web analytics
August 28, 2014 / 2 Elul, 5774
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘paper’

Dyslexia And Dysgraphia: Struggles With Reading And Writing

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Shifi and Shana were neighbors and their mothers had been getting together before they could even roll over. Now that the girls were in second grade, they did their homework together.

“Shifi, your ‘d’ is so funny! It looks like a banana,” Shana giggled.

“It’s not a ‘d,’ Shana, it’s a ‘b.’ And I can’t help it. It just comes out like that!” Shifi responded.

“What do you mean it’s a ‘b?’ It looks like a ‘d’ to me, but Morah says I keep making those mistakes anyway,” Shana said, blushing.

“Yes, but she keeps telling me I need to write neatly. I’m trying, but I can’t do it. Maybe we can trade. I’ll read for you. You write for me!” Shifi said eagerly, handing over her pencil.

While Shifi and Shana could be two girls who are experiencing regular struggles with reading and writing, if these issues continue, it is possible that they each suffer from a different learning disability: dyslexia or dysgraphia.

Dyslexia

The National Institute of Health defines dyslexia as characterized by difficulties with accurate or fluent word recognition, by poor spelling and decoding. Dyslexia is a learning disability that is neurological in origin and often runs in the family. Children with dyslexia experience trouble reading when taught through traditional instruction.

Though the symptoms of dyslexia manifest in different ways, some common symptoms for a kindergartener through fourth grader are:

* Difficulty reading single words not surrounded by others. * Slow to learn connections between letters and sounds. * Confusion around small words such as “at” and “to,” or “does” and “goes.” * Consistent reading and spelling errors, including: Letter reversals such as “d” for “b.” Word reversals such as “tip” for “pit.” Inversions such as “m” and “w” and “u” and “n.” Transpositions such as “felt” and “left.” Substitutions such as “house” and “home.”

Children with dyslexia are often well-adjusted and happy preschoolers. Research shows they begin to experience emotional problems during early reading instruction. Over the years, their frustration mounts as classmates surpass them. Often, these children feel they fail to meet others expectations. Teachers and parents see a bright child who is failing to learn to read and assume he’s “not trying hard enough.” This can cause children to feel inadequate.

Children with dyslexia frequently have problems in social relationships. This is because they have difficulty reading social cues or dyslexia affects oral language functioning. Additionally, without proper intervention, these children will fall farther behind their peers.

Dysgraphia

It’s hard for people to understand that children can have a learning disability that affects only writing. Most people assume that if you do not have trouble reading, then writing should be a cinch. Or, parents assume that trouble with writing is a physical impediment rather than a mental one. Dysgraphia, a learning disability that affects writing abilities, debunks these myths.

Dysgraphia can manifest itself as difficulties with spelling, handwriting and trouble putting thoughts on paper. Children who suffer from dysgraphia often have reading skills on par with other children their age. Dysgraphia is not simply a motor problem, but also involves information processing skills (transferring thoughts from the mind through the hand onto the paper). If your child has trouble in any of the areas listed below, additional help may be beneficial:

* Awkward pencil grip and body position * Illegible handwriting * Avoiding writing and drawing tasks * Tiring quickly while writing * Saying words out loud while writing * Unfinished or omitted words in sentences * Difficulty organizing thoughts on paper * Large gap between written ideas and speech

There are different effective strategies.

For young children, here are some suggestions:

* Use paper with raised lines so children can feel the lines on the paper, allowing them to stay on track. * Experiment with different pens and pencils. * Practice writing letters with exaggerated arm movements. This will help improve the motor memory without the pressure of the paper. * Encourage proper grip, posture, and paper positioning. If you aren’t sure how to help your child with this – don’t push it off too long! The later you correct these concerns, the harder it is to unlearn the bad habits.

The Impact of Anxiety On Children In The Classroom

Friday, August 31st, 2012

Tuesday afternoon, 1:30 p.m.

Pinny is a fourth grader in Mrs. Spitzer’s classroom. The class is doing a math lesson – its long division. Pinny loves math, so he’s giving Mrs. Spitzer his full attention.

“Now class,” Mrs. Spitzer intones, “what do we do after we subtract 7 from 9?” “Bring down the 4,” answers the entire class in unison.

