Slacking Student

Discussion in 'Elementary Education' started by iteachbx, Dec 19, 2014.

  1. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 19, 2014

    I looped with my students this year. One of my highest students seems to be going through something lately. She ended 3rd grade reading on practically a 6th grade reading level. She's a stellar math student. She's mature, responsible and caring. She genuinely applauds/celebrates her classmates' accomplishments. She's that one student you just want to clone.

    That is how I would describe her pre-parent teacher conferences. Since then she's started to slack off. It started with one or two missed assignment. They were minor assignments, a book club in addition to her regular homework. I let that slide a little bit, made her make up the missing work at lunch. I asked her if anything was going on at home, she said. Then it got worse. We contacted her mom. Mom says nothing has changed at home She comes a great family, mom got on top of it. Nothing we've done, taking away privileges such a chorus, basketball, etc., contacting home, etc. has worked. She gets upset when we speak to her about it and how disappointed we are in her, but nothing changes. She claims she didn't do work "because it was too hard" when I known darn well this is not the case.

    I think part of it has to do with her ego getting a little bit, being the highest student in the class (although there are other high students who push her and challenge her) she thought she could let things slide. Now it's starting to impact her grades. I'm also starting to wonder if it's just the age (4th grade) or just her looking for more attention. I felt like prior to all of this she was getting lots of positive attention (maybe she felt differently and didn't feel she was getting enough attention?) but now all the attention is negative. Is it positive she doesn't care she just wants attention? (She's a middle child at home- has an older brother who I believe is pretty high achieving and a much younger brother.)

    Thoughts? I'm at a loss for what to do and this child has such a promising future I want to get her back on the right track.
     
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  3. hollydoris

    hollydoris Rookie

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    Dec 22, 2014

    Could possibly be an attention thing. In my experience, even my highest students have gone through funks here and there (I loop too.)

    Could she possibly be a little bored? I would maybe try and think about how she really thrives (is she really artistic? musical? sporty? etc) and see if she can't do some of her assignments in a new way. Maybe assign a project that will get her creative juices flowing and motivate her.
     
  4. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Dec 22, 2014

    My first guess is that she's decided the work is too easy for her.
     
  5. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 23, 2014

    If she has decided the work is too easy for her she's now paying the price because her grades are starting to slip. Do you think that will be enough to get her back on track, seeing the slipping grades?

    I started a dialogue journal with her. We're reading the same book together that's a bit above her level so definitely a challenge and high above most of the other students in the class. We write letters back and forth about the chapters we read. It's going great so far. I'm not sure if I should use it hold it over her head- ie if she doesn't do her other hw I don't write back to her. Or if I should just keep going with it no matter what and hope it's creating some kind of different motivation for her.
     
  6. gr3teacher

    gr3teacher Phenom

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    Dec 23, 2014

    Instead of using the dialogue journal as a carrot, use it as differentiation. Get a nice rubric for it, give her some expectations, and let her do it in place of work that she isn't really going to benefit from. Make it an independent novel study. She'll benefit much more from that than she would from something she perceives as busywork.

    Truthfully, I think the idea of grades are really too abstract to serve as an overly effective motivator for elementary students. Any grade motivation would come from mom, not from you. If contacting mom about slipping grades didn't do the trick, I think that grades will probably be a dead end for you.

    What enrichment opportunities are being provided for her? Other than this novel, how are her needs being met? Like I said... my gut feeling is that she considers the work too hard, so you need to find a way to break through that particular wall.
     
  7. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 26, 2014

    Everything we do is differentiated. She's in a book club that challenged her with 4 other students. She's not an early finisher in anything because everything we do is tailored for her and the other advanced students. Example, independent math work we make worksheets that are challenging for each group of students. Hers are usually open ended or multi step problems. In writing she's writing the same research paper as everyone else but she's using the internet to gather her information, creating her own graphic organizer and writing more paragraphs than the other students. It's not like she's doing the same work as everyone else, finishing early and sitting around doing busywork.
     
  8. olivecoffee

    olivecoffee Companion

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    Dec 26, 2014

    What if she had an opportunity to create/publish her own work in lieu of a tailored worksheet once a week or to demonstrate her understanding of a concept? I'm wondering if this would motivate her. In math, for instance, maybe she can record herself "teaching" the concept she learned that week using a whiteboard or an app (such as Educreations) on the iPad. Educreations is like a digital whiteboard on the iPad that allows the user to record their voice while working, so it records what's being written down and voiced. Maybe she can use this to solve a problem and talk through it for homework. She can show it to students who are on the same level or her parents.

    How would she feel about recording a speech/presentation of the research paper for you after she's done the research? It can be submitted in addition or in lieu of the paper.
     
  9. iteachbx

    iteachbx Enthusiast

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    Dec 27, 2014

    I like that idea. I will have to check out that app. Thanks.
     

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