Monday, October 24, 2005

More Bones

Yesterday's cloudy, cold, drizzle was the perfect backdrop to stay in the house and knock out the rest of Joey's science report. We sat at the dining room table and Dawn turned off the loud Mexican music and put the radio on in her room so we could concentrate. She's getting sick--sore throat, hard to swallow. Her big brother is sick too but he has a job at a pizza place so he was working. Let's hope it's not bird flu, right?

Preparing the oral presentation was interesting. Joey and I talked about what was on the MRI and I made him practice saying "anterior cruciate ligament." After he got that down, I tried to get him to learn "magnetic resonance imaging" but that was just too hard. So we made a note card about how an MRI is different from an X-ray and just left it at that.

He had eight note cards. It was really hard to get him to say a complete sentence without it on the card, so I ended up printing out simple sentences on most of the cards. On one I drew a figure of the leg bones and their connections to hip and ankle, but had to write it out in the end because it was easier for him. He was really good at pointing out the femur and the tibia while talking, though.

Dawn loaned me their cell phone because it shows the time. He went through it for me maybe five or six times. The first few I had to coach/interrupt him, but the last two or three he was getting through it OK on his own. It came in a little short--about two minutes, instead of two and half to three--but it was OK. He told me last time they had oral presentations he didn't even get to do one. "I'm really excited for this," he said.

I went to Chavez this morning in hopes of meeting his teacher, but it didn't pan out. There was a long line and the clerk was not mean but not extra helpful, and if you didn't know who you were looking for, she wasn't going to help you out. She sent me to the other building because I said I was looking for a fourth grade science teacher. Joey told me he was in the main building. I went over and asked there who his teacher was, and they sent me back.

Fortunately, when I came back, my friend Ms. Kelly was at the desk and she helped me figure out who the teacher I wanted was. But by then it was almost five to eight, so I just wrote her a note explaining who I was and that Joey and I spent about 10 hours on that report and she should call me if she had any questions.

I saw him coming in, just ahead of the bell. "Hey, you got everything?" I asked.
He nodded quickly and kept going--I suspect partly because he was barely awake and partly not to be late.

This morning I called DePaul. They have something called a Reading and Learning Lab that helps bilingual kids with learning problems. Of course they have a waiting list. They're sending me information. We'll see.

It kills me that it is so hard to get him somebody who knows how to teach phonics and spelling. At this rate, I'll have to learn Orton-Gillingham (a method of teaching kids reading and spelling) myself:

It's two years before he could even start at San Miguel.


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Anonymous said...

If you end up doing it yourself, you might also consider talking with the Center for Urban School Improvement (formerly the Center for School Improvement) at the University of Chicago. I sat in on their training for literacy tutors when I was working with City Year, and I learned a lot about teaching kids to read (though I don't remember talking a lot about applications to bilingual students--there could be something in my notes). As I remember, their STEP assessment tool seemed pretty good (at least, from a lay person's point of view :-). See Also, when you come to visit us, we can pull out my files and see if there is anything that you might find useful. Love, your former roomie!

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