Sunday, January 11, 2009

New Look / What Ricki is Studying

I hope you like my new "look". I had thought several times of changing, but was loathe to change my picture of Colorado's water cascades for some lousy banner. Suddenly I realized that I could change my look and keep the picture. Walla! I just hope that the light green background does not make it harder to read.
Usually I try to post after Shabbas, on Saturday night, as compensation for no post in the morning, but I was too bust doing homework with Ricki…She is studying all sorts of interesting things in school lately. In science, she has been learning about mirrors (I taught her the meanings of “concave” and “convex”), and she enjoyed seeing how you can write in secret code (backwards) and correct it in the mirror. Next she will be studying about the way light “breaks” as it goes through different clear mediums. Here I don’t expect her to really study more than the objective fact that such an optical illusion exists, and perhaps the word “mirage”.
Geography has been the most exciting class lately, studying about hurricanes and tornados, and the Mississippi river. Into her workbook I pasted a copy of this picture of her at the continental divide in Colorado.I explained how water from just east of this sign went all the way to the Mississippi! (PS. The lady in the picture is Ricki's Grandmother, who is really grand! She specifically went out of her way to take us to the continental divide, which is on the "other side" of the Rocky Mountain Park, at my request.) And next they are going to learn about Niagara Falls and the great lakes.
In connection to her Torah (Bible) class, where they are studying the hardest volume of the Pentateuch, Leviticus, I have to do a lot of adapting. Most of Ricki’s work is learning new words, looking them up in the dictionary, and writing sentences. Last night I had her looking up information connected to today’s topic in the telephone book’s yellow pages. Yes, I am teaching her how to use a dictionary, phone book, etc.
Last night I did a thorough check-up of where Ricki is “holding” in math.
[In general she is way behind in math, both because of the difficulty in general for children with Down syndrome to learn math, and due to a lack of emphasis in this direction over the years. ( Not to mention the aide who didn’t work with her properly on math the entire year, which I only discovered at year’s end when her “math box” came back in pristine state.)]
Ricki is studying math using the Numicon materials, which are very good. They use colorful plastic shapes, which are fun to work with, and can be joined to give a very vivid visual image of math facts. Eventually these images become mental images, and the learner can do the sums in the head.
This year Ricki is beginning to spurt forward in math. She knows addition and subtraction up to ten, most of it perfectly. She is still a bit weak in subtraction from 10, 9,8,and 7. But she is almost there as well. She knows and understands numbers to one hundred, understands place value (10’s), and some addition/subtraction to 20. She is improving in her ability to court forwards and back in two’s (to twenty), tens, and fives. I am hoping that by the year’s end she will recognize and name numbers in the hundreds, have finished addition/subtraction to one hundred, and hopefully a bit of multiplication as well. She also needs to work more on reading time, but I am waiting for her to know more clearly the times-fives.
About her reading I will post tomorrow, hopefully. (As well as her attitude towards studies.)


RivkA with a capital A said...

I loved learning math as a kid. I don't know why it seems to be so difficult to teach it well these days. My kids, who do not have LDs in this area (as far as I know) had such lousy math teachers. To this day, my eldest daughter only really understands what I taught her myself!

datri said...

Interesting math concepts. I just don't get how they teach math these days. My 7 year old brings home her math homework and it makes me just scratch my head in confusion.

A Living Nadneyda said...

Kol haKavod to you both! That way of doing math looks fun -- I love graphic interpretations of, well, pretty much everything. I'm really thankful that my kids seem to have a good grasp on math. Maybe it's genetic... That Guy I Married studied a LOT of math over the years.

Shavua tov.

Batya said...

I'm very impressed. Really