Wednesday, July 23, 2014

School Time

I had a big, organized plan for school time during the summer.  Things haven't gone quite according to plan.  My idea was to do reading, writing, and math every day with both Micah and Luke.  Only thing is that I can't do both boys simultaneously since neither one can work independently very well (or kind of at all.)  So Micah hasn't done nearly as much as I planned because Luke is the bigger priority.  I feel terrible writing that.  I don't mean AT ALL that Luke is more important.  It's just that I feel like Micah has more time to develop skills before I need to worry.  Plus, I can target his individual needs after Luke is back in school, whereas Luke needs to build his foundation and strengthen skills NOW.

The other big kink in my Micah plan is that Micah doesn't have some of the foundational skills that he needed for my plan, and I hadn't realized that.  I meant to begin the "Handwriting Without Tears" program with him.  This starts out with really basic writing skills, like drawing vertical and horizontal lines and then moving onto diagonal lines and THEN beginning letter formation.  But Micah couldn't hold a pencil.  He just hadn't developed that kind of grasp yet, and I didn't know!  So we backed up to the very bottom foundation.  I got some tongs and we have been doing activities to help him learn to hold a pencil.  This is a great activity that I learned from Luke's OT a few years ago.  Here are a few photos of the boys picking up pasta and putting it into bowls.

Something else I've done with Micah is break his crayons really short so that he HAS to hold it with just 2 or 3 fingers.  A fist grasp can't fit on the crayon.  Micah is working on letter and sound recognition, counting to 30 (goal is to reach 50), and recognizing and naming coins.

Work with Luke is actually going well.  Before our vacation we were targeting all areas almost every day.  During vacation things were very lax, but we are now back on a school schedule.  I am excited about his writing.  I made him a journal with 100 pages like this:

He knows the format really well by now.  (We've actually been using this format for about a year.  I first saw it at an autism conference where I took a class on strengthening literacy skills.  I tweaked it just a little and we have used it periodically since then.  And now we are using it a lot.)  Luke usually gets to pick the topic.  Then he has to write 2 things about the topic and draw a picture.   For the entry shown he ran out of room for a picture.  We are still working on letter size.  I will translate in case you can't read what it says.  The topic is Pool, and he wrote (spelling corrected,) "I can put my head under the water.  I can jump off the first step."  He comes up with his own sentences and obviously does his own spelling.  But I still have to be right beside him saying, "Great.  Keep going."  Or, "What else can you tell me about the pool?"

Luke has been reading mostly non-fiction this summer.  I have found that it holds his attention better than most fiction easy-readers.  His very favorites are from the National Geographic series.

I don't have any math pictures.  We have been doing addition flash cards (been on 2s for awhile now!) and also working on place value.  Luke can write any 3 digit number and explain the place of each number, even a number like 305 which is kind of tricky.  He can also build the number using base 10 blocks.  We are also working on addition problems such as 12 + 5.  The goal is for him to put 12 in his head and then count up 5 more.  So the second number is always 10 or less for now.  I just want him to have the basic skill of starting with one number and counting up from there.  I also want him to know how to use his fingers.  I had 4th graders who couldn't do that!

I'm very proud of my super smart boys!


Keegan said...

You are definitely a teacher -- what a gift you have! I'm always SO impressed by the activities you do with your boys. I hope I can be like you when I grow up. :) But really -- I'm not joking.

Sarah said...

you are so great!

The tongs/noodles idea is a good one. Skyler still has a hard time gripping his pencil correctly. I bet Zack would like that, too.