kitchen table math, the sequel: are flyswatters better than the 3-cueing system?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

are flyswatters better than the 3-cueing system?


Catherine Johnson said...

About five seconds into that video I was agape.

Norm Deplume said...

Expert Village is worthless. As is that flyswatter-- there's a big hole in the middle of it.

Barry Garelick said...

Sound of vomiting.

Catherine Johnson said...

I need an electronic plastic wrap dispenser.

I'm pretty sure.

Catherine Johnson said...

I **thought** there was a hole in the middle of that thing!

Hainish said...

OK, honestly?

I thought it was a parody.

(No, huh?)

Catherine Johnson said...

I know!

When she pulled out the flyswatter and smacked the word "big" I switched over to 'parody' mode.

But I think it's real.

palisadesk said...

It's definitely real. These things are big sellers in the teachers' stores and online catalogs, and very de rigeur in Kindergarten and even first and second grade.

They are not a new thing either, I've seen them used (and touted) for at least 5 years, more like 10. They are most often called "Word Swatters" but sometimes are referred to as reading pointers, word framers etc.

Here's an a example of a commercial product, readily available at a store near you, or you can simply pick up regular swatters at a dollar store and cut out the middle.

I've seen some very fancy ones, with glitter, feathers and plumes, stars and streamers on the ends, and so on.

Catherine Johnson said...

So are you supposed to swat the word or just point at it, or frame it?

Sara R said...

How often are the word swatters used to swat one's neighbor, instead of the word?

Barry Garelick said...

Catherine, I can get you a good deal on electric plastic wrap dispensers AND fly swatters, so let's talk!

Catherine Johnson said...

And since I've just cleaned out half my office, I have room to store new stuff.

Sara R: I would not want to put a word-swatter in the hands of your basic 5 -year old, that's for sure.

CassyT said...

The U.S. Dept of Ed under Bush had a Teacher to Teacher Initiative that provided free professional development to teachers by mentor teachers from across the country. (I can't count the number of times the term "strategies" is used in the materials I have.)

Would you believe that in 2005, a history teacher with otherwise strong suggestions, included "Flyswatter Competition" as a way to review for state standardized tests?

His didn't have a hole in the middle though...

Catherine Johnson said...

What did you think of the Teacher to Teacher initiative?

And: what was the Flyswatter Competition?

CassyT said...

Catherine asked: What did you think of the Teacher to Teacher initiative?

What I liked about the conferences was the emphasis on research. In 2005, I could choose from sessions on:
Math Power from Singapore,
Phonics: The Building Blocks of Early Learning,
Phonemic Awareness,
Developing Computational Mastery,
Linear Equations,
Why Didn't My Child Get An "A"? (really-that was a session!)
Writing in Content Areas.

Of course there was plenty I skipped:
Teaching Language Learners by Using Powerpoint
Understanding NCLB

...were a couple that I didn't attend.

I recently attended a non-T2T professional development session on Using Interactive Centers to Differentiate Instruction... (with all content areas listed, etc.) It was aimed at K-2 teachers. Here's how the presenter suggested solving a story problem in math:

1. READ the problem 3 times. What is it asking you?_____________.
2. UNDERLINE the question in BLUE.
3. CROSSOUT extra information in BLACK
4. (a picture of an oval to mean "circle") needed information in GREEN
5. DRAW a (picture of a box) around the clue words or words in RED
6. ILLUSTRATE what the problem is telling you.
7. SOLVE the problem. Show your work.

At least the math at the T2T conferences was solid. Can you imagine a 1st grader trying to solve a story problem with that process? (Or finding the 4 necessary colors readily?)

FYI- The Flyswatter competition is a variation of another game used a lot in schools called "Around the World." The presenter suggested putting multiple answers to a problem on a screen (or now a smartboard). Two students have flyswatters. The first to swat the correct answer stays. The loser hands their flyswatter to the next student in line.

Anonymous said...

Did anyone notice that she did not invite the student to "use your letter sounds" or sound it out?
The word big sounds out with near-perfect phonic regularity: b - i - g.
If the children have been taught their short vowel sounds and their single consonant sounds, that's the first thing they should be encouraged to try. And it's so simple! No fly swatter needed!

Though I admit, as a first grade teacher I am familiar with using pointers and such to focus on words, and these tools have their place. I had not seen the "swat the word" method. I am disinclined to try it because I KNOW where it would lead. We will definitely have self-inflicted swatting for sure, especially when they can't read big by swatting it!