In This Episode:
Welcome to Episode 83 of Dyslexia Devoted and today we’re talking about finishing the school year strong!
Show notes: parnelloeducation.com/episode83
This Episode's Topics:
- Celebrating the progress
- Focusing to reach goals by the end of the school year
- Planning ahead for goals out of reach
Resources Mentioned in this Episode:
Connect with Lisa Parnello:
Hello and welcome to dyslexia devoted the podcast dedicated to building awareness, understanding and strategies to help those with dyslexia. I'm your host, Lisa Parnello, dyslexia therapist and founder of Parnello education services. Join me as we dive into today's episode of dyslexia devoted.
Hello, and Happy New Year. If you are listening to this in real time, it is the very first episode of 2024. And I'm so excited to be chatting with you again, I took last week off because after doing over 80 episodes in a row, every week, I decided I earned a break for the holiday break. And then the not so fun reason is I also rolled my ankle and was not in the best of spirits in in a little bit of pain last week, but all as well again, and I'm at my cozy little cabin in the woods where we had a snowstorm yesterday. So it is a gorgeous dusting of beautiful snow this morning. And let's just pretend I don't have to go shovel it as soon as I'm done recording this. And I'm excited to talk to you today for episode number 83. How to finish the school year strong. And you might be thinking, hey, it's only January, why are we talking about finishing the school year. But I can tell you as a teacher somehow, the months between January and May fly by except of course on that last two weeks of school when everyone's just dying to go on summer break. Again, before I jump into this week's episode, if you are a special education teacher or just a teacher in general, I am participating in the sped summit this month. So if you go to sped summit.com, you can go ahead and register to this completely free event. The presentation I'm doing is all about writing excellent IEP goals. So I really hope you go check it out. And you can learn from not only me, but there are about 10 other presenters as well doing all sorts of different topics that you can learn from. And one thing that I learned from working in the private schools is we had a middle of the year conferences. And when I was growing up, that was not the thing. We had beginning of the year conferences, and we had end of the year conferences. And one of the things I really began to value is looking at where we're at in January, it is really easy just to fall back into the routines of the school year of the way it was, you know, right between you know, Thanksgiving and when the holiday break is and just jump right back in. But it's really important actually to take a peek at the goals for the child and decide what's working right now in which things are still behind the mark of where they need to be. Generally, we have a goal of what we want a student to meet by the end of the school year. And we need to take this time now in January to decide are they on track to meet that goal? Have they surpassed that goal? And do we need to make a new one? Or is there something they're really behind on and we know they have to master this before the school year ends, it's easy to think about what we have to achieve for this school year. And if certain goals don't give it not that big of a deal, you know, we'll get to what we can get done, we'll do our best. But the thing is, there really are certain goals you have to master in order to do well in the next grade level. For example, if a student is really struggling with multiplication in third grade, that is going to set them up for some extreme struggles in fourth grade when they have to do long division, because you have to know how to do multiplication in order to understand the reverse of that which is division. And then eventually long division, a lot of skills build on one another. And there are certain things that if they aren't great at it, it's not the end of the world. I'm talking about science and history in elementary school. Yes, they're important. Yes, kids need to know them. But they won't completely fail next year of science or history class if they don't completely understand a certain skill in one of those areas. But when we talk about reading, and writing, and math, all of those skills are very compounding, one always builds on the next one. So if one area is particularly weak this school year, that means it's going to be extremely weak next school year, when they're expected to do what they're doing now. And then more and more and more in January, it's a great time to reflect on celebrating all of the wins. I love to show the kids their progress from before. And after. There was a kiddo in my office in these last couple of weeks that has been squeezing in some extra sessions while the other kids are on vacation. And I was showing him the difference in just a few sessions of how much better his handwriting could get, and how much better he could do. Because this child's going to be expected to do a whole lot of writing next year as he's getting older, he's going to need to do a lot more essays and sentence writing and things like that. If you can't form basic letters nicely and easily. That makes that extremely difficult. It's nice to show students their progress of look what you were able to do last month. And now look at what you can do now. So before we do anything else about creating goals about all the things they can do, we absolutely have to celebrate the goals that they have accomplished. And sometimes we set a goal for them in the fall and they reach it ahead of schedule, which is always amazing when that happens. And we have to make sure we take those moments to celebrate our wins that have already happened the school year, what were the things we wanted you to be able to do this year that you can already do. Let's celebrate those then take the goals that you have made that you've not reached. And let's talk about it with the student give them some accountability, here's what we're going to accomplish between now and the end of the school year. That's actually one of the things I've done for many years ever since my first couple years of teaching, is that so often we make goals for kids and never tell the kids what the goal is, it is so important for the kids to know what they're working for. So that they know where's the end line, where is our time we celebrate, I've started talking to all the kids about Alright, so next year, you're going to be in sixth grade next year, you're going to be in fourth grade, here's what we need to get you to be able to do. Before you get to that grade level. Here's our goal, we're going to make it to vowel teens, or we're going to make it to being able to form all your letters properly, or we're going to make it to you being able to build up stamina. And yes, I did use the word stamina for a little itty bitty third grader. Because while that child can read, it takes her so much work. And she's exhausted after three minutes. And so I've told her the word stamina. And that is our goal for the year, it's actually stamina, her skills are fine, it's being able to do it longer and do it successfully without quitting and starting to guess all the words again. Now the third thing you need to think about is deciding which goals are realistic between now and the end of the year. Sometimes we set a goal at the beginning of the year, that does sound realistic. And