O.K. I know subtract and bring down, but haw does it start again? Oy, I’m never gonna be able to do this. We have a social studies test on Thursday on 40 pages in the book. 40 pages!!! How am I gonna study 4O pages?

“On to more examples. 653 divided by 9.”

Pinny glances down at his math workbook, and is surprised to discover that he has written nothing in the spaces for the answers to numbers 1,2,3, and 4. As he glances around the classroom, he sees that everyone’s workbook is filled except his. As he quickly glances at Chaim’s workbook, which is on the desk next to his and fills in the answers, he feels so frustrated.

“What s wrong with me,” he wonders.

Test Taking Anxiety

Thursday Afternoon, 2:30 p.m.

Pinny feels nervous. He studied the material a few times with his mother the night before, but he is not sure he knows it well. He couldn’t eat breakfast or lunch properly so his stomach is rumbling and his mouth feels dry.

“Keep your eyes on your own paper” says Mrs. Spitzer firmly. “Turn your papers over and you may begin.”

Pinny turns his paper over and looks at it again and again. None of it, nothing seems familiar. “Maybe I got the wrong test, “Pinny thinks to himself. “Let me take a look at Chaim’s paper. I hope Mrs. Spitzer doesn’t notice. Nope. It’s the exact same test. I don’t get it I studied hard last night? What happened?”

And as he watches everybody else busily filling in answers on their test paper, he frantically tries to recall something, ANYTHING, from last night’s study session. Pinny sits there feeling truly helpless and wondering “what’s wrong with me?”

Following Instructions/Comprehension

Friday Morning, 11:45 a.m.

Pinny is exhausted. He barely slept the night before worrying about taking the bus to go to his grandmother’s house for Shabbos. This would be the first time he would be going there straight from school.

The Rebbe is speaking to the boys, something about bus changes.

“O.K. boys, listen up. We have new drivers on the buses, and the routes have changed slightly. I’m going to read your name and bus number. After that, I want you to pack up, and wait on line until I dismiss you.

“Berkowitz, Benoliel, Cahan, and Davis, bus number 41. Ettinger, Friedman, Ganzweig, and Gewirtz, bus number 42.”

I hope Bobby prepared my favorite chocolate cake. I hope she remembered that the cover that she usually keeps on the bed is very scratchy and itchy. I hope she changed it to the green and blue one.

Mommy thinks I’m big enough to take the bus all by myself. I hope she’s right and I don’t get…

“Pinny,” a deep voice interrupts “Everyone else is packed up, on line, and ready to go.”

“Right Rebbe, I’ll be really quick .Which bus am I going on again?” Pinny hears the rebbe audibly sigh, as he repeats the instructions for the bus.

Memory

Friday afternoon 12:10 p.m.

Pinny gets on the bus headed to Flatbush. He feels a bit queasy, but he has reviewed the route so many times with his mother that he’s pretty sure he’ll know where to go. After frantically searching through his knapsack, he realizes that he has misplaced the address.

O.K., so I’ve been to Bobby’s house before, I’ll just wing the address from memory. Is it 1427 East 37th street, or 1437 East 27th street. Which one is it? I can’t remember. Which one is it? Let me think…Let me think…. O.K. I know my friend Simcha lives around the corner from Bobby, and he lives on East 28th street, so its gotta be…Whewl Here’s the paper with the address stuck in the pocket of my folder. East 27th street here we come!

Inside Dope: The Times’s Bias Confirmed

Wednesday, August 29th, 2012

We were hardly surprised by the final column of New York Times departing public editor (as the Times refers to its in-house ombudsman) Arthur Brisbane, in which he acknowledged the paper harbors a liberal bias on public issues.

And this was not the first time a departing public editor leveled the charge against the Times; Daniel Okrent said much the same thing back in 2004.

What made Mr. Brisbane’s belated admission especially relevant is that we are in the midst of a presidential campaign and once again there is a perception that major media, with the Times in the lead, are in the tank for Mr. Obama.

