Saturday, August 21, 2010

Language Arts Puzzle

Here's post number two about curricula I'm excited about using this year. This particular curriculum is a hodge podge of language arts that I've created just for Nathan. Like I said in my chemistry post, curriculum is exciting because I can choose to use whatever they need. In the case of Nathan, he is in need of extensive language work.Here's what I've finally come up with:

  • Speech/Language therapy 45 minutes per week. You have no idea how hard it is to find a good therapist that takes your insurance. The school denied our request for speech therapy. They never deny our tax money, do they? We love Miss Patty and I'm thrilled to be working with her. I mean, I'm thrilled Nathan will be working with her.
  • Social Skills group 1/x per month. This is run by Miss Patty and an OT. They ran a group over the summer that Nathan participated in and will continue with a few of the boys over the school year. 
  • Mobile Therapy, 2 hours/week. To work on social skills and anxiety. We're still waiting on the therapist. You have no idea how long it takes to get things up and running. Lets pray for a good MT.
  • Reading Fish comprehension program. This program will be used intensively for the first two months of school. It focuses on visual imagery and cognitive skills training. I bought the ebook for $19. 
  • Earobics for Adolescents. Earobics is a program I looked into when Nathan was very young. It is a reading program for kids with auditory processing difficulties. Nathan learned to read very easily and so I didn't think this program would benefit him. Now I am wondering if he doesn't have some auditory processing issues. I was able to find the program on ebay for very cheap and plan to use it as a fun school activity. Nathan loves using the computer and needs to have some part of school that isn't stressful.
  • Vocabulary Cartoons. This book is amazing. I feel like I've been looking for it Nathan's whole academic career. Nathan is a visual learner. Teaching him vocabulary with only words is like teaching ESL by speaking louder. This book uses rhyming and visual mnemonics to teach vocabulary. Example: Abduct. Sounds like duck. The page includes the definition and sentences but also a cartoon of robbers at a lake sneaking off with ducks under their arms. I used the book with Nathan for a week to test the waters. He was able to memorize five words, tell me the definitions and use the words in a sentence after only three days of five minutes a day. This is amazing for him. The book also includes a review test after every ten words.
  • What Did You Say? What Do You Mean? This book was written to help kids with Asperger's understand idioms. It also involves pictures (many of them silly). I bought this book last year and never used it. Since Miss Patty was working on idioms with Nathan I figured I'd do so as well.
  • Teaching Writing Structure and Style. I used this last year and Nathan was very successful with it. It is very structured and involves teaching writing not by making the kids come up with their own stories but by outlining something already written and rewriting the story. I'll focus on research writing with him later in the year and simple informational writing at the beginning. Writing will be used mostly in conjunction with history and science. 
  • Math class and orchestra. What???? Yes, I consider these part of Nathan's language arts curriculum. I signed him up for Algebra 1 with a local co-op. Math is one of his best subjects and I think he needs to be challenged with a class outside our house. He needs to be with kids his own age. Orchestra I consider to be good for his brain. He really takes in the music and again, will have social opportunities with kids who are genuinely nice to him. Kids who have gone out of their way to greet him and talk to him. 
Well, this turned into a long post, didn't it? Most of you won't use this curriculum for your kids. Maybe you will find something that works. I can't tell you how many hours I spend looking for just the right thing. Hopefully this post will save some of you time and effort. I'll keep you posted on Nathan's progress throughout the school year. I'm most interested to see how the Reading Fish program works for him.
Teaching Writing Structure and StyleVocabulary Cartoons: Building an Educated Vocabulary With Visual MnemonicsWhat Did You Say? What Do You Mean?: An Illustrated Guide to Understanding MetaphorsEarobics 1 for Adolescents and Adults Home Version (Sound Foundations for Reading and Spelling)

1 comment:

volpecircus said...

that vocabulary cartoons book sounds great. i have a couple of kids here that i think would love it! you guys will be in our prayers for finding just the right people and the right services. unfortunately now i'm getting a taste on my own of how difficult it can be.

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