Strategies for inattention

Discussion in 'Second Grade' started by BethG, Feb 21, 2009.

  1. BethG

    BethG Rookie

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    Feb 21, 2009

    Hi,
    I'm a junior high/ fourth grade (yes, sounds weird!) reading specialist. I taught fourth grade self contained for 16 years, but.... I'm posting here as a mom of a second grader. I'm well acquainted with appropriate strategies for inattentive behavior among fourth grade (and older) students. What things are appropriate to do with second graders? At home during homework time, I set a kitchen timer for small chunks. I give homework breaks (ex.: write 3 sentences and do five jumping jacks, she works well for silly stuff!). What's appropriate to suggest for her to do at school? I haven't gotten any suggestions from her teacher and I feel like I need to try to offer my daughter some tips to try to work better while she's at school.
    THANKS!!
     
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  3. RainStorm

    RainStorm Aficionado

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    Feb 21, 2009

    I'm not sure I understand. Does your daughter's teacher think your daughter is being inattentive in class? If so, can you give some examples. I'm not sure why a teacher would need a parent to come up with classroom strategies for dealing with classroom inattentiveness. That concerns me a bit. Some specific examples your daughter's inattentiveness in class and how it is impacting her learning would help.
     
  4. BethG

    BethG Rookie

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    Feb 21, 2009

    For the third time this year, each time following my inquiries about large homework amounts, the teacher has let me know that she is unfocused in class. She has said she's a dreamer, which does not surprise me since I employ my own tricks during homework time at home. The teacher has not asked me to come up with ideas but she has not necessarily been open to trying different re-cueing "tricks" in class. So, I feel like I'd like to try to give my daughter some of her own tips to try to keep herself on task. When we've discussed her inattentive/ dreamy behavior, the teacher responds by saying that she just needs to pay attention. All I've thought of right now is to try to give her a number to shoot for in completing an assignment. For example, if she has spelling sentences to write in class that day, her goal should be five sentences instead of two. Given how far we are in the year and the fact that this is the third time this has come up this year with no definitive solutions, I really don't want to make waves with the teacher. That's why I'm trying to equip my daughter as best I can. Thanks for asking for clarification!
     
  5. Dawnathome

    Dawnathome Rookie

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    Feb 21, 2009

    Goals help. I was a dreamy student through most of school. When I did my best was when there were very clear and short terms goals to meet. NOT rewards but something like a sign-off sheet for those who completed a math worksheet on a given morning. Something I could see my own progress on. It would have to change though. One day a sign-off sheet on the wall, another day a log book to bring home for a parent to see...That sort of thing so that it didn't become to routine.

    When you don't know how to anchor your attention it really helps to have what you need to focus on cut up into small pieces. It's rather like walking. Babies don't learn by running a marathon. they start by taking a step towards a very specific goal.

    The other thing was that although it drove my teachers batty and got me in trouble at times, I had to have something else to do to keep myself focused. Most of the time that was doodling in my notebooks. It would look like I wasn't paying attention but it actually grounded me. It was when I didn't have that activity that I would truly be daydreaming. Maybe something to keep her hands busy would help.

    Ultimately I was diagnosed with ADD and ritalin was a huge help. I honestly didn't understand what people meant when they told me to focus until I first tried ritalin. Once I'd experienced it I could work on strategies myself that would help me even off the ritalin.

    I don't know if any of this helps but I thought I'd throw it out there.
     
  6. corney

    corney Companion

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    Feb 23, 2009

    BethG, as a mom with a 2nd grader who can't seem to pay attention I feel for you. Her teacher has put it all back on my daughter and in my opinion has pretty much given up and has no idea how to keep my daughters attention and she is the ESE teacher.. I'm going to have to keep my daughter back and have her repeat second grade, possibly in a different school.. If you find any solutions, please share them with me.. I'm at a loss at what I should do.
     
  7. Dawnathome

    Dawnathome Rookie

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Have you thought about some afterschooling? I'm going to assume homeschooling isn't an option since you didn't mention it but I'm on a homeschooling board (Well Trained Mind) where there are lots of moms who supplement school work to help kids that are struggling in their classes.

    Having you beside her, snuggling on the couch while she does a colourful workbook might help her focus and her knowledge of current work. Touch and being the center of someone's attention can really help a person stay on task. She shouldn't have to give up grading or her school because of one teacher's attitude.
     
  8. corney

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    Feb 23, 2009

    Dawn, my daughter goes to a tutor once a week. She does well as you say because it's a one on one situation. Because my daughter isn't really paying attention in class she struggles doing her home work so she and I clash big time. I don't know if she isn't paying attention because she doesn't understand the work or if it's just that she isn't interested in it.. her struggles are all reading related.. math she does well in, not stellar but far better then her reading.
     
