We are into our 3rd week of school now and Abbey has finally got to start special ed, I'm happy about this or I was... She came home today with flash cards....again. We have tried flash cards for two years, they do not work for her. I guess it was a dumb thought, but I was thinking they would have some sort of inovative teaching techniques with cuisenaire blocks and other tools that would at least teach her the basics. It isn't looking good if flash cards are it. Am I being unfair? I'm also sick and tired of our being praised for being "such awesome parents" to our "perfect" son- who just so happens to be advanced in everything he does. She is every bit as awesome as he is, why do they not see that? I am starting to think they are sweeping these kids under a rug, just pushing them through one grade to the next. I don't know who they've delt with before, but if they think that is what's going to happen here, they are sadly mistaken...
I'm going to step in here and tell you how I learned to do multiplication. I was never good at using flashcards either. They move too fast and they disappear,... plus all those words that get said while I'm looking at the cards distract me from thinking about the numbers. To have someone 'talking' while I'm trying to think about the numbers is just a 'cruelty joke' for someone who needs to give her full attention to the task at hand. Even if 'you' don't talk while she's doing the cards, I think that it's just a 'given' that the teacher will be talking at school.
To learn some of my times tables (I never learned them all), I memorized a string of numbers. Then, those numbers became 'my way' of learning my times tables. After that, I used this string of memorized numbers along with my finger-counting to perform both multiplication and division.
And that's it. Once these have been memorized as a string of numbers, then they can be counted off on the fingers, starting with the pinkie on the left hand as representing the number "1". She can touch her left pinkie to the table as she says, "seven". Then, touching her left hand's ring finger (the one next to the pinkie) to the table, she can say, "fourteen". Touching her middle finger of the left hand to the table, she would say, "twenty-one". So, how much is three times seven? It's twenty-one.
That's how it works. Then later, to divide, they give her the number (for example) "thirty-four", and they ask her to "divide by seven". She'll start going through her string of numbers, counting them off on her fingers, saying: "Seven, fourteen, twenty-one, twenty-eight, thirty-five,... ah! no! thirty-five is more than thirty-four!" She will realize that the last "good" number was "twenty-eight", which she'd counted on her point finger (her fourth finger). She will then write down: 34 divided by 7 is 4, with (counting again on her fingers,... starting on the pinkie of the left hand, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34.... gives) "6" left over.
This is the way that I did arithmetic. And, to a great extent, this is still the way that I do arithmetic, especially when there is noise or conversation in the room. When things are quite, and I'm having an especially clear-thinking day, I might just remember that 4x7 is 28, but if it's 'important' that I get it right, I'll still count it on my fingers.
Now, back to the sad reality that those flash cards may be all that they intend to offer your daughter. I would feel just the same as you do. How sad that, after all those years of education that all those teachers, principles, supervisors, directors, etc., have, that not one of them has learned the first thing about helping a kid with a learning disability 'learn'. Here on this forum, we've heard from several teachers and tutors who 'do' care and who 'are' wanting to help. I'm telling you this just so that you'll know that "we know" that this isn't your imagination.
Please get back to me on what you think of this, and what you do that gets attention and help for your daughter's case. - jus'
Edited by justfoundout on August 24 2011 03:23 PM
Flash cards? For real? No I don't think that you are being hard on the teacher.
I don't know how to advise you. I pulled my 5th grader from private Christian school at the end of 1st semester and home schooled him for 6 months (Jan-July). Overall, the experience was far easier than I imagined and very beneficial to DS. He knows his times tables and can perform long division which are real pluses in my book. His SAT 10 scores soared/
He's back at school for 6th grade and his new math teacher formerly taught at a Title1 public school, so has a wee bit of extra training with alternative math (area model of multiplication but no rods or anything). Basically, I do way more of that stuff at home with DS.
The thing is, an elementary math teacher only takes about three math classes to graduate. Their Special Ed classes deal with Down Syndrome, not LD reading or math. Grad school appears to be where they learn more.
The PhD that recently evaluated my gifted son told me to home school because his teachers were likely to have a lower IQ than him. She reasoned that some teachers sense intelligence and will refuse to believe our kids actually require accommodation and remediation.
This actually happened last year when DS had a teacher refuse to provide him with written class notes in spite of a dyslexia/dysgraphia diagnosis. He couldn't type at that time and had an A in the class. I pulled him from the school to teach typing and dealing with the dyscalculia took over the final 6 weeks of school. The teacher being unhelpful was the best thing that ever happened to DS and I truly mean that.
I'm all about home schooling and will probably be doing that again. DS has been in school for 2 weeks now and it is killing me. I want to home school him. I hate half of his books. This years teachers are very kind though and the higher ups are helpful as they can be.
Good luck to you and your DD...Please tell us how all of it works out.
You will really need to train special ed to understand Dyscalculia and how to provide support. As they obviously know nothing about it?
Flash cards are just a waste of time and also cuisenaire blocks can be helpful for a child that is a bit behind in math, but not for a child that has Dyscalculia.
I'll send you a PM.
So now I'm more frustrated than ever. Abbey is not being taught by the special ed teacher, but by a paraprofessional. I only know this because she brought home a math worksheet with her name and the date on it that we completed the same day and put back into her take home folder. A few days later Abbey told me her math teacher was upset that she had not returned it. So yesturday morning I walk her to her class and explain to her teacher, I suggested that we have a special folder that goes back and forth for homework, notes or question we or she may have. Seems obvious to me. Her regular teacher agreed and made a folder for her and asked the woman to call me. So she calls me yesterday, I explain my problem with the homework, tell her how I want to know what they are working on and want some sort of way to communicate and ask questions. So she says that I can talk to her regular teacher about that, they are only providing support services for one hour a day, she does not really communicate with parents and if I want to know what is going on I can look at the work she is sending home. Really? So I say thanks for calling and goodbye. This morning I find the special ed teacher and explain the same thing and tell her I'm not happy with no communication and I want to know what is going on. I told her about the flash cards and the fact that we've been working with them for two years with no results. I feel so sick about every bit of this. I wish I could just pull her out of school and teach her myself. Two problems with that though, she is such a social girl, she loves school and then the bigger problem of the fact that I have multiple sclerosis and almost no help, I'm not sure I can handle it. Sorry this is so long, I appreciate a place to vent.
You are in the US? Please take a look at www.wrightslaw.com if you haven't already. They have a word search field. I'm not suggesting that you buy their books,... just read what's free on their site. Find some story where parents were facing what you are facing, and then read how far they had to go to get help. If it looks like to you that the price of getting the school to do its job is 'too high', then home schooling or moving somewhere with better schools might be your only choices. - jus'