Saturday, October 20, 2007

Riffing With My Friends

Riff-Raff Tag-about

Original: Vineyard, Root, Rescue, Perseverance, Divided

Vineyard: Memories of scraggly plants in dry soil seen while on vacation as a child. Thoughts of sour wine when a winery didn't have good grapes planted in the vineyard. Also the movie "A Walk in the Clouds" which is one of the most romantic movies I've ever seen.

Root: the root word of a multisyllabic word which has a prefix and a suffix. Longest word I know is "antidisestablishmentarianism" which was popular among the hippies in the 70's. It impressed me simply because it had so many letters and I was actually able to decode it without looking in the dictionary because I had been listening when they gave us roots, prefixes, and suffixes in English class. The reason I listened was because I liked Greek mythology and there were lots of Greek and Latin words in these lessons. If you want to look at it a different way when I learned this word I was rooting about in the letters, and meanings. (g)

Rescue: a sometimes word. Sometimes you should rescue and sometimes you shouldn't.

Perseverance: sticking to it. Doing it till you get it right. Fortitude and/or stubbornness. Determination!

Divided: my feelings about spelling in 3rd grade right now. Kids did horrible on Friday's spelling test. I checked the words in the sentences I used online. They seem to be in line with appropriate grade level vocabulary. I repeated each sentence at least 7 times. More than half the class failed. I'm wondering what I did wrong and why they didn't get it. I forgot to say, "practice your words at home." Mea Culpa! But some kids did it anyways! Good job! So my question to the class will be, "How can I help you learn to spell the words?". Maybe they will have some ideas. Of course one child is in big trouble with me. She didn't follow the given procedures for a spelling test. She decided to push the limits and only write the word she thought was the spelling word. Sometimes she was right and sometimes she was wrong. Sometimes the word was spelled correctly and sometimes it wasn't. But, whether she spelled the word correctly or not, she got a zero for not following the procedure for taking a spelling test. I plan on keeping her in from recess next week and giving her a sentence to write over and over again. "I will follow the rules in school." Of course this child may say, but you didn't give those directions. I think she should already know the procedure and will be held accountable for doing what she knew she should be doing instead of what she did. The rest of the class did it.


San said...

What will you do, Lee, if she writes over and over again: I will not follow the rules in school. I will not follow the rules in school. OR: I will follow the schools in rule. I will follow the schools in rule. OR: Eye will follow the rules in school. Eye will follow the rules in school. OR: Eye will hollow the schools in rule. Eye will hollow the schools in rule. Then what?

Sorry. But your proposed punishment made me take off on my own riff.

I WISH YOU MUCH LUCK in getting the kids to spell. Wish I had an answer. They do need to practice at home and they probably need their parents to get in on the act. I used to have one of my children jump on the bed while he spelled his words, so that he would feel them in his body. And when he took one of those standardized tests, he was at the 99th percentile in verbal ability.

I know you're aware of learning styles, since you've posted about that. I also know that the traditional classroom setup makes it hard to facilitate these other styles and that many parents are too busy to spend a lot of time with their kids. In that classroom with all those kids, you're also trying to achieve a modicum of order. It's a challenge.

But I have faith. You'll make it happen. Persevere. Rescue. There's a vineyard of learning already taking root. You just don't see the fruit yet. Don't be divided. Save that for long division.

Lee said...

Dear San, Thank you! I needed that feedback. I don't know what I would do if she did that. Probably tear my hair out in frustration. This is one of those clever kids who is always playing games to see how much she can get away with. It would be nice if she would put that much energy into her studies. I have seen teachers use the method I proposed but they do it rarely. Maybe I just need to get a thicker skin.

Thank you for the wishes on getting the kids to spell. I was wondering if I could have them do "back writing" where they write the words on each others backs, but I'm worried that, in our school and state, the restrictions on touch are too strict to allow that. Another idea would be to have the children spell their words while walking in place. That would be too noisy. But while thinking about it I did come up with a way to do the back writing w/o the back part. I can have them write the words in front of their partners on their desks with their fingers. That won't break school rules and should be easy and fun enough to get the kids engaged.

Thank you for being so frank with me. When I first started training to become a teacher I was offended when one of our teachers referred to people my age as dinosaurs. I don't want to be or act like one. Bless you for being open about the needs of kids. Never having had any of my own I really envy those who have them, especially when it comes to teaching them. Mothers are usually the best teachers around.

Peace! Hope! & Joy!

San said...

Please, Lee, don't take the things I say about teaching too seriously. I did a very brief stint as a freshman comp teacher--at the college level-- and learned I was absolutely not cut out for it. I sweated over having to give grades and just took it too seriously in general. Mothers can be good teachers to their own kids, because it's a very small classroom and they genuinely adore their own kids. I know it has to be really hard to warm up to all of those kids. I have friends who are doing it and they find it both blessing and curse. My hat is off to all teachers, including you. And I believe the teacher who called our generation "dinosaurs" should be taken out and shot by a firing squad of middle schoolers during recess.

Lee said...

Ok...I promise to try to take things you say with a grain of salt. But San, you are a good sounding board. Please don't in any way discredit the importance of what your feedback did. It helped me search for another, better path. That kind of friend is worth more than gold. And it is a joy to call you one.

Peace & a hug if you want it.

San said...

I am never one to refuse a hug. Ever. And back at ya!!!

murat11 said...

Fun stuff with your rooting about there, Ms. Lee.

Methinks you have a poet in your errant speller. The world awaits. Peace.

Lee said...

Aww, Thanks Murat! I do love them. I keep pulling poetry books out to read to the kids. (g) I promise to keep on trying to write with the words. Thank YOU for providing me with some inspiration! (G)


jsd said...

what about rhyming games with the words or making up a song or a story.

and i agree with san about the "i will follow the school rules" thing - and well all i kept thinking of was, those d**m nuns. maybe instead of punishment find out why the child took the test the way they did. and well be a little slower to judge.


Lee said...

Good suggestion JS! I hope to do that with their names if we revisit adjectives. One descriptive word for every letter in their name! :)

The child took the test that way because she has decided to see how far I'll let her go. She gets this small grin on her face when I tell her something and then waits to see if I'll push for compliance. She is very playful that way. It can be cute and clever at times and I admire her creativity, but when something serious is going on it is very frustrating and a total pain.