How can I catch him up?

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by minnie, Apr 8, 2015.

  1. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Apr 8, 2015

    I am getting a new students on Monday. His grandma is getting custody of him because his mother could not care for him and was not taking him to school. There are officially 40 school days left for us. I know I am making assumptions before I meet this little guy, but I'm afraid he is going to be way behind what our class is doing and I will not be able to catch him up in two months.
    Have you ever gotten a student at the end of the school year that was really behind? How did you catch them up?

    I think there was another thread like this, but it was geared toward middle/high school and I teach kindergarten.
     
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  3. miss-m

    miss-m Devotee

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    Apr 8, 2015

    My CT and I had a student come in this late last year who was very behind and possibly dyslexic -- this sounds bad, but we did what we could with her but didn't even try to "catch her up." She was reading at a K/1st grade level (at end of 2nd), couldn't decode words, couldn't recognize most sight words, could do some math but not as quickly as the rest of the class... we worked with her on what she knew but between testing and limited time we both knew there was little likelihood of her catching up. :(
     
  4. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Apr 8, 2015

    Yes, I got several new students last year during standardized testing, and a couple of them were very far behind. I squeezed in differentiated activities during morning work and put them in the appropriately leveled group for centers. There was no way to catch them up all the way, but that helped a bit. With parent involvement, it could have been better.

    Those particular students happened to be going through a lot with their families and with adjusting to a change of school. I think that, more than just the time they missed, had the biggest impact on their academic progress.
     
  5. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Thanks for the replies. Since its kindergarten, we've already learned most of our sight words. There are 45 sight words. What if he doesn't know any of them? Do I send home flash cards. Part of me thinks that wouldn't help. What if he doesn't know any of his letter sounds. I've never had a student come this late in the year. They always come at the beginning when they can catch up. It's going to be hard to not feel like I failed him if I can't catch him up. There is soooo much that he may have missed that I'm not going to know where to start.
     
  6. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Apr 8, 2015

    For the OP, the child might just have to repeat since he or she missed so much school. Retention in this case might be the way to go if the child is very behind.

    I know that emotions can take a toll on academics, but be very careful with overusing this idea as the reason a student is struggling. It is not always the case. My friend's child had the "moving" excuse used for multiple years because the first year's teacher talked to the next year's teacher. It started a cascading effect.
     
  7. missrebecca

    missrebecca Comrade

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    Apr 9, 2015

    That is true, you have to be careful not to make excuses. To be honest, the students I mentioned who were behind were actually behind at least a grade level academically, and they weren't going to be able to catch up in the last couple months of school without some serious interventions. One girl was going through problems at home with separated parents, and had emotional, violent outbursts in class. I just think it's also important to consider what the child might be going through, especially since the OP mentioned custody problems and the child is very young (Kindergarten) to be dealing with potentially high stress levels.

    But then, the OP hasn't met the student yet. They might be advanced and doing 2nd grade work for all we know. ;)
     
  8. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Apr 9, 2015

    I hope my assumptions are wrong. I just like to be prepared. We'll see on Monday. Hopefully, I'll be worrying over nothing!
     
  9. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 9, 2015

    He's in Kindergarten - he could always repeat if he is that far behind.

    You could send home sight word flash cards along with some resources on sight words for the student & grandma to work on over the summer, so if the student is far enough behind for retention, they'll get a leg up for their second go at it.
     
  10. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Apr 9, 2015

    I agree that it is good to know, but if at any time when additional instruction or help is considered or not and the reason is that the lag is because of family or moving, you (generic) need to be careful to not limit the help thinking that when things get better magic will happen. The violent outbursts seen in the classroom may have more to do with the lack of academic skills or as much to do with the lack of academic skills as the dysfunction. The low skills and lack of help at the needed level can be that straw that breaks the camel's back and often the emotions and ideas that come out are about other things even if it was the defeat in class that started the outburst. The idea that this child would be successful without additional help if the family dysfunction or the move didn't happen can be a very dangerous idea, especially when you don't know how much help the child had at the previous school. Know the child and what is going on, but the focus should always be finding ways for the student to feel successful and get the needed help. (I know as a classroom teacher there is only so much that can be done without the school administration stepping up and allowing more help.)
     
