on the table to put her fingers and thumb down in order. I also make a druming sound on the table with my fingers when she does this.  Then we read a small book about ponies.  It had only a few words per page.
I wanted something for quick succeed.  Then we played with the rocket phonic cards with the letters a,e,i,n,k,f,l,m,and h.  After we played concentration with the cards, we read the combinations on page 31.
Now instead of her turning over 3 cards I let her turn over 4 and I turn over 3.  This helps the concentration game go faster and she still gets the sounds.  We are also getting to go again when we find a match.  As there are fewer cards, 10 or less, we only turn over 2 each.
We also played with the cards teaching sets.  Next, I started her reading the book Daniel's Duck.  I chose this one because the words are large and the word paper contrast is easy for the eyes to follow.  We read  page 5 to page 27.  I am teaching her to stop for the period.  I read a sentence and then she reads one.  This way instead of saying no you did not stop for a period, I say wait, "It is my turn." When somone entered the library where we are working she was so busy reading, she did not look up.
Last we did the Tangram's. She put the pieces on the card and then I had her put them on the table to the side. When she needed help, I just adjusted the piece a little.  I also made a tapping noise as she worked on this. 

Monday, July 26, 2010

Tutoring Day 1

How often do we know we are missing a key to learning?  This is like trying to make a cake without a bowl.  If we cannot keep the ingredients together, the cake will be a mess.  Sometimes, so is a student's mind when they do not have the skills to organize what they are trying to learn.
The child could put her thumb on each finger. It was a struggle and not smooth.  She also had to concentrate to do this.  We will work each time to see how quickly this smooths out.  She wants to learn.  She thought we would go get a book and read.  After all she is there to learn to read better so why are we touching our fingers with our thumb.
Next, we used the rocket phonics cards.  We used all the vowels and letters t,n,m,l, and s. She knows her letters well but does not sound out the sounds.  We played concentration and said the letter sounds as we turned over the cards. She was quick to say n is made a sound kind of like m.  I told her she was right and to watch my mouth.  I said m and then n.  She understood, I think.  I will have to see if she retains the information. I will have to keep on my toes to stay ahead of her.  I made words like it, sun, and is from the cards.
It took some time to teach her how to make sets from the cards with different sizes, shapes and colors.  She is used to there being a very limited number of answers so having several choices was a little confusing at first.  When we played it the second time, she was excited to find the sets.  It will be fun to show her advanced play with more choices as we learn. 
We played with the Ideal brand Tangram Pattern Cards.  I had her do the A 1 card to see how she could do.
Then I had her do it again as I tapped gently on the table.  At first, she watched me tap but I told her; I would just gently tap while she put the shapes on the card.  She looked puzzled but soon had the shapes on the card.  Then we did the A2 card as I tapped.  The tapping helps learning.  Another place to do the tapping and activity is the Brain A
ge game and Big Brain Academy on the DS player. 
Finally, we went and got a book.  I think the student was relieved.  Finally, we were going to read.  I asked if she had read the Pokey Little Puppy.  She said no, so I chose it.   I  read a little and then asked what was going to happen next.  We will finish the book next time.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

tutoring a new student, finger drills, rocket phonics

It is so exciting to have a new student.  When I get a new student, it has never been someone that is doing well in school.  It is never a parent or friend that comes and says, " I want you to try to tutor my child or friend because they are doing so well in school.  It is this individual, adult or child, is struggling and maybe you have an idea that might help the individual be a success.  Often this person is a wonderful someone who is judged a failure because he or she does not learn at the rate or way the world thinks he or she should. I hope to post the things I have learned and that I use to help this new student.  Not because I know so much but in hopes of helping someone else, help another student.
One of the things I have learned to do is finger drills.  Touch each finger with the thumb beginning with the pointer finger down to the small finger.  Have the student do each hand individually and then do them together. Have them do the finger drills back and forth on the hands. Then have them do the finger drills as you or the student sings.  Then talk as the student does the drill until they can do them without thinking about what they are doing.  Encourage them to do them at home. This may take weeks and you will do other things as they learn this.
The next think I am going to do is rocket phonics.  I will teach with the matching cards first.  This student is young, (6 or7) so I will make sure she can say the sounds and match the cards first.  {Years ago a young man age 9 got into trouble with his teacher, (she was excellent) because he refused to identify a bird nest as starting with a n for nest.  He had never seen a bird nest in a tree and did not recognize the picture as a bird nest. How was she to know he had never seen a bird nest?  How was he to tell her he had not seen a bird nest? Yet he was in trouble for not cooperating.}  We will begin with the vowels a,e,i,o,and u.  I will add m, s and t to round out the numbers to play with.  We will match with them up first and then turn them over to play.  As an adult, I should be able to win a concentration game.  Therefore, I will even the odds by allowing her to turn over three cards on her turn while I turn over two for my turn. Before you decide this is not fair, please tell me what is fair about an adult winning a game against a 7 year old.  A child who has struggled in school already knows how to fail.  As the child gets better or if I am working with a child who is good at this I may let myself  turn over 3 cards to even the odds. I also like to put the cards in a match stack all together to promote the idea that we won by playing and learning instead of someone has to lose so someone else can win. As we turn over each card the sound is said aloud.
I will let you know how well this goes and how much fun we had, hopefully, Monday evening.  Please try this with a child you see struggling to learn.

Friday, July 23, 2010

learning to cut left handed

Several years ago, I was keeping a little girl about 4.  She was the age of one of my children.  My children are allowed to cut with regular adult sizzors and pinking shears at a young age.  This is about 2 and a half or three.  I am careful to supervise.  These sizzors cut better than the child size sizzors.  My child wanted to cut, so of course, the other child wanted to cut, also.  I start with the pinking shears as they are rounded on the end and safer. I spent much of the day trying to teach this child to cut. Over the years, many children have learned to cut at my house. 
When her Dad came to pick her up, I asked him; who in her family was left-handed.  I explained that I had never before had a child that I could not teach to cut with pinking shears.  He laughed and said, "No problem."
He sat down and within 5 minutes the child could use the sizzors and cut with them.  What had I done wrong? Nothing.  Her Dad, being left handed, had had the same experience and knew exactly how to show her. I am right handed and did not understand how to teach this child. 
How often do we blame ourselves or more often the child, when we just need to teach or find someone else to teach from a different angle?

Saturday, July 10, 2010

visiting and learning from friends

My husband and I had a wonderful evening tonight.  We went for supper with friends.  They are eating very well and as a result feeling well.  The food was good as well as tasty. It was also healthy.  They are also downsizing for a possible move.  It is a joy to see how they are doing this as we also need to downsize.  It has been hard work for them.  I am encouraging her to write a blog as she has so much to share. They are debt free and have been for years.  It is so enjoyable to exchange ideas and being uplifted by others success.