Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Spell to Write and Read-Learning Log

Oh, the neglected blog. We've been sick and tired (ha,ha) and blogging is the first thing that goes. Actually, the second. The first was being a good sister. Now that I've taken care of my sisterly duties (sorry, Katrina!), I have a little time to blog this morning. Normally, we'd be doing school, but D-Man has just rediscovered Lincoln Logs so he's busy building a village. It is tough to build a Lincoln Log village as a 5yo when you have an 18 month old brother. We had so many meltdowns yesterday on both sides that I had to ban Lincoln Log use. Today, D-Man asked if Little-J could take a nap at 8am so that he could rebuild his village. Considering that the baby slept for 14 hours last night and had only been up for an hour, I said no. I finally convinced D-Man and C-Monster to rebuild the village in their bedroom where the door can be closed all day preventing little feet from trampling the buildings. So, Little-J is in my room with me figuring out how to get the shapes through the correct holes into the box and I am blogging.

This first post is owed to a friend. She is very interested in using SWR and we've been talking about it online. It's so hard to get a handle on a program and which parts you NEED to buy when you haven't seen it in action. So...here is a little bit about the Learning Log. This log becomes a self-made textbook for the year. It contains all of the reference pages and spelling words we've covered. At the end of the year, it will be a record of what we've done and we'll start a fresh one for the upcoming year.

Reference pages: The biggest advantage of the Primary Learning Log is the formatting on the reference pages. Reference pages are pages used to teach/review a concept or spelling rule. I really appreciate the clutter-free ease of these pages. It really maximizes our teaching time and D-Man's understanding of the concept. We will fill these in and discuss them each year. The SWR philosophy isn't first-time mastery, but mastery through reviewing year after year.

Spelling list pages: The formatting is less important here, but nice to have. The lists themselves are very valuable. For a K'er, it is VERY important that they read their spelling lists. It helps build reading fluency and gives them more exposure to the words. At first, D-Man would request to read from my Learning Log since the penmanship was so much neater. I'd let him since I wanted his frustration level to be as low as possible. In the meantime, we kept recording his words in his logbook working on his penmanship each week. Now that his reading is more fluent and his writing is neater, he would rather read from his own logbook. It also helpful for me to look through his book and see his progress for the year. Another use of the lists is to mark words as he gets them wrong on his tests. I haven't made this a priority this year as I was focused on building his confidence and he tends to get down on himself for making mistakes. Also, this year was only an introduction to the lists we covered. Even though D-Man scored a 90% or higher on all but 2 lists, I don't expect mastery until we cover the list as least twice. We'll start over at the beginning next year and with mastery expected, I'll keep track of missed words more closely. Another aspect of the lists in the future will be the expectation of D-Man to study for his tests. I don't require this right now because of his age, but I will expect more independent study as he gets older. Using his log will be an integral part of this.

Some of these pictures are from my log and some are from D-Man's log. Why do I have a log? Well, a lot of people complain that SWR is hard to use. It does take time for the teacher to understand the program and the fastest way of doing that it to build a log. I taught the program to myself before I started with D-Man. I went through each reference page and spelling list trying not to cheat by looking at the samples in the back of the book. It really helped me learn the marking process and use of each reference page. As we are advancing in the lists and words are getting harder, preparing my own log gives me exposure to any potential questions I might have and time to get answers from the author or a trainer.

No comments: