Sunday, December 16, 2012

tornado surprise

"I will instruct you and teach you in the way you should go; I will counsel and watch over you. Do not be like the horse or the mule, which have no understanding but must be controlled by bit and bridle or they will not come to you. Many are the woes of the wicked, but the LORD's unfailing love surrounds the man who trusts in him." Psalms 32:8-10

On Thursday morning my new writng experiment had mixed results with my first two students. Students lay on their back on the floor under a desk, reach up with pencil in hand, look up, and complete a TALL  AND  SHORT writing exercise on the paper taped underneath the desk (see above). The reaching up with the writing hand strengthens the muscles and grip of the writer's hand.

The larger of the two students did fine. The tall letters were tall and the short letters were short.  The shorter of the two students struggled. When I asked for their feedback on this invented task, it came out. For one it was too hard. It took two hands to do it. She was erasing her efforts, quite mindful of her mistakes. Hmm. I want my students to have a measure of success. As her teacher it would be up to me to find I a better solution.

Another new challenge called X2O was received by my next two students, after all our regular exercises were carried out. In X to O, lumps of modeling clay were stuck to the bottom of the desk, in either the pattern of the letter X or of the letter O. Students lay on the floor under the desk, look up, pluck off lumps of clay with their writer hand, and reposition the lumps. This activity strengthens the muscles and grip of the writer's hand.

Throughout the rest of the day I considered which activity I would use to replace the failed TALL AND SHORT under the table. Would I do the TALL AND SHORT on top of the desk, as it is properly done, or introduce the X2O instead? I weighed the pros and cons.

A decision beyond my control redirected me Friday morning. The teacher whose room I use for our exercises had closed it down for a meeting. She offered another room, but I chose to have our group out in the nearby hallway. We have done it that way other times. It is a wide hallway.

CLIPS ON THE CHAIR came to mind. Perfect. All my students were familiar with it. A stack of three chairs and five clothes pins were all I needed. In one of my groups I have a new student. It was great. A regular student showed the new student how to sit on her bottom facing the back of the stacked chairs, pick clothes pins up with her writing hand one-at-a-time, and clip each pin on any flat ridge on the back of the chair. It could be up high, or on the side, and down low underneath. There were many possibilities to choose from. What a delightful re-direct!! Taken out of my hands.

With my last morning student came a surprise. After finishing all six of the required exercises, he was pushing himself on his back on the floor with his feet. TORNADO flashed into my mind. Of course!! TORNADO was created by a sixth grader of mine at the Carrollton middle school.

You lay on your side on the floor, pull yourself in circles in a clockwise manner, three rounds. Rest. Turn over to the other side, pull yourself in circles counter clockwise. The dizzy spin calmed nervous bodies. This last student was a bouncy student to begin with. Holding muscles still during the Hook Up, the Cross Crawl, Toe Touches, Superman, and Popcorn made the exercises boring to be sure, and a challenge, of course. Guess what? My bouncy student LOVED the Tornado. He burned up energy doing it. It was work. And it calmed him down. He WANTED  MORE  OF  IT!!!

WOW. I did not see this coming. My morning devotion had spoken of HIS  DIRECTION. As I drove in my car to my next building, to more students and more of my day job, I MARVELED---
YOU led me in this, Jesus. YOU LEAD me. YOU SURPRISE me. Thank you!! Thank you!! Thank you!!

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