Thursday, December 20, 2012

How do you eat an elephant? or How do you gently teach a struggling learner?

How do you eat one elephant?  The easy answer is one bite at a time.  The same is true when a learner is struggling to learn and is overwhelmed by the amount of work being taught.  Today, there were 4 pages of words for a 6 year old.  Each page had eight words on it.  Thirty-two words looked like too many to learn.  I took and divided the stack of words to match each page and paperclipped each pages words to the correct page. He was supposed to match each word paper to the word on a bingo type page.  There were 9 spaces with a free one in the middle. 
I knew the child already thought that this was too hard to learn.  I told him all the words before I started working with him.  Then I handed him the word papers and helped him match them to the words.  As we matched each word I made a sentence for the word relating to the ice cream we were going to get at McDonalds.  The first time he tried to sound out a couple of words and quickly gave up.  When we made sentences relating to ice cream, the words had value and he received the information better. 
We managed to do this activity 3 times during the day and each time he was more comfortable and did better.  I wish I could work with this child 2 or 3 times a week.  I will get him everytime I can and hope for the best.  He is also struggling on the balance board so we will try to do this once a week.  All in all a postivie day for learning. 

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Update on young man I tutored last year

Last year, I tutored a 5 year old that was not happy in school. 
He was so miserable last year he did not attend but 3 weeks.  He began having trouble this year and his writing began to be a struggle.  He came to me to tutor during fall break and we did the balance boards and worked on skills again.
When he went back to school, his grandmother ask him if he wrote
the paper because it was so good.  He looked at her and said of course
he wrote the paper.  It looks like he will start tutoring once a week to
provide the support he needs to succeed in school. How exciting to see him succeed.