Why are the posters not laminated?

The posters are not laminated because some children have difficulty reading past the glare of lamination. Lamination has a reflection in it, so I was intentional about not laminating them. My program was created for all children, even those with learning difficulties. It's the little things that can frustrate them.

What about the laminated mats? Don't they cause a reflection?

They do, but they only have one word on them and it is printed on top of the lamination, which makes it more visible. The laminated mats are laminated so that they can be written on and wiped off.

Why do the posters not have pictures?

We are trying to get children to use words instead of the pictures for understanding. Feel free to put pictures on yours if you would like to. I have found that children transitioning from pictures to words will be distracted by the pictures and ignore the words. This is not the end result that I want, so I have left out the pictures; forcing them to think using the words.

Why are the verb cards conjugated?

We tend to teach new skills in isolation forgetting that the big picture will help the children understand the parts. I wanted the young children to be exposed to the conjugations before they were officially introduced. This "softens the ground" for when the concept will be taught.

Why are the lessons so short?

Sometimes we overload our children with words. The shorter we can make the lesson, the more pointed the instruction is, and the clearer the goal for the student. Then practice in the writing (application) is where the real learning takes place. In this way, our teaching becomes more incremental with steps that are easily processed by the student and cause less frustration and more success.

Why Use "Pass the Question and Answer."

The strategy of passing the question and answer is having the students repeat the question as well as the answer to each specific question, until they can say it smoothly.

The reason for this strategy is so that the children will repeat the words until they can recall them. It is important for them to have a memory connection of the question with the corresponding answer.

Sometimes the students do not grasp the full implication of the questions, until they have been repeated in their own thoughts many times.

Repeating the questions and corresponding answers helps students to understand how to answer questions by using statements which is an important language skill. Making the repetition into a game relieves the stress that students with weak short term memories experience when trying to repeat information from memory.

Why Use a "Think Pad?"

The use of a "Think Pad" was first introduced to me from a video course I took from Indiana University Teacher Training. In this class they showed how use of a "Think Pad" accomplishes the following goals.

1. The "Think Pad" strategy forces the child to use their writing to express their thoughts when answering a question.

2. Because the answers are relatively short with breaks in between, they help the child develop the muscles used for writing without causing cramping and tedium.

3. When a child is told the answer to a question, then writes it down, it forces his/her brain to try to recall what was said and helps to solidify the information in the short term memory.

4. Seeing his/her answer on paper helps him/her to assess his/her own memory. An immediate repetition of the correct answer from the instructor helps the child to self- correct what he/she wrote down. When a child corrects his/her own mistake in this way a wrong answer is erased from his/her brain more quickly and replaced with the correct answer.

5. For children with attention deficit, this is an exceptionally great method for keeping them on task. If they must write down what you said every three minutes, they must try to attend. The back and forth between listening and writing answers for responses keeps the lesson moving with shorter periods of just listening or just writing.

6. All children (and adults) benefit from using a "think pad" while listening and responding. This is a tool for "teaching" someone how to pay attention and be an active listener. When used in the classroom, this tool can be used to assess classroom participation. When participation and active listening are increased, grades go up.

7. When a child gets off task, simply ask them to move his/her chair back from the table or desk. Most children simply hate being told that they may not write on the "Think Pad" and that their class participation grade will go down.

8. I think this strategy can be applied in the home setting as well. If you do not grade, you can still reward or give consequences for a child's willingness or unwillingness to pay attention. You may need to reward for even small improvements if you have a very hyperactive child. Be careful not to punish for actions that the child cannot control.