Baffled by student... ideas?

Discussion in 'General Education' started by giraffe326, Nov 1, 2014.

  1. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    I've got a student who is quite odd. He was new to our district this year. He repeatedly ignores directions, does not follow routines, is always doing things at inappropriate times, etc... but it is not out of defiance. He lacks a lot of common sense. We will call him Tim.
    A few examples:
    Yesterday, I called them all to line up for specials. I'm in an elementary building and we had a costume parade. One of my students had a giant box (the size of a small refrigerator- not a mini fridge, but something you'd find in an apartment). I come back to my room. I'm grading papers and eating a snack. I spill stuff all over the papers and I mutter a very bad word. (not yell, not exclaim, but mutter. I'm a closet potty-mouth :lol: I don't think my mom or sister have ever heard me say a bad word, but when I'm alone, well, it is very different :lol:) A minute later, a voice asks "Am I the only one in here?" What?! Tim was sitting behind the other students' large costume, on the floor. Even though I didn't say the word loudly (due to A. being in a school and B. my classroom door was open), I'm sure he probably heard me. :blush: I tell him "They've been in gym for 20 minutes! Why didn't you line up when I told the class to line up?!" His response "Well I didn't know." What?! Me "Class line up for gym" Class: noisily lines up for gym. How do you miss that?!

    Second example from yesterday: During my planning, the teacher next door asked if I could watch her kids for a second. She had to pick something up from the printer which is on the opposite side of the school, next to the gym. She would pick my kids up for me. No biggie. Sure. So I stand near the door of the other class. Tim is toward the end of the line as my class walks to our classroom. He sees me and comes into the other classroom. His classmates are all waiting outside of our door. They knew the other teacher picked them up and was walking with them. He, for whatever reason, didn't pay attention to that and thought he should just enter the classroom in which I was standing. He was almost at the end of the line. He didn't pick up that the other kids were all standing outside of our classroom.

    Other typical behaviors:
    Me: "Class, clear everything off of your desks. You don't even need a pencil for our next lesson." Class complies. Two minutes later, Tim is out of his seat sharpening his pencil while I am teaching. Me: "Tim, you know you are not allowed to sharpen your pencil while I am speaking to the class. I told you that you didn't even need a pencil. Why are you sharpening your pencil right now?" Tim: "Well, I don't know. It is dull." :dizzy:

    He is SOOOOO disorganized/unprepared. He never has his homework despite his mother telling me it gets completed. I totally believe mom, too. I asked her one day last week if he has always been like this and she said yes. She was wondering if I had any advice. My response was that I'll think about it. I'm coming up with nothing. I've never had a kid like this.

    Frankly, I'm losing patience with him. I've tried to talk to him gently about it. Didn't help. I was more firm with him. Didn't help. I'm not fully annoyed and about to lose it on him. (I don't, but I bite my tongue while he is doing his crazy stuff!!) The rest of the class has lost patience with him.

    He has no medical diagnosis of any kind. He is very small for his age and his hair is long. At open house, I thought he was a girl. My partner teacher was talking about this kid in my homeroom that she couldn't tell if it was a boy or girl. I told her they must not have come to my room, because I didn't see anyone like that. (I later realized they came to my room and I thought it he was a girl without any doubt!!) This doesn't feel ADD to me, even though he is almost never actually on task and focused.

    Has anyone had a kid like this? Any suggestions? I'm stumped. My patience will not last another 136 days with him!!
     
  2.  
  3. Upsadaisy

    Upsadaisy Moderator

    Joined:
    Aug 2, 2002
    Messages:
    18,935
    Likes Received:
    679

    Nov 1, 2014

    Why does it not seem like ADD? There can be a wide variety in the characteristics of ADD that are exhibited.

    Would it be possible for you to buddy up with him sometimes? Find a peer buddy? Maybe you could find some safe situation where he could be the leader and you could quietly cue him to start off the activity or whatever it is.

    For homework, his parent could attach a clear sleeve (folder closed on 3 sides) to the outside of his backpack so that he could see that something was in it. Does the parent use a chart at home so that he could earn checks or something for being on task or remembering to do chores? That might be useful. I don't think you are going to be able to change this child's inherent tendencies, but you might be able to guide him to better choices. When he responds inappropriately (as in the sharpening pencil situation), I would walk over to him and very quietly guide him to his seat while stating quietly, "We are in our seats now."
     
  4. 2ndTimeAround

    2ndTimeAround Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 10, 2010
    Messages:
    4,330
    Likes Received:
    572

    Nov 1, 2014

    I've had two kids exactly like this before. One when I was a long-term sub in a 4th grade class and last year with a 9th grader.

    Both were boys and neither seemed to do this type of stuff out of defiance. They were just so self-centered that compliance seemed impossible. I got lots of "I didn't know" too.

    I did lose my patience. When that happened I started instilling consequences. A detention here, lost recess there. Amazing how the behaviors turned around almost instantly.

