Monday, January 19, 2015

Powerful and Effective Teaching Part 2

Let's discuss the kindergarten student and what I discovered while working with her.  Remember she knew only 4/54  letters on the Letter Identification Test.  Her teacher had worked with her individually reviewing the letters but she still wasn't making progress.

I began by making an ABC book with her.  I used a small photo book from the dollar store along with a pack of ABC picture cards.  I wrote the letters she knew on index cards and slid the letters on the front side of the page and the picture on the back.  I used only the letters she knew.  While reviewing the letters she said tiger, /t/ /t/ /t/, T.....................

What? An insight into how her brain works.  Her strength is sound to letter not letter to sound like most children. That's how we needed to teach her.  I began with the letters in her name, one at a time. 

TIP:  In order to accelerate a young child's learning limit the amount of new information being taught so the short term memory isn't too crowded.    

I also taught her a song to spell her name like the song I taught my son when he was 2.  (MIT, CHE, LL spells Mitchell to the tune of MIC, KEY, MOUSE)  As the student was learning the new letters in her name I would show her the picture in her ABC book, then the letter, and she would sing the song to help her remember the name.  I told her that these letters were the most important letters because they were the letters in the most important word she would ever know- her name.  

I gave her a baggie with the letters in her name and an index card with her name on it.  I told her to practice making her name at home and that she could use the card to check to see if she was right. Then we slowly began adding knew letters and some knew words to the baggie.

Since her strength was learning from sound to letter I followed the sequence of sorts from Word Journeys by Kathy Ganske. I took the Word Study Graduate Class from UVA with Beth Estill who is an amazing trainer.  If you ever get the chance to attend one of Beth's sessions at a conference or take a class from her seize that opportunity!!!! 

In a few weeks the student's letter identification score went from 4/54 to 26/54. We started comparing and contrasting those letters. How do they look the same? How do they look different?  What do you notice about this new letter that will help you remember it? Again, it's about metacognition, about empowering students.

A few weeks later I assessed her letter knowledge again and she knew 52/54 letters. The classroom teacher and I worked together closely to help this student succeed.

The classroom teacher had done everything she knew to help her student.  She didn't have the Reading Recovery Training I received and she had 24 other students in that class and then another 20+ students in the other class and only half a day to teach all of them math and reading.  There is only so much time teachers can give individual students when classrooms are so overcrowded.

If we all work together; students, parents, teachers........ we can make a difference.
Thanks for reading!


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