then as we get halfway through the year, we're realizing this child struggles even more than we thought, I find this happens a lot when I'm working with a brand new student. Usually if I have a kid I've been working with a long time I know what their version of a reasonable goal is. But sometimes when you meet a brand new student, you've never worked with them before. It's easy to create a goal that you think is attainable, until you realize just how challenged that child is and how much extra support they really do need. So this time of the year is when we decide which goals are not really attainable, but we're going to keep working on anyway. And then create a plan for what happens after the school year is over. So as parents, if you have a child who has a goal that they're not really likely to hit by the end of the year, this is actually the time to start thinking about what your summer might look like. And any of you who've worked with me or who have listened to my podcast know that I actually really support the kids have a really balanced summer, I want them to go to summer camp, I want them to have weeks off, I don't want it to be an over packed summer, I want them to have downtime. But at the same time, some kids really do need that support in between school years. If they're barely keeping up, and then you add the summer slide on top of it, then that's really challenging. And you might be thinking, hey, it's January, why are you talking to me about the summer slide. And that's because it depends on where you live. But sometimes summer programs book up really fast, especially if you are looking for a specialized tutor. So I have a summer program that I do that I always work with my current clients. And then that's the time I also allow other new clients to come in. But the thing is, it books up every single summer. And it books up very quickly. And this is not an advertisement for my summer program as it is already know what's going to pick up. So just hear me out. This is more of an idea of letting you know to check out the specialist in your area and find out when the typical time is that you start registering for summer program stuff. Because I know a lot of places here in California where you better have your plan by February or you're not getting into that awesome camp or that awesome, you know, tutoring program or whatever it is. And so make sure that you check out when is the normal enrollment time for your particular area. If you're in a place that has a lot of people who provide support for your child's learning differences, then maybe this isn't a big deal. Or you know, you have one person you go to every year and it's already part of the plan, no big deal. But I know in my area there is a an extreme drought of dyslexia specialists in my area. And I know every year that there are more kids that need help than there are people to help them. And so make sure you start checking out now when it is a good time to register for your areas support programs. And the other thing is you also get first choice in terms of like what weeks you can join and things like that. Okay, let's go ahead and recap what our main points of today are. First, celebrate the wins, what goals have either already been met or exceeding expectations for being met by the end of the year. And make sure to celebrate those with the chat. Make sure that they know that they are being a rockstar and that they are achieving successes. So often kids with learning differences, feel all the things they're not doing well enough. And we have to take every single chance we get to celebrate all the things they're being amazing at, even if it's just small little baby wins. I absolutely love using this time of year to show them. Here's what you were doing in August, September, October. And here's what you can do now. Do you see how much better you're doing? Because in the moment, it's hard for kids to feel like they're doing an indifferent they feel like they're going to school today and every other day. And it all feels kind of the same to them. But when you can show them on paper, here's what your handwriting look like. Here's how long of a story you can write. Here's what kind of math problems you were working on. Like why Oh, I wasn't very good than was I? And letting them see Yeah, you know you weren't. But guess what all of your hard work has paid off. And I love valuing hard work over valuing perfection. So I always like to emphasize how their hard work and their effort really paid off, because sometimes they feel like they're trying super hard, but it's not paying off. So we want to make sure that we point out that their hard work really is paying off, even if they don't always notice. The second thing is to make sure that you look at which goals are not being met, or that you suddenly realize needs to be met between now and the end of the year, to set next year up for success. So often, it's easy to know, hey, we met three out of five goals, that's really great. But the thing is, sometimes those other two goals were absolutely essential to make the next grade level easier. So make a plan now, between now and the end of the school year for how can we reach that goal anyway, even though we're not on track now? What can we do differently between now and the end of the year, so that we can reach that goal? Lastly, if there are goals, there's absolutely no way they're really going to be met by the end of the year. You know, they were a little overly ambitious, or they were written by somebody who didn't really know the child super well yet and didn't know how much support they would mean, this is the time to start making a plan for how can we get this child support in the summer, some places are a little destitute for specialized tutors and professionals. And so you want to make sure that you know when is the ideal time to sign up for additional summer support. Because waiting until May, you're not going to get very good options in terms of who you work with, or terrible options in terms of you know, when it is or how many sessions a week you can get. So start looking into when people generally sign up for summer support sessions. And each area has their own thing. I know in Palo Alto, it's like January, February, everybody starts planning out the summer. And part of that is because summer vacations, too, once you start booking the vacations, the summer programs and stuff have to go around them and things like that. Start looking into finding out when is the best time to sign up for summer programs. And make sure you do it in a way that you're not burning out the child that you are balancing it with fun camps and fun vacations and just downtime and making sure that the kids have that healthy balance of not falling even further behind. But also getting to be kids who have a very genuine reset, because that's really important too.
All right, that is all for today. I'm going to go shovel the pretty white fluffy snow that actually may not be so white and fluffy like it was last night. I think it might be ice right now we shall see. Have a fabulous rest of your day. And if you would love to hear about any other specific topics this year, be sure to let me know you can find me at Lisa at Parnello education.com or at Parnello education on Facebook and Instagram. That's all for today and I'll see you next time
thanks for tuning into today's episode. If you want to learn even more about dyslexia, check out Parnello education.com forward slash courses. See you next time