Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Day 86

Outdoor Life, Domestic Life

No Ambleside today. ... there was a lot of snow, so Kieron and Aidan went outside for a couple of hours; then we drove to the library and market; then Kieron made cookies. I did print out and bind some more books and arrange them so they look pretty (!).


1. Paddy did a spelling game online. ... not really a game, more just like, well, spelling without having to write. I wanted to get him thinking about forming words because I thought that might be the way to get him more phonics conscious. I sat with him and coached him on sounding out things.

2. Aidan and Paddy both did word puzzle cards -- it's a game their grandma gave them.

The words that fit together are rhymes (not a very good picture but you get the idea). That gave us a chance to discuss rhyming, a concept that still eludes both of them.

3. Paddy found out how to IM on Facebook and spent the day thrilled about being able to IM his father, me, his brother, his grandma and everyone else on his very small family list on Facebook. In the process he learned to spell several more words out of necessity. I will also count that as reading practice since he can usually read what people write to him if they keep it simple; and copying/typing practice since he would ask me how to say things and then type it out for himself from my writing.

4. Aidan has found my SWR phonogram cards and has laid them out on the floor. Ignore the rest of the clutter, please.... his mattress is next to him because I bring it down at night so he can sleep there.

Reading (Religion)

I read Aidan an Arch Book -- The Man Who Carried the Cross for Jesus.


Paddy and his dad took note of the status of the water in the cup which has been slowly evaporating for the past week and a half.

I read Magic School Bus in the Bee Hive to Paddy.

High School

Every couple of months Sean has to write an argumentative essay and then type it into the library computer at school and get it scored by this Holt Computer Essay scoring system. There's a blog post about it here with links to more information. This pretty much says close to what I would say about it, so I don't have to try to write it out. I like Sean's Language Arts class and what his teacher is doing with it under the weight of public school requirements; but this Holt thing seems to be part of a school-wide and probably state-wide effort to improve student writings, and well, read the links. John Holt actually probably predicted this sort of thing.

The part I'll focus on here is that this time the language arts teacher gave Sean a bunch of different sample essays from the last essay attempt two months ago, with 2, 3, and 4 scores (the goal is to get a 4 by junior year, the way the counsellor explained it to me). So Sean, using a few strategies that don't really have much to do with real writing but have a lot to do with suiting the way the computer looks at the papers, was able to get a 3 score this time, whereas last time with basically the same level of writing he got a 2. He was the only kid in his class to get as high as a 3 which is equivalent to an A in his class grade for the essay, so he was quite happy about that. And he also was happy this time not to get trashed by the computer with talk about his "poor logic" and "inadequate syntax", which burned him a bit the first time through (I looked his first paper over before he brought it to school to type in, and it had no significant syntactical errors or logical problems. That is, if you trust me more than you trust the computer scoring system -- after all, I'm only MOM, even if I do have an English degree!).

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:20 AM

    That computer scoring thing is WAY scary. :-)