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Teaching a 6 year old

2011-2012 school year

saul snail

Saúl continues to learn and grow. He is now able to sit (mostly) still for up to 20 minutes (on a really good day) and focus on pieces of seatwork. He no longer fights and cries when he arrives at school. If chapel is in progress, Saúl opens the door, enters, begins to sign along with the song and finds a seat without any problems.

This year, we have some young men around the school. Saúl also has two classmates who are sisters. Their dad is in the picture above with the lawn tractor. Their dad is deaf too. Saúl knows that he is a brother therefore every other boy must be a brother. Saúl looked at the little girls and their dad and said BROTHER. The conversation following clarified the situation so that Saúl now understands that families may have a FATHER and a HUSBAND/WIFE team.

Saúl’s older sister Kioney who is also deaf is moving along quickly as she learns to read and spell in Level 2 (or 3? I forget).

Saúl’s little brother Gaby who is hearing continues in his last year with us. Next year, Gaby will move on to a hearing school we are hopeful that his language which has been a little delayed since his siblings do not speak will have developed enough by that time to prepare him for Kindergarten.

Saúl is very sports inclined and loves our new sport – Badminton. He is a natural sportsman and teacher as well.

Saúl is very curious about bodies and has progressed from TEETH to BONES. In the third picture above, Saul had removed his shirt so that he could see his ribs better. He and his teacher drew skeletons on the white board and labeled bones. He continues to be fascinated with things he learns about his body. Since we have a missions intern who is a young man working along with Saúl this year, Saúl has learned ADAM’s APPLE and ARMPITS. He is most recently attempting to investigate girl bodies… his grandmother has breast cancer which is protruding quite a bit. This has led him to curiosity about other women’s breasts (ok, he IS a boy) and we are teaching him to NOT go around patting women randomly.

Saúl’s language is amazing! After Hurricane Irene, he was able to relate stories about fallen trees, electrical trucks and hole diggers. While snorkelling on October 14 as a reward for 5 days of GOOD BEHAVIOUR, Saúl underwater signed, WHERE URCHIN-ON-SWIMFIN BIG URCHIN.

He had seen a photo of our missions’ intern snorkelling and scooping up a large urchin onto a spare swimfin. Of course, Saúl wanted to see this himself! It was explained to him that the urchin was at another beach and he happily swam along to find his own finds.

March 2012

Saú has some amazing language skills as shown in this video.

March 26, 2012

Which interpreted means “Put Pepsi and ice cream in the cup and it will make a volcano and we can eat it and it is yummy. I like it. You and I like to eat ice cream and pepsi yes?”

Oh yes! We love Pepsi Floats!

This week, as Saúl was leading vocabulary review he had occasion to say/sign: STICK-TONGUE-OUT -AT BROTHER NO WILL PUNISH MUST KIND BROTHER.
The only problem with his statement was that the little girl had stuck her tongue out at a sister, not a brother. He is still learning to understand these gender difference in sign language.

May 2012

Since February, we have been consistently (Feb – May) using a daily photo calendar to show Saúl the daily plan of classes and discussing the expectations of the day. The system is working! Saúl is down to very small bouts of defiance – and these could be defused by (a) giving him space to comply and (b) allowing him reasonable changes to the outcome.

One day, he had not earned play time after school (for real) because he had several frowny faces on his behaviour chart. While everyone else left the room, Saúl sat. He was given options of table games or books or playing alone with tangrams. NO. The teacher left him to his own thoughts and soon Saúl was examining the screws under a chair… asked for a screwdriver and attempted to fix the chair (ok, it was not broken but we played along and praised him for helping in the classroom.)

After that, he moved to the table and began to do tangram puzzles. He was so engrossed in the puzzles that his grandmother came in and sat with him while he finished his last puzzle of the day.

We are looking forward to great things in the coming school year as Saúl is able to learn and work more and battle less!