    But I did have to be very specific. No room for "I didn't know." I couldn't assume that my saying "you need to do what I say when I say it" would work. Instead I had to tell them what I expected for every.little.thing.

    I had to say "Line up when the rest of the class lines up." "Stay in your seat while others are in their seats." "Open your book when I ask the class to open their books."

    It was as though the directions I gave to the mere peasants in the room weren't good enough for them and they had to be told that what applied to their peers applied to them.
     
  5. LouiseB

    LouiseB Cohort

    Joined:
    Aug 3, 2006
    Messages:
    725
    Likes Received:
    78

    Nov 1, 2014

    It does sound ADD to me. Has he been tested for anything? The only thing I can think of to help would be for you to give the direction directly to him or maybe give him a cue before you give the direction? I know you have your hands full with other behaviors.

    Is the problem getting the homework to school once completed at home? Once the homework is completed who puts it in his backpack/bag? It might have to be Mom putting it in the backpack, etc. and then he must bring his backpack, etc. directly to you in the morning. I do agree that a sixth grader should be able to do this on his own but obviously he does not.

    Sure wish I had more or better strategies for you!
     
  6. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    It is hard to explain, but while talking to him it just feels like something is off. Like neurons aren't firing properly. There is a connection missing. It is almost as if I say "Line up for lunch" while standing in front of him and making eye contact, and he hears something entirely different like "Rainbows are pretty."
     
  7. a2z

    a2z Maven

    Joined:
    Sep 16, 2010
    Messages:
    5,887
    Likes Received:
    1,808

    Nov 1, 2014

    How strong is he academically?
     
  8. Tutor

    Tutor Comrade

    Joined:
    Jan 19, 2007
    Messages:
    289
    Likes Received:
    2

    Nov 1, 2014

    He sounds like he is on the spectrum, specifically Aspergers. I am not diagnosing but try some Asperger type accomodations and see if they help.
    Try saying things DIRECTLY to him. Tim, it's time to line up. Or using picture clues. When you told the class they didn't even need a pencil, he heard "pencil", saw it, realized it was dull and went to sharpen it. It's logical thinking to him. He is missing the social cues of school. Augh -I read a great book on this and can't remember the name.

    Do a search on social cues, aspergers, school. Here's one resource I found http://www.schoolbehavior.com/disor...m-tips-for-students-with-asperger’s-disorder/

    I have some personal experience with this. Once I understood more of how Aspies think, it was so much easier to work with. "I didn't know" was a common response to things I thought he obviously should have known. In truth, he really didn't.
     
  9. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2007
    Messages:
    14,468
    Likes Received:
    2,485

    Nov 1, 2014

    I have had students exactly like Tim and I know exactly what you mean about how some indefinable thing seems off. What worked for me (and I use the term "worked" very loosely) was to be exceedingly direct and give very clear instructions about absolutely everything, much like what 2ndTimeAround described above.
     
  10. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    I only teach math and social studies. Mathematically, he is up and down. But some days things click. Other days they don't. I tend to think he is low, but then I'll check over his paper and everything will be right.
    The only books that I ever see him reading are Diary of a Wimpy Kid. I teach 6th. I'm not sure if it is an interest thing or an ability thing.
    Unfortunately, my partner and I don't talk a whole lot. She is hard to track down and stand offish. She is very jaded. I'm not sure if she doesn't like me or just hates her job. Anyway, I, unfortunately, do not know how well he is gong. I can see his grades and his are low in her class as well. Missing work could be a factor though.
     
  11. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    Being on the spectrum has crossed my mind. Outside of subbing and summer school, I've never had a diagnosed child in my classroom.
    Thanks for the link. And a direction to look. I'll be reading up!
     
  12. LisaLisa

    LisaLisa Companion

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2012
    Messages:
    247
    Likes Received:
    2

    Nov 1, 2014

    1. Get his hearing checked. He could have a hearing impairment (school and doctor's hearing tests)

    2. He could have an auditory processing disorder. (psych/speech evaluations)
     
  13. readingrules12

    readingrules12 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jul 3, 2010
    Messages:
    3,051
    Likes Received:
    520

    Nov 1, 2014

    Yes, I have seen some behaviors like this. Many seem similar to ADD students I have had. The pencil sharpening is one I have seen many times. We could be watching a video and a boy like this would be off to sharpen a pencil.

    Some things that can work with a boy like this would be the following:

    1. A reliable and patient partner that could sit next to him to remind him a bit when he gets off task. (Not to nag him, but only at times where he needs a kind reminder that he is missing something such as lining up for PE).

    2. These boys tend to always need something in their hands. A kush ball would be a good thing to give him.

    3. Timers work great with these students. Have the child set the timer 10 minutes before PE, lunch etc. Have him do all the work, you just remind him. Soon the partner can remind him.

    4. Don't allow yourself to get too overly concerned by his anti-social behavior. He will seem to be in another world, and it is best at first to accept this. In time, you can work on tasks one task at a time to improve the ones that are most needed to improve.