Here is part of what Mr. Brisbane wrote:

I…noted two years ago that I had taken up the public editor duties believing “there is no conspiracy” and that The Times’s output was too vast and complex to be dictated by any Wizard of Oz-like individual or cabal. I still believe that, but also see that the hive on Eighth Avenue is powerfully shaped by culture of like minds – a phenomenon, I believe, that is more easily recognized from without than from within.When The Times covers a national presidential campaign, I have found that the lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance, and usually succeed in doing so. Across the paper’s many departments, though, so many share a kind of political and cultural progressivism – for lack of a better term – that this worldview virtually bleeds through the fabric of The Times.

As a result, developments like the Occupy movement and gay marriage seem almost to erupt in The Times, overloved and undermanaged, more like causes than news subjects.

Though we’re not sure about Mr. Brisbane’s claim that the “lead editors and reporters are disciplined about enforcing fairness and balance” (and even he will only say they “usually succeed in doing so”), his observation that certain stories “seem almost to erupt” in the newspaper is spot on.

Indeed, just a few months ago (“The Times Gang Tackles Romney,” May 25) we explored how over a period of four days the Times “unleashed an astounding four articles and an editorial slamming any discussion by Romney supporters of Mr. Obama’s two decade-long attendance at a church led by a virulent anti-white, anti-American minister on the grounds that such discussion raised the race and religion cards.”

We also noted that in contrast to its hands-off approach to Mr. Obama’s religious history, the paper had “no inhibitions about delving into the subject” of Mitt Romney’s Mormonism; “in fact,” we pointed out, the Times “ran a lengthy front page story headlined ‘Romney’s Faith, Silent but Deep’ ” at the very time it was castigating anyone with the temerity to suggest Mr. Obama’s faith was worthy of examination.

Frankly, we don’t know how this was missed by what Mr. Brisbane terms the Times’s “lead editors and reporters.” Anyway, we welcome his sort of mea culpa on behalf of his now ex-employer.

The Miracles Of The Ramban

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

Rabi Moshe ben Nachman, widely known as the Ramban was born in the year 1194 in the town of Gurunda, Catalina. He became famous as a great scholar and sage and wrote interpreta­tions on the Torah and on many Gemaras, and authored many seforim, which are revered to this day. The Ramban was also a philosopher and a physician and his ser­vices were in great demand.

One day, while the Ramban was study­ing, an elderly man was ushered into his chambers. The man was a mystic and well versed in the Kabbalah, He introduced himself to the Ramban and proceeded to urge him to study the Kabbalah. The Ramban avoided this study, as he believed it was unnecessary in this world. When the man became persistent the Ramban ordered him to leave.

“You’ll see,” said the Kabbalist, “how necessary it is to study this mysticism. I am urging you to do this for your sake, because you are a great man and you never can tell when you may need it.”

The elderly man left the Ramban’s house and walking into a church began to smash the statues and do other mischief. He was caught, judged to be a heretic, and sentenced to be burned at the stake that Shabbat.

The Kabbalist Performs Miracles

When the Ramban heard he was aghast. He visited the condemned man and upbraided him for his bad behavior, which served as a reflection upon all Jewry. The elderly man seemed un­concerned and asked the Ramban to please prepare his three Shabbat meals. The Ramban thought he was men­tally unbalanced and left him.

Shabbat morning the man was led to a tremendous burning pyre. As the soldiers prepared to throw him into it, the Kabbalist uttered the Holy name and they were suddenly struck blind. Miraculously a goat appeared on the scene and the soldiers grabbed it and threw it into the fire, thinking it was the elderly man.

Walking home, the Kabbalist entered the Ramban’s home in time to answer Amen to the Ramban’s kiddush. The Ramban was amazed and after hearing the entire story he decided to learn the wisdom of the Kabbalah. He spent many months with this elderly man and then he went to study with the sage, Rabi Elazar of Worms, world-renown Kabbalist and author of the sefer HaRokeach. After a few years, the Ramban became proficient in the wisdom of the Kabbalah.

Ramban Launches A Ship

The following year all of Spain turned out to witness the launching of one of the largest warships of the time, in the city of Barcelona. The king and queen were there as well as the entire court. The leaders of all nations were also present. As the chief spokesman for his people, the Ramban was also invited to attend.

While the trumpets blared, the workingmen released the wedges to permit the ship to slide down into the water. But something went wrong and the boat would not move. The workingmen frantically began to push the boat and used every method but it wouldn’t budge. The pop­ulace began to groan.

