kitchen table math, the sequel: things I wish I'd done

Monday, July 14, 2008

things I wish I'd done

With C. headed to high school, it's too late for me to do some of the things I should have done:

  • pay for lessons and/or CD to teach C. a second language to fluency
  • teach C. to write paragraphs

The last two of these are going to have to happen anyway, so the fact that time has run out means only that we'll have to steal time from something else to do them.

Possibly video games.


Write Now by Barbara Getty & Inga Dubay & Italic Handwriting Series at Portland State

The Organized Student by Donna Goldberg & Jennifer Zwiebel

reading & studying
How to Double Your Child's Grades in School by Eugene M. Schwartz

Megawords by Kristin Johnson & Polly Bayrd

Analyze, Organize, Write by Arthur Whimbey & Elizabeth Lynn Jenkins
Sentence Combining Workbook by Pam Altman
Writing Skills 2nd Edition by Diana Hanbury King (Susan S's find)
Sentence Composing for Middle School by Don & Jenny Kilgallon (high school & college, too)
Sentence Composing - Don & Jenny Kilgallon's web site

posts from ktm-1

The Organized Student:
getting the call in May
3-hole punch for packet world
accordion file for The Organized Student
Donna Goldberg on children's sense of time

How to Double Your Child's Grades in School:
an approach to reading that really works
an approach to reading that really works (notetaking & outlining)
the 3 building blocks of success

some books that changed Carolyn's life


Tex said...

“How to Double Your Child's Grades in School” looks promising for my daughter who is entering 6th grade with an IEP that is supposed to address her ADD-related learning problems. At our meeting last month the IEP team left me with the advice that she should break down her assigned reading every night into chunks and write summaries. However, I’m willing to bet that there will be no instruction given to her by any teacher on the specifics of doing that. I’m sure it will fall on me to teach her.

Oh, the other "useful" advice they gave was that she should be sure to go after school for extra help every day.

It seems that even for special ed students, our school endeavors to “facilitate growth by staying out of the way as much as possible” and avoid the “risk of excessive control”.

I have about six weeks to figure out how I’m going to get them to do more.

Anonymous said...

Good luck with that, Tex. I must say that I'm glad we're finally at the high school. I had to teach my LD/ADHD son pretty hard during those years. I'm proud to say that he's actually retained some of the math skills he worked so hard on.

If anyone has a rising middle schooler, The Organized Student was great. I used many things suggested for both of my boys. The author describes the situation with kids and organization issues perfectly. The expectations dramatically rise during those years and the class switching just complicates things even more.


ElizabethB said...

A drafting class is a great way to learn to write neatly while learning something interesting. I took one in high school and really enjoyed it.

Of course, if he has pencil grip issues, you'll have to remediate those at home.

Handwriting Without Tears has easy to follow instructions, it shouldn't take long.

(I'm actually going to have to follow my own advice here, my daughter has changed her pencil grip and will need more work next year. Her grip isn't too horrible, just a little off. You do need to stay on top of these things.)

Catherine Johnson said...

Extra Help is a HUGE problem in schools as far as I can tell.

Our district's entire plan for instruction is: Extra Help.

At the transition-to-high-school meeting, the h.s. principal & guidance counselor spent the academic portion of the evening (the other portion was mostly about drugs, which parents were worried about) talking about Extra Help: the h.s. has TONS of Extra Help; teachers are available all day long for Extra Help; if your child doesn't Seek Extra Help, his teacher will assume he doesn't care, and so on.

Two years ago we were told, by the chair of the math department, "If you don't bring your child in for Extra Help, there's nothing I can do."

She was talking to two parents who had religiously shlepped their child in to school for Extra Help for six months, with no improvement in achievement resulting.

When we told her this, it didn't phase her. Extra Help is the answer. They provide Extra Help; therefore Extra Help is the way.

Then we told her the teacher had told our son, repeatedly, "not to come in if he didn't need it."

That did stop her in her tracks, but it did not persuade her that effective classroom instruction should be the priority.

Richard Elmore has a line about schools believing that good instruction means students asking questions about things they don't understand. He says this is profoundly wrong, and it is.

Students don't know what they don't know.

If you put me in a physics class and told me to learn physics by asking the teacher questions about things I don't know or don't understand, I wouldn't be learning physics very well.

No parent of a student with an IEP should accept "Extra Help" as a solution or even a suggestion.

The responsibility is on the school to teach SPED students.

It is not on the SPED student to figure out what he or she needs to know and to design a curriculum via questions.

Catherine Johnson said...

When you read books like Marzano's series on effective instruction, nowhere do you see "Extra Help" even mentioned.

Catherine Johnson said...

This year we agreed with the math teacher that C. would come for Extra Help -- and the math teacher wasn't there. The principal had convened a meeting for some crisis or other.

There's nothing the middle school can do for you if you don't send your kid in for Extra Help, but there's no guarantee that Extra Help will actually be available at the appointed hour, either.

Catherine Johnson said...

A drafting class is a great way to learn to write neatly while learning something interesting. I took one in high school and really enjoyed it.

OH, that's cool!

He'd probably love that.

He learned a lot in his art class at school.

Unfortunately, I don't think his new school has anything like that, and he's obviously going to be busy.

Good news: he's ahead of schedule on his summer reading!

He's loving it, too. They assigned fantastic books - perfect for boys.

Tracy W said...

Catherine, I hope you are going to write a list of "Things I'm glad I did".