Practicum, Mother's Retreat and Moving ....
I completed my first prac in 19 years! Phew. It was at Multilit - a program funded by a charity - used as research by the University. Basically about 30 kids are chosen to attend mornings for 6 months - these kids have some disadvantage in their background and are all at least 2 years behind in their reading ability. They are aged 10 - 12. It was amazing to see them all working like automation but ENJOYING it too - a points system for good behaviour is given and at the end of each day 'stickers' given for points awarded. After a page of stickers the student gets to pick a small prize. Lessons last for 15 - 25 minute segments. Students moved around mini classrooms (or stations) in the hall on the second ring of the bell. There was a range of drill and practice activities, independednt work, reading to others and peer tutoring. They really kept busy - and some of these kids are no doubt the 'trouble makers' in their regular school - here they were angels. Sight words and phonics are used. In fact my MIL is one of the volunteers the program uses who comes in once a week and listens to students read. The strategy is called Pause (to give the student time to sound out or self correct), Prompt (using minimal hints or phonic prompts if appropriate) and Praise (explicitly eg "good sounding out" or "I like the way you read with expression today" etc).
It was great to finish prac on Friday and after checking out and applying for a rental heading off to a Mother's Retreat at Mt VIctoria in the Blue Mountains. It is organised by Lifestart - Hannah's EI provider. They receive grants to help fund the weekend away. Last year was my first one and I am definitely going to keep attending. For some Mum's it really is their only break and some of us have had a very stressful year - for some it is only the first year in their child's diagnosis so they are still working things through.
I managed to have a lovely relaxing time and do a few hours uni work which was great as there is an exam next week that I feel ill prepared for so every little bit helps.
Poor P stayed and looked at housing options and minded the twins. Lucky we have great friends so he met with 2 different lots at the park on Sat and Sun. The grandparents also kicked in and minded the brats for half an hour so he could put in an application on another rental property - the market here is quite tight so when you rock up with poodle and 2 1/2 year old twins ... mmm ... It was very noticable on Sunday afternoon - he was stressing about everything we had to decide and get ready as we need to be out of here in just over a week while I was quite calm and relaxed - after all we couldn't do anything on a Sunday afternoon and worst scenario we put everything into storage and live in the granny flat (so squashy) at my in laws... I think I drove him crazy! Life being as it is though by Monday afternoon our application on the property I did on Friday had been approved (thanks to my MIL connections with the manager of the agency) and the people who bought our place want to rent it out so that was another option open to us.
We haven't signed the lease yet but the agent seems to think it is a fait accompli and we should be moving to bigger digs next week. There is a sand pit there too so I will have to clean it up as the brats love a sand pit. We will be living quite close to the inlaws which will be great especially as they are helping out (again) by minding the twins so that I can complete my second practicum - this time working with kids age 3- 5 with autism - so that should be very interesting.
Both are going along nicely. Hannah is a bit snotty but otherwise good - obsessed with TV and Curious George. Kit just wants the WIggles all the time and if they aren't on he is driving his 'big red car' all about the place. I have asked Lifestart for some extra help with Hannah's speech so the ST has been doing some home visits - she is great. When we move they are going into beds so I hope that transition goes smoothly!!
PS - Thanks Michelle from Big Blueberry Eyes for explaining how I do links - now I just need to practise...