Thanks so much for visiting HipWriterMama, my blog about children's books, authors and readergirlz!

It's time for a change. I've decided to focus my attention on my writing blog, www.vivianleemahoney.com. Hope to see you there!


Thursday, May 15, 2008

The HWM Intensive Summer School Advice Needed

I had a meeting with my third grader's teacher yesterday.  Third grader's strength is science, social studies and writing time--her descriptives are beautiful.  But her weakness is in math and reading fluency/comprehension.  She's a hard worker and is beginning to get discouraged because first grader, through the process of osmosis, has the nerve to find math and reading easy.   

Instead of a relaxing summer, my children will be enrolled in the HWM Intensive Summer School.  Of course I'll need to change my bad habits... How I'm going to get three children, of varying abilities to pay attention and learn, freaks me out.  And these are my own children.

Some of my amazing Cybils panel members gave me suggestions for developing math skills, and one of these days I'll get around to posting this helpful information.  And if anyone has any great math suggestions for multiplication/division help, that would be great!

But for the reading? How do I keep this challenging without having third grader bummed out with sound tapping, and all the other phonics techniques she thinks are babyish?  Anyone? Bueller?


Nowheymama said...

When I tutored, the first thing I did was have the child bring in books or magazines about a subject he enjoyed. He tended to like all of the "boring" stuff better if we were reading about something he liked--like cars.

Susan T. said...

HWN, math facts cause some headaches for the third grader here, too. Lately we've tried a few card games, like Black Jack, and dice games. Also take a deck of cards, draw one without looking, hold it face out, and have your kids give you clues (7 + 2, 8+1) about what it could be.

I'll be reading along to see what else others suggest.

lori said...

As a homeschooling mom, I can say susan t. hit the nail on the head: play games.

For multiplication tables, try Timez Attack. www.bigbrainz.com

For general mathematical thinking skills, try the book Games for Math by Peggy Kaye.

And then there's the blog Let's Play Math here.

Tons and tons of suggestions there, including the game "math war." It's basically a modified version of the the card game war. You can play addition war, subtraction war, multiplication war, etc.

There are lots of other resources, too, many for free. I'd do a Google search targeting the specific areas/skills you want your child to practice and see what you find.

Good luck!

lori said...

Oh, forgot to mention, if you're looking for more of a curriculum for multiplication and division, you have a lot of choices.

Math-U-See (MUS) is a hands-on curriculum that uses blocks to teach the concepts while the kids also learn math facts. It's a mastery program, so the kids don't just get introduced to a topic and return to it later. They don't move on until they've mastered what they're working on.

Some others are Singapore Math (based on the national math curriculum in Singapore, the country with the highest math scores), Saxon Math, Miquon Math, Right Start Math. The list goes on!

Basically, there's a math curriculum for every learning style, budget, etc.

PJ Hoover said...

I still have (fond) memories of when my mom taught my sister and me multiplication tables one summer. She did it by rote drilling and memory. We went over those things a gazillion times up to 12x12 (wish I'd done to 16x16). And she gave us quizzes and we got prizes. Funny enough we didn't hate it. I still have the horses (prizes). And I plan to do it with my son this summer.

HipWriterMama said...

Thanks for the helpful idea! You're right, interesting subject matter is so important.

Blackjack would be fun. Thanks for this great idea!

Wow! Thanks for pointing out all these resources. I'll check them out.

I remember learning the multiplication and division tables by memory. For some reason, my child balks at this. She's very structured, so I think it makes her nervous.

sheila said...

Reading fluency: sounds counter-intuitive, but try using easier (and irresistible) books. My eldest was sort of like this when he was in gr.2. I'd leave his little sister's Magic Treehouse stuff around and ask him to read to her. He secretly liked reading them and it worked really well. Reading aloud is very under-rated. Now we use poetry.

My eldest is also a mild math-phobe: does it but doesn't like doing it. We use Singapore, and supplement with a variety of things, but what he likes best is me working alongside him on our giant dry erase board. He also likes a game we play that goes like this: (me) "What's 2 X 3 + 4 - 2 X 2?" Start easy and work up from there.

As for working together all summer, it may not be to your parenting taste, but bribery works very well in our house. Bribery of the "Let's spend the morning doing some math, then we can go to the beach and have a picnic" kind. Work, then play. (I see it as bribery, but they see it as fair play) Good luck with whatever you end up doing!

beth said...

The only time I ever concentrated on learning math was for a pink highlighter. My third grade teacher let all the kids have a highlighter of their color choice when they could take the multiplication test and make a hundred. We could take it as many times as we liked, but we couldn't get the highlighter till we got to a hundred. I worked for a solid MONTH....but I got the highlighter.

Bribery aside, I'm not sure how much advice I could provide, since I teach high school and there are whole sets of different styles in teaching a learning between the two. The two biggest things I can say are: keep it relevant, and keep it fun. If the kid can connect the learning to something worthwhile, like "I learn this boring thing so that I can do this exciting thing!", then the kid is willing to learn. If the kid finds some entertainment value in it, then the kid wants to learn more.

That's basically what I do in the classroom...

Jenny said...

HWM, Peggy Kaye has a great book called Games for Reading. It has games that address all sorts of reading skills and strategies -- and lots of the games are actually really fun. There are some games that involve being outside, jumping around...all of the games can be modified, too, so that if you find one you like you can use it over and over. Good luck!

HipWriterMama said...

I'm not above using bribery on my kids--I think of it as a win-win situation. Thanks for your suggestions--definitely sounds like something I can handle.

That must have been some pink highlighter! My child would probably be very intriqued. You sound like the type of teacher my kids would love to have!

Thanks for the book recommendation. I'll go check it out.

MotherReader said...

Shoot. I wrote a long message yesterday and it somehow disappeared.

My third grader isn't a great reader, and never has been. To work on comprehension, I do a couple of things. When she reads chapter books - or if I read them to her - we stop after each chapter and review what happened. I also mix in plenty of picture books in our reading, because I think the ones with good storys are helpful for reinforcing the concepts of comprehension and prediction. I'm also fond of the "You Read to Me, I Read to You" series because it makes reading aloud more fun when we do it together. I've recently had her put a piece of paper under the line that she's reading, because it seems to keep her better focused. Hope it helps. Good luck!

Liz in Ink said...

A couple of ideas. Books with graphic elements (a la Babymouse, Zach Proton, etc.) seem to be a total bonus for reluctant readers.
Also, since it's summer vacation, what about using scripts for reading, and then turn them into actual productions, costumes, etc????

The Cole Mine said...

Wow - all your comments give such amazing ideas! I won't repeat but agree w/all of the above!

Patty P said...

Considering it's the summer, my advice is to keep any learning a part of your daily plan. Incorporate fractions into baking cookies or cutting up pizza, play board games (we love Boggle) and give her lots of hugs. She's young and kids learn at different rates.
You're such a good mom, Vivian!