The Ramban, seeing this predicament, remarked to one of his pupils that with the use of the Holy Name he could move the boat and if need be, even mountains. A neighbor hearing this rushed to the king and repeated the conversation. The king commanded the Ramban to be brought before him and he ordered him to fulfill his boast.

Realizing his predicament, the Ramban requested a dinghy with a pilot to accompany him in the harbor. This was granted. The Ramban then uttered the awesome Holy Name and commanded the ship to slide down into the waters. Wonders of wonders! The boat began to move slowly and soon with a rush it splashed into the harbor water. The crowd cheered. However, before the king could sum­mon the Ramban to reward him, the Bishop approached the king and accused the Ramban of witchcraft.

Ramban Escapes

Hearing this the Ramban wrote out the Holy Name and the symbol of travel, on a piece of paper and placed it in a corner of the little boat. Immediately, the boat jumped forward as if guided by a tremen­dous power. The pilot had been asleep so he didn’t notice the boat racing through the waters. In a matter of minutes the boat covered half the coast of Spain and he entered a port near his home.

Yidativ

Sunday, July 22nd, 2012

I blinked groggily as I headed towards the kitchen sink. Avi bounced over, a huge smile lighting up his mouth, eyes, and face. He was happy, delighted, through and through.

“I’m giving Chanala breakfast!” he told me joyously. “She chose a pattern herself, of different cereals, and I’m giving it to her. Look!” He showed me the bowl. “First I give her Cocoa Pebbles. Then I give her some mini cookies. Then I give her some Rice Krispies. Then I give her some Cheerios. And then I give her some soymilk.” I glanced at the almost-empty cup with a straw, and at the container of soymilk for his allergenic sister.

“So, Avi, it’s your job to give Chanala breakfast today?” I asked with a smile. His joy was certainly irresistible.

“Yes!” he exclaimed happily. “Here, Chanala, want some cereal?” He ran over to the baby, his hand cupped, and offered it to her. She took one Cheerio with her tiny hand.

I still had to understand this. “What do you mean, Avi, that she chose this pattern?”

Avi readily explained. “My mother told me that she only eats a little of one cereal and then you have to give her a different kind and she eats that. So I got a whole bunch of kinds, and I saw what she wanted. First she took some Cocoa Pebbles. Then I saw that she took some mini cookies. Then she took some Rice Krispies. And then she took some toasted Cheerios! So she chose the pattern, and I saw, this is a pattern that she likes, so I’m doing it again and again, just like she chose!” His megawatt smile and vibrant black eyes beamed across the kitchen.

“Now we have to give her a drink,” Avi explained. He carefully poured about two ounces of soymilk into the cup, repositioned the straw, and picked it up. “Come, Chanala,” he called. “Want a drink?”

I heard him following her up the steps that she had climbed.

Esti joined me in the kitchen. “Chanala stopped climbing the steps,” she informed me. “She found a good place to sit down and drink.”

“Or maybe,” I responded with a smile, “she stopped because she has such a good brother, and he sat down with her right there and gave her to drink.”

I heard Avi running back to the table, grabbing his bowl of many choices in case the baby wanted just a bit more.

He would not rest until he was sure she was happy.

I see Avraham Avinu, running to shecht three cows in order to give his three guests three tongues – the finest meat.

I see Avi, holding the bowl with four types of cereal in his hand.

Avi, I’m sure you are making him proud.

*****

Now, what is that title all about? Five points extra credit to anyone who can figure it out!

Avi stood on the stairs, halfway up to bed, holding the paper in his hand.

“I liked the story,” he said, his face crinkling into that special Avi-smile. Avi’s smile is an earthquake; it splits his face, shines on his rosy cheeks and dances through his black, lively eyes.

“But,” he said, looking disturbed, “that wasn’t the order. It was first Cocoa Pebbles, and the soymilk was last.” I nodded seriously, took the paper from his hand, and penned the necessary corrections. “Thank you so much, Avi.”

“And also… I don’t understand the title.”

I smiled from my position under the railing, and leaned against the wooden slats. “Don’t worry,” I assured him, “I knew you wouldn’t get it. It was sort of a riddle, and I thought that only older kids might get it.”

