Session Fiveby Cathy Angel on 04/13/20
Session # 5:
As I continue to work with my reluctant readers, it is evident to me they both have many of the necessary skills, but for some reason, they are both unwilling to practice these skills independently! I see some attention issues with both boys, as well as a lack of desire. This is pretty typical for active boys! I have also noticed when either one of them makes a mistake there will be some sort of “shut down”. Did I mention that they are both competitive? So, how do we deal with that?
It is impossible to help a child grow without challenging them. When we challenge them, they will make mistakes! How do you avoid the ‘shut down syndrome’? This question uncovers a deep concept that master teachers must be aware of!
Profound Thought # 12 There is a fine line between challenging and frustrating students. Excellent teachers challenge but do not frustrate.
Some children are so motivated to learn and excel they are not easily discouraged by incorrect answers. This would be my two granddaughters. If they make a mistake, they are fine with just trying again. They have good self-concepts in the realm of reading and can bounce back after an error. My boys do not have the same mindset. For them, a mistake is devastating! It might mean we accomplish nothing else for that lesson! Whoa!
I have solved this problem in both the football and baseball spelling games that we play! First of all, by linking the spelling to a sport, motivation is provided! Second, within the sports of baseball and football, there is no one-and-done situation! You get three tries, strikes, in baseball, and four tries, downs, in football. This small adjustment to the game has allowed the boys to adopt more of a growth mindset. It is no longer overwhelming when they misspell a word! It is just “Strike 1” or ‘Second Down”. I provide helpful feedback by reading the incorrect word exactly as they spell it. If necessary, I will give another clue. Both boys seem fine with it and try again. Hallelujah!
Profound Thought # 13 Use students' mistakes to teach basic concepts! Most of the time, my boys are pretty sure they have spelled their word correctly. I am quite certain to hold their attention when I read the word the way they spelled it. This eliminates me having to tell them they spelled the word wrong. I can infuse more intense learning by having them spell four or five carefully chosen words, than talking for ten minutes about rules or concepts! Providing correction at the moment they write it, provides immediate feedback, authentic learning, and direct application! These are all important characteristics of a great lesson!
More another day!