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Old 09-08-2004, 07:55 PM
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janlee janlee is offline
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Gifted 3rd grader

I have a new student in my class. When registering the mother told the principal that her daughter was quite advanced in math and reading. As with all new students she was tested by our Reading Specialist. She has tested superior in all areas, reading, math, writing, factual information, basically anywhere from a high 5th to 6th grader. She will not be turning 8 until next week. I have no materials in my room for her as I previously taught 2nd and have only been teaching 3rd for two years. Our school only goes up to 4th grade, thus limiting my ability to find materials in the school. I have conferenced with my principal and feel that she might be better challanged in a 4th grade class at this time. Have any of you had students "skip" a grade and if so has it had positive or negative effects on the student. I am more than willing to have her remain in my class but feel that I will not be able to spend the quality time I need with her. Independent work can only go so far. I feel that there must be time each day to work one on one in order to help this student to the best of my ability. Why is time always a factor?

Old 09-25-2004, 10:53 AM
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A parent's view

It is interesting to me that you posted this as I'm currently going through it as a parent. I'm not a teacher but am a curriculum developer. My son, who is seven, transferred to a new school in a new state this fall. In our previous school district, he would have been starting 2nd grade. When the principle reviewed his test schools and the fact that he was identified as highly gifted, she recommended that he be placed in third grade instead of second grade, in other words, that he should skip a grade. I should add that his previous school had a wonderful gifted program and this school district does not have one at all. He reads at a 4th grade level and does math at a 5th grade level. We placed him in 3rd grade. I had no doubt after our initial meeting with his teacher that she seriously did not approve of students skipping grades. She actually grimaced when she reviewed his file and pointed out that he had skipped a grade!

After just 5 days, she called me into a conference and told me that she was strongly recommending that Hunter be placed in 2nd grade, not because he couldn't do the academic work, but because she felt he wasn't emotionally or socially ready for 3rd grade. As you can imagine, I have VERY mixed feelings about this. I am under no illusions that my son is very much a 7 year old emotionally and socially. That is the challenge of parenting and teaching gifted children, trying to find a way to balance their academic, intellectual, social and emotional needs.

I was also very aware of the situation that I was in, politically. I knew that if I fought her on this, my son would suffer in her classroom. If I asked that he be placed in another 3rd grade class, this particular teacher was verbal enough to plant doubts/issues in the mind of his new teacher. I also knew that my son probably had some of the maturity issues that she mentioned. So I opted to place him in second grade with assurances that his academics would be enhance to address his special needs.

Now I'm dealing with the issue that the second grade teacher, who told me when my son transferred to her class that he would be given advanced work, does not have the time or resources to deal with any student's special needs. You can imagine the level of frustration I am feeling!

The bottle line is this: if you are going to recommend that a student skips a grade you HAVE to have all the parties' support, especially the new teacher's.

As far as not having classroom materials to address this student's needs, talk to her mom. If this parent flagged her child's special needs then in all likelihood she is doing so at home. Ask her to send books from home to school. And there are tons of worksheet and programs on the Net that could be used as enhancement. Develop some shoebox , folder, center activities, whatever, that could be used by her and other advanced students.

I hope the insights of a parent who is dealing with this has helped.
Old 09-25-2004, 04:10 PM
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janlee janlee is offline
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Thank you for your input, especially from the parent point of view. The young girl has remained in my room. Many of the ideas you listed I have been doing. I conferenced with the mom and told her what I would be doing in order to give what I feel is appropriate advanced work to her daughter. So far no problems. My student and mom are happy. Actually the young lady seems to be flourishing so I feel that being left in second grade was the right decision.

3rd, gifted, grader

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