Friday, September 11, 2009

Working Backwards Works for Us! and Sept 11th Documentaries: A Teaching Opportunity

If our day had gone any smoother today, I'd have thought we were another family. ;)

We did everything in reverse order today. I knew Spawn was dreading the writing assignment as writing is something he struggles with, so I opted to work backwards through our usual schedule and do that lesson last or next to last.

We began with Social Studies and a lesson about the difference between what information you can get from a globe vs. a city/street map. It was short refresher lesson of things we covered last year in much more detail, but ended with a visit to one of the boy's favorite games on one of his favorite websites, Franny's Feet: Grandpa's Globe on

We had no Science due today, so we moved on to Math. The only assignment due in Math was a Math Inventory on , so we buzzed through the review of 24 questions (which the boy aced!) and he was like, "Is that it?" Yup! No more Math today! Woo!

Last, and most dreaded, Language Arts mocked us with its three whole assignments due today. Yikes! So we tackled them from most favorite to least favorite, knowing saving the worst til last would save me and the boy a lot of frustration and aggravation and would get us at least through the other assignments easily in the mean time. So we tackled a literature study first using a website the school provides for every student,

The boy LOVED this book! Then he completed a t-chart assignment: comparing two characters from the story - a nice, easy, warm-up to the writing exercise that we had to do next.

The boy's teacher has asked that each student keep a journal throughout the year where they can write whatever they want and only occasionally show their teacher their work. Today's assignment seemed a bit ambiguous. "Write a description of a good friend." It was supposed to say "Write a description of what a good friend is or how you can be a good friend." The boy wrote about his best friend instead. ;) He wrote a few sentences and no one was in tears at that point, so I was happy. =D

We found out yesterday that, based on the writing assessment at the end of last school year (that the boy handed in basically blank due to his frustration with writing), he was recommended for and enrolled in a Title 1 Reading program. Now he reads like a champ, but I'm told he'll get the extra writing support he needs in the program, so I'm not complaining - yet. ;) I also spoke with his former resource teacher (he was enrolled in spec. ed. last year due to his need for speech therapy) today and she recommended I get in touch with her supervisor to have the boy evaluated for a possible learning disability. I'm all over that like white on rice. Any assistance I can get in helping him overcome this writing obstacle, I'm all for it!

Last, Mrs. R asked students to login to Imagination Station and spend 10 - 20 minutes playing games and reading more books. Spawn hated this last year, so I bribed him. He could earn credit for free computer time for every ten minutes extra that he spent playing. The little bugger played on iStation for an hour and 15 minutes! :o Just rub my nose in it why don't you? ;)

Lessons complete, I flipped through the educational tv stations to find something to watch since it's a yucky rainy day going on out there today. (We even had to turn the heat on today! :o) I discovered several back-to-back documentaries about the Sept. 11th attacks and settled in to watch some with the boy. He had a lot of tough questions for me to answer that brought back some dark memories of that day - of watching the second plane hit the south tower on the news live with Walt while we were getting ready to go to work, of hearing about the attack on the Pentagon on the radio on my way to work, of being unable to reach my best friend on her cell phone in Manhattan and then, when I did reach her, of her terror from being unable to reach her husband who had meetings down near the World Trade Center that day. I still can't think of those frantic phone calls without breaking down in tears. :(

I got more than I bargained for when I decided to tune in to The History Channel today, but I'm glad I did. It gave me an opportunity to talk to the boy about the events of that day and him an opportunity to ask all the things it brought to mind. "If something happens to you and Daddy and you die, what happens to me and the kitties and Lola?" "If a plane hits your house, do you die? Or do you try to run to the door or the window?" "Why did those big buildings fall?" "Were there people in there?" "Why didn't they leave?!"

I can only imagine what it must be like for the families of the nearly 3,000 people who died that day - to have to answer those questions of their own children, to be reminded of that dark day in American history every Sept. 11th or every time they see a photo or personal item that belonged to their loved one. Our prayers are with them today and every day.

Chrissi, Cyber School Mom

1 comment:

rlw said...


You're right, tough questions indeed! Lots of toes crossed for progress in writing assignments this year!

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