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Moondog, I blame you personally [grin]

(27 Posts)
Lougle Tue 04-Jan-11 09:23:00

I knew DD1 wasn't ready to try something like Headsprout yet, but DD2 (3.4) has been recognising her preschool mates' names for a while, being able to differentiate 'Indianna' from 'Isla', 'Patrick' from 'Peter', 'Jasmine' from 'Jamelia'. I am not sure how, to be honest, a mixture I think of recognising initial letters, remembering what colour the cards are for each child....don't know.

I looked at Headsprout and saw they have a free trial of 3 lessons.

DD2 has torn them up - she adores it. Now, she is saying every 5 minutes, it seems, "I want to watch Headsprout" "I want to do Headsprout."

She is looking over my shoulder saying 'Look Mum, it is a SSSSSS' or 'I can see a VVVVVV' 'It says aaaaaaannnn' 'eeeeeeeeeeeee'

I am just gutted that I didn't get it when they had their 50% discount on 4th-7th December!

I am amazed, to be honest, that just 45 minutes of sitting in front of a computer has started DD2 with 'reading'.

So thank you!!

moondog Tue 04-Jan-11 10:37:37

Such a pleasure.
What terrific news.
I could cry with frustration when people don't take up what is without doubt one of the best, most cost effective and fun ways of learning to read.
Why do you think dd1 is not ready thoguh?

We heh!!
Keep me posted on progress.
I love to hear how people get on.

smile

silverfrog Tue 04-Jan-11 11:32:46

That's great, Lougle.

dd2 did the same when I got the trial for dd1 (who is nother who is not ready (unlikely)/not interested/can't get into it)

moondog: I think the biggest problems with it are that:

the episodes are too long, with no easy way to skip through.

the "rewards" are just not motivating for dd1. she couldn't care less about the cute little aliens.

the tasks are a little too abstract for her - she really does do better with it all simplified. pointing out letters/combos to climb a ladder to refuel a spaceship is all too much. she is too distracted by it all, and does not understand the correlation between her task and the refuelling.

the constant repetition (and I do understand how good this is) of the stuff she can do is boring for her. but as there are gaps in what she can do, skipping ot a point that is consistently challenging for her is not an option.

but bored she is, after the third rep of finding a sound she already knows, and off she goes (whether physically, or off on a description of what is (irrelevantly) happening in the picture.

I can see what a great programme it is, and as I said, dd2 lapped it up (althoguh I haven't yet got the full version. she is only 3, and I don't see that she needs to skip ahead in these things too far. she is already too precocious, imo, and she doesn't need to be even furhter ahead of her peers; she has some social skill deficits, and she would be best served working on those, rather than attaining more skill s that mark her out)

StartingAfresh Tue 04-Jan-11 11:39:38

What is it about ABA siblings? Do they all turn out precocious little know-it-alls.

Our Indpendent EP said she was way ahead and that she's been ABAed-by-proxy!

silverfrog Tue 04-Jan-11 11:45:17

well, ABA is the most effective way to teach anyhting - the whole world works on reward based stuff, as you know grin

dd2 has been ABA'd since she was about 6 months old, just through parenting style.

and then, once she was mobile, she was in on dd1's programme- couldn't stop her. taking her out of the room lead to screaming tantrums which then disrupted dd1's concentration, so she was in. no choice about it.

it meant we had to adapt dd1's programme a little, but that in turn meant that dd1's social skills, and group work are now fantastic (weren't bad to begin with!). and built up a brilliant relationship between the two fo them.

so, 2 years of that, and now we have the precocious little (gorgeous) madam that is dd2.

we have purposely sent her to pre-school for afternoons only, as these are less structured social times.

she already knows far more than she should, as per Early Years stuff (shape, colour, numbers, phonics, etc) so now is the time she gets to play!

moondog Tue 04-Jan-11 11:53:35

Ok silver.

You can cut it down into chunks instead of doing a whole epsiode. That is a common criticism and one of my recommendations to the Headsprout folk (with whom I work closely) is an option to reduce episode times. Finishing an episode is important because you get the 'Wow, you've finished an episode!', the little jungle and graphics showing a bounce to the next place on the map.

If the 'rewards' don't mean much to her, build in additional reinforcement. We do with lots of kids but as momentum gets up, most enjoy the process of working through the episodes and marking them on the map with special stickers.

Interesting about the issue of it being abstract. Ut actually has a vast amount of repeated concrete work, but that is only apparent if you do it.

