Archive for the ‘twice exceptional’ Category

Over teaching.

February 26, 2009

This is what it is called when you teach a concept that a child has already learned.  Two years ago, I would have thought that it was a crazy concept.  That it was a total waste of time.  If a child ‘gets’ a subject, why do you have to keep going over it.  I chose curriculumthat covered topics in depth and then went on to the next topic.  Going over and over something only bores the child. 

…And then I started teaching child number two.  Yes there are children who do not need much review.  I have one two.  There are also children who get the concept the first time you present it, but not the details.  I have one of those too.  I suppose that there are also children who need multiple presentations to get the concept and then more to get the details.  I don’t have one of those. 

This revelation has given me a new respect for classroom teachers.  They have all kinds of kids in their classes.  How in the world do they teach them all without boring some and going right over the heads of others?  All of my kids get one on one time, I can’t even imagine how a classroom teacher does it. 

The latest example of this, in our home, is in teaching reading.  I thought that Honey knew the sounds of /ch/ and /sh/ and /th/.  I found that she didn’t, so I taught them to her and made a game to help her review them.  (The game from a couple of posts ago.)  She was doing well, and then we took a break for the weekend and she forgot which letters made which sounds.  She understands that there are three different sounds and that they are represented by three different combinations of letters (the concept), but she can’t remember which is which (the details).  Just today, she seemed to have them down again, but we are taking a three day weekend, and I’m afraid that she will forget by the time we get back to it.  Maybe I will play our game on Saturday so that the break is not so long.  So, I am over teaching this concept.  I will teach it and review it and go over it until she has it down cold.  We did this with math facts and with memory verses and it worked well, it will work this time too.  I just need to learn some patience.

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I broke the pencil!

February 24, 2009

I took the pencil right out of Honey’s hands and broke it in half.  She likes to hold her pencil about 4 inches from the point.  With the pencil broken, it is only about 4 inches long.  She has no choice but to hold it closer to the point.  Sometimes the solution is drastic, but oh so simple!  (I did put pencil topper erasers on the top of each piece, so they look like regular short pencils.)

My review of Reading Reflex.

January 30, 2009

Reading Reflex is the book that I have decided to use with helping Honey to read.  She can read at about a mid-first grade level according to our lovely school system (note the dripping sarcasm here).  The main problem is that she has plateaued.  She is not advancing much, and it is obvious that she is trying to memorize the shape of the words instead of reading the sounds.  So with this in mind, I started reading Reading Reflex.

The first chapter starts out with the history of reading instruction.  It explains the differences between “whole language” and “phonics” and how they are often combined.  Then it talks about how kids learn to read and a little about their system for teaching reading. 

Chapter two talks about how to implement the following chapters and how to teach their system.  It was rather boring, but it included some needed information, so it is a must read.   At the end of the chapter is a test to give the child  to see what problems they are having.  This was very enlightening to me.  Some of the test were the same as what the school gave Honey.   The first test has you sounding out words for your child to see if they can hear the word from the sounds.  I thought that Honey would do great on this one, and she did on the three and four sound words, but missed some of the five sound words.  The next test had Honey telling me the sounds in words.  This one the school gave her.  They said she did fine on it (low side of normal, but normal none the less).  She did fine on the three sound words, but missed every four sound word.  I’m starting to see a pattern here.  She did the same thing on the final test, got the three sound words and missed the four sound words.  After this chapter, I could see where Honey needed work.  There was also a test that showed how many letter sound Honey knew.  I was surprised at how many she did not know. 

Chapter three includes lesson plans for teaching letter sounds and reading three sound words.  I started this chapter with Honey this week.  She really does not need most of the lessons, but it is good review, teaches us both how to use this system, and it filled in a few holes that I did not know were there.  For instance, Honey was using letter tiles to make words.  Then I would give her a new word and have her change the old one to make the new one.  (Bug to Dug)  She did fine with this, but when I asked her to change Dug to Dig she made Dui.  I had her read the sounds and she changed it to Dig, but she made this mistake several times.  Today, we reviewed this and she made no mistakes.

Sometime next week, we will start chapter four.  Chapter four is four sound words.  I expect that we will spend a lot longer on chapter four than on chapter three.  Hopefully this is where we will make a lot of progress.  Hopefully this is where we see a light bulb go on in Honey’s head.  I am looking forward to chapter four. 

Chapter five focuses on sounds that are represented by two or more letters.  I expect this chapter to be one that helps Honey a lot too.  I can’t wait to get there. 

Chapter six talks about multi-syllable words.  I have not read this chapter yet, and I have heard (and from skimming the chapter, it looks like this is true)  that the format is somewhat different than the earlier chapters.  I am willing to work with it, if need be, to make it work. 

The main thing that this book has helped with is that it breaks reading into its sub-skills.  It tells you what the sub-skills are so that you can teach them.  For some reason, I was not able to figure this out by myself.  I have no problem figuring out the sub-skills of math, breaking it down and putting it back together.  I have done a lot of this in the past few weeks, and I am beginning to see results.  Now that I know how to do this with reading, I expect to see some improvement in a few weeks too.  The other thing I have learned, is how to measure these sub-skills.  When I have Honey read to me, I can see that there are problems.  She can’t read words that I think that she should be able to read, but I don’t know why.  Until I read this book, I couldn’t see the sub-skills that were missing.  Now it is clear.  Now I have hope.

ETA (March 2010): I posted this a year ago, and Honey has made great progress.  In Aug. (2009) I started her with Level 1 of All About Spelling.  It is a spelling program, but I am using it as a reading program.  I have her practice reading each word as well as spelling each word.  It is interesting to look back at this post because she still struggles with hearing and blending words with many sounds.  (She can do 4 sound words pretty well, but still has trouble with 5 and 6 sound words.)

Evaluation Weekend

January 26, 2009

This weekend turned out to be evaluation weekend for us.  Honey had her thing at the school on Friday morning, and Dearie took the Explore test on Sat. morning.  So here are my thought on what I have found out so far.

Honey:  The lady at the school said that she was right on target for first grade.  She said that she just needs more practice reading.  To become a good reader, you have to read A LOT.  I think that she took one look at the math scores on Honey’s standardized test from last year (very high score) and decided that I was a pushy parent.  She did admit that the reading score was very low compared to the other scores, but that it was still in the normal range.  She had never heard of twice exceptional children.  Let me say that again; she did not know what the term was.  If Honey is twice exceptional, and you know that I think that she is, how can a professional who does not know what twice exceptional is help a twice exceptional child?  Honey’s score may be in the normal range, but it is NOT normal for her.  Normal for her would be very high.  (Not trying to brag here, just stating the facts.)  If her math and other scores were in the “normal” range, and her reading score was in the failing range, then they would have seen the problem.  Can you see what I’m getting at here?

I did not tell her that Honey has been sounding out words for three years now, I didn’t think of it at the time.  I did not tell her that Honey has had a ton of practice reading and that it is not helping.  Anyway,  I don’t think that we will be getting any help from this angle.  I am researching ways of teaching reading and have switched Honey’s curriculum (again).  I am going with one that is designed for dyslexics.  If she is dyslexic it will help, if she is not, it won’t hurt.  I am sure that this kid can learn to read and I’m not going to give up until she is reading well!

Dearie’s test was Sat. morning.  It went well.  There was a whole classroom full of little third graders taking this eighth grade test.  She said that she guessed on a lot of the questions, but the idea of the test is that she won’t be able to get everything right (unlike other tests).  Now comes the hardest part: waiting 4-6 weeks for the results!