Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Spelling Puzzles

I found this Spelling puzzle at Ross for just $4.99. I was tempted to buy more, but I have a habit of buying a bunch of stuff that I sometimes don't end up using, so I restrained myself.  Jessie is not terribly good with puzzles, although it's something that we started doing on a very simple level with her (knob puzzles first) when she was very young.  Today was the first time we used the Spelling puzzles, she saw it in the cabinet and asked for it.  This set contains 20 puzzles with only 3 and 4 letter words.  I liked that only one letter was on each piece, and because puzzles aren't her strength, the fewer pieces work for us. I know that since she will do several (10 today) words in a sitting she won't remember the spelling after one or two times, but her visual memory is so good that this is a lower effort/fun way for her to learn how to spell some new words.  Yay! I love when we find a new way to approach things we are already working on. I wouldn't necessarily have chosen every one of these words as her first spelling words, but, I think it will make spelling these words more fun for her.  There were a couple of other choices of spelling puzzles available.  Truly, I can't remember what made me choose this one over the others, they may not have all been 1 letter per puzzle piece.

I know, all this time without a new post from me and today, two in one day!  Things have been crazy busy around here.  Crazy busy....older kids play rehearsals, finishing coop, Miracle League games, dance, gymnastics. Jessie had her dance recital (which deserves its own post), so dance is done...coop is done....there is light at the end of the tunnel...summer is coming....floating in the pool...slower schedule....floating in the pool (!)...I am eagerly looking forward to the more relaxed pace of summer. 

Jessie read a blend!! Our phonics experience thus far...

I was completely taken by surprise. She just did it. I didn't at all expect it. We were working in our Bob Jones Phonics workbook*. I bought this workbook as recommended to go along with the adapted Kindergarten Bob Jones curriculum. We had used the adapted K-4 successfully, so I had started the beginning of the school year with the adapted K-5. We didn't stick with it very long as she just wasn't ready for the reading with phonics.  She loved the colorful readers and the first few she really enjoyed, until we reached the part where she was expected to begin reading "word families". For example, taking the word it, that she can already read, then adding a letter to the beginning to read hit and sit. She has known all of her letter sounds since she was 3. She just hasn't been ready to progress to blending the sounds together. She seemed to understand the concept, but it required something of her that she just wasn't ready to give.  Even with sight reading, which she does very well, sometimes she is easily frustrated and just doesn't want to give it that much mental effort. Although I discontinued, temporarily at least, the rest of the curriculum, I continued to use (sporadically) the phonics workbook just to "keep" what we already learned and modified it if it required something she wasn't ready for. We don't work out of this workbook every day that we have school, so she hasn't gotten bored with it and we haven't progressed in the book beyond her current skill level. Other than letter sounds, the other benefit to this workbook has been vocabulary. There are pictures on the pages where we identify the beginning letter. She knows most of the pictures, but some are more detailed than she might identify them. A cactus she might call a plant, a wig she'd never had reason to know (!) and well (water well) same thing. You get the idea.

Today, we were using the phonics page to review the letter sounds and determine which pictures began with an H. At the end of this assignment the words it, hit, and sit were in a box at the bottom. I knew she could read the word " it".  I pointed and asked her what the word was. She responded appropriately. So, I asked, "Do you know the next word?"  I didn't expect her to say it. She looked at it. She said, "h....hit."  I got SO crazy excited that my son in another room thought something was wrong or someone was hurt!  I was shouting, "Hallelujah!" and we were giving double high fives and going nuts. Just to see, I said, "Can you read the next one?" Again, she just did it, "s....sit". Hallelujah! I feel we have turned a corner that I've longed to look around for a long time.

*Phonics Practice for K-5. This workbook can be purchased separately, directly from Bob Jones University Press.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Children with Down syndrome are so loving....??

