Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Poets Corner

This week has gone pretty well so far. I’m still wondering how long until the bubble bursts! I have had to do a little bit of nagging this week - mostly towards Joel on Monday, but since then things have continued along the going smoothly path and even though I had to nag him he did actually complete everything I asked of him. Nagging, I guess is just really par for the course, but it is so nice not to really have to sit on his shoulder to see the work get done. It’s really more about getting him to stay in his chair than doing the work and left to his own devises he would get it done, just maybe not before the end of the afternoon! Anyhow, he’s racing through Singapore 2B - it’s seems something may have clicked at last :) . When it comes to working out word problems, or anything where he has to figure out the operation, I have taken to asking him to write either a ‘P’ (for part) or a ‘W’ (for whole) next to the sum before he starts dealing with the numbers. That way he immediately knows whether he is adding or subtracting and I am more able to see where his thinking has gone wrong (if it has). When we get to multiplication and division, which is the next section, I shall do a similar thing. Thankfully, it does all seem to be taking shape in his little mind at last. I think the Miquon has helped more than I know, even though we haven’t carried it through to this level. I might go back to it yet, I’m not sure; just to help cement things even further in his mind, but when I look at it, it all looks so easy compared to what he is currently doing. I’ll see where we get to this half term. I’d like to get the nitty gritty of 2B out of the way really and be on to the ‘fun stuff’, maybe even complete it before the year is out, but that seems like a lot of work in real terms and it would be nice to play with Miquon alongside some of those concepts, which would mean they would take more time. Well, we’ll see…

Abbie is also coming along nicely with her maths. She seems to ebb and flow with both books. Today she really was keen to do ‘rod’ maths, the other day she was thoroughly enjoying the colouring in the Singapore EB book, but yesterday was quite reluctant. I think the problem with Sing’ EB is that there are a lot of activities and colourings of a similar kind at this point - just covering different number bonds, and although she was keen to start with, it feels a bit samey now. Miquon on the other hand, although essentially just as repetitious, maybe does not feel quite so, because it is asking a different question each time. So, although the operation is the same, the numbers (and therefore the colours of the rods) and the answers are different each time. Also, the rods FEEL so much more real than coloured pots on a page. I can see the understanding of what she is doing beginning to register on her face more when she uses the rods. I am really pleased I have chosen to team up the two books for her - it’s definitely working and she is so far never really reluctant to do any rod maths work.

Poetry is carrying on well and Joel wanted to use his skills in his quick write today, so these are todays productions;

If I Were the Teacher…

I would be nice.
I would be funny,
I would work hard.
I would play games with the children,
I would teach the kids maths, science and journal.
I would do music lessons
I would read with the kids.
I would have lunch with the kids.
I would work in year 2.
I would make it silent. (as if!!!)
I would ask them questions.
I would like the kids.

I’m wondering which of these he thinks I do well and which he thinks he could do better! I guess his poem is more of a list, but he set it our nicely and to me it’s a start. The very suggestion that he makes it ryhmn freaks his out mind and although I know that is not essential in poetry, for a list like this it does help the reader be a little less bored I think! I gave him a super sticker none the less, as I thought is was a pretty good stab at a poem.

Poem 2 was a ‘consequences’ style poem done between the three of us (Joel, Boo and myself) taking two turns each. We were particularly concentrating on exaggeration. Joel absolutely got the idea, but I could see Boo was struggling to know how to exaggerate on purpose! It came out like this;

I Can do Anything…”

(C) I can run as fast as the wind.
(A) I can sail a speed boat.
(J) I can climb to the top of a sky scraper.
(C) I can crawl through the longest, darkest tunnel.
(A) I can fly as high as the sky.
(J) I can ride a super-fast storm cloud.

There seems to be a bit of a ‘high’, fast’ &’ sky’ theme happening there! Obviously it wasn’t going to rhyme being done like this, but tomorrow we are going to work on extending it and maybe even trying to add in some rhyming couplets. Prior to writing it we had a massive ‘brainstorm’ session and all their ideas are still up on the whiteboard, so they can pull on them tomorrow. I’m hoping that tomorrow we will be able to produce a lovely BIG poem to go up on our display wall. :)

Other than that all the children have spent a fair amount of time on Reader Rabbit (at various appropriate levels) these last few days and that seems to be relatively productive. It’s certainly helping Phoebe with her number recognition. She likes to go on it while we ‘do school’ - I think it helps her feel more included. I must admit I do think it’s tough on her. She wants to join in so much, but her pencil skills, other than when colouring, are not ready for school work yet. Coupled with immature language skills (normal for a 4yo though), she often struggles to understand what I am trying to get her to do if I give her a ‘workbook’ as she would wish me to. I do feel sorry for her when she simply can’t understand, and when I say she just isn’t ready yet she doesn’t understand that either - she so WANTS to be! I would happily give her loads of colouring to do, but she wants more than that and then gets upset when she can’t do it, and even more upset if I try to help her!! Ellie is often asleep in the afternoon these days and, often out of boredom I think, Phoebe goes to join her for a nap - not that that is a bad thing in itself, I just don’t like to think she does it because she’s sad and/or lonely. Today Boo had her best friend ‘R’ round after school and I thought the three girls would run off and play together. Phoebe loves R and is always asking to play with her too. But I turned around 5 minutes after R arrived and Phoebe was nowhere to be seen. She had taken herself off to bed and I have no idea why. She is such a reserved little thing at times and she won’t always tell me why she is sad. I hope that changes over time, but I suspect it won’t. I guess I just have to make sure I’m available when she needs me to be… Bless her!

That’ll do for tonight. Hopping off to bed now :)

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