Question from a parent...sorry so long

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by fullhouse, Dec 9, 2009.

  1. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Please excuse the intrusion of a parent into your teachers’ forums, but I wanted to get some advice from the experts.

    A summary of my issue:

    My concern is that our son is not being challenged enough by the regular curriculum and I’m curious as to how I should address this with his teacher. (Or is this even a concern I should have. )

    A little background:

    Our son is a bright student, but not considered gifted. He tested at the 90th percentile on the intelligence test the school uses, but needed to be at the 93rd percentile to be considered for the gifted program, so he does not receive any one-on-one or more personalized attention that those who are in the gifted program receive.

    The early year standardized testing all showed him to be well-above average and the pre-curriculum test (AIMS Web) showed that he scored well above the target for what his grade-level curriculum would cover, especially in math. I mention those only to show that more than one test reveal him to be bright, so there is no test ‘anomaly’ that could account for the scores (as has been brought up to me before).

    So again, he is bright, but not ‘bright-enough’.

    He rarely brings home any homework as he finishes everything in class. When we review his completed work, there are very few that are incorrect.

    When we ask the teacher how he is doing, we get “Alright”, or “Everything is going good.” When we ask if he is being challenged enough, we get “He is where he needs to be.” And to be honest, there is no more aggravating phase for us to hear. We don’t really care if he is where he needs to be, we want him to be where he can be. Also, I would hate for things to come too easy for him and he end up getting bored.

    So my question to you is how do we approach the teacher? How do we talk to a teacher who is not very forth coming with information, or does not seem too interested in pushing students who need to be pushed beyond the regular curriculum? Do we need to supplement at home? Do we need to talk to the principal, ask about changing teachers? Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    I hope I don’t come across as ‘one of those parents’. I only want to see my children excel and be pushed to see how high they can go.

    I am not a teacher, so I have no idea how difficult it can be to have a classroom full of students with varying degrees of abilities and aptitudes. We’ve had some great teachers that have pushed our kids, and I know that most teachers honestly care and want the best for all the kids.
    Our kids are still young, so we are still new to all of this. Thanks in advance for any advice.
     
  2.  
  3. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Have you asked the teacher what her suggestions are for activities he could be doing at home? I teach preschool, and always have ready a list of suggestions of things the parents can do at home to help their kids... would the teacher be willing to give you some suggestions as far as that's concerned?
     
  4. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 9, 2009

    Being a teacher can be overwhelming. You are correct in your observation that it is difficult for a teacher to individualize the curriculum for each student. Most teachers do differentiate instruction. In the elementary grades, that usually manifests as different groups, each of varying difficulty level.

    Now, as to why the teacher might be responding as she is. Like I said before, this is a demanding job. Your son's teacher might very well be dealing with a classroom full of problems much more urgent than a bright child not being challenged enough (not that that's not important). She could be dealing with kids who are major disipline problems, psycho parents insisting that their little darling can do no wrong even when said little darling is refusing to work and bullying other kids, kids who are FAR behind, pressure from administrators to get test scores up among many others. Its possible that she's so overwhelmed that she just doesn't have the time to deal with coming up with more challenging work so she's blowing you off. Now, I don't think that's right, but it's possible that's what's happening.

    So, what can you do about it. As far as the school is concerned, there may be nothing you can do, but you can most certainly enrich his education at home. One of my major beefs with the current philosopy in many schools today is breadth versus depth. Schools tend to teach very little about a lot of different topics. You can take the topics he's currently learning and go deeper with them.

    You don't say what grade your son is in, so I'm going to use one of my own kids as an example of what I do for enrichment. One of my kids is in 3rd grade. He is bored to tears in school, even in the gifted program. Right now, they're doing "data". They're tallying and sorting the "results" of surveys. Monday, my son's home project was to call his aunts and uncles and older cousin and ask how they liked their eggs cooked (I have a big family). He had to record the data, sort it, graph it and figure out what the "favorite" was. He had to do this in two different ways. First, he decided the favorite was the one that showed up the most often (mode), then he assigned each method a number (over easy = 1, over medium =2, ect), then averaged them to find the mean, then plotted them to find a median. He found out that the favorite cooking method for eggs in our family was different depending on how you calculated it.

