Tuesday, December 7, 2010

I am not doing that

Yesterday, I worked with the child who told me she did not want to be taught anything.  In fact, if you remember she did not want to learn anything.  We worked longer because she was not ready to quit reading.
I told her yesterday that we were going to add math to our tutoring.  No, we are not was her reply.  I explained that it would not be math like she thought it would.  I used a dry eraser board to show her the new concept.  We only did 5 cards on the board.  I did not use the packet of cards as it would have overwhelmed her.  It is using triangle flashcards.  I drew a triangle on the board.  An example is 5 plus 3.  5 goes in one bottom corner and 3 in the other bottom corner.  The 8 goes in the top of the triangle.  As I wrote I explained that we were making a picture with math so she would be able to remember it better. 
I asked her what 5 plus 3 was and then replied 8. Working one on one or one on two, I can do this and it does not allow her to fail.  I do not know how this would work in a classroom.  After I did 5 plus 3 and 3 plus 5, I did 8 minus 5 and 8 minus 3.  Then I covered up a corner and did them again.  This does not take long.  I did not use the balance board as I had to hurry and sneak this in and she was not going to expose herself to be considered dumb. Next time I will try balance board and flashcards.  I also asked her to do tangrams.  She refused as these are really hard for her.  I did not push this as I had already succeeded with one new concept she was not comfortable did not want to lose the positive.  I allowed her to draw on the board and ignored her while I worked with another child.  I will need to work one on one with her with the tangrams as she learns how to do them.  I will also need to be gentle so she lets her guard down enough to have the confidence to learn. This is sometimes hard as I can let myself tell her to obey when she appears rude instead of listening to what she is really saying when she says, "I am not!"

Monday, December 6, 2010

Invalid testing

A young man I am working with is learning to read.  Will he and I have enough time before the school puts him in special education class?  I am not opposed to these classes.  They can really help some children.  The problem is once in them, it is hard to change the label.  This child has shown great improvement.  I wish I could work with him 4 or 5 times a week instead of 2 times a week.  He tests just a little above retarded.  Someone, with a master's degree in social work,  has observed him is an informal setting. This individual says the testing is inaccurate.  It is not the schools fault this child does not test well.   Some children just do not test well.  Will have to see where this will go.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

New student in December

A young man who has struggled for years is coming to see if some of these ideas will help him.  I feel overwhelmed.  His family has tried many things to try to help him. He is in middle school.  What makes me think I can do what others have not?
He came and was very cooperative.  When I had him stand on the balance board, he struggled and blamed his boots for slipping.  He took them off and did better.  When I had him follow my hand with his eyes his eyes just did not follow.  It will be exciting to see if he improves.
Another child I have worked with 4 days a week at first and after a month or 6 weeks reduced to twice a week.  She was making D's and F's when we began.  She brought her report card this week and has A's and B's with one C.  It gives me hope.

VT machine

Years ago, 1977, I was injured in a car wreck.  I have struggled with walking since.  I have a new machine called a VT 15 vibrator machine.  Standing on this has allowed me to stand on one foot.  I am going to a chiropractor who is using a cold laser on my lung.  I saw someone in his office get better who has MS. He put the laser on the back of her head and she was walking better when she left his office.  I asked if it would help with my balance.  Using the cross crawl exercises and the cold laser, I can stand on the balance board and even stand on one foot on the board.  I am working on being able to close my eyes and not fall.  This has helped to that I can walk without pain and is giving me much more energy.  How exciting.


Thanksgiving, I took my balance board to the family get together.  While we were there my great nephews
loved the board and could even jump on it and not fall.  Their mom stated that for some reason their school year is going much better this year.  As they were playing, I saw them on a skateboard looking toy.  It is very similar to the balance board, only it is on wheels.  I asked my niece what it was called.  It is a ripstik.  I told her on the days one of them is struggling on their homework to let them go play for 10 to 15 minutes on this.
Her son said for me to say that it is not a Ripstik G or wave board as these are more dangerous.  I know we want to protect our children but sometimes I wonder if we stifle their movement and harm their ablity to learn. I am not recommending this but am saying that children playing with them may be helping their ability to learn.

Sharing what I learn

I am sharing what I am learning and it is so much fun to see what others know.  An example is having someone stand on the balance board and follow an object with their eyes without moving their head while staying balanced.  A teacher suggested having them put a marble in a pie pan and roll it around.  As the marble moves following it with the eyes without moving the head should be a fun way to add to the excecises.
Another friend, a therapist at the hospital, suggested putting a lazer pointer light on a headband and have the person follow it with their eyes as they wrote words.  I wonder if this would help those struggling with spelling.  It might also help during studing for a test.
I have a young friend who dislikes school.  Her parents struggled in school also.  She is going to try to use the balance board to study for a test and to learn lines for drama class and see if it helps. I am having her help me try out ideas for two reasons.  One is she is a wonderful help and also this will give her the knowledge to help others.  She is a silent leader that is often not noticed but leads one or two at a time quietly.