Relationships are Key To Learning

Building a relationship is a key piece of what I do with each student. You are going to do your best learning if you are engaged (and having fun!), feel comfortable to make mistakes, and trust that you can work through things together.

That relationship can start by finding a high-interest topic you have in common. With this student, we both like scary movies. So today, he brought Chucky to oversee his math.

"Thank You for Being a Part of Her Success Story!"

I love getting a glimpse at who the awesome kids I work with grow up to be! And it's nice to hear that the work we did together played a part in getting them where they are today.

I recently got in touch with 2 families that I hadn't seen in many years.

One kid I hadn't seen in 13 years. At my niece's college graduation, his name was called a few people before her. I was so excited to hear that name again and see him graduating college! I got in touch with the family and it was awesome to hear about what he is up to now as an adult.

"Oh, yes I remember you! You're part of the reason he walked across that stage!" - his mom



From another family I hadn't seen in about 9 years, I got an e-mail out of the blue because she was thrilled to share that her daughter had graduated college and got engaged.

"You were a special part of her life then and she still has fond memories of you. Thank you for being a part of her success story!" -her mom

From ABC's to Algebra

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Today, I've enjoyed a discussion over themes in The Great Gatsby with a teen and broke down into steps some complex algebraic equations for a Madison College student's homework. Next up: working on consonant and vowel sounds for a beginning reader!

I work with all ages. You may not always see that side on this page as I often think to take out my camera when working with younger kids because we might have toys or drawings that make for an adorable snapshot. When it comes to older individuals, sometimes I forget to grab the camera when we are engrossed in some serious learning. Bottom line: I work with individuals of any age, of any developmental disability or not - anyone that would benefit from strengthening their foundational skills in reading, spelling, comprehension or math. And it makes for a very interesting day.

"Thanks To You I Learned To Read"

I wished a former student a happy 21st birthday today and included a picture from their 7th birthday. What was in my inbox in return made my day:

"Thank you so much Mikki! I loved when you came over to my house when I was a kid. Thanks to you I learned to read. Thank you for remembering my birthday. :) "

Most of the time, kids just see the fun they have with me (and sometimes they don't even realize how much they're learning). And in return, I also remember all the fun, imaginative, or unique times we have together. Sometimes, even I can use a reminder of what we've really accomplished together. "Thanks to you I learned to read" was a happy reminder today.

Understanding in Pictures


...Remember these stories?

I love the visuals in these notes that help this student sequence and recall all the important events in the novels they are reading in school.

Making a movie in your head about what you read (and strengthening those skills) is a crucial strategy to improve reading comprehension. Notes with drawings in them can help a student rewind, fast forward, and cue up parts of that "movie" so that they can better summarize the story and answer critical thinking questions about it.