Re bits that are hard/easy, no there is no way to skip as we need to ensure all foundations are rock solid. If there were options to opt out, chances are that something vital would be missed.
If you can do something already, you will complete the episodes very fast.

silverfrog Tue 04-Jan-11 12:14:12

thanks, md.

unless I am missing somehting, there is no easy way to cut it down inot chunks. it wa sone of the things I wanted to do (and school too - they ahve had the same issues)

so, we can get dd1 to do the first few bits. fine.

but it is not easy to skip to the next chunk the next time you want her to sit down and do some of it. a fast forward button for this situation would be very helpful.

I do totally understand about the skipping. but is is totally and utterly demotivating for dd1 to be doing lots of repetitions of stuff she already knows, especially since the reward is not high for her.

of course we can build in more rinforcers - dd1 has many - but that kind of defeats the purpose of using HS for us. dd1 is keen to work with letters and words atm. and loves using a computer. but is totally turned off HS. there is no "wow you've finished an episode" for dd1. more "thank god I've finished and can go and play with my spelling puzzle"

long and short of it is, that for us, it is easier and more motivating for dd1 to use other means. I wish I could use HS for her. it is all in htere, a whole package. and I have no doubt that I will use it for dd2 in time.

but I don't see why I shoudl make more work for myself (and school for themslves) to get dd1 interested and motivated, when using Peter and Jane books has her eating out of the palm of our hands. she will positively rush to sit down and work if we use the pictures form them, and spell out simple words using the same method as HS. no-brainer. I htink it might be partly that the setting of HS, with the aliens, bears no resemblance to what she is being asked to do. whereas with the stuff the school are creatig for her, she is being asked ot work on relevant, everyday stuff, relating to the picture in front of her (doen using P&J, or using photos from home/everyday life)

I do get that the work that HS concentrates on is concrete.(I actually found that bit of your post quite patronising, tbh. It's not that I am missing the point of HS here; it's that it just does not work as a programme for dd1) it's the setting that is too abstract and distracting for dd1. there is too much bigger picture - as before, the work on refuelling the spaceship by matching phonic pairs - dd1 does this fine as a "do this" exercise. add in all the other gumph, and all of a sudden she is chattering away about the graphics, and you have to keep pulling her back and refocussing her efforts (which, when you are dealign with dd1, becomes a means to an end - she starts deliberately going off focus, to prompt reminders to work. a very complex case, thriving on social contact and she starts getting reinforced by the fact that she is making you react in some way, even if the reaction is a non-committal point, nod towards the screen, just waiting fr her to re-focus herself - we've been there doen that many, MANY times). it's all too much, really.

bitesize, 5/10 minute episodes might work for her, before she tries to disrail the whole thing (belive me, she is expert at this, and she is so socially engaging, it is VERY hard not to respond in any way that doesn't reinforce)

moondog Tue 04-Jan-11 12:38:31

I'm sorry if you found me patronising.Didn't mean to be.I'm just unsure as to how familiar individuals are with the programme.

All fair points. If you have a methos that works, go for it. You know your shit as they say. wink

I taught my kids to read (English is thier second language) with SAFMEDS and my dh's old Janet & John style books which wre great.

moondog Tue 04-Jan-11 12:39:28

I meant to say also that you can stop the programme at any point and it will hold it there for 24 hours, Any lnoger than that and it reverts to the start of the epsiode again.

silverfrog Tue 04-Jan-11 13:01:25

Fair enough re: not knowing how familiar with programme, etc smile

I didn't know that about pausing an episode. very interesting (I'm sure it didn't do this on the trial we had - maybe only on full programme? or maybe I'm computer illiterate (likely))

will talk again with school on that basis. would help a lot. (school is an ABA school. they really wanted HS to work too - it has all the right ABA ingredients, after all, but it just wasn't)

we just got to the point where we were having to do so much work to kep dd1 interested and onside, work which we don't have to do with other mehtods, so we thought that we'd give the other methods a go.

But it does leave one wondering - HS, does, after all have a linear programme, all built in, nicely leading through etc.

<sigh>

never easy, is it? grin

moondog Tue 04-Jan-11 13:05:25

No, it's not, not at all. even when you have all the right people and interventions.

We have published research on its use in another fairtly pure ABA setting if they are interested ans well as publications/presentations on its use with lots of other SN populations.

silverfrog Tue 04-Jan-11 13:16:54

I'm sure they would be, if you don't mind sharing?

