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Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I've been given a few gems, and I've shared a few too ...

I love coming away from a conversation knowing something new - especially if it's a little tip that makes everyday life a little easier!

It seems that I've had a few gems given to me lately and I've shared a few of my own too. Each family seems to have a few "tips and tricks" that they take for granted because they've "always done it that way" and they thought that "everyone did it that way." :)

If you have a tip or trick that makes everyday life a little easier, email me at and I'll feature one each week!

Gem #2 & #3:

We adopted Jayden from Ethiopia when he was 7 1/2 years old.  He had never attended school in Ethiopia, nor did he speak any English.  But after we had been home for a few days, and his older sisters (Emme and Maea) went back to school, he pleaded (as best he could in a combination of hand gestures, broken English and Amharic) to go to school too.  So we tossed out our plans about gently easing him into school after a few months ... and he started first grade in the middle of the school year, a week after arriving home. 

Looking back at his first exposure to school - it was very much about socialization (learning to stand in line, wait your turn, type in your PIN number and get a tray for lunch, work the drinking fountains, raise your hand, show and tell, listening to your teacher, being quiet during classtime, etc.) and less about foundational education.  He was barely speaking English, let alone trying to sound out words that he had never heard before.

That was two years ago and he has made so much progress since then.  His English is outstanding, he's extremely social in school (maybe even a little too social :) and he works really, really hard to grasp ever more difficult concepts as he tries to catch up to his classmates. 

As an example of how much catching up he's had to do ... he's learning the difference between shapes - triangle, rectangle, square, circle - at the same time that he's learning about acute, obtuse and isosceles triangles.  Or learning about polygons and parellelograms when he barely knows the words for the basic shapes.  It's A LOT of new information for a little boy to learn in a short period of time.

Teachers have all kinds of learning tips and I appreciated these two gems from my friend Sarah (a 2nd grade teacher) as Jayden was struggling to differentiate between the letters "b" and "d".  By holding both hands in front of you, with forefinger touching thumb, the shape of your hands makes a "b" and "d" like the word "bed".  He knew the sound of each letter - but writing the correct letter was hard to remember, until he learned this little trick!

"b" is the first letter in "bed",
"d" is the last letter in "bed"

It was also hard to differentiate between "left" and "right".  But when you make an "L" shape with your fingers, the left hand makes the correct "L" shape, which makes it easy for a child to identify their left side.


Jenn said...

Should I be embarrassed to admit that I still have to do the "l" for left thing as an adult? lol.

Kim said...

Love these!

KLT said...

The b/d trick was new to me! And great for my two school-aged boys! Thanks!