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Posted: Fri Nov 02, 2007 6:57 pm
by Kat
Well Maizie,

Judy will need a human on duty to keep order as usual and some tulips might be nice to decorate the pens!

Oh and Judy what about a ewe?

Posted: Sat Nov 03, 2007 12:35 am
by Judy
Many thanks, everybody, for all your advice and suggestions!

I will certainly add the 'emu' and the 'unicorn' to my set of animals, but, just as Maizie found that a 'tulip' was outside the ken of some of her pupils, I very much doubt whether a 'ewe' or a 'jaguar' would mean anything to most of mine, which I'd better not say any more about or I'll be into one of my rants about the poor vocabulary and general knowledge of even my mostly very 'middle-class' pupils! :sad:

Kat, I have today made a poster of the alphabet, along the lines you suggest, so thankyou for that idea. My difficulty is that, as I teach at home, display space is a bit limited and the children would only see it for an hour a week, but I'm thinking I might make an A4 version for them to take home, where maybe their parents could stick it on the front of the fridge (or preferably over the TV screen, if I could print out one that was large enough!).

There have been several threads recently about the poor vocabulary etc of 'disavantaged' pupils. It seems to me to be a vicious circle. The paucity of their vocabulary limits their ability to learn to read (beyond basic decoding), and that then in turn compounds their lack of general knowledge and limited vocabulary.

I was astonished to find that neither a 9yr old nor a 10yr old knew what a 'pillar' was (a word I'd given as an example of /er/ represented by 'ar'). I wondered whether I was expecting too much of them so I asked one of my grandsons, who was 7 at the time. He gave me an almost dictionary-type definition and as we were passing a park with huge gates at the time, he pointed to the pillars as an example. I've also had an 11 yr old claim that he did not know that a bee could sting. And these are not children from 'disadvantaged' homes, in the normal sense of the term. :sad:

Posted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 7:43 pm
by Judy
My animal-sorting cards got their first outing today with my 14 yr old special needs boy and I don't think he went home any the wiser.

He didn't have too much difficulty remembering that /a/ /e/ /i/ /o/ /u/ are the 'short' vowels but, even when I isolated the vowel sound in words like 'eel' and ''spider' and reminded him which were the 'short' vowels, any correct sorting seemed to be purely by chance.

I'll try again next week and maybe eventually the penny will drop.

Maybe the fireworks going off in neighbouring gardens didn't help!

Posted: Sat Nov 10, 2007 6:24 pm
by Susan Godsland
I was talking to someone at the conference on Friday and she said that she thought a 'political' element had entered this particular message string.

Please can message posters take note that this forum is for 'purely practical posts -NO politics!

This is not the correct forum to make points or arguments ;-)

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 2:23 pm
by Judy
My animal-sorting cards didn't prove any more successful with the eight-year-old than with the fourteen-year-old!

My first mistake was to assume that she knew what an animal pen was - the moment she heard the word 'pen' she reached for the pot of rollerballs and asked if she could choose a colour!

Having sorted that out, my second mistake was to leave the alphabet poster displayed, and, like the fourteen-yr-old, she kept looking at it for the answer instead of listening to the sound. So I'll make sure I take that down before the lessons this week.

Having gone from using written words to just pictures, I'm wondering whether I need to keep it even more simple by just using sounds, not associated with any word. Something along the lines of a bingo game with a short line in some squares and a long one in others. It's a pity in a way that we use the terms 'long' and 'short', but as Debbie suggests, I could elongate the long ones a bit and keep the short ones really short.

Any other ideas very welcome!

If this doesn't succeed, I think I'll leave it for a while but I thought it would make sense to introduce the concept when they first beginning to learn the long vowel correspondences.

Posted: Sun Nov 11, 2007 8:32 pm
by FEtutor
Judy, don't know if this helps- at the start of session I have a quick routine "How many beats or syllable in ......", (saying a few words), "What does each beat or syllable need" ( saying "consonant or vowel?", if necessary), "Show me the vowels..... what also acts as a vowel" - getting the student to write the vowels + y. Then I point to each vowel in turn and ask "What are the two chief sounds this can represent?". This means I can avoid using the terms long and short, as I have found that some of my adult students take the terms too literally and get in a knot. I would prefer a first response to be the short sound, but this approach caters well for those students who come to me knowing the long sound as an automatic first response to the symbol. I don't mind which they say first, as long as they've got the message to try first one sound and then the other. I do say at some point usually that some other teachers use the words long and short for the two chief sounds.
In sorting out words which have long or short vowel sounds in them, for some students I have used those little signs for long (straight bar) and short (smiley mouth) on top of the letter, explaining that that's what teachers use.

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 1:06 am
by Judy
FEtutor - thank you very much for your suggestion. I wanted to wait to reply after I'd tried it out today but just reading what you wrote, I thought it made a lot of sense. I think I have been approaching it from the wrong direction!

I have been beginning by asking my pupils to decide whether the sounds they hear are 'long' or 'short' (ie they have to listen and then identify, as in spelling), whereas you are using the somewhat easier approach of starting with the letters, rather more like reading.

So I tried what you suggested with two of my pupils today and even my 14 yr old Special Needs lad seemed to 'cotton on'!!! :grin:

I suppose that, like reading and spelling, a different kind of memory is needed? :???:

Posted: Tue Nov 13, 2007 6:11 pm
by FEtutor
I'm glad it worked for your students too!

Definitely all kinds of memory are needed for our students, young or old, to help them learn- I've got a poster on the wall saying "Use all roads into your memory" with arrows from an eye, an ear, a mouth and a hand all pointing towards "memory" in a drawing of a head.