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.

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