Hi everyone! I’m sharing three tips for working with kids in a 1:1 setting today. Seems like a pretty easy topic, but it’s important. I look at different pictures of teachers in classrooms working with students, and I’m often taken back to the days my supervisor would come during my Orton-Gillingham practicum and observe my lessons. These are real nail biters. I was a nervous wreck during my student teaching days and when my principal would come for an observation, but being observed with just ONE student brings a different level of intensity. They see EVERYthing. So today, I’m going to give you a couple of tips.
- Have all of your materials READY to go. There’s no time to be rifling through a crate with hanging file folders, cutting word cards or searching for your dice. Have it all in a strategic place. Before the lesson begins, overthink it. Where do you want your game materials to be when it comes time to do some review? Where do you want to store your O.G. deck so it’s the first thing you grab AND are the cards in the order you want them to be?
- Watch your poker face. Kids with reading disabilities or ones who just plain struggle with reading have an uncanny way of reading your body language. They LOOK for your reaction to every decision they make. Add some insecurity to the mix and things can get dicey. Forget a long sigh or a wince. You would never do that when you saw a mistake while they were making it anyway. I mean subtle things like clearing your throat, a hard swallow, head scratch, or eyes opening a little wider. You might think I’m crazy for saying this, but kids NOTICE how you react when they are in an on demand situation like dictation. Show grace and compassion.
- Here’s the biggie. Check your seating. If your student is a righty, sit beside them to their left. If they are a lefty, sit beside them to their right. Don’t sit across from them. I don’t care how much of an expert you are at reading upside down. You need the BEST possible view of everything a child does within a lesson. If you sit to the left of a lefty or to the right of a righty, what’s the problem? Their arm and hand are totally blocking your view. If you crane your neck over their arm, it’s just not ideal. Climate is everything. Sitting beside a student builds a caring rapport. You are in this reading journey as a team. One last thing: Both of you need to watch your posture.
1:1 teaching is incredibly rewarding. It’s loaded with good kid watching. You’re assessing by the minute, sometimes by the second. You pick up on the nuances of learning in a way that can’t happen in a classroom of 25 students. Any if you’re lucky, an added bonus is the relationship you get to build with the child. You are helping them climb one of the biggest academic mountains of their lives. Have a great school year!