Friday, May 27, 2011

Slow down and listen

     Thursday's tutoring was interesting.  This means I am not sure I can explain what happened.  First, the kids dog managed to get sprayed by a skunk.  How can this possibly affect tutoring? First, there is a smell that comes with the dog and the kid felt sorry for the dog and let him come with him.  This means we cannot read outside with the dog there. Next, the dog rubs on the boy's pants so a slight smell comes in the house with the boy. This smell causes the kids allergies to act up so there is coughing and sneezing.  
     Now add a tutor who is excited about how well the boy did on Wednesday at tutoring and does not notice the warning signs that she needs to slow down. The boy still did well on the more difficult balance board. At this point the tutor should have had the boy work in the rocket phonics book.  Instead, I tried the second lesson in Hooked on Phonics and the boy struggled. As a result, we did not read or listen to the tape in the house..  He nor I felt as good when he went home as the day before. Thankfully, I stopped before we undid the trust he has in me.
     Today on Friday, I had to take a step back and allow the boy to step back also.  The balance board went well and I had him do the one long division problem.. I had him decide which number we should chose to divide with so he could regain the control he needs to learn. He chose 9.  Then I drew the division symbol and let him chose the numbers to divide the 9 into.  I realize I will need to use colored pencils to write the numbers to teach him math. Then we went back to the rocket phonics book and he did well.  He likes the computer so he was willing to try the hooked on phonics again. I had him go back and do lesson one again. I controlled the computer so he could get more out of it and also have to tell me what he was doing verbally. This way he used more of the senses to learn with.  Monday is a holiday, so we will see on Tuesday how things go.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Keeping up with success in student learning

 Yesterday I moved the difficulty level for the balance board for the 15 year old. We start at level 50 which is the easiest level and parallel to the board. This student had struggled at first to stay on the board and even fallen off several times.  He was succeeding at level 45. I made a decision to see if he could succeed at level 25. Level 25 puts the rockers under the board at halfway between parallel and perpendicular to the board.
He succeeded better than I dreamed he would.  After working on this level for 10 minutes, I offered to add an activity. He told me his feet hurt.  I immediately praised him and stopped working on the board.  He did not offer an excuse or tell me felt bad. This is such an exciting improvement both with the balance on the board and in his confidence to say my feet hurt when he had used all the energy he had for working on the board.
This gave me the confidence to try using the Hooked on Phonics program I have. He could not have used this program when we started. He liked the Hooked on Phonics and did well with it.
When it was time to listen to the book we are working on reading, I teased him and said I was not sure where it was.  He smiled and said, "I guess I will just have to go home then."
I laughed and said, "Oh, no you won't."
I found the book quickly and we listened to almost an entire chapter.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


The son, who was struggling that I wrote about earlier, finished his semester and received his grades.  He made 1 A, 2 B's and 1 C. I would have been pleased with 4 C's.  Keep on going son and mom will try to keep up.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Confidence building for a learning challenged child

      A young man I almost did not have the confidence to tutor appears to be going to learn to read.  It is slow and sometimes I push too hard. Sometimes he can stay 20 minutes, sometimes 40 minutes and often an hour.  He is doing well enough that it is time to show him what he can do and build his confidence.  We are listening to a Louis L'Amour book.  We have already listened to a short story by him and a Hank the Cow Dog book.  This young man is interested in hunting and fishing, so I look for books that he will like and understand.  
     We are doing  To The Far Blue Mountains. I have this book on Cassette tapes and checked out the book from the library.  I let him just listen to the first chapter to see if he has interest in the book. For chapter two, I copied the first page of almost four paragraphs and enlarged the print from 100 percent to 200 percent.  Then I underline the words he can read in his favorite color.  Color is important to this.  Out of about 120 words in the first two paragraphs, he could read 83 of the words.  When he appears  to hesitate I give him the vowel sound from the rocket phonics we are using. Then we listened to the chapter.