Stephen de Jesus Frias on Nov 29th 2009
First off…Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you all had a wonderful time.
2nd Session: This week we went over the longer list of words again, but this time I made sure we went through ALL the words with my student so I could accurately make sure which words they are having trouble with. There was not much, if any, improvement since the first week, but I am confident things will get better. I had planned to read them a story but I did not get to start because of how long the list of words took, but I promised them next week would be much better.
3rd Session: This was a great week. Not only was there improvement but I got to do some more enjoyable activities with my kids. They showed improvement on the longer list of words and then we read ”Chato’s Kitchen”. They loved the story, so then I had them recount a scene from the story and then draw/color it for me. They did so well I got to give them some stickers to put in their folders to show the great work and improvement they had. Next time I am hoping to bring in a magazine so that we could have this sort of word hunt game. I think they would like that a lot.
Sophia Ling on Nov 23rd 2009
Last week, I was not able to attend the tutoring session, so Giomar took over my students for me. When I came back this week, I started off reviewing the list of high-frequency words with my two students, since they said they had already gone over the list with Giomar. I had them each alternate reading the words out loud with the four columns. To my surprise, they seemed to remember almost every word that they had learned during the week I was not there. For those words they struggled with, I kept my own records of which ones they were by recording them down on paper. My two students seemed to find it amusing when I started to keep track of the words they did not know. They caught on quite fast, and they themselves kept track of which words each one of them individually struggled with. I found it entertaining by the fact that when I started to help one of them with the proper pronunciation, the other one would say, “ohh…she’s having trouble with this word!” As a result, this helped me keep a more concise and accurate list. It seemed to be a race between the two of them because one of them wanted to have the same number of wrong words as the other one. My students were very eager to assist each other. Whenever one of them had trouble with a particular word, the other one instantly thought of sentences, such as “She is the _____ who is helping us,” and the first one almost always pronounced the word properly as a result.
Overall, I would say my two students were very eager and excited to learn. After I finished reviewing the list of high-frequency words with them, I told them the next thing we were going to do was to practice using some of the high-frequency words by filling in blanks in order to complete sentences on the worksheets that I gave them. I gave each of them the same worksheet. When I worked with each of them individually to fill in the blanks, by reciting the sentences out loud, the other one, again, used other examples at the same time to guide the first one so she could fill in the missing blanks with the proper words.
Towards the end of the session, Giomar and I worked together to review Tortillas with both of our students combined together. They each took turns reading the book out loud in a storytelling format. Both of our students got through the book relatively quickly. Afterwards, the students each picked a particular scene from the book to illustrate, and each one summarized what he or she drew.
The students appeared to enjoy both mine and Giomar’s presence there, and they were greatly disappointed when we told them that this week, because of the Thanksgiving break they have, we will not come for the next tutoring session. Since it is so easy to work with my students, I really look forward to the next upcoming tutoring session!
Giomar Useche on Nov 22nd 2009
Last week I tutored Sophia’s girls. This was because one of the boys I had was in trouble and the other boy was just too hyper, so my literacy coach decided that she would take him. I don’t know how to feel about this, I feel almost as if I have “failed” without even trying because I only had him once, but at the same time she knows him more than I do and knows what is best for him. The girls were very nice and calm. They were very approachable and seemed to like me. I felt glad and relieved about this. They introduced themselves and so did I. I went over the sight words with them and even though they didn’t know all the words, they were very interested and cooperative. They helped each other in any word they didn’t know. I read to them the book Tortillas and they were very excited about it. I asked them whether they knew what a tortilla was and they did. As I read certain parts, I would ask them questions in relation to the book. They were really into it. I was very pleased when the girls recognized words in the book from the sight words. They were really hyper about it, that they even asked me if they could read the book by themselves. I gave them the chance to be “teachers” and they took this job very seriously. I could tell they really enjoyed reading the book as teachers. I am satisfied of how this session went.
This week I worked with one of the boys I met the first day. As of now I will be working with him and I am not sure if I am going to get another kid. He is really quiet, but very focused. We started our session by going over the sight words and I was delighted to see that he knew more words than the first time. I read to him Tortillas and he seemed to enjoy it. After this, we joined Sophia’s girls and went over the book. They know each other since they are in the same class, so it didn’t feel awkward or weird. They drew pictures about the story and then they had to write sentences. They all did this fairly easy. After coloring their pictures, it was time to take them back, so I told them that they deserved a sticker. After cleaning up our station, I had a trivia question for each about the book. They were enthusiastic about getting the right answer and the sticker. They all did and left the session happy. One girl put her sticker on her forehead; the boy put his on his folder, and the other girl on her hand. I wished them a happy thanksgiving.