  11. YoungTeacherGuy

    YoungTeacherGuy Phenom

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    Apr 9, 2015

    I will be completely honest with you, Minnie. My opinion may not be popular, though:

    We are in mid-April. There are only a few weeks of school left. It's not your job to help him learn all the things he missed out on. What you can do, however, is provide him with "just right" instruction during RtI (if your site doesn't have RtI, maybe during center rotations). There simply isn't enough time in the day to help him learn 8 months worth of material he missed out on!

    Right before Spring Break, we received a new kindergartener. He had never stepped foot in school before. Needless to say, he will have a lot to learn, but we will decide in a few weeks if he should repeat kindergarten next year (we're almost certain he will end up being retained, though). Poor guy was behaving in such a feral manner on his first day; the other students were looking at him like he was nuts.
     
  12. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 9, 2015

    Keep in mind this kiddo's potential emotional condition...and the effect that has on learning. Teach him from where he is.:love:
     
  13. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Can you elaborate on that?
     
  14. bros

    bros Phenom

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    Apr 10, 2015

    If he is behind, teach him how you would teach a new batch of Kindergartners, and treat him gently if he is rattled emotionally. Don't push him on following the rules if he hasn't been to school before - just teach him the rules and see how he adapts to them by the end of the year - he'll get the rules of the classroom by the end of the year.
     
  15. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2015

    Of course!

    Emotions and stress affect a person's ability to attend, make connections, remember, and learn. Sounds like this little guy has been through an upsetting or even traumatizing event to him.I wouldn't make 'catching him up' your first goal....instead make him feel 'at home' and safe emotionally. Find ways in your classroom to make him feel connected, capable and contributing. Praise his efforts and view mistakes as steps in the process. K kids are incredibly accepting-I'm sure your students will be excited to make a new friend and help him become acclimated!

    Of course you will be assessing him, collecting data and facilitating learning as best you can for this new student, as you have all year for your other students. While you can't make up for the time he's missed, you can provide opportunities for him to engage in learning at his developmental level of understanding. The time you have with him is short and precious, but know you will make a difference because of your caring and compassion. :hugs:

    For more information on emotions and learning:

    http://www.ascd.org/publications/ed...vol52/num02/How-Emotions-Affect-Learning.aspx

    http://www.greatschools.org/parenti...-the-role-of-emotions-in-learning.gs?page=all

    :love:
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Apr 10, 2015

    Sounds like the same thing you should do for all students.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2015

    Absolutely.

    I'm a firm believer in reach before teach.


    I'm a bit confused. Were you attempting to elaborate on or explain my comment about keeping in mind the effect of emotions on learning? :confused:
     
  18. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Apr 10, 2015

    You explained things wonderfully! Thank you!

    I will absolutely try to make him feel comfortable and safe. I want to make a connection with him. However, what if he absolutely cannot do what the other students are doing? Should I let him copy from his neighbor? I am putting him at a table with my best workers. I am afraid that he will feel ostracized if he is doing something different from everyone else. I'm sure he will want to be like everyone else.

    Like I said, I have never gotten a student this late in the year before. :unsure: I just want to start out on a good note with him if he is emotionally upset.
     
  19. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Apr 10, 2015

    Good advice! Thank you!
     
  20. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Good advice! Thank you!
     
  21. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 10, 2015

    He may or may not be able to perform to current classmates' abilities. That's ok...he's missed a lot of school time and has been through a stressful time. Differentiation, praise, encouragement and a whole lot of understanding will be key. :love:
     
  22. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    Update: Got him today. He knows 9 letters of the alphabet. Does not know the alphabet song or any letter sounds. He does know numbers 1-8. Plus side, he has good fine motor skills.

    Sigh. I'm keeping the little guy another year. Poor thing. Parents make me so mad sometimes.
     
  23. Backroads

    Backroads Aficionado

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    Apr 21, 2015

    I hope he will be able to stay with you the whole school year next year. Stability can do wonders.
     
  24. minnie

    minnie Cohort

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    That's for sure!
     
  25. StarsofTommorow

    StarsofTommorow Companion

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    Apr 22, 2015

    Completely agree.
     

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