  9. Touchthefuture

    Touchthefuture Comrade

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    Feb 27, 2009

    A couple other ideas. Make little signs for her desks with visuals. They can say "pay attention" or "Complete assignments" These might help remind her and break her out of her daydreaming. I would also ask the teacher to assign a peer tutor who can repeat the directions and help keep your daughter on task. It should probably be a student sitting next to her so it is not too disruptive.
     
  10. corney

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    Feb 27, 2009

    Thanks I'll do that.

    My daughter is not one to ask for help but she is not understanding the work so I have told he has to raise her hand and ask for help.. she tells me last night she did raise her hand and asked the teacher this week for help. She said her teacher told her she couldn't help her.. now she won't ask anymore cause she thinks she won't get help..
     
  11. Touchthefuture

    Touchthefuture Comrade

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    Feb 27, 2009

    I hope that the teacher did not read it that way. I know on tests we can only do so much help but I never say like "I cannot help". They do get confused sometimes with these things due to the inconsistancy but it hard to avoid. She might be more favorable to ask a peer. Good luck!
     
  12. WaProvider

    WaProvider Fanatic

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    Feb 27, 2009

    I have to say that although I am an ECE teacher, I have my own older children all with varied amounts of ADD/ADHD.* It has been my experience that the children do better when the teacher is willing to help.* It does concern me that the teacher said she couldn't help.* I have run across that many many times.* With my middle childs diagnosis I had to make a 504 to explain to the staff that we needed to find ways to make this placement work rather then will the child into an attentive state.* It is going to be better for us now I hope.* Please, teachers, regarless of age, think outside the box and continue to try to reach the students.* I know you do, but to the children that struggle it is even more important.To the parents, please remember to continue to champion for the children.ECE is a great place for the energy, but they do grow.* Our program tries to instill in the children and families tricks to make later placement work-so no on feels alone. Not the teachers, the parents or the children.:hugs:
     
  13. adellesmama

    adellesmama Companion

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    Apr 15, 2009

    Something I've used in my classroom with inattentive students is to ask them to "Beat the Clock" by working to finish a worksheet or activity in a certain amount of time. I don't know if you'd want to ask the teacher in this case to do this (I would set a timer and that would get the student focused and working like mad to get it done before the timer sounded), but you could teach your daughter to see watch the clock in the room and set a goal for each five-minute increment that passes...maybe to see how many problems she can get done in the first five minutes and then try to beat that "score" in the next five minutes. I don't know if that will help, but I thought I'd put that idea out there.
     
  14. BethG

    BethG Rookie

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    Apr 15, 2009

    I never thought of that idea- having her look at the clock! I actually tried leaving her a note in her folder. It said "Open if you get to number ___ on your sentences." Inside was a note with a little reward she could "cash in on" at home that night. She loved it and looked for a note the following week on sentence day. Thanks for your responses. This forum does so much to put my mind at ease and help me think of new alternatives!!
     
  15. corney

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    Apr 16, 2009

    My daughter is time tested so much that it freaks her out.. now when she has to do something timed she rushes and just guesses at the answers, ususlly ending in a failing grade. If she is given enough time to complete her work without feeling rushed she does a much better job.. Getting her to focus and listen to the instruction the teacher is giving on a subject(s) she has no interest in is the challange. Everything is boring, unless it is FUN.. I have asked the teacher over and over again to engage her personally.. give her a Megan only job that keeps her focused on whats going on, but it's falling on deaf ears..
     
  16. tgim

    tgim Habitué

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    Apr 18, 2009

    I have used a timer that looks like a clock face but has 5 minute increments all the way to 60 minutes (which would be too long for 2nd grade!), and when you move the hand to set it, the space moved past fills in w/ red so it is a strong visual cue as they see the red decreasing...

    I have had an ADD student be in charge of the timer, so when I say they have 10 minutes to work on something, he would go set the timer for us. I kept it on an extra desk which also happened to be in the front of the room and directly in front of this student.;)

    Another strategy will require the teacher's help - but it has worked for a few students. I have privately written the start time on the student's page at the top when I tell them to work independently, then when s/he is finished I write the ending time. If I have to move the class on, I write the stop time and then a new start time when s/he is able to come back to this. It actually got to the point that this student could write in his own start time - good math practice for telling time to the minute - and would only come to me for the ending time. You could even get the student to fill in that, and just initial that it's correct. Plus, it is something concrete for both the student and parents to use to know how much time was allowed/used/possibly wasted. :unsure:

    As for inattention during instruction, our 1st grade teachers attended a statewide conference and came back touting "wiggle sticks" which are really just pipe cleaners that students are allowed to use to keep their hands busy during instruction. I haven't tried it - but they say it hasn't added to the inattention but has helped them attend.

    I'd say inattentiveness isn't going away in our culture anytime soon so we definitely need more strategies for coping with it! Keep us posted on what works for you, BethG. :thumb:
     

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