In two weeks, I am going to bring a magazine, because our literacy coach thought it would be fun for them to have a word hunt. Just as the girls recognized words in the book, then it would be fun for them to do so in magazines or newspapers. I feel that this will be helpful to them in learning and retaining the words.
Deneesha Lawrence on Nov 21st 2009
This is my first post despite my 4 sessions at P.S.160. I was assigned to Ms. Jackson’s 2nd grade class and was told that I would help a 7 year old boy named I’nin. He had just moved to the neighborhood (South Jamaica, Queens) and had just enrolled at P.S. 160. He’s known as a “jumper” because he’s not able to sit still, hence all he does is jump all around. When I entered the classroom, all the kids were starring at me. At first it was awkward but I slowly started getting used to it. I sat with I’nin and asked him to read any book that he wanted to. He did a great job. Ms Jackson (the teacher) then assigned the class to write about moments in their lives. He decided to write about the time he fell into a hole near his house. I thought it was extremely funny. Despite the fact he spelled a lot of words wrong, the story had a great flow. That session lasted about 1 hr and at the end he kept asking me if I was going to come back after lunchtime was over. I explained to him that I too had class to go to! He genuinely looked sad.
In the second session, when I walked into the classroom, he ran to his desk and grabbed a book that he wanted to read to me. The class was doing a collective writing assignment so I told him that we had to work with the class. His attention span when working with a group is extremely short: he looked around the class a lot, he started showing me his math hw, and asked to use the bathroom. After the collective assignment was over, they had to write a story that involved action. He decided to write about Spiderman and his enemy Venom (I was shocked that all the kids knew SO much about Spiderman). While i was helping I’nin, I also helped three girls (Angel, Nova, Mya). They all were writing stories about their families and asked me to draw their sisters and mothers with long hair. I obliged and they raved about my drawing skills (btw, I’m the absolute worst drawer ever..but they liked it lol) When I didn’t have my full attention on I’nin he seemed really upset and sometimes would yell or throw himself on the floor. When he did that, I tried to keep helping him, so that he didn’t feel neglected.
In the third session, as soon as I entered the class, I’nin waved hi to me but then Ms. Jackson explained that he only did work on Wednesdays (when I’m there) so he would have to learn how to do work everyday, with or without me. So she assigned me a new child (Angel) who I worked with the week before. She is absolutely hilarious. She does these awesome accents and makes the funniest faces when she’s telling a joke. We instantly connected and even learned that we’re from the same country. But while helping her, I also helped her friends that were sitting next to her. The assignment that day involved writing a story using quotation marks. It was cute that all of them had trouble saying the word “quotation” but they all loved doing the air-quotes that i taught them (a.k.a making quotation marks with their fingers). Angel wrote a story that included a lot of dialogue. I loved that she figured out that the questions in her story also needed quotation marks. Prior to assigning me to Angel, Ms. Jackson explained that Angel had a lot of trouble with writing but after working with her, I honestly thought she needed help but also a lot of positive re-enforcements. While helping her, Angel had trouble spelling a certain word and in her frustration she said “That’s why I’m the dumbest in the class!” I was absolutely shocked when she said that. I told her she was doing an amazing job and when I was her age I didn’t know how to spell every word and I STILL don’t know how to spell every word. Also, I reassured her that she’s going learn tons of new words and there’s no need to be so discouraging. She still looked sad but kept on doing her work and did an excellent job. I think she will make great progress throughout the year. Oh btw, while this was going on I’nin was causing a scene in the classroom. He supposedly cursed out one of the students, so the teacher made him leave the classroom as a timeout.
I was there again this past Wednesday and as soon as I opened the door, one of the girls (Nicole) came across the room and told me that I’nin was kicked out the classroom because he hit someone. After she told me this, about 4 more students tapped my leg and informed me again. I will admit that I am sad that he left. I felt that I could have helped him if I was given more time but I do think that Angel does need a lot of help and more positivity, so I’m more than happy to help her for the next year. When I walked the kids down to the cafeteria, I’nin did spot me and came up to me and said hi. So I’m glad he remembered me and despite our short time together, hopefully i helped him in some way.
