Archive for August, 2018

Teachers and Tutors on the same side?

Dear Teacher in a brick and mortar school,

I can be your first line of defense! I can be your back up! I can be the echo that keeps on repeating. I can be the honest voice that tells the parent what next steps they can do to support their child.

When I see our student once a week, I get the most intensive and best opportunity to deliver high quality and individualized instruction. Please understand that I’m not just some kid who wants to make a few extra dollars on the side. This is my business and my livelihood.  I’m a licensed teacher who keeps up with professional development. I’m a teacher who takes 30 minutes to plan for EACH and EVERY one of my students. I’m a teacher who progress monitors, writes reports, and has to work hard to keep families engaged.

When you learn that one of your students has the privilege of working with a tutor, take the time to collaborate! Here’s a list of just a few ways to share information:

  1. Share your graphic organizers especially if they’re specific and/or required by your district.
  2. If a tutor shares a graphic organizer with you, be open to using it. The graphic organizer may work better for your student because it may have more scaffolding, more prompting questions, more visuals, increased spacing, highlighted lines for writing, or more.
  3. Keep your student’s tutor up to date on his reading level. We like to use our own assessments but don’t want to skew your data by using the same tests (ie…DRA, Dibbles, etc…). Just a quick email on his progress is greatly appreciated.
  4. We should be emailing you strategies that are effective with our student. As we get that precious 1:1 time, we get to really know the kiddo and see a variety of ways to reach the child. Let us share this knowledge with you to increase the student’s success in the classroom!
  5. Include us on your weekly or monthly newsletter and let us know the areas of study. We’ll be happy to find texts on the Mayans, Colorado History, or cells!
  6. Verbiage! Is there specific language that you use in your classroom to help with writing? Decoding? Comprehension? Share this information to keep continuity for our student.
  7. Check your worksheets and share what type of paper that you use in your class. Do you use Learning Without Tears paper, highlighted paper, college ruled, dashed paper, paper that has space for illustrations, or something else? Share this with your child’s tutor.
  8. Collaborate on how to support a child with an I.E.P. What accommodations are used daily that the tutor needs to create in her learning environment?
  9. Are there special considerations with the child or family that need to be discussed in order for the child to be successful in the classroom? Let’s share these needs!
  10. Resources! Why reinvent the wheel? Ask and share with each other on different tools to enhance learning! This can include: apps, reading materials, organizers, blogs, curriculum, online textbooks, and so much more!

As the school year has started, let’s remember that we’re all here for the education of children!


August 17, 2018 at 8:53 pm Leave a comment

Praise process over product

My youngest son is three and hates to color. In fact, he gets so frustrated when I try and help him hold his crayon beyond the palmar grip that he’ll just storms off if I say anything. He’s the type of kid that the perfectionist and if he can’t do something right away the first time, it’s not worth doing.

Maybe you have a kiddo like this or maybe you’re child is so frustrated at being corrected all the time, that he knows if he tries and read one more time he’ll be corrected for the three hundred twenty five thousand, one hundred seventy-ninth time. But whose counting?

How are you, the teacher, the paraprofessional, the parent, who only want the best for this child, give him the confidence to keep persevering? And how do you correct him so he doesn’t learn the wrong way either without damaging the fragile ego?

It’s a mindset shift. Praise the process and not the product.

When my son wants to paint or use stickers, I’ll sneak in coloring at the same time. I’ll ask him, “What was your favorite part to make?” This line was given to me by his art teacher from Abrakadoodle. You can check them out here and I highly recommend them:

Other things I might say as he’s coloring (that can be used for any resistant writer):

-You really took your time with that _____ (letter, word, sentence, project)

-How did you come up with that idea? That’s so ______ (unique, creative, inspiring, etc…)

-You should be very proud of yourself for finishing that ____ (picture, essay, sentence).

-What are you thinking of creating next? (be wary of using this one as the first process might have been exhausting).

The idea is to look at the effort and the process that went into the final product and have the child be acknowledged for overcoming something that was difficult by themselves.

Likewise, with readers it’s the same thing. The concept that I’m using here is from Orton-Gillingham approach. Praise the student for the sound that he made correctly, given him an opportunity to independently fix his mistake, and then give him the information in a factual way and move on.

This looks like:

Child looks at the word CAT.

Child: C-U-T. Cut.

Adult: A does make the sound of /u/. What’s another sound that A makes?

Child: /A/

Adult: You’re right again. A can have three sounds. What’s the third sound A makes, like in the word apple?

Child: /a/

Adult: Using /a/ sound, try that word again.

Child: C-A-T. Cat.

Adult: Great job hearing the sound of /a/. Let’s keep going.

Notice that the adult acknowledged the child’s effort. Notice that the adult also gave more information and exposure to the English language. Lastly, notice that the adult only gave key words (or prompts) and gave the child the opportunity to figure out the sound for himself. These successes and opportunities to learn and internalize information go a long way to increasing your child’s confidence.

Check out this article from Understood.Org that goes into more depth about praising your child!

August 16, 2018 at 1:43 pm Leave a comment

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