Saturday, November 26, 2016

Now That I'm Back in the Teaching "Saddle," Some Tricks #1

It's funny how natural it has been for me to be back teaching high school boys, those who had never really gotten the fundamentals of English. During the decade plus I had taught in Beit El, I developed a lot of methods to teach reading that sometimes work with those who had never succeeded before. It's very phonetic, but not as detailed and tedious as the Hickey Method which can take eons to finish.

When I find myself with a group of 9th graders who still can't read English I need a solution and fast. There's no book that works quickly and suits our needs, the students and mine. Of course teaching vocabulary is even a great challenge, but this year one of my students is davka an English speaker, so the plan is to get him reading, and then by the end of the year he can go up a few groups to a much higher level. And for the others, I have the two challenges, reading and comprehension.

This year, I'm having major problems with the paperwork necessary for teaching, the lesson plans and the records etc. When I had done tutoring, after leaving the classroom almost ten years ago, I didn't need to keep records. The kids would come with their notebooks etc, and I'd continue with whatever was needed. Sometimes I'd have to prepare a bit, but nothing very complicated.

Now I've been photographing the board to keep a record of what I had taught.

I also printed out a page of the alphabet for all my students, and we mark off each letter learned:
Aa, Bb, Cc, Dd, Ee, Ff, Gg, Hh, Ii, Jj, Kk, Ll, Mm, Nn, Oo,
Pp, Qq, Rr, Ss, Tt, Uu, Vv, Ww, Xx, Yy, (Yy), ZzCh, ch, -gh, Ph, ph, Sh, sh, Th, th

And as you can see from the photos above I teach the long and short vowels together. I don't call them "long and short," because the terms make no sense, neither in English nor in Hebrew for sure. I call them "strong and weak." Think of the use of muscles when vowels are "long" versus "short."

Also when you start off teaching them that an "A" is "ah," they have trouble when weeks or months later, you suddenly expect them to learn that "A" is also "aye." It's much easier in the long run to teach both at the same time, and then they know from the beginning that vowels do more than one thing.

I've labeled this post as "#1," because if you like it, I'll write more about my methods.

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