    In reading comprehension, you can come up with more thoughtful questions than the typical ones you see in the textbooks. You can ask the child questions that require more thoughtful responses. Instead of "what came first", you can as "how do you think that character felt when...". My kids have also had fun comparing books to movies, and finding inconsitencies in stories (that one is best when you're reading series books). For example, in "Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone", Harry's letter from Hogwarts states that students can bring with them either a cat, or an owl or a toad. If that's the case, why does Ron bring a rat? In writing, you can have him write sentences or paragraphs that are more complex that what is required.

    In science you can search the internet for more in depth experiments on the same topics that he's studying in class, and in social studies you can look up whatever topic and learn more than what they're presenting in school.

    Education doesn't end at the schoolhouse door. You have more power than you think to direct your child's education. Your son is lucky to have a caring, involved parent. Use that power and you'll never regret it.
     
  5. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Thank you clarnet73 and mmswm for your quick replies and good advice.

    My son is in the 2nd grade and his teacher has given some take home games that we play and we can try to expand upon them. He also reads a lot, so we can begin to expand on some of that and begin asking him some questions about it, especially some more open-ended questions.
     
  6. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Dec 9, 2009

    If your son is like many of the bright young boys I know, he probably LOVES non-fiction books. Simply reading books about things he's interested in can teach him so much!
     
  7. clarnet73

    clarnet73 Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 4, 2002
    Messages:
    6,123
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Also, don't forget the value of zoos, museums, etc... he'd probably enojy not just SEEING the animals at the zoo, for instance, but actually reading the signs and learning about them more in-depth. :)
     
  8. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 9, 2009

    How could I forget such a simple thing :lol: My kids eat up books on warfare...any war will do. They will read about WWII, the American Civil War, the 100 years war...it doesn't really matter. Reading between the lines (pardon the pun) they learn all kinds of stuff about life throughout the ages, not to mention history. On top of that there's engineering and science, as the technology of warefare changed through time.

    Sometimes its just a matter of taking that teachable moment. Instead of explaining how a piano works, take the pannels off the upright (or just open the lid of a grand) and let him discover it for himself. Don't explain why things float, let him throw stuff into a sink full of water. When he asks a question, figure out a way to let him discover the answer himself.
     
  9. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Dec 9, 2009

    You might want to check out Usborne Books--they have tons of great non-fiction! My high-reading third graders are devouring their books about knights, pirates, pioneers, and all sorts of other things.
     
  10. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 9, 2009

    Oh, there's a great science series...I wish I could rememer the name of it. The covers are white and the cover is longer than usual, but thin (did I explain that so it makes sense?) Anyway, the titles are all "Why does..." or "How does...." or "What is...." It's cartoon mixed with text and it covers a HUGE range of science topics, from why does it rain and what is a rainbow to how does a plane stay up and much much more.
     
  11. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Dec 9, 2009

    Yes---I have the rainbow book! Ummm...(running to get it out of the cabinet)...Weekly Reader "Just Ask" books.
     
  12. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 9, 2009

    The whole series is fantastic. They explain some fairly complex stuff at a fairly low reading level, which is great for inquisitive young boys. My parents have them all. I've used them several times to help adolescents learn how to read (some of the foster kids came all but illiterate, even as old as 12). That's just a bonus though. They're great for young readers who want to know.
     
  13. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,669
    Likes Received:
    1,105

    Dec 9, 2009

    Usborne's got wonderful books, yes. I've been championing Usborne's Internet-linked Science Encyclopedia for years - it may be out in a new edition, and I haven't tracked down the title yet. Dorling Kindersley's Eyewitness books are also first rate explorations topic by topic, and most libraries should have (or be able to get hold of) lots of the many titles in the series. Another DK book, David Macaulay's The New Way Things Work, is slightly out of date for high tech but first rate on everything else, and a hilarious read into the bargain (the framing premise is that the book is a diary from a land in which the beasts of work are pygmy woolly mammoths: some of the machines they operate would put Rube Goldberg to shame...) Kingfisher, another of the great British thoughtful-kid-book publishers, carries a very good science encyclopedia and one of my favorite short history encyclopedias.
     
  14. amakaye

    amakaye Enthusiast

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2004
    Messages:
    2,397
    Likes Received:
    4

    Dec 9, 2009

    Usborne now has lost of other internet-linked books as well, on all sorts of topics (dolphins, volcanos, etc.). We are lucky to have an Usborne book fair at school in the fall (just happening coincidentally to fall during Grandparent's Day, of course!). We get a few wish-list donations, but then get half of the profits to buy books for our classrooms/library. This year, we had over $1,000--really nice when you only have to split it between 6 teachers and the library!
     
  15. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,669
    Likes Received:
    1,105

    Dec 9, 2009

    Dunno if it's still available, but one of my favorite art-education books ever (and let's not forget art for bright boys, please) is Usborne's Introduction to Art.
     
  16. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Those are some neat looking books....I'll have to look into them for a Christmas present. He would love them, especially the art books. He is certainly my artistic child. Our hallway is full of his creations.
     
  17. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

    Joined:
    May 13, 2005
    Messages:
    29,669
    Likes Received:
    1,105

    Dec 9, 2009

    See if you can find this: Art for Fun: Projects by Sue Lacey (Copper Beech, 2001, ISBN 0-7613-2277-9) - it's hands-on art projects in the styles of artists including van Gogh and Arcimboldo (the one whose portrait heads are made of fruits and vegetables).
     
  18. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Aug 8, 2005
    Messages:
    13,843
    Likes Received:
    1,678

    Dec 9, 2009

    I have this book (actually I had it until someone borrowed it) and it's awesome!
     
  19. MissHunny

    MissHunny Comrade

    Joined:
    Aug 6, 2007
    Messages:
    340
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Fullhouse,
    I am a second grade teacher. I wanted to give you my perspective of what the teacher may mean when she is saying "he is right where he needs to be." I had a parent ask me at fall conferences why her child had mostly satisfactories rather than pluses on his report card. I gave her a similar response. He is meeting benchamark but not exceeding it. He is doing well and right on track, but not blowing me away. This parent has very high expectations (cultural norm) and compares her son to his siblings. I let her know that he's doing well but a "plus" is doing more than well- it's making outstanding progress.

    You son's teacher may also be seeing him perform in different ways than you are. In class is he participating? Is he showing his higher level thinking skills? Teachers do not only look at state tests, or district assessments. I base my students' growth on formal and informal assessments, as well as observation and the child's personal growth.
    Now, if you still want to talk with his teacher about this I think the best approach would be to be honest. Ask how he is doing on a regular basis, not just on assessments. Also remember that homework is just practice. The homework that I give my students is not typically differentiated. I do that more in my classroom. I hope this helps. Let me know if you have anymore specific questions.
     
  20. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 9, 2009

    Thank you very much. This will be helpful when I meet with her again.
     
  21. Deeena

    Deeena Cohort

    Joined:
    Apr 25, 2005
    Messages:
    509
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 10, 2009

    Fullhouse,

    How is your child's attitude towards school? Does he frequently complain about being bored in the classroom? Does he show interest in the things they are doing/learning in the classroom?
     
  22. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 10, 2009

    Enrich his life as much as you can at home. Teach him to play chess and play with him often, and send books to school with him to read when he's finished with his classwork. Take him to the library weekly and let him choose and check out the maximum amount of books. Let him use your library card too and check out double the max.

    Go to hoagie's gifted web site and browse around there. For fun have him practice some on-line I.Q. tests.

    I use Junior Great Books with my gifted class, it's inquiry based. Go to their web site and browse around too. The principles defined there can be applied to any book/story, it's deep thinking skills.

    Gifted kids are my heart and passion, be his advocate. Just "being where he needs to be" doesn't cut it.
     
  23. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

    Joined:
    Nov 16, 2005
    Messages:
    3,591
    Likes Received:
    3

    Dec 10, 2009

    Fullhouse, my daugher and I just had the second IEP meeting with the school regarding my grandson. He sounds just like your son. OUr concerns are the same as yours--school is not challenging enough for my grandson. As the head of special ed told us, their job is to make sure every child is getting an education. Since my GS is testing high, he is considered doing fine, and does not qualify for any special services.

    I am disappointed that little extra effort is made for the highly intelligent children--but oodles of money is spent on lower achieving children. We were told that behavior had to bearing on the need for an IEP. Since GS is functioning at or above grade level, he does not qualify for extra help.

    I don't want to start a debate on special needs--I agree that they deserve extra help. I just wish we had better answers to educational challenges.
     
  24. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 11, 2009

    He says he enjoys school. He doesn't complain about being bored, but he structures his day to meet his needs, if that makes sense.

    For example, here is something he told he the other day. If there is an activity or learning center that bores him, he will take longer than needed doing his seat work so that he will not be required to do that activity. But if there is an activity he enjoys (i.e. computer time) he will speed through his seat work and have more time. In looking through his work, from a quality aspect, I cannot see a difference in his 'slow' work and his 'fast' work.

    So in thinking about it, his teacher may see that and think he may not need more challenging work since he is 'struggling' to do his everyday work.

    Thanks for bringing that up...that is something I will need to mention to her.
     
  25. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 11, 2009

    Thanks for the websites. I will be sure to check them out and show them to him. He is just now catching the reading bug. I just started a deal with him to where once he finishes a book, I will take him to a breakfast or dinner and we will discuss it, so I will be sure to look at the Junior Great Books website for ideas.
     
  26. mrachelle87

    mrachelle87 Fanatic

    Joined:
    Aug 30, 2006
    Messages:
    2,813
    Likes Received:
    52

    Dec 11, 2009

    We use to give my son old appliances to play with. He would take them apart and figure out how they worked. He is now a great resource to get the broken tape players, pencil sharpners, and other items fixed in my and other classrooms. It is not uncommon for teachers to leave items in my room for him to fix.


    We also bought him wire, batteries, and small light bulbs. He made circuit boards everywhere. He came up with his own switches. His grandfather, my dad, taught him how to work on lawn mowers.
    We also got him involved with 4-H. He is now an officer of his FFA chapter. He showed swine and sheep and is very good at it winning numerous showmanship awards and large shows. Taking care of the feeding, grooming, and general care of an animal has taught him so many life skills. He loves to visit the local vet and help him out. He worked one summer at a sheep farm shearing. He worked another summer at a farm hauling hay.


    He scored the advance level at math and science this year on his state test. He absorbs it because it is real to him.
     
  27. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Dec 11, 2009

    Without reading every post, are you sure that his teacher isn't challenging him in ways you don't see? In my classroom I am continuously differentiating by the questions that I ask students. I challenge higher-level thinkers by asking tough questions and having them explain themselves more in-depth.

    Of course, if parents ask me, I explain this to them. It's a little odd that your child's teacher just seems to be brushing you off. Like others have said, differentiating is difficult, but she should be at least trying to meet the needs of every student.
     
  28. Hoot Owl

    Hoot Owl Aficionado

    Joined:
    Jan 15, 2008
    Messages:
    3,888
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 11, 2009

    Differentiation should be more than just asking high level questions. Most text book companies provide Problem Solving or Enrichment lessons to go with regular math lessons, this should be used for differentiation in math. If a student is more advanced than the rest of the students (determined by simply administering an end of the year math test... dont' teach kids what they already know) they should start a 3 rd math book if they are in second grade. I've had kids test up as far as seventh grade algebra in my second grade class. Differentiating for reading and spelling isn't difficult either. Kids should be taught where they are, I can't encourage parents and teachers to be advocates for these kids. It breaks my heart to see the brain rot of average kids and above average kids who are in regular classes. I have a maximum of twenty kids in my class but there's more kids that need additional services.

    ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE, ADVOCATE!
     
  29. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 11, 2009

    Deeena,

    I tried to answer your post earlier, but it did not go through for some reason.

    Anywho....He doesn't complain about being bored, but he does schedule his day to avoid or limit the tasks/activities he finds boring.

    For example, he told me that if the activities or learning centers they have on the schedule for that day bore him, he will take longer to do his seat work so he will not have to do the center. However, if the center is something fun for him (i.e. computer time) he will speed through his work to maximize his fun time.

    Thinking back on it now, maybe his teacher sees this 'struggle' to do his work as evidence that he is sufficiently challenged. I don't recall hearing anything about this from her though. I'll have to mention it to her next time we meet. Thanks for bringing that to mind for me.
     
  30. DrivingPigeon

    DrivingPigeon Phenom

    Joined:
    Jul 13, 2008
    Messages:
    4,212
    Likes Received:
    8

    Dec 11, 2009

    Questioning isn't the only way I differentiate, but in kindergarten many of the things we do don't go home with children for parents to see. In older grades they can obviously bring artifacts home for proof of their work. I'm just saying not all differentiation is visible to people who aren't in the classroom.
     
  31. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 11, 2009


    Honestly, I don't know if she does or not. We've not been given too many insights into the working of the class other than general schedules. There is just not a lot of 'extra' information given out, which is different when compared to the other teachers we've had.

    I will try to schedule a meeting with her and ask some of these questions. I have gotten a lot of good insight just from reading the replies. Thank you all so much. Keep them coming if there are more
     
  32. kpa1b2

    kpa1b2 Aficionado

    Joined:
    Mar 27, 2002
    Messages:
    3,274
    Likes Received:
    38

    Dec 12, 2009


    When are you approaching the teacher? I know that when parents try & talk to me about their child's progress either when everyone is dropping off or picking up the kids I will give a much more general response. At those times I'm multi-tasking & can't give the parent my full attention.

    I tell parents that if they have a concern let me know & we will schedule a time to have a conference, when I don't have my class.
     
  33. Muttling

    Muttling Devotee

    Joined:
    Sep 19, 2007
    Messages:
    1,095
    Likes Received:
    2

    Dec 12, 2009

    He scored in the 90th percentile and the cut off is 93rd. He does his work and sounds like he's well motivated. He also has very engaged parents.


    My suggestion is to ask the school about giving him a shot at the honors/ gifted classes. I suspect that he is capable of it and most schools are willing to give students like him a shot at it.
     
  34. giraffe326

    giraffe326 Virtuoso

    Joined:
    Jan 2, 2006
    Messages:
    7,075
    Likes Received:
    14

    Dec 12, 2009

    I think rather than sit down and question the teacher, why don't you volunteer one day? Particularly during the part of the day you are most concerned with (reading, math, etc...). Then you can see what is happening and ask more informed questions.

    Also, you brought up requesting a different teacher and from what I saw, no one addressed this. I would HIGHLY recommend to NOT do this. Most principals will not do it and it will only cause hurt feelings for the teacher. I have had a parent request to have their child moved and I have never been able to have the same relationship with the child or the parent. I feel that I am being scrutinized and I am very careful of what I say or do (not rude but very cautious rather than being more warm and carefree). It will change the relationship for the remainder of the year.
    For background: the child had two Ds on his progress report 1st quarter and has always been an A/B student and is in the gifted program for reading. The parent was very upset and demanded he be moved to a different classroom. The child was turning in poor quality work. After a few weeks, he adjusted to 5th grade and pulled his grades up. This parent is now happy and sends cookies and notes and cards all the time. But, I still am very cautious and it definitely changed the dynamic of our relationship.
     
  35. Miss JE

    Miss JE Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 13, 2009

    Well...

    Personally, I think it sounds like the teacher could be doing more in the classroom (yes I know this is off a little bit of information) but I agree with other posts that all students to deserve an equal chance of gaining knowledge and learning.

    I have had students not make it into the challenge program in our district but definitely were very close. Those challenge coordinators were willing to work with me still to help create projects and lessons that would enrich those students. Would this be a possibility?

    Another idea for the teacher to do is to help your son come up with a project he could do when he gets done quickly with an assignment or is clearly showing he has mastered a skill. Or... she could provide a packet of more challenging math skills that he could work on if she or him felt like the assignment was too easy. He would still be doing work but would be working on his own level which would benefit him.

    Before anything though you should schedule a conference with the teacher to go over your concerns. I agree that you should not request a new teacher because that can get awkward. Together you should be able to come up with a plan to help him continue to achieve! Remember to take the approach of working as a team! Good luck!!!
     
  36. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Dec 13, 2009

    A quick hijack:

    mm, Brian loves all those topics too. Any particular book suggestions??
     
  37. mmswm

    mmswm Moderator

    Joined:
    Nov 5, 2007
    Messages:
    5,621
    Likes Received:
    5

    Dec 13, 2009

    Alice, they just said they loved the "picture dictionary of...." series. If it's what I'm thinking of, they're "large rectangle" hardback books and the covers are white. Don't let the title mislead you. The reading level is pretty high, but they're FULL of pictures...real pictures. They also like fiction books like "Enemy Brothers" and "The Last Brother". Its funny that I'm not even sure of the names of the non-fiction stuff. If it has to do with a war and it's digestable by kids, I get it and they eat it up.
     
  38. Aliceacc

    Aliceacc Multitudinous

    Joined:
    Apr 12, 2006
    Messages:
    27,534
    Likes Received:
    6

    Dec 13, 2009

    Yep, same here.

    I think Brian has the picture dictionary series; I'll look for the other two.

    Thanks!
     
  39. Miss JE

    Miss JE Companion

    Joined:
    Jul 5, 2007
    Messages:
    113
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 13, 2009

    You might also look into the For Kids Series... they are more for 4-6 grade (maybe your son reads at that level...). They are GREAT books! Each one covers a topic and also has 21 activities that students can do that goes with the topic! There is one just on the Civil War (I think you said he enjoyed this topic)!
     
  40. CanadianTeacher

    CanadianTeacher Groupie

    Joined:
    May 1, 2005
    Messages:
    1,266
    Likes Received:
    1

    Dec 13, 2009

    This is just my own perspective as a mother and a teacher. My daughter has been identified as gifted in the 99.5th percentile. My son is also high achieving but not identified as gifted. Up until grade 6, my daughter didn't seem challenged in school but enjoyed it and challenged herself with extra projects and such that she did at home then proudly brought to school to 'present' to her teacher and class. It was in grade 6 that I decided to have her tested before she entered junior high, thinking that it would be good to know and would ensure that she would be placed in the higher achieving classes when the choice was there and that expectations for her would always be as high as possible by teachers. Despite her IEP, I have to say that her curriculum wasn't really modified much to challenge her, but she was always happy in school and boredom didn't occur, because she always went over and above on her own with her work and her projects. There is so much you can do at home and that you can teach your child to do on his own to create interest. Just teach him how to stretch what he learns and take it further. Speaking as a teacher, one point I disagree with in the special education system (and this is my own opinion) is that gifted students are lumped into the same category as students at the other end of the spectrum (those who struggle) as 'special needs' students or students needing individualization. In my view, the major difference is that struggling students NEED help and support to succeed. Gifted students don't NEED anyone to help them, they would just BENEFIT FROM additional challenges to reach their maximum potential. As MMSWM said, teaching can be overwhelming. Every group has a different set of dynamics and often teachers are so busy meeting the needs for support (and often they just can't do it all there) that they just can't get to little gifted Johnny who finishes everything early and gets it on the first try. As a parent I've never seen this as something a teacher should have to do for my gifted/high achieving child. Teachers have a demanding job and often just can't realistically meet every single demand that is put on them each day (as much as they try). If your son is happy in school and is engaged, let it be. If he's bored, have him bring his work home and look for ways to expand on it with him. Talk to his teacher about letting him share his new, expanded learning with her and his classmates at school to keep him connected with his educational surroundings. Other than that, maybe look for a private school where classes may be smaller and demands may be higher due to less diverse classroom populations. I hope this makes sense, it's an interesting topic with a lot of issues attached to it.
     
  41. fullhouse

    fullhouse Rookie

    Joined:
    Dec 9, 2009
    Messages:
    9
    Likes Received:
    0

    Dec 14, 2009

    I do not want to put all the blame on the teacher, but my wife has offered to help in the class. Now my wife has a very strong personality and is very passionate about her kids. So, the more the teacher would tell her 'no', the harder my wife would push. That probably has led to some headbutts, so now I am going to step in to see if the communication can improve.

    My wife offered to come help stuff the take home envelopes or help rearrange a bookshelf, just so she could be in the class and see the dynamic. After weeks of asking for ways to help, the teacher now allows my wife to come read to the class on one day each month for 30 minutes. My wife is not allowed to be early and must leave as soon as she can after finishing the book. The first few times my wife has done this, the teacher is not even in the room for most of the time.

    On another occasion, my wife was taking my son back to his class after a school sponsored Grandparent's Day lunch. His class was in the computer lab, my wife decided to hang around for a bit and help him log in and get started. Other children asked for her help, so my wife did what she could. My wife asked the teacher which websites they could visit and offered a few that we use at home. This led to a visit from the principal the next day for interfering in the classroom and questioning/critiquing the teacher's curriculum.

    The teacher seems to run a very tight class when it comes to schedules and class time, so parental involvement (except for parties) is not really encouraged from her as it disrupts her routines (another difference with other teachers we've had). We don't really mind this, but it is the lack of information that continues to bother us. He is still our child.

    Thank you for your input on requesting a new teacher. Those are things we had considered, but it is still good to hear them from an experienced voice.
     

Share This Page

Members Online Now

  1. JR.englishmaster,
  2. vickilyn,
  3. Ms.Holyoke,
  4. msleep
Total: 397 (members: 7, guests: 370, robots: 20)
test