Wednesday, November 01, 2006

The elusive "simple solution"

Man, I've got to post something to get that crazy crazy picture of me OFF the top of my blog!

So today I had an "ah ha!" moment with a few of my students...

I have a group of kiddoes who have various issues: one has realy low textual comprehension (as in, when he reads something, he doesn't usually get it) and REALLY low written output. If he hears something, however, he gets it, and really shines orally. (Still... his parents have refused testing for him, which would get him a designation and hence learning support. I just don't get it.) Another just has really low comprehension all round, and I'm constantly trying to figure out what to do with her, because, as terrible as it sounds, I really doubt she is capable of the type of work she brings back from home. Or at least, there's a huge discrepancy in what she does at school and what comes from home. My guess is that mom helps her heavily, which is ok, but I can't really assess what she knows! There are three others with similar issues - related to written output - in this little group of kids I'm particularly worried about.

I've been racking my brains trying to come up with what to do with these kids, especially in subjects like science, where I want to know that they know the info, but language gets in the way of that. So I've just started going to them and asking them verbally to give me the answers to the questions. I can tell if they've got it or not fairly quickly, and at least assess them on that, even if I have to note that they can't do the written part or that I can't mark anything that comes from home.

Sounds simple, eh? I don't know why I didn't think of that before. BUT, when the light went on today, it worked great! Of course, there are 5 kids in this situation, and it all has to be one on one, so where I'm going to find the time to do that, I'm not sure, but hey. It's a start.

It sure was a weight off my shoulders today, though, to find a solution to something I've been banging my head against the wall over for the last month. I did a little happy dance inside! We'll see how it works.

Actually, this whole afternoon was one of a very few times when I felt like everything was coming together. Kids were finishing up a science assignment then taking out their art project to work on, and I had a small group of students at the board giving them the math lesson they missed while out working with the resource teacher. The kids were working, I had just found my solution (I hope) to my assessment worries with my lowest students, and everything seemed to be humming along just tickety-boo.

It was a rare moment, so I enjoyed it!


H0kie Erin said...

I subbed for two weeks last year for a math teacher. She had one little angel that frustrated me to no end. He paid attention in class, but when I checked his homework his sloppy handwriting was suddenly neat, pretty, and girly.

His mother was doing his homework for him! I talked to him about it, but it continued (I learned it had been going on all year). Some perverse part of me took enjoyment in marking her answers wrong. Mwahahahahahaha.

Of course, he tanked come test day. Why don't parents realize they're hurting their kids, not helping them when they do the work FOR them?

happy and blue 2 said...

Woohoo for you. While I understand that reading and writing are important in school I think that lots of people don't learn that way and have been labeled as dumb because of it.
Providing an option that works for the children makes sense to me.
As a parent I could rant on about this forever. But I won't, ha,ha..

Anonymous said...

Hello Hillary,

you commented on my (former) blog a loooong time ago and since then I have been reading your blog. I just wanted to let you know how much I enjoy it. You seem like a great teacher and I think we also share a lot of other values.

Anyway, I am currently doing some research on learner identity and I think you had an awesome breakthrough with your students. I believe we need to concentrate on each and every student individually, but I know that time is often a big issue. Anyway, I think even if you only make a small step into that direction, it will already be worth it. And I think it is awesome how much you care about your students and that you think about these issues at all. Not every teacher cares so much about her students.
Good luck! I hope it will work out for you. :o)
P.S. I really liked the pumpkin picture!

Hillary said...

Thanks, Nici! I'm so curious as to what blog that was - is it still around? I went to your current site, but erm, I can only catch a word or two! :) Anyway, thanks for your encouragement. :)

H&B - yes, we all know you can rant. ;) But yeah, I've got to find alternative ways to let these kids shine if they can't do it in writing.

Erin - I know! I feel that way, too. "Haha! That mom only got a C+!" Ack, it's terrible!

Anonymous said...

I used to have a blog in English, but since it is not my native language, I gave it up after a while. Sorry.

Hillary said...

Oh, goodness! No need for apologies! :)