When we meet new people and they say things like how loving all people with Down syndrome are, it seems a stereotype that isn't at all how I see Jessie.  She is very loving but those would not be the first words that come to mind in describing her.  I wonder, "Have YOU met my Jessie?"  She is such a spunky, stubborn (she fits that stereotype!), fun, funny, girl with her own personality.  Jessie has such a *"Hall" sense of humor. One of the things I've always loved about my husband is his ability to make me laugh.  He is truly a funny guy. Sometimes goofy, but mostly funny.  After all these years, his sense of humor has rubbed off on me....and then the kids.  We don't play truly mean pranks, but we love to play jokes on one another.  Our humor often is sarcastic but without meanness.  We love to be silly and take each other off guard by doing something unexpected....just for fun.  I think it's a sign of her intelligence that Jessie, too, is funny this way without copying exact things that we've done in the past.  She comes up with her own humor that mimics our style.  If I had to use just one word to describe Jessie, I think it would be fun. Of course, everything about her isn't fun, but if only allowed one word, fun would have to be it.

 I've started trying to write down some of the funny things Jessie says and does. Here are a few of Jessie's most recent times of entertaining us:

I KNOW that Jessie greatly prefers fried chicken, not baked chicken. I had already told her that our supper was going to be baked chicken, not fried. It had been a while since I had made baked chicken so I wasn't really sure if she would remember what the difference was. 

Me:  Do you want some chicken?
Jessie: Yeah!
Me:  It's baked chicken.
Jessie: uugggghh, gross. Disgust dripping from her voice.
I do not know where she picked up this phrase to use so appropriately, but she's been using it a fair amount lately when I'm serving anything that isn't fried or contains vegetables or fruit.  Maybe this one was a "you had to be there" for it to be funny. 

Jessie has a fascination with money.  She doesn't understand the concept of "how much" where money is concerned, but she does know that dollars are better than change.  She will take change when it is all she can get, but she prefers "dollars". She has been known to take money from our wallets, Jordan's bedside table, etc.  She is a very cheerful giver at church with OUR STOLEN MONEY.  One Sunday, her Sunday School teacher was commenting on all the change Jessie had brought with her....I had known nothing about it.  We later decided the money had come from Jordan's nightstand.  She also loves to "pay".  She wants us to give her "dollars" so that she can pay with her own money from her wallet when she wants a snack/drink at gymnastics or a "shwushwee" (slushee) at Target. There are many funny, and many not so funny, discussions about money at our house.

Jessie:  Hey Mommy. Smiling so sweetly.
Jessie:  I love you. I know she wants something....
Jessie:   Give me a dollar.   I'm a sweetheart.......She really meant, "I'm your sweetheart" or "I'll be your sweetheart". She clearly understands that money is desirable and her affection is a tool for negotiation!

Jessie sleeps with her older sister, Jordan, in Jordan's room. Usually Jordan sleeps nearest the door and Jessie sleeps on the side next to the wall. Recently, Jessie usually lays on the couch to go to sleep, then later wakes up and goes to Jordan's bed during the night.  Some of the time Jordan has started just moving over and Jessie climbs up on the outside edge. One night that they laid down to go to bed together rather than her falling asleep on the couch Jessie started this conversation:

Jessie:  Please, Jordan, can we switch sides tonight?
Jordan:  No, I wanna read so I need this side (by the lamp).
Jessie:  Come on, you.....me...together....best friends. She smiles, angelicly, irresistably (Jordan's words:)
Jordan:  No, sorry Jessie, maybe another night. Jordan moves Jessie over.
Jessie:  Then you pay me my dollar!!
Jordan thought this was all so cute and wanted to be sure to be able to tell it to me so she rolled over and typed this into Notepad on her phone.

Jessie has gone through a phase of calling Evan "boy".  This is NOT just that she knows he is a boy.  She meant it to be funny.  For several days, every time she referred to Evan she would just say boy.  We were in the restroom at coop. 

Jessie:  Where's Jordan?
Me:  She's in her class.
Jessie:  Boy?
Me:  Evan's in his class too.  We don't know how or why this started but it was downright hilarious.  Then, as suddlenly as it began, it was over.  Moved on to something new.

Hope my funny girl has made you smile :)

*For those of you that know us online and not in person, our last name is Hall.