Saturday, January 22, 2011

Things are finally calming down!

January is so crazy with a student in high school: deadlines! The deadlines have been met, so time to get restarted with some structure. And some goals. :)

I've had the idea for sometime to have the kids become aware of what the kids in school are supposed to be learning, so they can compare with what they know. Plus, it would give my kids an idea of things they can work on. Well, this idea came to the forefront this past week when the 16yo, very tired and his words going kind of wonky, said something funny and he commented he needed to go back to kindergarten. LOL. I said, well, you know, that's not a bad idea. It'd take you maybe 30 minutes to finish kindergarten (lol) and probably the same for grade 1, but a little longer for grade 2, because addition and subtraction math facts to 18 are supposed to be memorized then. He had a look of, "I did not know that." He does not have these memorized. Of course, for someone labelled LD, it's not surprising. At the same time, he is probably perfectly capable of memorizing them, he just has no will to do so.

What I've done just today is gone through the provincial learning outcomes for math. Well, for grades 1 and 2, anyhow. Typed up the most relevant ones and will share them with the kids this week. We'll discuss why the facts ought to be memorized--what benefits are there to knowing them, the disadvantage to not knowing them. I should probably find out what it means to be "memorized". The 16yo said he knew them, but I said it meant to know them without having to think about them. His facial expression admitted to not knowing them that well. I'm sure I can find online something about how quickly someone should be able to answer oral questions or how many questions someone should be able to go through by writing. I'd need to allow a little leeway for the 16yo since writing is always an issue.

In any case, I will not be forcing them to learn them, but I may include some oral questions, games, pull out the flash cards, maybe find my set of equation cards (the little horizontal ones to use with the blank charts). I doubt any of them will be interesting in using the strip boards, although I will bring them out anyhow. Another thought: print off a list of different ways these facts can be memorized. What are the different ways I can think of?

  • addition and subtraction packets
  • above with strip board
  • Cuisenaire rods
  • bead material (Golden and coloured)
  • snake game
  • flash cards
  • equation cards
  • above with the charts
  • bingo
  • I think the MathAdvantage set we have works on mastering these facts
  • writing them out by hand
  • reciting them
  • worksheet with all 81 questions on it
  • mad minutes
  • using a version of Rocket Math/Mastering Math Facts that I created

I do want to write up the outcomes for the other grade levels, as well as do the same for language arts (French, English and German), science and social studies. For science and social studies, I have no expectation whatsoever that they know what kids in school cover here. I couldn't care less. For the language arts, it will help provide a means for them to be self-aware and for me to offer specific lessons.

Feeling good about the start of this second semester. :)

My little niece is coming back to herself. We had a break from the little one until this past week, and it gave her time to be with us, talk, etc. I want to shower her with all kinds of practical life and sensorial work this week. And maybe find some beginning language things I can easily do with her.

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