We started out the year by playing Connect 4, and I quickly got bored so I brought in a Scrabble card game and Mancala; we tried out a few different crafty things like working with clay and painting tote bags. He took to wanting to play hide-n-seek in the classroom where we play. There's not a lot of places to hide in a classroom, even if some of the cupboards are empty; and, he's not exactly quiet. I found him easy enough.
I don't know that I'm making much of a difference with him, but he seems to enjoy the hour that we spend together -- even if it is more because he gets out of class than it is anything else.
I haven't figured out a way to make his listening skills better. When I try to talk to him about it, he says, "I'm so good at listening to my teacher, she doesn't even have to ask!" He doesn't like to appear weak or ignorant. For instance, when I brought in Mancala, I was intending to teach him how to play as a way to hone his taking direction skills. He refused to say that he did not know how to play the game, though, I am certain he had never seen it before. When we went bowling a couple months ago, I asked him if he knew the time and the details and he said that yes, he knew everything about it. I got a call from his teacher the next day to say that he did not know anything about it!
Despite all of that, one thing that we have been able to do is increase his social skills -- or, I'm trying to, at least. He mentioned that the kids sometimes makes fun of him, and he doesn't seem to have a lot of friends. So, we started inviting a couple of kids from his classroom to come and play games with us.
The first week was a disaster. We went outside to play basketball. The two kids that we brought were quite good for third graders, and my little mentee couldn't keep up. He figured that out in about 15 seconds, and spent the remainder of the time kicking around snow and ice and wood chips. I had a hard time giving him the necessary attention while keeping an eye on his cohorts. The next week, we played Uno.
Uno is a favorite of mine, because it's a game that I grew up on. Of course, the Armstrongs have their own set of rules, and I had to teach the kids how to play to make it bearable. The two "friends" that were there, were hilarious and cute and caught on to the rules quickly. My mentee was jumping off the walls. He doesn't hold the cards in his hands. He gets frustrated if he doesn't get the "good" cards (i.e. Draw 2 cards, wilds, etc.) and he's a sore loser if he has to draw too many cards. He's never won a hand.
Because he doesn't like to lose, I should have known that he wouldn't want to play again this week. He brought two other little boys, and like the last two, they were cute, funny kids. We played a round of dominoes, and my mentee hated it. Then we played Uno, and he was bouncing around, hiding behind the boxes and not playing by the rules. We only played one, maybe two, hands before he broke out the Play-doh.
He hasn't wanted to play with Play-doh for months, but these two other little guys were so creative, making noses and Shrek ears and all kinds of things that they were all giggling and goofing around. I think it was a pretty positive afternoon.
|Picking their "noses".|
Maybe one day, this extra special attention will do some good for this poor kid. Until then, we'll continue to laugh at booger jokes and listening to me say, 1000x, "Come sit down!"