kitchen table math, the sequel: true story

Sunday, March 29, 2009

true story

Martin Kozloff wrote this & says it's OK to post:

So I have a class on instructional design.

20 young women and three guys.

All very sweet and bright kids.

The first day one kid stays after class.

"I have something to tell you."


"Well, I may have a hard time in this class."

"How come?"

"I have brain damage."

"Oh, man."

"Yeah, when I was six, my Mom and me were hit by a drunk driver. She died right there. I ended up in the hospital in a coma."

He takes a photo album out of his pack. It's a little kid's photo album. You know, with flowers and birds on the cover. The pics show his rehab. The first picture is of him right after the crash. His arms and legs are broken and twisted. He has no lower jaw that I can see. Teeth are sticking out from under his nose. [He now has a long scar along his jaw line from ear to chin.]

"He says, 'Man, I was ALL f%$#d UP!"

"I say, "Yeah, what're you supposed to be, Frankenf%$#ingstein?"

We laugh.

He didn't look human.

As the months go by, the pictures show him looking better and better.

The doctors tell his father that he will be a near vegetable. Better to put him in a nursing home.

But the physical and occupational therapists work on him for years.

He graduated from college with a B.A. in Liberal Arts.

He coaches several sports at a nearby private school.

He wants to teach secondary history.

He has told the class that he has little memory of when he was in the hospital.

Today we began to examine 100 Easy Lessons.

I start at the last story. I have the class identify the pre-skills needed to read the story accurately and fast and to answer the comprehension questions.

When we read the word "tame," he stares at the wall, eyes unfocused.

I say, "Uh, Mason, are you crapping your pants? Again?"

Everyone laughs, because I'm so funny.

"No, but there's something about the word 'tame.'"

Then we examine all of 100 Easy, starting with lesson 1, to see how the skills are taught, leading to the last story.

Then we watch a video of teaching with 100 Easy.

Again he stares into space.

And then, I swear to all gods known and unknown, he yells, "I KNOW this book! That's what my teacher in the hospital used to teach me to read and talk again!"

The girls in the class are almost hoiking and blubbering.

I merely say, "Jeeezus Christ on a bike!"

He says that he's (that moment) remembering the cover of the book and how he and the teacher went back and forth during instruction.

Then I show the class Zig's "memory paradigm," where you review a sequence of names for things and keep adding new ones.

He says, "She did that, TOO! Now I remember! That's how she taught me what things are called, and how to remember. Yeah, that's exactly what she did. I remember this!"

He says, "Marty, I have to write to Engelmann. He saved my life. He's God."


concernedCTparent said...

Wow! Thank you for sharing that here. Having worked through 100 Lessons with my youngest, I am a believer too. I should write Engelmann too. He really is a hero.

Catherine Johnson said...

You must tell us about it!