Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Doing whatever we can...

It is no secret that teachers have to wear many hats nowadays. Aside from trying to teach content, we feel like parents, referees, social workers, nurses, etc. Until recently, my only nursing duties included band-aids and ice. But in the past couple of weeks, one student has been weighing on my mind. Holly (not her real name) is a cute little 6th grader; a very soft-spoken blond. Her voice is as diminutive as her stature. She is reading 50 words per minute. In case you don't live in the land of reading fluency, this is not good. My goal is to get my struggling readers to 150 words. And I noticed in listening to Holly read aloud that she can't seem to regulate her breathing. She gets out of breath. She almost pants.

This got me thinking about a time many years ago that I was hospitalized for pneumonia. My husband took me to the ER because I couldn't walk from the living room to the bathroom without stopping to rest...and my house is not very big! At the hospital, I was given a spirometer to help strengthen my lungs. Why couldn't the same thing work for Holly? 

I was now adding diagnostician to my list of titles...but I guess it is not really an addition. I've been looking closely at my struggling readers to determine what it is that might be a reason for their struggles. And really, isn't a diagnostician what all teachers should be? We see where our students are, we find the areas that they are lacking skill and knowledge, and we try to find ways to meet the learning struggles they face.
She can get it to the goal height but she can't hold it there long enough yet.

It's a little early to tell if the spirometer is working; she's been doing it for about for seven days (split by a weekend in which she noticed a decline) and I won't be doing an ORF check for a couple of weeks. She and I are both excited to see if it improves her word count.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting idea. I hope it works. Be sure to post and let us know how it turns out.