Using a Swiss Cheese Folder to Plug Holes in Education
Being an educator of deaf children for over twenty years, I know the frustrations that occur when you are working with a student and continue to find gaps in their understanding of certain concepts. It’s shocking to find out that your second grader doesn’t know something like their middle name or their address. It’s easy to say to yourself, “Why didn’t the parents or the teachers before me teach this child this information?”
Instead of pointing fingers, there is a simple way to keep track of these gaps - it's what I call a “Swiss Cheese Folder.” Anyone that interacts with the student can document information gaps and record them in one easily accessed folder. The teacher or parents then help provide the information to fill in these information gaps, then ANYONE (teachers, parents, interpreters, therapists, social workers, paraprofessionals, bus drivers, grandparents and families) who has interactions with the student can open up the folder during their time with the students and help “fill in the holes in the Swiss Cheese.” Much of the information isn’t hard to learn once the child understands what the concepts are about, and often times many students are struggling with some of the same concepts.
Some very common things found in some student’s Swiss Cheese folder:
- Full Name
- Telephone Number
- Family Member’s Names
- Pet’s Names
- Days of the Week
- Months of the Year
- How many minutes in an hour?
- How many days in a year?
- How many items in a dozen?
- Telling Time
- Letter identification and matching upper and lower cases
- Emergency Information
- Answering questions about favorites…(what it means to have a favorite color, food, sport etc…)
These are also great topics that parents can work with their kids on over the summer.
When people work together, good things happen. “It takes a village to raise a child.”
Do you have other ideas of topics that would be good for a "Swiss Cheese" folder? Share your ideas in the comments below.