Wednesday, October 16, 2019

NOW Training

Four elements underpin the multi-sensory aspect of NOW.
Paul, Betsy, and I spent one long, quick-paced week in June learning a new skill. We were learning the intricacies of NOW – Dr. Conway's Neuro-development of Words. 

This program, like several others on the market that resulted from Lindamood Bell’s work, provide a gap between the mouth and the hand. 

Let me explain.

Phonics programs, in general, start by associating letter names with sounds. For example, we practice /ă/, then read and write words like cat, bat, and sat. Normally, that’s all most of us need. We learn to sound out words. All is good.

For some learners, however, they struggle with hearing or feeling the sounds. Thus, phonics is lost on them. NOW is one program that bridges this gap. NOW provides the pre-work to phonics instruction in two ways:
Four partial pictures
representing four sounds.

    a) build understanding for how our mouths work to make sounds and

    b) engages us in multi-sensory, phonemic awareness activities.

NOW is not for every adult learner in our program. We’re targeting adults who struggle at the lowest level either as readers or spellers. We think both will benefit from this instruction. Time will tell.

Thank you to USBE’s adult education staff for letting us participate in this training.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Friday's Writing Prompt

The Face of the Wild TIger (Photo via Good Free Photos)

One of our writing mentors 
(from SLCC Community Writing Center) 
showed us a picture of a tiger hiding in the tall grass. 
Here is my story.

The Attack!
By Ray Johnson

The tiger is looking for food and eating everything in sight. He lies down to take a long nap in the patch of grass. 

The noise of a water buffalo crossing his path wakes him up. He creeps up to the big water buffalo to eat him. The big water buffalo runs away from the tiger to his pack. The tiger loses his dinner.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Bookmarks as visual motivation

Goals Define Actions 

Others were wondering why Keith was so insistent about finishing his volcano story by August 29th. 

The impetus? He wrote a goal about it at the beginning of summer. He wanted to finish his goal on time. So impressive!

The power of goal setting and deadlines can push some of us into action. This was certainly the case for Keith. 

Goal Setting

Setting goals is tradition for some of us. In a teaching setting where careers are at stake, goal setting is crucial. 

Goals give us something to aim for. Goals also allow us to lay out a road map.

For academic settings, goals can be set at any time. We don't need to wait for New Year's Day or the start of the school year. 

Last month, we used "What is the one goal I want to accomplish within the next thirty days?" as a writing prompt. After sharing and clapping for each person's goal, we guided writers into making these goals measurable. 

Visual & Physical Support

Then, as a constant reminder for the next thirty days, we typed up the goals and printed them as bookmarks. Learners referred to them continually each day. We also posted them on the front bulletin board available for all to see. 

Anyone who wasn't here on the day we set these goals became cheerleaders. Their task was to partner with someone with a goal and check in on the person's progress, offering help and verbal support along the way. 


We tagged the completed goals with hearts. We posted them on a classroom door. While each person set his/her own celebration activity for accomplishing the set goal, the group decided that when we have 95% success rate for all who set goals then we'd do a special celebration with the group. 

What goal would you set for the next month?

Saturday, September 7, 2019

Gallery Results

Judging people's work is not easy, 
especially when they are done by your friends.

So, let's start by saying that everyone 
who entered a photo into our Gallery Show was a winner.

The evidence is in these photos.

Here are some of the photos.


We tried to do the judging as anonymously as possible. We hung the photos with care on the white boards. Each photo was assigned a number. 

With the forms in our hands , we each examined the works and entered our thoughts. Some people went around the photos with a partner to help with deciphering the forms. Some people moved around the room independently. The process of examining 11 photos took over an hour. Any observer would have been intrigued by the seriousness and focus of this group as they weighed each question. 


We sorted the forms by number. Then together, as an example, we tallied the forms for photo #1. First, we listed the numbers in each category (remember, we only did A, C, D, E). Second, we added up the numbers in each category. Third, we figured out the average for each category. Then, lastly, we averaged the categories into one final score. 

The remaining photo forms were given to pairs of learners. They did the math. They listed the category averages and final show average next to each photo on the board. 


Drum roll. 

Which photos would you have chosen from the pile above?

Here are our results.

First Place

Second Place

Third Place

Based on our criteria, 
Rule of Thirds, Depth of Field, Emotion, & Beauty, 
would you have picked these three photos in this order?

Friday, September 6, 2019

Photo Gallery Criteria

Our goal: 

identify first & second place photos 
to enter into the Utah State Fair

So, how do you judge artwork, 
especially a photo?

We questioned this idea, too. 
Together, we came up with this list 
and our rating scale.

How would your photo 
fare with these questions?

(Note: At the time of judging, we eliminated B. Content Matches Category because none of our photos were labeled. Without labels, we couldn't match them with the Utah State Fair categories.)

Monday, August 26, 2019

Carpet-Paint Restores Energy

Afton Blue paint above the new carpet

A year ago, we became blue – Alton Blue to be exact. Thank to Housing Connect, our landlord, we got new carpet and paint.

Housing Connect choose the carpet – same as the carpet installed in the hallway. We picked the paint. I searched the web, asked professional interior designers, and paint specialists. “What’s the best color for engaging people in learning and enhancing their academic achievement? Results: Nothing came out as definitive. I was lost until I remembered, “Ah-ha, I should be asking the people using the room! Let them choose.” So, I did. How? Through a series of votes. (Democracy at its best.)

First, everyone got to go through the book of paint samples and match them with the hallway carpet, then suggest specific colors. Some people did this on their own, and some did this with partners. The results: eighteen different colors, mostly in the blue family.

Second, we voted. I laid out the eighteen color samples on the hallway carpet. The samples stretched out for over four feet. Only one paint sample was lonely – receiving absolutely no votes. The other seventeen samples received a range of one to seven votes, with one vote being the most popular number.

Finally, I laid out the top three colors – Deep Sapphire with seven votes, Afton Blue with seven votes, and Pool Party with six votes – and collected votes. The winner was Afton Blue.

This process took us about three weeks, but the satisfaction over the results was well worth the effort. Over the past year, learners and volunteers have continued to state their pleasure with the color choice. 

Bravo, folks!
Thank you, Housing Connect!

What color would you paint the walls of a learning center?