Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Culinary Halloween Horror Stories

Yesterday, I found a great example of how we are blending Charlotte Mason and Relationship Development Intervention. The most challenging book Pamela is reading right now is The Brendan Voyage. Helen Keller's story inspires me to include books that are at the outermost limits of comprehension but worth trying. John Wright, one of her teachers at the Wright-Humason School, once wrote,
Often I found her, when she had a little leisure, sitting in her favourite corner, in a chair whose arms supported the big volume prepared for the blind, and passing her finger slowly over the lines of Moliere's Le Medecin Malgré Lui, chuckling to herself at the comical situations and humorous lines. At that time her actual working vocabulary in French was very small, but by using her judgment, as we laughingly called the mental process, she could guess at the meanings of the words and put the sense together much as a child puzzles out a sliced object. The result was that in a few weeks she and I spent a most hilarious hour one evening while she poured out to me the whole story, dwelling with great gusto on its humour and sparkling wit. It was not a lesson, but only one of her recreations.
What I hope for Pamela is to strike a balance between books in which she feels competent and confident and books in which she spends time guessing at the meaning of words, putting the sense together, and mentally processing. With The Brendan Voyage, she first reads two or three pages and orally narrates each paragraph, one by one. Then, I film her narrating what she finds worth retelling from the entire passage. After that, we take turns talking about what the passage reminds us of and this is where she forms personal connections to what she is reading, shares experiences with me, and fortifies episodic memory. We have wandered down many exciting rabbit trails because of this important step in the process. I want to share with you an actual example of this process:

The Original Passage:
I cooked the breakfast. Then George, who freely admitted to being the worlds' worst cook but is amoung its champion dishwashers, offered to do the dishes on my turn if I did his cooking for him. So I cooked lunch. . . Rolfe persevered until the box of matches ran out, and tha as everyon else was getting hungry, I cooked supper.

What She Narrated Orally:
George was the worst cook. Rolf was sad because the bad food was the worst.

What She Narrated in Writing:
They cooked some bad foods. They ate some bad foods. They felt bad.

How She Connected:

What I love most about this clip is how much Pamela enjoys this conversation in which we both add novel ideas. Pamela reminded me of the day I burned the French fries, while I told her two new stories from my childhood. We are equal partners in sharing new information. I can tell she is thinking about what I said because she guessed that it was a story from Sand Point, she asked what year something happened, and she anticipated that my cake burned, etc. I also love the way Pamela clearly enjoys our conversation through her reactions and facial expressions. She also feels comfortable being blunt about my awful cooking skills (and she is being completely truthful).


Anonymous said...

Hi! No, there is no theme for the next CM carnival. I can't wait to read the entry you send. :)


Prince Andrew and the Queen Mum said...

i couldn't get the clip to work! but i love this post. It really gives me some new ideas on how to work on narration w/ AJ

walking said...

I'll email the google clip privately. Do you have the special Google viewer? You might need to download it. Did the other videos on my blog work for you?

walking said...

Mea culpa, Queen Mum! The video is not working on my computer, too! I tried uploading the same file with a new name and I think the problem is on Google's end. Give it a day or two and I will post a note when it is ready. This clip is even more fun than the one at the other post!

walking said...

I fixed it. Basically, I renamed the video file and uploaded it again. Then I replaced the code!

Suzanne said...

How sweet! I have enjoyed poking around your blogs, and will make an effort to return. Thanks for your comment on my blog. Yes, thank you, life has calmed down and allowed me to catch my breath.