February 7, 2011

No Spying Mom!


Poof! Into cyberspace our documents, or half-written emails, or attached videos can fly.

And not only in our laptops and desktops, but smart phones too.

Every owner has a story, it seems, about a text or app or doc or map that has been sucked up into the elusive vacuum of galactical network oblivion. There’s a song lyric in there, somewhere, huh?

So my latest computer folktale is that in the big move over to Word Press, to combine my website and blog under one roof, I lost two blog postings. I had forgotten to save a MS Word Copy on my PC as I usually do, because I was multi-tasking and keeping my eye on too many balls and open windows.

I know it was about kids needing a grey area, between writing for an audience, and for none at all. Some of the most successful moments with kids have been when they show me volumes of writing (a few pages in a composition book)

but not close-up enough for me to actually read it. They are proud to have spilled that much out onto a page. And parents are often dumbfounded, since they have never seen that kind of output. A homeschool parent I just started working with oversees every single word her daughter produces, and up until 5th grade that appeared to be working, from an outsider’s point-of-view. However, the dynamic between them has grown spicier and dicier and that is the first thing I noticed, was that the 5th grader feels “eyes upon her” with every indented paragraph beginning. So she will start out differently with me, without me scoring or commenting too heavily on any of her pieces, nor will we mention goals just yet. She is just going to do a lot of reading response, in mostly full sentences, of course, and we will go from there.

I gave a 4th grade boy the assignment to practice summarizing with the pattern that I have in my charts. This was hard for him to come up with his own ideas, so i leaned on the newspaper:
The/A/An Noun Verb Where When or How

Coming up with his own was too difficult, so we steered him in another direction.

Mom and dad helped him find parts of articles from “The Economist” that would fit into the summary sentence pattern. He filled in the boxes with some big words, about dissidents, and revolt, and Egyptian protests.

A Vocabulary Moment, indeed. An opportunity to practice strong verb recognition, summarizing skill practice, and navigating complex sentence patterns, which he will hopefully create his own as models of after doing this one a few times more. The name of the chart page is “Making pictures in the reader’s mind” which I have adapted and made many revisions of, based on the Landmark School’s Teaching Guides.

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