They are a very small, new ABA school. More VB I guess. And not necessarily pure. they do what needs to be done to help the children (as it should be, imo)

we are havinga literacy drive with dd1 atm, as she is so interested. knows her alphabet, and single phonics. working on recognising common sight words (mum, dad, names, etc)

she ground to a halt for a while, but has just spurted on now they are using big pictures, and velcro flashcards with words on for her to build up a short sentence (eg dad and dd2 play ball). she loves it. also working on simple spelling jigsaws etc, to get her understanding the left->right of spelling.

her decoding work is non-existent, and that is where HS woudl be useful. maybe one day.

silverfrog Tue 04-Jan-11 13:17:36

<sorry, Lougle, for completely hi-jacking your thread blush>

moondog Tue 04-Jan-11 13:19:05

If you message me, I can send on some Powerpoint presentations.

Reading will always be limited unless a child can decode.

Using a calendar as I have described on here beofre relaly helps establish the left to right sequencing needed in reading.

Lougle Tue 04-Jan-11 15:10:35

Sorry, I wrote the OP then real life arrived!

Why don't I think DD1 is ready? Well I guess because at the moment the only letter she can recognise is 'M', the initial letter of her name. Add to that, every time she sees any word that has a 'M' at the beginning, she thinks it is her name. She can't accept that it is a different word, or that it means something different.

Maybe I am underselling her.

DD2 has been enthusiastically pointing out the 's' 'v' 'an' and 'ee' sounds she has seen today. Slightly less cute has been the demanding whine of 'I want Headsproutsss' grin

At $198 I can't see us getting the whole thing just yet. But next time they have their 50% discount, I will snap it up!!

DD2 got a bit irritated with it, saying 'why is it moving around' when each word with the sound disappeared and a new one came. Also, she said 'I already did that!!' but I explained that she needed lots of practice, and she was happy again.

The other thing I found was that the timeout on the excercises is quite short, so for DD2, by the time she had worked out what she needed to do, it was doing it for her. But I guess this is to promote fluency rather than simply skill acquisition?

tryingtokeepintune Tue 04-Jan-11 23:02:15

moondog - was going to take you up on your offer re Headstart on another thread.

ds, asd, is very good with phonics but not blending yet. we have done episode 1 but with lots of pauses. just got my reply form headquarters and will try to break it into smaller chunks. how do you go back to part of it that you want to work on?

dd2, 4 years old, quite enjoys it. wonder if she is ready for it all. she completed both lesson 1 and 2 in 2 days but wonder if it will get more difficult.

Also meant to ask you - am doing SAFMEDs with ds - how do I combine it with Headsprout? what words do I use for Flashcards? Ds is now over 100 new words and I am doing words that school says he knows but he does not really. However, because I want to move him, I don't want them having the credit but do so want him to learn.

Am really worried about school starting tomorrow as it will mean that I have less time to teach him. Yes, it is ironic that I worry about his education when school starts.

By the way, re: maths. Today I asked him what is 5 + 5 and he heald up both hands and said 10. A month ago, I was having trouble moving him to adding 2.

Start - don't know about ADA siblings but know that I use a mishmash of things and dd2, I have been told, is advanced for her age and asks lots of questions so I am worried how she is going to cope in school. Eg. what makes the flower pink? Why does my heart beat faster after I run? If we come from monkeys, what happened to our tails? Great fun for her teacher in September.

StartingAfresh Tue 04-Jan-11 23:09:18

'Yes, it is ironic that I worry about his education when school starts'

Me too! So many wasted opportunities to learn. Fine if your child is NT but not if they have some serious catching up to do.

tryingtokeepintune Wed 05-Jan-11 00:24:14

Sorry for really bad spellings.

moondog Thu 06-Jan-11 00:10:23

moondog - was going to take you up on your offer re Headstart on another thread.

** What offer was that, offer of help? Yes, of course (but I need to stress that I am not flogging or promoting anything. I am merely flagging up an exemplare educational tool.)

ds, asd, is very good with phonics but not blending yet. we have done episode 1 but with lots of pauses. just got my reply form headquarters and will try to break it into smaller chunks. how do you go back to part of it that you want to work on?

** The computer will hold the episode at whatever stage you are at for 24 hours. After that, it will reverlt back to the begining of an episode. Additionally you can repeat an episode as soon as you have finished it, which you should do if you are not happy with how it was tackled (and you check this by looking at the data the computer keeps for each episode). You can't jump about and do episodes in random order though.

dd2, 4 years old, quite enjoys it. wonder if she is ready for it all. she completed both lesson 1 and 2 in 2 days but wonder if it will get more difficult.

