Saturday, January 29, 2011

Joy of being home

This past thursday my husband and I were able to travel to St. Louis for the Balametrics Class.  What a wonderful class! The weather was nice there and back.  We ate supper with a friend of my daughter and son-in-law.  He had his two precious sons with him.  His wife was at work.  Hopefully another time we can visit with her also. It is amazing to see someone whose wedding you attended with a child in school.  It does not seem that long ago that he and his wife married. 
The class was on friday, yesterday .  The speakers from the Belgau family were helpful and informative.  It is exciting to see the son learning more, based somewhat on what the father has learned.  The father struggled in school during his early years.  He joined the Air Force and took tests to pass the GED and college classes as a junior in high school.  This was by the time he was 18. 
We left town just ahead of the traffic.  The trip home was peaceful and long.  We arrived home a little before midnight.  Some of son's friends were over and were gracious enough to let me show them some of what I learned.  One of them rides a rip board all the time and had little problem balancing.  It is so much fun to have new toys.
We were tired from the long ride and the VT 15 machine really felt relaxing.  I used it twice so I could relax and rest well. The VT 15 machine is a large vibrator that you can stand or sit on to relax your muscles.
It will take me a day or two to organize my thoughts about the class and probably more than a post or two to tell about it. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

That is cheating

This past week, I was working with a child who is struggling with math.  I was using the triangle math cards.
An example of this is a triangle with a 3 in a bottom corner and a 5 in the other bottom corner.  I had it drawn on the board.  I had an 8 in the top corner.  When I told her to look at the 8, she told me she could not because that would be cheating.  I explained this was learning not cheating.  I could tell she did not believe me.  I talked to her mom and asked for her help.  How sad that a child is so concerned they will be accused of cheating that it stiffles learning.  We will see how she does next week.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Teaching reading meaning

Often when we read with children we have them read a paragraph.  This is a good idea for a child who understands how to read and understands what they are reading.  When you have a child who word calls and appears to read but does not understand what is being read this often does not work.  Word calling is not reading and is often mistaken for reading.  To teach this without constantly saying, "You forgot the period." requires a different method.
Each sentence is a complete thought.  These thoughts are not complete but run on sentences if the periods are ignored.  Sometimes they are just words with no connection to each other.
With a struggling student, I read a sentence and then they read a sentence.  I let them chose who goes first.  As much as I can I try to let them be in control.  When they forget to stop at the period, I gently ask if they are taking my turn.  Sometimes, I just say, "My turn, my turn." This makes it more fun than "You did it wrong." Then when they get the process, I accidently keep reading when it is their turn. It is fun to see them say, "Hey, that sentence was my turn." When beginning this process, sometimes they will tire quickly.  When they have read 3 to 5 sentences and they are tired, I will ask if they want me to finish the selection.  As they become stronger readers, they read longer.  One third grader, who has been told he will repeat third grade in October was so excited last week that he forgot to let me have my turn.  He was doing so well that I let him go to see how long he could read.  Finally after a page I asked him, "Do I get a turn?"
He laughed and said yes, read 3 more sentences and then let me have a turn.  Then we did the one sentence each trade off. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Music to a Tutor's ears

Yesterday, I worked with the child who did not want to learn to read.  She joyfully told me that she had a B in reading and is working on an A because she did not want to have a B.  Next time, I will introduce the math again and see if she is ready. I know we always ask for more.

Today, the mom of the child I worked with told me she made all A's and B's. Her C has come up. This the child who was making D's and F's when we began.  It is so much fun to see one of the struggling students succeed. 

January 28 I have the opportunity to go to a class on the balance board. I am really looking forward to that. 

Another child held his reading over the holidays.  However, he did not hold the cognative skills.  I wish I knew why. 

Another child is holding his own but still has so far to go. He is the one I almost did not take because I was not sure I could help him. 

Another child decided he did not want to tutor.  He was going to make himself and me miserable to prove he was not going to tutor.  He did not understand that is not how my tutoring works.  I called Mom and said he might not be able to tutor as he was truly miserable.  Did she want me to bring him home or would she like to talk to him?  She talked to him and really came through as a wonderful, powerful mom.  She informed him that she knew his problem was that he thought he could play outside longer if he did not tutor.  She told him that it would still be daylight and he could play after tutoring.  If he did not tutor he would not play at all.  He tutored and did well.  He is such a precious child but also very strong willed.