A walk to the stables

A walk to the stables
Tamerin at the horses: we walked there on Thursday and talked rugby nearly all the way!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tamerin's birthday and reading

Tamerin's 14th birthday was a great occasion. We went to see the South African stage version of High School Musical and she and friends were enthralled. Such a happy day. She blogged about it here. (To any South Africans who might be reading this post, the show is well worthwhile.)

I gave her a Zac Efron (the main actor in the HSM movie) book and below are a few short video clips of how we go about reading it. As we did last year, we still:

1. Match words (look at the word and hear it and match it to the correct word on the base sheet).

2. Choose and show words (hearing the word and finding it, without an example.)

3. Sight read the words individually (flash cards).

4. Write the words.

5. Read sentences.

The words are chosen from text she wants to or needs to read: i.e. they are most of the new words in a particular piece and include words I know she has struggled with before.

What I find very satisfying is that Tammy is now better able to split up a word in syllables and read it syllable by syllable instead of just guessing the word. When we come to a difficult word, I write down the "bits"and we practice saying it, bit by bit. Not only does it help much with pronunciation, but I find that in the end she can actually spell words like inevitably, mischievous, initial, relationship. (Bearing in mind that she is supposed to be mentally handicapped, this is quite an achievement.)

Pronunciation is improving - very slowly, but surely. The HSM dialogue she and her brother did on her birthday party went quite well, but unfortunately the video clip is not too clear - they were pretty much silhouetted against the light. I will keep the clips though, as they will help me to evaluate progress in speech later this year. It is already light years better than 20 months ago, when I first met her.

"Gabriella" arriving at her new school.

Matching words

Choosing words

Flash cards

Writing out new words

Reading Zac Efron's Annual.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Preparing for Valentine's day

This week's been short due to my swimming the Midmar Mile and taking a day's leave. We spent much time talking about the weekend and Tammy even left a comment on my other blog - she read most of it and wrote the comment all on her own.

For the rest, we practised the High School Musical Dialogue and started to make Valentines. Tamerin talked of own accord about what she wanted to write in the cards: Daddy I miss you (He's gone to Angola for business) God loves you and I love you too. You are special, Much love Tamerin. For her Mom, she wants to say Enjoy your meetings. She is still thinking about what she wants to write in her brother's card.
The Halleluja thing here is, that she is able to string a coherent sentence together. Communication is slowly, but steadily improving!

Tammy's first attempt at sewing a valentine - as you can see there was a lot of undoing!

Pinning "slippery" pieces of material together and getting the edges even! Not so easy, but Tammy has shown great improvement here, since last year. (Her very first sewing attempt was for Valentine's day last year - she was terrified of the machine!)

Taking out her valentine.

Her second attempt - the 2nd curve did not come out to neatly, but the first one's not bad he? (There was black thread in the bobbin and we did not bother to replace it with red - which turned out to be a good thing as it was easier to see the thread when she had to unpick!)

She stuffed the valentines with lavendar and attached them to her cards. She typed her own text in tables and copied and pasted some pictures we found on the web. She is sooo excited about the cards!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Dialogue practice, Speech Dividends and an imaginary trip.

This week we continued with reading my abridged version of the "High School Musical" book. Tammy enjoys it, but even with the "easier" words and expressions, she still does not read as fluently as I have hoped she would. Comprehension is a little better though. I really want to get her to just read for the story's sake and enjoy it.

I have written down the dialogue between Troy and Gabriella (main characters in the movie) where they talk to each other after they have just met, and again after they have met again at the school. In between the two dialogues there is a short linking monologue by a nervous Gabriella expressing her fears and hopes for the new school.

The idea is that Tammy and her brother will perform this on her birthday party on the 21st. Tammy loves practising this little 3 min skit and she laughs at the jokes. Memorisation has really helped to improve fluency of speech and pronunciation. (She in inclined to say sh for s and s for sh e.g sour for shower and sho for so). We break up difficult words or phrases and keep on repeating them until she pronounces them correctly and says them fairly fluently.

The speech of last year is paying dividents: because we "drilled" the contents so that she could say it, she still remembers the facts and now we can continue with the same themes e.g. she said last year "We hope the new president (Obama) will sort out their (U.S.) money problems. " This week we reviewed our own government. We talked about how we have a parliament whereas the U.S. has a congress and how our ruling party (the A.N.C.) has more than 2/3 majority allowing them to pass just about any bill they want to, whereas Obama has to get the support from the opposition as well. She said she hoped he sorted out their money problems now and I could tell her that it is just what he trying to do this week. (We just fetched her friend from school and Tammy told her that it was the opening of parliament today - her "normal" Grade 4 friend did not know what parliament was...! Tammyexplained that that was the place where "the president stood in front and talked" and in reply to my "But why do they talk so much there?", she answered "They make laws." Very satisfactory. )

Tammy's dad went to Angola this week. We talked about trips, flights etc. I then let her calculate how long the flight would be (subtraction). (She struggles a bit with subtraction, but true to form, is working hard and showing progress. ) Then we planned an imaginary trip - she would like to go to Albuquerque (where High School Musical took place). With my help, she checked rates of flights, hotels and car hire on the internet. This led to subtraction: how much more would it cost to go in July than now? and mulitplication where the rates were given in $ instead of ZAR. We calculated that it would cost about R44 000 to fly there, stay in a hotel for 2 weeks and hire a car, but we have not calculated how much feeding ourselves or seeing sights would cost! This was a fun exercise and we'll definitely do something similar at least once a week... but then next week is Valentine's day and they are going away for the weekend, so we have only 4 days to make our valentines. Adele has suggested lavendar bags... hope it's not too late to get started!

Have a great week!