Thursday, June 17, 2010

Childlight Conference

This past weekend I was able to attend a portion of the Childlight CM conference. When I got home I did what any good CM student would do and wrote my own narration of one of the workshops.

Read further

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Spelling and Dictation

Bad spelling is usually a sign of not much reading, or sometimes, reading so fast that words are skimmed over instead of really seeing each word.

I will be honest and tell you I am very opinionated when it comes to teaching spelling. I suppose it stems from the long journey my children have taken me on and how I have sorted through those observations. For the most part I strongly agree with Charlotte Mason. Children need to see the words. My oldest daughter came from the public school environment which believed, at the time, in creative spelling. This is the method of allowing a child to continually misspell words with the thought that one day this will all click and good spelling will occur. Year after year we waited for the light to go on. I would protest with the teachers that I didn't understand why we were continuing to allow her to misspell words. At home I would frustrate her by trying to correct everything. We went from "don't worry she will get it" to "don't worry there's always spell check." After bringing her home and frustrating both of us I finally said, "Don't you see the words?" She looked at me exasperated and replied, "No."

This was a profound moment for me as the teacher. She was a veracious reader and I could not understand this confession. Charlotte warns of children not truly examining words and details the bad habit of seeing misspelled words. As my children were young or in remediation, we did take the time to study phonics and understand the true spelling rules of the English language. As that knowledge began to digest, we introduced dictation. In my daughter's case, we studied phonics and spelling rules for almost two years trying to undo the bad habits she had developed. The final stage was the process of dictation. Charlotte describes the process as a time of study for the child; carefully examining each word in the passage and preparing for the dictation. She also suggests allowing the child to choose the passage which develops ownership. For my daughter, it was Pride & Prejudice, her favorite book. She chose chapter 12 and for a year we carefully worked through the words taking note of her problem areas. Because we both had an understanding of phonics and of the spelling rules we were able to dissect each misspelled word.

I began to notice a change. She went from always asking how words were spelled to spelling them for me to see if they were correct to hardly asking at all.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Narration Cubes

from Our Story in Progress

Last night I read to my 6 year old from Winnie the Pooh. He chose the story "Eyeore loses his Tail." After we finished we got my narration cubes out. First he rolled characters so I had him name all the characters in the story we read. Then he rolled connections. I asked him what were some things he was reminded of while we were reading. Since Owl had taken Eyeore's tail and used it as a bell pull, mistakenly of course, Ben and I were reminded of the bell pull from The Wizard of Oz. Then he rolled on N which meant we could be creative. So I had him take his stuffed animals and create his own version of the story. He called it "Rabbit loses his Tail."

We had such a fun night! I love nights like that!