Sunday, February 2, 2014

Sometimes My Students Are My Teachers

When I was a youngster back in the 50’s school was hard for me. I struggled in almost every subject—the 3 R’s especially—and I was keenly aware that many of my classmates found school easier than I did. I liked lunchtime, P.E., recess, and, when no reading was involved, science.

My difficulties in language arts had a lot to do with inspiring me to come up with Soundabet. A tool like Soundabet ought to make it easier for teachers to show the code that underlies reading and writing. If Soundabet could save other kids from struggling like I did, then it was worth going to the trouble of bringing it into the world.

Of course, not every kid struggles with language arts. For some kids, reading and writing come naturally.

Friday I was taking one of my English language learner through the mid-year DIBELS benchmark assessments. I was working on the test that is said to measure how many letters a student can name in 60 seconds. 

The page I was working on looks like this.

I gave him the scripted instructions and started the stopwatch.

“Karate.” I thought I heard him say.

“What?” I asked him, thinking that he had misunderstood the directions.

“Karate!” I thought I heard him say again, though it sounded like it ended in the “D” sound, more like “karoddy” than “karate.” 

He pointed to the top line, and drew his finger across the first five letters (C-R-O-D-Y) and blended them into a make-believe word, “Crody.” 

He couldn’t understand why his answer confused me. 

Sometimes it takes me a little while to catch up with my students.

No comments: