How do you challenge the high achievers?

Discussion in 'Preschool' started by Miss J. Pre-K, Nov 29, 2008.

  1. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2008

    I have mostly low to medium level students (mostly fours, a couple of threes, a couple of fives). I have a couple who I think get bored because they are so much above the others in different areas.

    One can identify all the letters, upper and lowercase, write her name, count (with objects or without) up to 60, knows all her shapes, etc. Dad and Mom have worked with her a lot on these skills. She also loves to manipulate small objects and is advanced in doing harder puzzles. She is a little behind socially, but has made good improvements since the beginning of the year. I know she gets bored because we are still working on identifying letters and numbers in circle and small groups.

    Another is way ahead socially. She engages in extended (over a few days) pretend play. She is always the "leader" in deciding play themes. She sometimes involves the other children in games with rules (Duck Duck Goose, Red Rover) and gets frustrated when the other children don't pay attention to the rules. I know I will get the answer I am looking for if I call on her when asking a question that asks for higher thinking skills. While she's not as advanced in knowing numbers, letters, shapes, etc., she's on the high end of average.

    What would these students next steps be? I had thought about pairing them for small groups, but they don't usually interact because their personalities are different. How do I meet their needs and challenge them when they are so far ahead of the rest of my kids?
     
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  3. teacher36

    teacher36 Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2008

    I have a child in my class who is also ahead of the others academically. I student taught in Kindergarten and my son is currently in K so I know what is expected of them. I always take my centers a step further for him. If we are doing letter recognition, I have him tell me the sound the letter makes and even brainstorm words that begin with that letter. If we are doing numbers, I use higher level questions, such as how many more, or less; even addition and subtraction: If you have two and you give me one how many will you have left? I just try to build upon his knowledge when I can. He finishes all of his projects early, so I have him practice his writing (he can write his name but has trouble staying on the lines-still ahead of where he should be) or drawing (he rushes any coloring he has to do but likes to draw free hand). I also have him "help" me. He helps me sound out words for my afternoon message, he helps put the children's folders in their cubbies (matching names), he helps me figure out how many napkins I need at snack time when someone is absent, etc. I'm interested in hearing some other strategies as well because I worry about not challenging these children enough. My son who is in K, reads on a 2nd grade level and can actually do some multiplication and I know that he is not being challenged in K. They take the approach of "Oh, he's doing well, I need to focus on so and so." I don't want to be one of those teachers!
     
  4. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Nov 29, 2008

    Me either. And if I differeniate (sp?) for the low level kids, I know I should for the high ones too. I try to increase the number of counting objects for when I work with these children. I had thought about doing simple addition or subtraction with objects with the first child. She can already skip count by tens. I'll start asking about letter sounds as well.

    My brother and I (especially my brother) were high levels, and I think we were bored in the early grades because our parents had worked with us a lot as well. Thanks, those are some good suggestions.
     
  5. teacher36

    teacher36 Comrade

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    Nov 30, 2008

    Boredom can also lead to behavior issues and we certainly want to avoid that!!:)
    Good luck with them.
     
  6. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Nov 30, 2008

    What about journal writing? Have her write phonetic words, then sentences.

    What about asking her to identify CVC words or sight words when the others are identifying letters?

    For math rolling 2 dice, counting the manipulatives, then adding them. I use a number line. As the others said, count groups of objects to add and subtract.

    During story time, ask her to predict and infer from the text and pictures.
     
  7. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Nov 30, 2008

    Yes, I would concur with dzenna (as always).

    Working on the phonemic awareness manuipulatives that are usually more for K ages would work toward the learning to read MAT/SAT/HAT texts. That would be something for the others to work towards as well. There are many items that can be made for these-gathering pixs or doll house items to match the mouse/house, and bat/cat items is really fun and doesn't require inherent knowledge of the names of letters rather the sound (hence phonemic and not phonics). The others may show skill at this as well, and may actually speed their growth. Then there are items for her additionally that have you line up actual letters to spell mop and so on. Phonics would be fine for her to start too-but the others would be more lost. I would have both, so she is a leader as well as challenge. That may help her bridge the gap socially as well.

    We have pre-k readers theater (the early primary is so pleased). Our social leaders become the born directors, prop makers and so on. The other children have more understanding of where the rules are (because they heard the story as well 40 times in circle) and they fidget less. They are learning to keep us, she is learning to lead (and she is already good at that) and it is a huge language literacy link. These are the children that I base the direction of the emergent lessons on-so the others are still working and this child is being given as much rope as they need and then reteaching the class. Sometimes, they children that seem to not understand things in circle can catch it when the same topic is presented in science or whatever. The emergent blend gives everyone a foot hold here. IN my multi age, multi year class we are all about that.
     
  8. Dzenna

    Dzenna Groupie

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    Nov 30, 2008

    MsJ and WAProvider- I admire you guys for working so well with multi-age classes. I have to work hard to present an emergent curriuclum that both challenges and reaches my 41/2 to 5 year-olds. It takes a great teacher to reach a multi-level, multi-age class.
     
  9. Miss J. Pre-K

    Miss J. Pre-K Comrade

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    Dec 1, 2008

    WA Provider,

    Can you tell me more about this Reader's Theater? Are they acting out stories you have read? How do you introduce it, how often do you do it, and which parts do you do/which do they do?

    Sorry for all the questions, I'm a newbie.
     
  10. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Dec 1, 2008

    Readers' Theater is for the story that we all "know the best" that is usually the story that we have hung the whole theme on. I don't know if everyone does that-but it works for me. So we have hung the beginning of christmas on the Gingerbread man. Not only the "Run, Run" one but the Jan Brett Ginger baby and so on. After we have read it and learned it, we read a different version and compare and contrast w/ Venn diagram. This is just to get used to the idea we will write about the book and actually look at what happened.

    So then after that we read the book again-now we really know it.

    Then I announce that we will have a play on the book. If I have it in story tape-the tape is the narrator. If not then we just have a teacher read. The books are real books and we are small-so that keeps it appropriate. However, for fun someday your great reader could do the reading of CAT/SAT/MAT books and the others could act it out.

    Then the teacher and a pod of people who are interested goes off to change the words for the book so that they are shorter if that is necessary. Other times the group votes to let the teacher just read the book as it is.

    Then we assign jobs, just like drama class. Costumes, scenery and so on. Just make sure you have the supplies somewhere and that your social leader is a leader of a committee. As the grown up-make sure that everytime you do the show you change the roles for the characters. This keeps the star role from always going to the coolest and so on.

    Then, boom-it just starts to go on its own.

    Then at the next theme there is another book waiting for a turn so you get to pack up the old one.
     

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