Does anyone have trouble with word finding puzzles? Wordy!

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DirtDawg
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28 Aug 2006, 8:52 pm

Things like this *GAME*?

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My 2nd grade son, Bobby, brought home a paper to finish (for a grade) that he couldn't do in school. It was similar to these web games, but printed on a fuzzy copier, several generations from the original. The worst possible reproduction, was part of the problem, but none of us could look at the damn thing without the letters running around all over the page.

Even my NT wife had trouble looking at it because it was "a little fuzzy" to her. Her dyslexia makes things like this exercise sheet and spelling in general almost impossible, anyway so she wouldn't have been able to do the paper, no matter what. My son was simply expected to do it at home and return it the next day for a grade. NoWay Jose!

Bobby became obsessed with finishing it, even though he stood absolutely no chance of completing it alone. He had managed to do 2 words and the teacher had done 2, but that was as far as he had gotten in school. Couldn't do anything with it at home, but he was determined not to be defeated by it. He was beginning to show behavior that warned me he was about to have a serious meltdown, very angry, frustrated animal-like growls, erasing frantically, slamming his hand onto the page to make the letters "stop moving". I checked back on him at that point and realized he was in tears and shaking with anger. That's when I stopped him and tried to do more hands-on help. NoWay Jose!

I have always had to chase jumbled up letter puzzles around to make sense of these things. This one threw me for a loop, mainly because of the cut-rate reproduction of the sheet, I think. I may have been a Bad Dad, but we sat down together and I helped him find every one of the words he was supposed to find. I had to take separate sheets of blank paper and cover all but one line at a time and do it the hard way. When we were done I was so sea-sick and nauseated that my day was ruined and about 5 minutes after he finished and started getting active, Bobby threw up.

Sorry this explanation has gotten so long, but the 3 page letter I wrote to the teacher was much longer. I'm a little frustrated with the whole episode and I'm curious if anyone else has the same reaction to these things.

I think it's ridiculous for him to be graded on something that is impossible for him to do. His spelling is so advanced above the words on that exercise sheet that he passes with 100% on each spelling test. He already knows how to spell everything they can come up with and they even let him choose 4 'special words' each week. He's into dinosaurs so he usually chooses some huge scientific name, like Parasaurolophus or something for his special words. No problem.

I sometimes wonder if this mainstream class is going to hold him back. I'm still waiting for a response from his teacher to see if he can be exempt from the torture of these type of exercises.

Am I totally out of line here and just ranting because my little boy had to suffer an impasse that caused him pain or am I right about these worksheets? Should he be exempt from them somehow? Would that be the same as admitting defeat?


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animallover
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28 Aug 2006, 10:53 pm

I can't do those things because I have major visual issues and they make my head hurt - after a while all the letters get swirly . . . but that used to drive me crazy in school . . . I remember failing assignments that involved those things



28 Aug 2006, 11:00 pm

I love word serches. I'm good at them.



Callista
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28 Aug 2006, 11:57 pm

Here's a strategy for finishing word searches:

1. Look at the first letter of the word you're trying to find. Remember it. Let's say it's "A".
2. Take a pencil and lightly circle all the letters that are the same as that first letter--all the "A"s.
3. Look at the second letter of the word. Remember it.
4. Look at each of those circled A's, and the nine letters around it. If any of those nine letters match that second letter, read in that direction to see if the word is there.
5. Eventually, you'll find the word. Circle it in pen.
6. Repeat with the rest of the words that start with "A". Remember that two words can start from the same letter.
7. Erase the pencil circles you made around those first letters.
8. Start over with the next group of words that start with the same letter, circling the letters in pencil, the found words in pen, and erasing the circles once you've found all the words that begin with the circled letter.
9. Repeat 1-8 until finished.


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Fraya
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29 Aug 2006, 1:14 am

Yeah I have to do them the way Callista said also and take frequent breaks because of the headaches.


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29 Aug 2006, 6:34 am

I'm crap at wordsearches yet I'm good at Sudokus. :)



DirtDawg
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29 Aug 2006, 7:01 am

Thanks for the ideas.
I don't really get a headache from doing them, I get nausea and vertigo. The letters appear to swim all over the page.
My son is very similar to me in so many ways, I have to be careful when I empathize with him about his dysfunctions. I can too easily project my BS into my understanding of his explanations, if I'm not careful.

Bobby also has a rough time relating a story that has happened to him, like telling me what he ate at a party for instance. He gets too involved with describing the details, so it's very difficult to get info out of him about things. He was very vocal about his frustration this time and I'm fairly sure, after he threw up, that he's experiencing vertigo, also.

I have done them the same way Callista suggests and I've done the one line at a time thing I suggested above, but I've also learned to use my vivid picture memory to 'sticky' all the "A"s for instance and then the second letter 'sticky's to the first as combinations and so on until I have found the words. For some reason, none of my tricks worked this time. I can't imagine how to teach Bobby how to 'sticky' things in his mind to keep them from moving. It's just a memory trick and his memory is far superior to mine, but he's also a kid trying to struggle with everything at once.

Am I overprotecting him? Should I just let him fight through all this and get a "Zero" grade on some stuff with no help from poor old softhearted Dad?
I feel like a big wimp after writing the letter to his teacher asking to be treated differently from other kids. That goes against all I've felt about keeping him in the mainstream class from the start. Bobby and I were both still very upset when I wrote the letter, but I was very cordial. I don't regret anything, but the ideas that he is different being an excuse for his troubles. I may have done the very thing I've preached to him NOT to do.


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Callista
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29 Aug 2006, 11:33 pm

Doing word searches isn't a necessary skill for a kid to have; and if they make him throw up, there's good reason to teach him the information some other way.

Maybe the teacher could assign a different piece of homework to make up for this one? If the task is to find the words to learn how to spell them, he could, instead, just write each word three times, or something like that. Boring; but he'd get the same thing out of it, especially if his good memory comes into play. Or if the words are vocabulary, maybe he could use them in sentences. There's no reason his dyslexia (or whatever is making him so nauseated) should get in the way of his getting a decent grade when there's such an easy way around it.


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superfantastic
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30 Aug 2006, 3:12 pm

I don't get dizzy or anything, I just can't see the whole puzzle at once. For instance, if the word HAMBURGER is written very conspicuously in the middle, I probably won't see it unless I try very hard. I'll just see the separate letters.
My method is looking for the first letter of the word but, instead of circling it, each time I find one I check if the surrounding letters fit. i look at every letter starting from one corner and going in straight lines, and eventually I'll find every word.



DirtDawg
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30 Aug 2006, 9:10 pm

Thanks, Callista,

I had asked the teacher for another exercise that would substitute for the word searches and she did say she would try to do someting else for him. So, I guess I got all stressed out over nothing. The only things that have done that to me in a long time have been some things to do with one of my kids.

After several emails with his teacher, I have even less respect for her "29 years experience" than I had before and I hate that. I was really hoping he'd get another good one this year. He's had 5, not including all the assistants, and he's only in the second grade. He's burned two of them to a crisp, already. I'm thankful, in some ways, he has a double dip of humility or we'd all be in trouble.

You were right, about the purpose of the word search. It's prescribed to teach the kids to spell the required list of words well enough to pass their tests and be fun at the same time, but he has no trouble spelling anything he's ever seen before and they are Not Fun for him. It only takes him once or twice reading the word list and he's got every word on it. His teacher remains unconvinced of his abilities, because he missed a word once by substituting a 'd' for a 'b', but that's her job. He also draws his 6s and 9s backwards sometimes, but we're talking about a whole different problem, now.

Thanks again, everyone, for your kind responses.


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