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YOUR ROLE AT HOME
Funnix is designed for home use as well as use in schools.
You schedule times for the lessons - about half an hour a lesson, ideally four or more times a week.
You sit with your child in front of the monitor, close enough for you and your child to touch the screen.
You select the lesson you'll do from the main menu or direct Funnix to take you to where you left off at the end of the last session.
You control the mouse.
This is not a video game, but a carefully sequenced program.
You individualize each lesson to your child's needs.
The narrator will present exercises for your child. The narrator will ask questions that the child is to answer aloud. During a lesson, your child will produce more than a hundred responses. For some tasks the program will stop while your child responds.
The idea is for you to keep moving through the program at a pace that is appropriate for your child. On-screen options make it possible for you to tailor the lesson to your child.
YOUR ROLE AT SCHOOL
The only significant differences between the procedures presented for the parent and those used in the classroom have to do with placement criterion and the number of children that work on the program at the same time. A Teacher's Guide is included in the packages of Funnix used for schools.
Here is the section from the Funnix Teacher's Guide explaining how to adapt Funnix to teaching small groups:
ADAPTING THE PROGRAM TO TEACHING SMALL GROUPS
Funnix is designed for tutoring individual children, but the sequence can be easily adapted for teaching small groups. This adaptation requires changing conventions for four processes:
For most letter-sound and word-reading tasks that the narrator presents, the children are to respond in unison. The program provides clicks to indicate when children should say the next sound or the next word. If some of the children "lag" and respond late, the group tasks are not as effective. Therefore, provide practice with the sound-and-letter activities early in the program. The timing for the clicks is predictable, so practice until children respond in unison right after the click or when the narrator says, "Get ready."
Later in the program children are to read passages aloud. To keep children responding together, tap for each word at a rate that is about the same as the rate the narrator uses to direct reading words in sentences.
Group Responses from Lesson 88
Before lesson 88, direct children to read the entire passage aloud, in unison. Starting with 88 and continuing throughout the rest of the sequence, direct children to read the first three sentences in unison. Then call on individual children to read one or two sentences each.
When children read in unison in the earlier lessons, the program presents clicks to indicate the rate at which children are to read the words. (Each click signals that they are to read a word.) Later in the program (lesson 68), the narrator directs the children to read sentences. No clicks are provided by the program. For these tasks you will direct the children to read aloud in unison. You will tap to indicate when children should read each word. (Tap at about the same rate the program had presented clicks.)
The program does not specify individual turns because it was designed for one-to-one instruction. However, it's easy to present individual turns. Follow these rules.
Touching Items on the Screen
For some tasks, the narrator will direct the child to touch something on the screen. For example, "Touch the first word of that sentence."
Use a variation of the same technique that you use for presenting individuals turns: Point to a child or name the child who is to do the touching on the screen. Remember, one child points, but all the children respond when the narrator directs the reading of the word or sentence. For touch tasks, there is no problem if you have the children respond in predictable order (with the child on the right end of the group taking the first turn at touching, then the next child, and so forth). All children should get frequent opportunities to do the touching.
For some workbook tasks, spelling tasks, and sentence-writing tasks, children are to write on their paper or in their workbook. Children are to use information that is on the screen.
Following is an example from the workbook material for Funnix Beginning Reading lesson 68 and the information presented on the screen for the first exercise.
On the screen are words. Children are to write the correct word under each picture in their workbook. The simplest procedure is for children to turn their chairs around, kneel down and use the seat of the chair as their writing surface. Children can see the screen; they have a much more stable surface to write on than they would if they were using lapboards; and you are able to monitor all the children's work from where you are sitting.
Grouping Children for Instruction
Funnix Beginning Reading and Funnix 2 may be presented to individual children or to small groups of five or fewer children. If you work with children who vary greatly in skill, group them homogeneously.
A good basis for grouping children is how they scored on the placement test. Group together all children who had the same test performance.
Note: You may later change the groupings based on how the children perform on the daily lessons.
Select a place in which there are not many distracters. A quiet corner, for instance, is good (with the computer in the corner and the children with their backs to the classroom).
When working with one child, the simplest arrangement is for you to sit next to the child, with the child positioned in front of the computer screen. The child should be able to touch things that are presented on the screen.
For more than one child, the children should be seated in front of the screen in a horse-shoe arrangement. You should be seated at one end where you can operate the mouse see both the screen and all the children. If you have five children, you may want to arrange the children intwo curved rows.
DAILY SCHEDULING AND PROGRESS THROUGH THE PROGRAM
Lessons should be taught daily at the same time each day. Allow about 30 minutes to complete the instructional part of the lesson and another 5 minutes for children to complete their independent work. Lessons 1-19 will not be this long, but by lesson 20 and beyond they will be.
Try to complete a lesson a day. It's a good idea to repeat lessons if children aren't firm. One way to ensure that children are firm (are making very few mistakes), is to present lessons 1 through 5, then repeat any of those lessons in which the children made a lot of mistakes.
If it takes more than the 30-minute period to get through a lesson, but the children are not making a lot of mistakes, complete the lesson during the next reading period. Then immediately start the next lesson and get as far as you can during the period.
If you are not able to get through a lesson because the children made a lot of mistakes, start the lesson over during the next period and try to complete the entire lesson during that period. Use this same technique if the children don't complete the lesson because they are performing slowly.
When you repeat a lesson, do not act as if it is punishment. Treat it as something the children should like to do. "Last time, we did a pretty good job with this lesson. This time, let's see if we can get through the whole lesson this period." It's a good idea to repeat some early lessons just so the children don't get the idea that the repeated lesson is punishment for not doing well.
For information about the placement criterion for the school setting, see Placement in the School Setting under Testing and Placement. Also see the Teacher's Guide.