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Showing posts from October, 2007

Today's Lesson - Mi She Berach

This morning during breakfast, we learned that my husband's sister, who is already on super high level chemo, found another lump. Not good news. Froggy was sitting in my lap when I got news and felt my concern. So I took the opportunity to teach Froggy a new prayer - Mi She Berach. She knows her daily prayers - Motzi for meals and Shema at bedtime. I explained to her that Aunt L has a big booboo too big to kiss and make better so we need to ask G-d to help her feel better. And the way we ask G-d for things is through prayer and there is a special prayer called Mi She Berach that we use when we want G-d to help someone feel better. Then we prayed and sang the Debbie Friedman song. Later while swinging at the park, she asked to say MiSheBerach again so "G-d make Auntie L feel better".

Making Learning Meaningful

Using the learning is what makes it stick for me. I need to see it in action. It needs to be relevant to my life and real. I am teaching my daughter. The lessons I learn teaching her are some of the most powerful lessons. Lessons I learn by way of personal problems stick more quickly than lessons learned from a teacher or from others. If I need to learn something to be able to do what I want to do then the learning will stick.

For example - I learned to properly build a fire on a camping trip when my partner forced the issue. I had previously coasted through trainings, through demos, and teaching girls with basic skills and shadowy knowledge. Out in the field I would let me program aides build the fire because they were "faster". On this trip there was no one else willing to do it. It was me or freeze. I am now competent if not fast.

My Research Question

In my class we are preparing to do an action research study which means investigate in depth on aspect of our teaching.

My research question is roughly what is the most effective method to help a non-reader "break the code" to become a fluent reader. Is one phonics system better than another? There is one system that does not teach letter names but instead has 40 "symbols" which are letters or letter combinations which supposedly represent the 40 different phonemes of the English language. Is this method better than other phonics system? Where can I find some research to guide me? All I seem to be able to find is by the author or proponent of the system and thus biased.

A second part to question is when you are teaching phonics how can you tell if you are properly pronoucing the different phonemes or help a student who does not seem to be hearing the difference between two similar phonemes?

Assumptions and Beliefs

According to Lynn Fendler, a major criticism of reflection is "the degree to which [it] serves to reinforce existing beliefs rather than challenge assumptions." One way to avoid this is to make a list of the assumptions and beliefs prior to reflecting so that they are front and center.
Here are some of my assumptions and beliefs

I believe that all children are born with a desire to learn.
I believe that most children lose this desire to learn through poor or regimented instruction
Children learn what they live
Learning must be active
The mind can only learn if the body is cared for.
Potential is a product of belief