* Yes, it gets much more difficult but very gradually.

Also meant to ask you - am doing SAFMEDs with ds - how do I combine it with Headsprout? what words do I use for Flashcards? Ds is now over 100 new words and I am doing words that school says he knows but he does not really. However, because I want to move him, I don't want them having the credit but do so want him to learn.

* You can use the' Sprout Cards' which are accessible by the childs' big green arrow on the website. These can be prinited off and include all the sound/letter combinations you will come across in the 80 episodes. It's important only to do the ones that go with each episode after you have completed the episode though. Yo u nned to avoid the risk of the child memorising it as a picture effectively and just naming it.

In my work, when I assess kids before using Headsprout, this is one of my baseline assessments-going through all the Sprout Cards and seeing how many they know then doing it after they have finished all 80 episodes. You could do this yorself actually to give yourself a baseline of where he is at.

Am really worried about school starting tomorrow as it will mean that I have less time to teach him. Yes, it is ironic that I worry about his education when school starts.

* It doesn't surprise me one bit. Very often the case that peopel don't know what they are doing because they haven't been trained.

By the way, re: maths. Today I asked him what is 5 + 5 and he heald up both hands and said 10. A month ago, I was having trouble moving him to adding 2.

That's fantastic! Have oyu been doing a lot of SAFMEDS? Are you keeping data? Were you in on our discussions on a wonderful resource for maths, namely Numicon?

I would highly highly highly recommend this book to anyone who feels that their child's school is doing everything but providing a good solid education based on getting the basics right-reading, writing and basic maths. It is one of the most incredible books I have ever read and has made an enormous impact on me as well as being utterly enthralling. I press copies onto it on so many people
Here

tryingtokeepintune Thu 06-Jan-11 14:23:24

Yes, offer of help with question regarding reading and HeadSprout mentioned in Indigo's thread.

Yes, I was in on the discussion re: Numicon. When we started it a month ago, ds could only copy simple shapes, he'd glance at the pattern and try to copy what he thinks it is. When I tried to give him complex patterns - the first day - he refused to do it - had enough. Now he is doing quite complex patterns and looking at them carefully, self-correcting etc.

Doing quite a lot of SAFMEDS/Flashcards. Adapted it for ds. Did not want to use it alot of timing as that was a technique used to a lot in school and it caused him a great deal of anxiety - kept it short but dh was surprised how quickly he is doing the words now. From doing 10/15 words per session we now do appx 40 words.

Of course there is school now so less time to do anything.

moondog Thu 06-Jan-11 23:29:46

So wonderful to hear.
A real shame he has had a bad experience with timing as used properly it is great fun and very motivating. A child only competes against his own performance ('You got 10 in a minute yesterday. Let's see if you can beat that today!') and not against others.
We have kids champing at the bit to get in with their SAFMEDS.

How long is your session? You need to keep a handle on the timespan as without it you misso ut a very important bit of info.
Is it 40 mins in a day ,or 5 minutes or 10 or what?

tryingtokeepintune Thu 06-Jan-11 23:56:16

My sessions are probably 2-3 minutes long and we get approximately 40-50 words in. I think we do appx 9-10 sessions during the holidays. Ds watches it and will say one more set etc. However, 2 months ago, we were probably getting in 15 words per session which was determined by how long he will concentrate.

With Numicom shapes, patterns etc, we probably get in 3-4 minutes before he gets bored.

I think you are right about timespan. Did it in the past as made notes how long it took him to do 10 additions etc but somehow stopped keeping data on those. I think I'll start by noting the times to myself.

moondog Thu 06-Jan-11 23:58:17

Yes, this is the foundation of Precision Teacihng.

mariamagdalena Fri 07-Jan-11 01:32:06

Hey moondog. D'you think you could get a tame student therapist to write up the SN board as an exemplar of innovative multidisciplinary working for children with disabilities and their families? [joking but wish I was serious emoticon]

The call for posters is half way down the advert here

moondog Fri 07-Jan-11 19:17:33

Good idea.
I think the role of internet forums in the way that families of kids with SN empower (I hate that word, so crappy woman's magazine-y but you know what I mean I think) themselves is hugely important.
It has and will continue to change the way things are done.

I am amazed at the wealth of knowledge there is here and it has given me a real insight into the minds of the peopel we are supposed to be working for.

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