Friday, April 23, 2010

good props are so important

loving the white board. because chana can do very small segments every day (currently we are doing about 1 line a day, since the pasuk is large) and just refer back to the board to see what the previous phrase or phrases mean. also, when elazar steals her purse and throws it behind the couch and she goes haring off after it (even numerous times), it's all laid out there on the board and she can easily pick up right where she left off.

chana has been able to mostly guess the words she doesn't know from context. as much as this bothers me a bit because i wish she would learn new vocabulary, and i suspect she's not processing these new words at all, i tend to think she wouldn't be learning much new vocabulary the 2 other ways i would do it:
1) writing it down in a notebook. i doubt she would learn it better that way, and it breeds resentment, as she finds the whole process of writing in the notebook and looking it up to be long and difficult and unecessary.
2) review. i could have her just review and review the new words. i did not do this with sarah, and her vocabulary ended up being adequate, though not spectacular. she very much doesn't want to review, so probably this would breed more conflict and reluctance (haha, unless i bribed her for it, but i have not noticed her personality responding overmuch to incentives like that). hopefully the words that come up over and over will become familiar, and if not, she is gaining confidence by guessing via context. and today, she couldn't guess so she looked up a word.

she correctly got the "and he" and the פח of the shoresh. a quick glance at onkelos showed that the beginning was a נ. she could not guess from context, and i had her look it up. she did this reluctantly. i opened to the נ section of the dictionary for her. and helped her find it. because it is still overwelming.

chana is curious how hashem breathes into someone's nose.


  1. Why is it bad to learn words by guessing from context? Isn't this how we often learn new words?

  2. it's not bad at all. i just wonder if she even processes what the hebrew word is. or if it's just "blahblah" in her mind.

    on the up side, it makes her feel like she is grasping the general pasuk.

    martin seligman in "the optimistic child" talks about how self confidence is a result of genuine achievement. (as opposed to praise). she does enjoy guessing the word correctly. and that's an intrinsic enjoyment.

  3. I agree with Martin Seligman. I developed a great deal of confidence from learning with Rabbi Moskowitz, in school and outside of school. Yet, when I think back, I can't remember him ever praising me for asking a good question or coming up with a good answer. Rather, I think I naturally picked up on how good the question was by his response and by the ensuing discussion.

    I really should try to do this with my students, but I have a hard time not praising them when they're on the right track.