Monday, March 25, 2013

Long Day

Well, I just finished up a 3 hour marathon tutoring session wherein I tried (sometimes in vain) to explain to Ruby's Korean classmate:

Earth's rotation and revolution





apparent motion

the Sun's apparent pathway

eclipses - solar and lunar

the moon (rotation, orbit, make up, why it can't have water, etc.)

phases of the moon



meteoroids (meteors and meteorites)


asteroids and the asteroid belt






International Space Station

space probes


all eight planets (make up, moons, atmospheres, etc)

dwarf planets







Mr F came home 2 hours into it and was like "WTF?!  This is ridiculous.  That is an unfair amount of stuff for them to learn for one test."  And I was all "You missed the first 2 hours!"

All the acronyms and such that I can usually use to help Kid memorize things were out the window.  I couldn't even rely on breaking things down into simpler concepts because they would still be in English and therefore not necessarily any easier for her to comprehend.  Baby and I spent a lot of time physically acting out the concepts with a globe, flashlight, balloons, pistachio nuts.

I tried my best, I feel pretty confident that she understood the Earth-Sun-Moon concepts, but once we headed out into Space... I'm not sure she was following anymore. She has failed every Science test this year.  When I found out... I was OUTRAGED that no one was helping her study or learn the concepts.  I'm pretty flabbergasted that any teacher would feel comfortable flat out failing a 9 year old over and over and not make any efforts to set up some kind of learning help (and, ahem, the school is being paid to teach these Korean students and I think it is incredibly irresponsible to take their parents money and not actually provide the teaching that they specifically need while they are here).  I would have done this earlier, but it never occurred to me that there wasn't some kind of tutoring already set up for her.

Baby kept illustrating the concepts and handing them to our friend:

A comet's emotional state as it hurtles by the sun, eventually melting into a pile of ice and dust.  

A lunar eclipse.

On another note, I wish I could find a school (we could afford) that could handle the kind of awesome this little girl dishes out on a daily basis.  


Nutmeg said...

Um.. once upon a time I taught 5th grade science at a private school. I will tell you that JUST teaching seasons, and the phases of the moon is a unit. If you want kids to properly understand it. Shit is complicated. Most adults don't really understand what is going on, why we have seasons, why we see different phases of the moon etc. I can see how the first half of the list pertains to that. I would leave out tides and inertia and comets and just stop at Copernicus and Newton.

I would probably also include a demonstration part of a test, where the child recreates activities we did in class (I taught phases of the moon, seasons and eclipses using flashlights, golf balls, and globes. The ability to demonstrate the position of the celestial objects during an eclipse, or a full moon or summer, can really only be judged in 3D since it is really hard to represent it on flat paper.)

You are really kind to help the girl out, and it is shameful that she's going to miss learning these concepts now because no one else could be bothered to help her... of course I'm guessing general education in korea is pretty good so she'll be just fine.

Mrs Furious said...

Yeah, this was 4 units "sun & earth, sun & moon, solar system, and stars & constellations" My biggest beef with this teacher is that she keeps doing this. She crams them all into one test instead of doing it unit by unit. Each one is worthy of its own test and more than a couple of days of teaching. I just don't get the point. I actually like the materials they use, just think it should be SLOWED down so that they can actually digest it.... and that the teacher should do the supplemental hands-on learning activities presented in each unit (she doesn't).

I'm sure that our Korean friend probably already knows most of this at home... she just doesn't know it in English and I think that is her biggest hurdle. I can't imagine she doesn't know what gravity is, but since she didn't know the English word for it (and I don't know the Korean) even that had to be taught over and over in hopes that she'd make the connection with the English word. Inertia? Yeah, I don't think she got that one ;) I wish we could have had an interpreter! I'm just hoping she can get a C. I told Kid that if she didn't get an A+ on this one, after how thoroughly I covered everything for her friend, she'd be dead to me. ;)

ummmhello said...

SO awesome that you guys are helping her! So great that she's got someone on her side.

ummmhello said...

So awesome that you guys are helping her! That teacher should be ashamed - as should the principal, the VP, etc - that they're not doing more to help.

Kelly said...

Totally off topic, Mrs F., but I remember you saying you read Eustace Conway's book, and I thought you'd like to know the local NC government is trying to shut him down for building code violations. You can donate or read more about it at topic, though, that is insane how much they expected those poor kids to know!

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