Renelle Lawrence on Nov 17th 2009
On Friday, I worked with a new teacher and a new group of Kindergardeners. They seemed to be more well behaved than the first class I worked with and a bit more eager to learn. First I was given a poster of the alphabet and my goal was to get the children to be able to recognize the letter when they say it and to sound it out. I was assigned to work with 5 children and it was kind of difficult. There’s always that one bossy child who wants you to do it the way they normally do it in class and then there’s those two children who are too occupied with other things and start arguing over it and of course you have the wild kids who would rather push it other than pay attention. But, even with all of that we still managed to get through a significant amount of the letters. The only way I really was able to get them to pay attention was to threaten to take away their “free time” and those kids love their free time so they quieted down very quickly.
The later activity I did was much more successful than the first. I practiced recognizing and reading one syllable words with another group of 3 children. We went over simple words like cat, bat, hat, and sat and even though they were able to sound out all the letters they didn’t seem to be able to sound out the words. So I tried things like asking them “what do all the words have in common” and how to sound out “at” when you see it. It took a lot of repetition but in the end they were able to sound it out and even spell out the words that i give them orally. It was a nice feeling that they were actually learning something and it made me very proud of them.
Misha on Nov 13th 2009
I met my students for the first time last week. They were apprehensive to begin at first, but I tried to build rapport with them by finding common ground. After talking for about 10 minutes, we discovered that we all love basketball. They told me about their team and the positions they play and I shared with them my days as a basketball player in junior high and high school. We all drew pictures of ourselves playing basketball. After sensing that I was “normal” they opened up and were a little more eager to start the sessions.
This morning, I met with my two students again. I knew they were distracted from the minute we sat down. One of my students told me later that it was because he was worried that he’d miss a spelling test that was supposed to be going on at the same time. I was glad to see how important school was for him, so I took them back to their teacher just to make sure they weren’t missing anything and luckily she said she’d wait for them to come back. They eased up a bit and started to concentrate.
We started the session by reading off the ‘site’ words. They are never really excited about doing this so I created a challenge for them. Although I’m using this as a tool to see what words they know and what words they are having trouble with, I made it a game for them and told them I would see who could go faster. It was a close game with only 10 seconds in between them. I know I’m going to have to continue coming up with little games like this to keep them interested.
Afterwards we began reading a book called “Chato’s Kitchen.” One student was really into it, eager to read the book to me. The other, however, could care less. I kept trying to get his attention by relating the story to him but it was difficult. I’m hoping that he can at least remember some of the details because next week, one of our activities involves summarizing what happened in one part of the story and drawing about it.
Overall, I think today’s session went well. My students seem comfortable with me and I feel that I’ve earned their trust. I’m hoping that for next week I can figure out a way to gain and hold their attention throughout the entire session.
Christy DaBreo on Nov 13th 2009
Today I became more acquainted with the kids. They were so eager to tell me about themselves. First, we went through the shorter list of “sight words.” They seemed to know most of the words on that list. After that, we went to the longer list, but we only did one column. Since the “sight words” on the longer list are harder for them, I plan to make index cards to allow them to become more familiar with these words.
After reviewing the words, I read “Leo the Late Bloomer” to them. They really enjoyed the story and even read to me. After reading the story, they decorated their folders.
Sophia Ling on Nov 8th 2009
I would say that I was extremely apprehensive since it was my first official day meeting with my students. On top of that, I was already late half an hour since I completely miscalculated the time it would take to commute from my house to the school. Well, it took a whole two hours by train, ferry, and then the subway! When I finally arrived at the school, I was frantically searching for the literacy specialist since I found her room but she was not inside. There were also these questions nagging me in my mind: Is it really worth it to travel two whole hours just to do some volunteer work? Are my students going to like me? Will I be able to control my students? Am I really going to be such a great tutor where I can actually make some change? When the literacy specialist finally brought me my students, I knew immediately that I had made the right decision by choosing to volunteer for such a great cause. All my initial mental fears were immediately erased.