“So what does it mean?” Avi’s face looked up at me, the black eyes pure innocence awaiting enlightenment. That is the sort of face that makes the heart of a teacher beat fast.

Yidativ is a word from a pasuk,” I explained. “Hashem said about someone in the Torah. It means, ‘I loved him.’ I beamed at Avi with I-have-a-secret eyes. “Can you guess who it was?”

Avi met my gaze with wondering eyes. He got it. “…Avraham…?”

“You got it!” my eyebrows rose in delight. “So… Hashem said about Avraham, ‘yidativ’- Rashi says that means -‘ I love him.’ But you know what the word really means?” I paused for a moment of suspense.

Jihadi Tourism Hits Europe

Wednesday, July 18th, 2012

Increasing numbers of Muslims in Europe are travelling to Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and other conflict zones to obtain training in terrorist methods.

Although intelligence agencies have been following the trend since the July 2005 bombings of the London commuter system, which were perpetrated by four home-grown Islamic terrorists, the scale of the problem has come into greater focus in recent weeks.

European security officials are especially concerned about reports that al-Qaeda is recruiting and training Western operatives who have “clean” criminal records and have the ability to travel freely and blend in with European and American cultures.

In Norway, for example, an ethnic Norwegian convert to militant Islam who has received terrorist training from al-Qaeda’s offshoot in Yemen, is awaiting orders to carry out an attack on the West, officials from three European security agencies said on June 25.

European officials have confirmed that the man is “operational,” meaning he has completed his training and is about to receive a target. Although the terrorist-in-waiting is believed to still be in Yemen, even if he is found he cannot be extradited: under Norwegian law it is not a crime to attend a terrorist training camp.

The London-based newspaper Sunday Times, quoting intelligence services, published a story on July 1 that said the Norwegian jihadist had been trained by Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula [AQAP] to evade airport security and is plotting to hijack an American passenger plane and, in a suicide mission, crash it. The newspaper portrayed the plot as an attack on the upcoming London Olympics, to be held from July 27 to August 12, but said the target was specifically supposed to be an American aircraft.

The paper described the recruit as being a Norwegian citizen in his 30s, with no immigrant background, but who calls himself Abu Abdulrahman. The man, who converted to Islam in 2008, has apparently in recent months been undergoing training at AQAP bases in Yemen.

According to a detailed report in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet, on July 5, the individual is a 33-year-old Norwegian who, in his youth, was associated with Oslo’s far-left Blitz movement. Despite his one-time radical credentials, he later worked as a babysitter at a daycare center in Oslo, the city where he was born and raised. He did not have a history of violence, the paper said.

Dagbladet went on to report that eventually he became a member of the Green Party; a source close to the suspect said that, after the terrorist attacks on September 11, 2001, he had come to be viewed as an easily-influenced conspiracy theorist.

His ideological priorities shifted, according to the paper, after he married the daughter of a diplomat from an unspecified North African country. In 2008, he converted to Islam and underwent a change of lifestyle: he gave up alcohol and broke off almost all contact with his earlier friends. The newspaper stated that he recently became a father, and that his wife had travelled to her home country with their child.

Jonathan Evans, the head of MI5, Britain’s domestic security service, recently provided important context to the threat posed by would-be jihadists. In a rare public address on June 25, Evans said the Olympic Games in London “present an attractive target for our enemies and they will be at the center of the world’s attention in a month or so. No doubt some terrorist networks have thought about whether they could pull off an attack.”

“In back rooms and in cars and on the streets of this country there is no shortage of individuals talking about wanting to mount terrorist attacks here,” Evans continued. “It is essential that we maintain pressure on al-Qaeda.”

Evans also said that al-Qaeda militants are using the countries which toppled their leaders in the Arab Spring as bases to train radical Western youths for potential attacks on Britain: “This is the completion of a cycle. Al-Qaida first moved to Afghanistan in the 1990s due to pressure in their Arab countries of origin. They moved on to Pakistan after the fall of the Taliban. And now some are heading home to the Arab world again.”

