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Spider-Man vs. the spiders

By Faith Network of the East Bay
April 18th,2013

Erick picked out a superhero book this week: The Amazing Spider-Man. Unfortunately, the book had quite a few words that Erick has not encountered before such as “radioactive,” “goblin,” “wrestler,” and “skyscraper.” Even understanding the purpose of an enemy was a little daunting. As he read and asked questions, I realized that Erick didn’t know very much about Spider-Man. He asked if Doctor Octopus was one of Spider-Man’s friends (no). He asked if Spider-Man could make webs (yes). He asked how Spider-Man became a Spider-Man (let’s keep reading and find out!).

As we read on about Spider-Man, I could tell that Erick did not have the same enthusiasm for this superhero as he did for regular spiders and Super Mario. From his perspective, I think it might be confusing to have a fantastical character dwelling in the real world as Spider-Man does. After all, it did take Erick a long moment to get over the fact that Spider-Man lives in New York City. Perhaps he will have a greater appreciation for the messiness of the superhero world when he is older.

After finishing that book, we read the crocodile section of an animal book and then Erick did some word puzzles. As an extra challenge, I had him write the puzzle words on a white board without looking at the spelling. Then he checked his work against the puzzle pieces. He did pretty well, but still has some trouble with the silent ‘e’ that makes short vowels into long vowels (e.g.: how “can” becomes “cane” with that silent letter at the end).

We only continue to meet together for about a month-and-a-half more. I’m hoping that Erick will recognize short and long vowel patterns before summer comes.

Changes for OUSD

By Faith Network of the East Bay
April 11th,2013

Right now, the biggest news in OUSD is the sudden resignation of superintendent Tony Smith. He and his family are moving to Chicago to be closer to his father-in-law whose health has been in decline. You can read his resignation letter here.

Now board members and officials are faced with the task of finding a new superintendent.

This interview can illuminate some of Tony Smith’s accomplishments and controversies during his four years at OUSD as well as bring to light the difficulty of finding someone to fill his position.

We can only hope for stability and wisdom with OUSD leadership as the district moves forward.

No More Yawns!

By Faith Network of the East Bay
April 4th,2013

This week, I picked two nonfiction books for Erick to read. One was titled Mighty Spiders! and the other, simply, Frogs!

The books did not need their exclamation points to draw Erick’s attention.
“I love spiders!” he said, grabbing the spider book. Inside its pages we learned about different kinds of spiders. Some spiders are large enough to eat birds and frogs. Other spiders live under rocks. Some spiders can make air bubbles to travel underwater. Yet others have bright coloring and horns.
At the end of the book, there were small labeled illustrations of each spider that had made an appearance in the book. Erick pointed to each one, repeating, “I like this one! I like this one! I like this one!” When he pointed to the last one, he closed the book and said, “I love them ALL!”

I don’t have half as much enthusiasm for spiders as Erick does, but I was excited to see him reading some of the harder words, like “creeping” and “catch” and “insects.”

The frog book was similarly engrossing for Erick. Did you know that some frogs are large enough to eat mice and other frogs? Some frogs are also so small that they can sit on the edge of your fingernail. When we turned to a photograph of a frog puffing its throat, Erick cried, “Ew! That’s so sick! Ew! I don’t want to see that!”
“Well, if this book is too gross, we can pick a different one to read,” I responded. I was a little taken aback because I thought the spiders had been much more disgusting.
Erick paused.
“No. I’m going to finish reading it.”
“Well, if you see a picture you don’t like, you can put your hand over it.”
“No. I’m okay.”

And he was.

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