Thursday, March 09, 2006

Our First Week of Teaching

So,after my angst filled post of the other day, Mrs. H and I actually got down to some literacy teaching.

First of all, it seems that we have a bit of a scheduling problem with one of our students. It turns out that E has a very strict medicinal schedule, and he probably won't be able to match up to our availability. Isn't it funny how life treats you like that sometimes? You're excited about doing something. You face reality and suddenly, you're anxious about doing it. You work through it. You get interested and excited in the task at hand again. And the task dissapears. Oh.

So we just had N with us a couple times this week. I have to say that I have never been more impressed with Mrs. H than after our first meeting with N. Mrs. H hates public speaking, but she is simply amazing working with people one on one. She has great command of herself, great understanding of the other person, and really shows no fear about interacting. Exactly some of the things I wish I could do.

We tried starting out with the workbook that we were given in our training, and started at the beginning. We were teaching the basic letters with easy sounds - b,d,f,g,c. We found though that the book tries to draw pictures of the letters (they use a bent over bird to make a "b".) Some of these pictures are a bit hokie, and not exactly correct. Our student, because she's English speaking, had a hard time getting past that to work on the letter. Also, I think that we could have reasoned better with someone of "normal" intelligence, where we had a hard time convincing N that a plate was really a "d"ish. One other problem we encountered was that N really likes to guess at the right answers. She wants to move quicker than she's able to, and she wants to please us, I think, so she just jumps in and guesses without thinking. I think it's going to take a long time to work her out of that. Otherwise, though, the session went pretty well for a first meeting. We got to know her a bit better, and it was fun.

We revised our lesson a bit for the second meeting. We dumped the book, for now, so we didn't have to deal with pictures. We had to wait in the library a bit before we got our room, so N picked out a children's book she wanted to read. It seems that sometimes she can sight read a fair amount, but she just gets herself going to quick, and then gets frustrated. I imagine this must be a problem for many students, special needs or not. Once we got our room, we started by writing our letter (b, p, and d since N had the most trouble with those last time) on the left side of a paper, and then had her say the name of the letter and its sound. Then we had her think of a word that began with that sound and wrote it down on the right side of the paper. Then she wrote the letter under the letter and the word under the word, after she had said them again a few time. We repeated each letter about 5 times with 5 new words. Thinking back we probably could have written the words more times.

We ran into a bit of a problem when we were done with our set of letters, and tried to review. We tried to point at older stuff we did, but N got a bit confused and went back to guessing. It seemed that she got a couple words stuck in her head, and regardless of what we did, they wouldn't go away. Probably for next session during our review time, we'll continue the same pattern as the lesson, but mix up the letters. I tried doing some flash cards with N, asking if she saw differences between the letters "b", "d", and "p", but I'm uncertain of the results. I'm not sure whether she sees different or not. When she slows down, she's good, but then she speeds up and the letters merge into one.

At the end of the session, Mrs. H read the Three Little Pigs with N, and we had a great time. N did a great job reading the story her self while Mrs. H pointed to the words. She knew the story already and liked it, so I think that helped alot. I was dismayed that in this book, the straw house pig and the wooden house pig both get eaten by the wolf after he blows their houses down. I had remembered that they ran away and hid in the next stroungest house. How else is the brick house pig supposed to stop the wolf from coming down the chimney without the help of his brothers? Perhaps I just wanted to ignore where pork came from when I was little, but I seriously don't remember any eatings.

We had to stop in the middle, because the library was closing, so perhaps there will be a Jonah and the Whale type reunion at the end of the whole deal. I can only hope.

Next time, we're going to try to do the same thing, but with "c", "f", and "g". We don't think beating on b,p, and d every time is going to be that much fun. but we'll revisit soon.


At 4:12 PM, Blogger maki-girl said...

I think it's great that you guys are doing this and sucky that they didn't prepare you better ... but it sounds like you guys are doing a great job. For sure it helps to remember that this student will have lots of "prior knowledge" that someone who has never read before will have and that can be a help and a hindrance.

By the way, I don't remember anyone getting eaten in the "Three Little Pigs" either. Maybe we had the "kinder, gentler" versions.


Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home