“Today,” Evans added, “parts of the Arab world have once more become a permissive environment for al-Qaeda. A small number of British would-be jihadis are also making their way to Arab countries to seek training and opportunities for militant activity, as they do in Somalia and Yemen. Some will return to the UK and pose a threat here. This is a new and worrying development and could get worse.”

Take Back The Calendar

Friday, July 13th, 2012

How do I take back the calendar
full of mistakes looking eerily back at me?

The echo in her mind chorused back and forth like it always had. Thought after thought. She bit her lip as she tried listening to his droning voice. Just more calories to her ears. Feeding her mind with unnecessary information. Fattening her whole world with more complications. She moved her fork from side to side on her plate trying to listen but also trying to drown out the memories taunting at her. Like somehow purging herself of them. Like throwing them up or flushing them away down the toilet. Just like everything else.

How do I unsay those words?
How do I un-breathe those sounds
and play it all back
and somehow delete it?

To most people life was a long menu of mistakes. Decisions not thought through. To Leah they were just empty calories. Each day was a meal she didn’t need. She glanced down at her phone as she pushed back her bangs. Breathing slowly she scanned the calendar. Just days after days. Feeding her. Feeding her uselessly. Life is just a long restaurant menu, isn’t it? And somehow she just wanted to take it all back. Undo those days. Take back those extra carbs or calories.

How do I make it not happen?
How do I erase those memories
like shredding a paper to morsels
or rip off that day
or rewind that hour?

And as Tzvi’s voice echoed in her mind, she slipped on the ring and tried smiling somehow while the sing song voice still played back and forth. The diamond glimmered on her finger. The smile on his face was almost like a little boy who got his hands on some ice cream. Ice cream. Just more fat and empty calories. Catching her reflection in the mirror on the dimly lit restaurant walls she saw herself feeling useless. Like calories she wanted to take back.

Where all prospects slipped from my palms
and everything crashed to the ground
and shattered to pieces.

But a few days later standing in the bathroom hovering over the sink the chorus was now a full blown orchestra. Like at a fancy dinner. Or at a big meal. Big calories. And she knew they all were waiting for her downstairs. But biting her lip she tried blocking it all out. How would she ever be good enough? That’s what the sing song teasing always reminded her. The blood was beginning to mix with her saliva. Pushing back a strand of her hair she bravely met her own eye in the mirror. Someone else stared back at her. Not the person she knew. Sucking her stomach in a little she thought how the feta cheese in her salad was just some extra fat. Why hadn’t she asked for the reduced fat dressing? And as she fed herself with the air she just wanted to get rid of it all. The teasing and taunting. The scales ticking. Treadmills running. She leaned over the toilet and didn’t hear the gentle knock. Her mind circled and pounded. Louder than the knocking. Louder than her logic. And calorie after calorie thrown up into the toilet swirling down away forever. Like the days of the calendar. Because each day just feeds you but you never digest it. You never needed the calories.

How do I make you forgive me
If I can’t take back the calendar?

And as she leaned back and sat down on the tiled floor, second after second ticked back and forth while the chorus finally started to mute. And the door slowly opened. And through the weak tears, dripping down her cheeks like the lace cookies on the platters downstairs, Leah’s eyes met his. Tzvi’s fingers slid from the door knob. He just stood in place. Like the cake she had left standing untouched.

So now how can you still not forgive me
and tell me it doesn’t matter to you
or that you think it’s over
while every second
guilt carves into my heart
and drop by drop erodes a valley too deep
till I’m cringing and wishing
that somehow I can’t un-dent the silver

Leah’s lips started to quiver. Her voice froze like the sorbet her mother had left in the freezer. She tried saying that it wasn’t what it looked like. She tried explaining. But breath after breath her chest just went up and down. Like the ounces on the scale. The soft hum of the rain falling outside filled up the silence. Like the stuffing in the knishes downstairs. The rain. Feeding the world. Dripping down calories.

or sweep up the glass
and put back the pieces
and take back the calendar.

Slowly Tzvi took a step back not taking his eyes off of her, shaking his head. Sadness frosted over his eyes. Like brownies. Slipping his hands into his pockets and shaking his head a last time, she caught his scared look before he walked away. He looked like he just ate way too many calories.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/sections/magazine/teens-twenties/take-back-the-calendar/2012/07/13/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: