Liminal Level

I have found some commonalities between Carlton and Felix. They are both in between their levels. Carlton is in the second grade and is appropriately placed in math. But he seems to be about a year behind in reading. I know this because I gave his mother some worksheets that I had found and she told me that the worksheets were too hard for him. He simply wasn’t able to do the work. It was a bit surprising to me because the worksheets that I gave his mom were for his grade level. And I did that for both math and reading. What’s interesting is that even in math he struggles to follow directions and prefers to guess the answer. I’m not sure how to combat this “taking the easy way out” mentality. It is definitely a challenge to try to keep him interested. Last Tuesday, I started incorporating movement into the lesson and have him do jumping Jacks in the dining room. I challenged him to see how many he could do. That number was 25. I was amused because they weren’t 25 correct jumping jacks but they served a purpose and got him a little tired. Reading remains the biggest challenge with Carlton because he just doesn’t want to do it. There is nothing that interest him enough to keep him focused on reading. And that is with the agreement that we have between us that we read Winterhouse together. Speaking of Winterhouse, there’s a sequel. I am excited because I love sequels and seeing character development. I mentioned this to Carlton in our lesson on Friday but he did not seem particularly enthused. If any of my readers are teachers, any help is appreciated with how I can help engage a seven-year-old who clearly doesn’t want to be tutored by me or anyone else two times per week.

Felix is also in between levels. But at least with Felix, he is willing to do the work and understands where he has trouble. As I discussed in my previous post, I actually did two of the future tenses with him in one class so that I could give him a test next Friday. I structured it like that so that he wouldn’t have to study while he is in Paris this weekend. The plan was also to have the test completed by the time he left for London in the middle of the month. I like being accommodating to adults. I find it much easier than dealing with young kids. I am finding that Felix is between A1 and A2 because he still struggles with tense.

I did not see Katya all last week because she spent her winter break taking a weeklong intensive dance class. It is a ballroom dance class and I am not sure if that is her choice or her mother’s wish. Nonetheless, she spent the week of her winter break Monday through Friday from 9:30 until five in the afternoon dancing. I figured she would be too tired to handle learning a language even for a total of 50 minutes a week and so voluntarily told her mom that we would pick up after the dance classes were over. Last night marked their first lesson in a week. To say that I was the more enthusiastic of the two would be an understatement. I was quite happy to see Katya but I am not so sure she was so happy to see me.

My relationship with my writing continues to improve. I think I will be finished with the short story that I am working on with my friend illustrator. At least the first draft of it. I am going to need to figure out how to write it for children because it feels like it’s a very adult story right now. We’ll have to see what happens. I am finding writing for children to be a challenge, not in terms of the story, but in terms of using words that are suitable for non-native English speakers. I am hoping that second language learners in English, particularly young ones have more vocabulary than we the teachers think they do. Fingers crossed.

That’s all she wrote for this Inkreadable installment. But stay tuned. As always, there is more to come.

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