First off, the two girls were extremely friendly towards me as soon as they sat down. They both greeted me with very friendly hi’s. They were very curious as to who I was and what my name was. After I introduced myself, I asked them to tell me their names and some of their hobbies. They excitedly told me about themselves. I did not really have to struggle with them to get them to tell me about themselves. Well, one thing I found is that both shared these common interests: pleasure in reading books and in watching movies. Since they both enjoyed reading so much, I found it much easier to work with them. They were both very eager to tackle the lists of vocabulary words on the sight words sheet. There were three columns of words, so I worked with each of them individually first to go through the first and second columns and then I had them both recite the words together in the last column. In the end, I thought that this particular sheet of vocabulary words was too easy for them, and it was about time that they move on to the sheet of high frequency sight words. What I found striking is that both of them struggled with the same two or three vocabulary words. I am assuming that since both of them are in the same class, they are both very good friends. They were both so eager to assist each other on the pronunciation of the words that one of them struggled with when I worked with that specific one individually and that the other one knew how to correctly pronounce. One time, I had worked with one of the girls on how to properly pronounce this one particular word. When it came time for the other girl to pronounce that same word, she struggled with it as well. So then the first girl said to her, “I just said it not that long ago.” So then I told the first girl to let the second girl try it on herself first. After the second girl could not get it after a few tries, I allowed the first girl to help her. The way I worked with the girls on the pronunciation of the words is that I divided the words into different parts and had them sound out the different parts and then combine all of them together to form whole words. After we finished the sheet of words, I felt extremely accomplished when one of them commented that I was such a nice teacher.
Afterwards, I had them draw pictures on sheets of papers so then they could decorate their folders. What I found amusing is that one of them had originally set out to draw the apartment building she lives in while the other had set out to draw a movie theater with the screen and seats; however, when the one who had originally planned to draw the building discovered that the other was drawing a movie theater, she quickly changed her mind to draw a movie theater as well since she found that way more exciting. So then the first girl flipped her paper over and started drawing a brand new picture on the other side. I guess this is an example of the need to fit in with one’s own peers.
Overall, I would say I had a very productive first day with my students. I am looking forward to future tutor sessions with them!
Stephen de Jesus Frias on Nov 7th 2009
The first day…ahhhhhhh. Well now that I got that out… the first day was interesting, to say the least. When I first met my kids I was very nervous. I mean my arms were practically shaking! It was a mix of excitement and I guess fear even. They were really great though, and they seemed to like me (I hope!). We spoke amongst ourselves at first, got to know each other little better and pretty much put down that first foundation so to speak. I asked them about their interests and had them decorate their folders as I took some notes, jotting down some details for each child. They apparently knew each other already; they were in the same classes before, and they worked well together. Not only were they well behaved, but they knew when it was time to settle down and get work done. They even helped one another at times. As I went over the words with one child, the other did his folder, patiently waiting for his turn.
I tried to go over the list of words with the two boys, but I could tell how much work they needed. The longer list of words proved to be much harder than the first and it was apparent in the way both boys struggled. They both need a lot of help but they seem very dedicated and willing to work on it. I am very excited for next week where I will have a reading prepared for them and I am hoping that we can knock out some more words together.
Giomar Useche on Nov 7th 2009
Yesterday I got to meet the kids I will be working with. I was a little nervous since I didn’t know how they were going to respond or act, but it went okay. I introduced myself and told them that I will be coming to their school to help them with their reading skills. I had a sheet of sight words and I had to go over with them the words to see what words they didn’t know. One of the boys was very calm and did what he was told, he didn’t speak much though and drew a picture of his house and the park. He knew most of the words from the sheet, expect for like about ten. He was very focused and you could see he really wanted to get them right. I tested him after to see if he remembered the words he didn’t get at first and he got them, with a little trouble though.
On the other hand, the other boy was very social. He wanted to talk about the movies and wanted to color. I told him a little about myself and he told me about him. He had trouble with the words, though I think the sheet was too hard for them in general. He was hyper and couldn’t keep still much. I had to tell him a few times to focus on what we were doing. Towards the end of the session all he wanted to do was draw. He drew a picture of a car. Overall the first day went well. At the end we got a folder so we could put the list of the words the kids needed help with. We also had to pick out a book so we could read to them next week. We need to practice reading the book and take notes on how we will be discussing it. I think the kids will like this, since one of them wanted to read books. They will be interested. I am looking forward to our next meeting.