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Kid losing his love of math


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#1 amymarie3

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:17 PM

Hey everyone, I have a dilemma. I have a son in public school first grade who started out this school year LOVING Math. For him it was a fun mental challenge that he loved. Now school has squashed his love of math. He has quit trying and is showing a backward slide in his skills. I don't much care for his teacher but she is all I have to work with. She wants a conference to talk about it. Does anyone here have any suggestions as to things I could suggest as options to help him re-find his love of learning and make school more enjoyable for him?

 

We work on math at home and his skills at home seem to be improving at a steady rate but in school she is ready to put him in remedial math even though he is testing as advanced.   I'm getting super frustrated with her lack of really looking at my kid.  Because he doesn't fit directly into any of her little boxes she ignores him.

 

Any talking points that I can bring up during our conference?

 

 



#2 Heigh Ho

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:24 PM

ask her to show you why she is ready to put him in to remedial

Ask what she is doing to make him comfortable participating in the classroom and to view the classroom as a place where one can learn math

#3 EKS

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:41 PM

Does he by any chance dislike writing with a pencil?  Because a lot of school math at that level seems to involve drawing an extraordinary number of little pictures.  Or writing out work that any thinking person can do in their head.


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#4 amymarie3

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 05:55 PM

His biggest problem is that the work he is being asked to do at school is significantly below his ability.    He loves challenges like adding 2 and 3 digit numbers.   At school he is still doing 7+7 and such.   I think he got so bored that he just doesn't care anymore.   He failed a school placement test because he just kept clicking random buttons to get it over with.   


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#5 Have kids -- will travel

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:00 PM

His biggest problem is that the work he is being asked to do at school is significantly below his ability.    He loves challenges like adding 2 and 3 digit numbers.   At school he is still doing 7+7 and such.   I think he got so bored that he just doesn't care anymore.   He failed a school placement test because he just kept clicking random buttons to get it over with.   

 

This can't be the first time a school has had this happen. I'd schedule a meeting quickly before he moves to remedial math.

 

First off, you need to find out why the teacher wants him in remedial math. Is he not paying attention? Is it the placement test scores?

 

Your goal is to get the teacher on your side, and to be 100% on the teacher's side. You are working together to help your child, and you need to completely hear her out.

 

She may say that he needs to go down to remedial math because:

- He's not fast enough with his calculations (could be attention)

- He's not focusing on his work and completing it (could also be attention)

- He's disturbing other children

- Etc.

 

If the placement test is a big deal, ask to have it redone. If possible, redone with one-to-one support. You'll need to talk to your child in advance and explain that if you goof around with the easy problems, they will think you don't know the answer. To get fun work, you need to try your best, even on the easy problems.

 

Otherwise, you'll have to work on getting the teacher to understand that his attention problems relate to the level of math. Don't tell her it's too easy for him (she'll say it isn't). Tell her that he loved math and now seems reluctant. Ask her why she thinks that has happened, why he's less engaged with the material. 

 

In the end, I'd make sure to plant the suggestion that remedial math will make problems worse, rather than better. FWIW, a bright kid I know got moved to the remedial table because he couldn't focus. Turns out he had severe ADHD and needed medication. With medication, he's back at the top table. Working with the teacher will help you best find a way to help your child.


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#6 Ravin

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:29 PM

I would ask for an evaluation for an IEP. They need to do a proper evaluation and determine what the issue is, rather than shove him in remedial and force him to work below his capability.



#7 EndOfOrdinary

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 08:36 PM

Do you have any evidence of him adding two and three digit numbers at home? You would need to allow her to see such a task done at school too, so tat it removes the parent. Many parents severely over help at home and teachers are often leery of the brilliant child who cannot seem to reproduce results at school. (I am not saying that is you. Just giving perspective if she is skeptical.

Could you ask if she has openly discussed with him what he is having trouble with, disliking, or in general finds so difficult?
I would ask waht accomodations she has tried.

If she is so very set on putting him in remedial math, does that involve a different teacher? If it does, it might not be terrible. Hopefully they would see right away that it is not the difficulty which is the problem and send him back. This might be enough of a kick in the butt to actually change something in his traditional classroom.

#8 Heigh Ho

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Posted 27 February 2017 - 09:38 PM

His biggest problem is that the work he is being asked to do at school is significantly below his ability. He loves challenges like adding 2 and 3 digit numbers. At school he is still doing 7+7 and such. I think he got so bored that he just doesn't care anymore. He failed a school placement test because he just kept clicking random buttons to get it over with.


