My students have been improving considerably. Two in particular, M & F (no, not Mom & Floyd, but another M & another F!), have caught the I-want-to-learn bug.
M has improved his mathematics skills considerably (among other skills). It’s not easy to do ‘mental math’ without guidance and practise. We’re using the practices of 1) using fingers to count, 2) memorization (as in the multiplication table), 3) writing out problems long-hand, and 4) using a calculator for complex calculations or to check one’s work. Because M is in a Montessori program (and, no, it isn’t just for playschool, preschool, and kindergarten – it’s valid all throughout elementary school and beyond), it involves practical life (understanding everyday activities), sensorial (tactility, sound, vision, etc.), academic (mathematics, language arts, histories, the sciences), and societal (creativity, games, group work, social activity). It’s not just reading, writing, and ‘rithmatic anymore, folks. So, part of yesterday’s homework is fractions and their uses. What’s the good in knowing fractions unless you can use them? He’s a creative fellow, so he could go on to use this skill in everyday life.
No, he’s not helping me build the trailer. He’s reading the tape measure in the pictures.
F has improved his reading skills. It started with not knowing the phonics of letters and combinations of letters of the alphabet, having difficulty writing letters in patterns, and knowing sight words. Now he’s sounding out words he doesn’t know and breezing through those he does. It’s about not being intimidated by the written word, I think, and he’s come a long way in this. He says he enjoys writing, so hopefully this will pull him along in the reading thing, too. Plus, I promised him a prize (a notebook from Korea) if he reads really well – something to shoot for.