Every year there's a new challenge...

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by **Mrs.A**, Aug 24, 2011.

  1. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Aug 24, 2011

    I have a student who does absolutely nothing in class unless I continually tell him to get busy. It's only the fifth week of school and I've had it. This kid is smart, but he has no motivation. The quality of his work is terrible and it looks like a first grader did it. I had a conference with the parents and I now understand what's going on. There is no accountability at home and he knows it.

    Apparently, everything his teacher did last year did not work...If he didn't finish his work then he didn't get fun Friday...Not effective. Recess taken away...not effective, send incomplete work home...not effective. I asked if there was anything that was done at home that would work in the classroom...Nope!! I guess they have tried everything and they are clueless what to do with him. :dizzy:

    We completed an assignment today in class and his was a mess. I showed mom and told her I would like him to take it home and redo it. She asked him if he would like to redo it??? Uhmmmmmmm....Really?

    What am I supposed to do??

    Oh, he throws tantrums if he doesn't get his way or has to do something he doesn't want. I've already told him that I do not tolerate that kind of behavior and that he needs to start acting like a fourth grader.

    I've already started a behavior chart and it doesn't really seem to be working.
     
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  3. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Aug 24, 2011

    Keep trying strategies. Let his grades reflect his effort and (lack of) product.
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

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    Aug 24, 2011

    Why not sit down and ask him what would get to him? This is and example from my own home, not a classroom, but the concept is the same.

    You see, for the last year, I've had some major issues with my oldest son. Nothing I did got through to him. The same kid who reads Victor Hugo and Charles Dickens for fun got a D in 6th grade English. If I left him at home to do some chore while I was gone (say, load the dishwasher) it wouldn't get done. He did nothing he was told unless I was standing over him, and even then he would whine and throw a temper tantrum.

    Finally, in frustration, I threw my hands up and said "What will it take to get through to you?!?" He responded that his PE teacher made them do push-ups when they got out of line, and he'd do anything to avoid push ups. Well, that instantly became my new consequence. It took a couple of events of consistent reinforcements, but I rarely have any trouble with him doing what he's supposed to do when he knows he'll have to do push ups if his responsibilities aren't met.

    The point is, Matthew himself knew exactly what it would take to get him to toe the line. All I had to do all those months of frustration was to just sit down and ask him. Strange how that worked.
     
  5. jen12

    jen12 Devotee

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    Aug 24, 2011

    Is there some type of reward he could work toward? Some of our schools have tickets the kids get for being caught doing good deeds. They go into a monthly drawing for toys and books and the drawing is done during morning announcements. You wouldn't believe how much the kids value those tickets. Maybe earning x number of stickers on the behavior chart could earn him some reward that he values...like a raffle ticket or an extra privilege.

    It's difficult when the parents are not on board, but if he's a tantrum thrower, he's probably got them on pins and needles. Maybe seeing that you won't be manipulated will make some change.

    Good luck!
     
  6. mopar

    mopar Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2011

    I second what mm suggested! Definitely try talking with him.

    Has he found the work not challenging for the last few years. Maybe if he tried a game like situation or simulation, he would be more motivated to give it a try.
     
  7. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

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    Aug 25, 2011

    Start with a conversation about what he enjoys, what he wants to be when he grows up. Choose a time when he's not in trouble-- say before school one morning-- for a "getting to know you" talk.

    My 13 year old son would love to Captain a steamboat up in Lake George. (Kind of specific, I know.) But I told him the other day that we would email the steamboat company and find out how you get to become a captain-- what the educational path is.

    It may turn out to be the career du jour, it it may be the start on the path he chooses to follow.

    I say you consider something similar with this 9 year old. Find out what he like, what he wants to be. Then find a way to incorprate that into your room or your day somehow.

    But either way, I think the key is getting to know him as something other than a behavior problem. Find out what he enjoys doing, figure out what it is his friends like about him. And then use it somehow.

    Good luck!
     
  8. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Aug 25, 2011

    Has this child EVER been able to produce quality written work in anything since the child has been in school?

    Bright or not, writing anything down may be something that is very difficult for the student and no one has addressed it. It may bring on such frustrations that mom and dad just decided to stop fighting it because they know their child is smart.

    Have you ever gone over the questions orally with the student? Was there a different result?

    Have you asked the bright student how he planned to approach the work (even if it was simple)?

    I have major red flags going off here. Something is really wrong, and my feeling it is beyond mom and dad not being accountable. Kids don't like to miss Fun Friday unless there is something they hate about it, but that doesn't seem to be the case here because nothing is working.

    Bright kids can have underlying weaknesses that end up looking as if they are lazy and uncaring. They don't know how to fix them and eventually stop trying to as an escape. The more they are deemed "not trying" the more they "don't try" because at least they look lazy not stupid and incapable.

    The hardest kids to figure out are the bright ones because we always associate intelligences with overall ability. Those that are skewed in their abilities and deemed lazy and not trying because their avoidance tactics are ones of lazy and avoidance.

    Dig deeper.

    Ask him to answer orally. Ask him how he would approach finishing the work. Is he so bright the work is beneath him? Does he have a problem with fine motor skills, dysgraphia, or attention?

    I agree, mom and dad, may have thrown up their hands to avoid contant angry battles at home trying to make the child do work that is frustrating him for some reason. But that is probably not the PROBLEM, just a symptom of an underlying problem that has yet to be uncovered.
     
  9. Em_Catz

    Em_Catz Devotee

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    Aug 25, 2011

    How old is this student? I teach first grade and honestly, he sounds worse than many of my students (though admittedly, this year's class is EXTREMELY rowdy, talkative and just busy)

    Can you refer him to your school's special education team? Maybe he has an actual mental issue that is effecting his academics and behavior. Even if he's only 6, getting upset and throwing tantrums in school when you don't get your way, is unacceptable. Again, I teach 1st grade, and from day one, we drill that into our kids.

    Good luck to you. Please keep us posted.
     
  10. kcjo13

    kcjo13 Phenom

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    Aug 25, 2011

    May I suggest graphing? Perhaps a visual representation would help.

    Personally, I don't like to reward kids for expected behavior.
     
  11. **Mrs.A**

    **Mrs.A** Comrade

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    Aug 25, 2011

    Thanks for the comments...Today he came to school and he was a different kid...I kid you not. The work I sent home yesterday came back and was completely legible. He wrote on the line and even started at the margin. He did everything I asked of him and even wrote in his agenda. I wish I could post examples of his work to show you. The difference is night and day.

    I have assessed him and he's above grade level in reading and grade level in math. Yesterday he said he couldn't do order of operations and he was completely confused. Today, I had the kids play order of operations bingo and he whipped through the problems.

    Something went down at home last night..

    I made a big deal about how well he did today and sent home a note to mom and dad letting them know what a great day he had. I'm going to make up some notes that I can fill out quickly at the end of the day for him to take home..
     
  12. Ms.Jasztal

    Ms.Jasztal Maven

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    Aug 25, 2011

    Was he ever left back in the past? Perhaps that effected his self-esteem?

    Be GRATEFUL something "went down" at home last night... at our students' age, they NEED to know they are two years from the boom being lowered on them. Fourth grade is a MAJOR year for "growing up". I believe the transition from third to fourth is actually more trying than the one from fourth to fifth, or maybe it is because I lowered the boom and talked about middle school/being responsible for oneself a lot earlier.
     

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