You need to explain placement tests to him, and he needs to do his best. Do not request an achievement test until he cooperates...as soon as you ask they will test so as not to give you any prep time.

At your conference, ask what the school will do if he places out of what is being offered in the classroom.
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#9 SKL

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 01:51 AM

At that age, being able to do math is one thing, keeping up in class is another.  In my kids' case, the teacher led the class through the workbook at a certain pace, and anyone who lost track of the "lecture" for any reason got left behind.  This could happen if the kid was slow to understand, or distracted, or unable to listen / see, but also if she was quick and started daydreaming while waiting for the topic to change.  Another issue is that sometimes the math assignment is more verbal than mathematic.  Sometimes the instructions are unclear or counter-intuitive.  And, one of my kids used to leave some answers blank for no known reason.

 

The first thing you need to know is specifically what your child is not doing in class (or on the tests).  I would ask the teacher to show you examples of his written work, and to walk you through how the math lesson goes and what he's doing during that time.

 

I would also ask for a detailed description of what goes on in remedial math.  How do they individualize, how do they assess progress, what will the kid be missing while in the pull-out?  Would the pull-out services actually address this child's issues?  What exactly is the goal the teacher expects the pull-out to achieve for the child?

 

I would be reluctant to put my advanced kid in remedial math.  I had one kid in the TItle I program (she was not advanced) and it was pretty awful.  They were doing stuff well below her actual knowledge level, using materials that did not align with the class curriculum.  And being pulled out did nothing for her main problem, which was difficulty following along and keeping pace with the regular class.  My kid liked it fine - they gave her candy and treated her nicely - but it was a waste of time.  I still spent about an hour every evening making sure she kept up with the regular class.

 

Remedial math in my experience is not one-on-one / geared to the child's level.  It's a small group arrangement designed to shore up lower-level skills.  The person who taught Title I in our school seemed to have limited abilities herself, and individualization was not one of her talents.  Maybe I'm jaded, but I wouldn't recommend that for a child whose math reasoning skills are not actually behind.



#10 Heigh Ho

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 07:28 AM

One thing my son's first grade teacher did that was helpful was to introduce the concept of proof. Very helpful for the state assessments, and for helping struggling classmates. For us, once the school psych became involved, the principal lifted the ban on enrichment and that material was offered.

Another helpful thing is to explain the teacher's job to your child. Teacher must get everyone to know x,y,z so if you already do, your goal is to get as fast as dad. If he is, you can offer enrichment at home that will give him something to think about after he whips thru his seatwork. Clock is a good one if his classroom has a functioning clock. I have seen skeptics drop their jaws when they realize that a tyke is soothing a hungry classmate by offhandly saying, its ten minutes until lunchtime, and noticing it really is ten minutes till lunchtime.

#11 amymarie3

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 11:53 AM

You need to explain placement tests to him, and he needs to do his best. Do not request an achievement test until he cooperates...as soon as you ask they will test so as not to give you any prep time.

At your conference, ask what the school will do if he places out of what is being offered in the classroom.

 

Our school does not offer any options for 1-3 graders who place outside of what is offered in the classroom.  They are expected to continue at the highest level offered within the classroom, regardless of ability.



#12 vonfirmath

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 01:38 PM

Our school does not offer any options for 1-3 graders who place outside of what is offered in the classroom.  They are expected to continue at the highest level offered within the classroom, regardless of ability.

 

The school doesn't -- but often the teacher can offer challenges.

 

When my son was in 1st grade, for instance, his teacher had his group in the class trying to come up with words with specified values -- where each letter was worth the same number of points as its position in the alphabet.  While other class members were practicing their addition.  Challenges like that kept math fun even though they were not speeding ahead on what they were learning.

 

My daughter is not SO far ahead on her math. But since she's ahead of most of the class, even her teacher is differentiating lessons for her class so she is still challenged to think about numbers.  I see picture after picture (in ClassDojo) of photos she has taken with the class ipad camera to post of mathematical relationships.  She builds the relationship, takes a picture, and then types in the caption on what the photo is showing.

 


Edited by vonfirmath, 28 February 2017 - 01:42 PM.


#13 Heigh Ho

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Posted 28 February 2017 - 01:39 PM

That is the official policy. you will have to look at the politics to see what the other options are. Perhaps there are other, unadvertised opportunities...science fair, etc.

Edited by Heigh Ho, 28 February 2017 - 02:30 PM.