    5. Homework--give him a see through sheet protector sleeve to put his homework in. Let his name be on it. Mom, might need to help to see that it gets in there and then in the backpack at first. If he or mom has an IPAD he can learn to take a picture of HW and send it to you. The quality is actually quite good, and this looks to be the future.

    Having a child like this will require incredible patience. Good luck in your challenge.
     
  14. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    There are social issues as well. I alluded slightly. He is new. His classmates are very annoyed with him. I don't think he really has any friends. We have 66 6th graders split into two classes. I know he doesn't have any friends in my classroom. The other kids don't want to partner with him. I truly think a few of the kids think he is a girl. He is African American and he has a unique name that doesn't scream boy or girl. I said he has long hair. From what I see (I'm with him about 120 minutes a day), he says a lot of off the wall things that don't really make sense. The social side is what made autism pop into my head.
     
  15. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    I've thought about this, too. I've been making notes since conferences are next week.
     
  16. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    15

    Nov 1, 2014

    I just thought of a few things. I usually do not take this class to their specials. They go when they are with my partner teacher. I only take them to lunch/recess. So I rarely have them line up or walk in a line. Maybe this behavior is more normal for him than I realize.
    I know he has missed band a few times. Half the class goes and the other half stays back for a study hall type block. Again, I don't have them at this time. But we (school) document things in a shared document on Google Drive, and I've seen notations about him skipping band before.
     
  17. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Jul 28, 2005
    Messages:
    2,008
    Likes Received:
    152

    Nov 1, 2014

    I have a student who acts very similar. Mine too is new to the district and odd compared to the rest of the class. I know that mine is heavily medicated for ADHD and other behaviors. He walks really slowly and in fact everything he does except eat is in slow motion. I also think that there are some other things going on at home that I don't need to discuss here. Mine tattles on a daily basis(more than the usual kindergarten and he lies about things to get kids in trouble) and the kids are getting tired of him and his odd behaviors.I too am growing extremely tired and worried about his odd behaviors. He has begun to cry several times a day for seemingly little reasons. I really have no advice, sorry.
     
  18. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Nov 1, 2014

    He sounds like ADHD-PI with perhaps an auditory processing disorder tossed in, with the side effect of a social skills deficit. It might be in your best interests to inform admin and see if they can send consent papers home for the parents.
     
  19. jde3399

    jde3399 Rookie

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Messages:
    62
    Likes Received:
    0

    Nov 1, 2014

    He sounds like he might have a processing issue. I have had a few students like this (2nd grade). Even when I give directions to them (standing in front of them) and have them repeat it to me, they still do not comply (not out of defiance, they just don't process the information). I started using visual cues for these students, as well as, what one poster said about having a buddy system. Yeah, sometimes the buddy idea can be a lot of work on them, but I had spoken to the class about why we do this. Altho it will be different with middle schoolers.
     
  20. allaragallagher

    allaragallagher Comrade

    Joined:
    Apr 14, 2014
    Messages:
    254
    Likes Received:
    11

    Nov 1, 2014

    I have a student like this. 9th grader. He's a teacher's kid and yet he's never been tested for anything. I hate having to repeat everything for him. He is constantly forgetting homework. He'll do it but won't turn it in. He wanders the halls sometimes. He forgets my name and calls me by a different teacher's name constantly.
     
  21. bewlove

    bewlove Companion

    Joined:
    Jan 9, 2014
    Messages:
    230
    Likes Received:
    4

    Nov 1, 2014

    Being on the spectrum also crossed my mind. I have a 4th grader this year who is JUST like this. To a tee. He never knows what is going on. The other day in PE, he was running on the track and he completely ran out of his shoes. And just kept running. And when the PE teacher asked him why he didn't have on his shoes, he said, "Oh, I didn't realize that I ran out of them."

    He also randomly asked me if I would be wearing a skin suit for Halloween. Uh, no.....:lol: He is a mess. Everything your student does reminds me of him. The thing about mine, however, is that he is extremely intelligent. He is on a 6th or 7th grade reading level (I can't remember exactly). I don't know if I have any advice, I just....do my best, I guess.

    I try to help him to stay organized by frequently checking in with him. I don't like to "babysit" but if that's how I can get him to get his work completed, then that is what I will do. I make sure he is with the class. Another thing I will have him do is repeat instructions to his neighbor. Or I will have the whole class do it, and specifically watch to see that he does it. I feel your pain. It can be frustrating, but sometimes laughter is the best medicine. :)
     
  22. bros

    bros Phenom

    Joined:
    Aug 5, 2009
    Messages:
    4,105
    Likes Received:
    68

    Nov 2, 2014

    Perhaps a behavior chart or maybe a timer would help (One with sand, not one that makes noise)?
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. CaliforniaRPCV,
  2. Consultant
Total: 390 (members: 3, guests: 368, robots: 19)
test