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1shortmomto4

Teaching Strategies Needed

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My dd has had a whirlwind of excitement over the past 2 weeks!  She is graduating in May with her Education degree with her provisional teaching license (our state requires a Masters - she's over halfway there with that!) and was given a very challenging 1st grade classroom.  She went in as a sub and 2 days later principal moved mountains to have her take over the job.  Teacher had been absent most of the year so kids are verrrrryyyy behind.  She is working hard on bringing them up to grade level and they are responding well.  There were subs who actually refused to stay in the room or come the next day because they said the kids were horrible.  Well, my dd comes in (I've coined her the Mary Poppins of teaching) and by lunch time the kids were calm and behaved.  People were shocked when, at the end of the day, she was asked if she was coming back and she said Yes, of course!  Well, now that the kids are settling down and she is there full time the kids are beginning to test the boundaries - which, my gal is a strong-willed gal so they don't get far!  But she has this one little gem that she'd like to reach but thus far the behaviors haven't improved and nothing is working.  Does she have any paperwork to document any disabilities - she has an aide that comes in sporadically but my dd says that she really can do the work but defiantly chooses not to - beginning with putting her name on a sheet of paper.  Yesterday the class was 15 minutes because she wouldn't cooperate.  She refuses to write - anything.  Won't copy from the white board.  But she can do it when the aide is sitting right next to her - but there is a lot of cajoling to get it done.  They had an outline of a 5 line - only write 1 word poem and my dd helped her come up with the words for the blanks, wrote them on a white board for her to copy - refused.  The minute they are handed a project/worksheet - immediately the "I can't do it" comes out and refuses to even give it a try.  She also has melt downs immediately with peers or teacher/aides when she doesn't want to do something or it doesn't go her way.  There is talk of retention.  So, anybody have any strategies she might try to achieve some success in reaching this young student?  She's tried most of the ones I've used over the years with my ds (ASD) but not working here. 

My dd is so in love with the kids - they've immediately become hers.  Another student rarely speaks, rarely gets work done and requires an aide that comes in throughout the day to help get the work done - is talking and doing work on his own!  My little Mary Poppins is taking the teaching world by storm but sure could use some strategies to reach this little one.

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I'm reading this book right now and it has a chapter on power dynamics and individual chapters on each of 6 motivational approaches. The author has taught intervention and principaled schools I think 

                                            The Motivation Breakthrough: 6 Secrets to Turning On the Tuned-Out Child                                     

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Can the aide scribe for her?  Sometimes if you do my turn, your turn it cuts the mental overhead down because there is an end to the torture and they can build on success. First word: Student writes one letter, aide writes the next.  Ramp it up over time, just like partner reading. Aide needs to pay attention to student's comments..might have hurt fingers, might have difficulty writing, etc in order to get a clue as to what the real problem is. Hi five success -- does she use an easy button, stickers, something positive?

Meltdowns or tantrums?  Put a picture schedule on desk, and have a good transition routine.

How much people contact does student have?  Its awfully isolating to have no conversation at all. Is there a social skills group student can join?  Ask psych for help with positive behavior support.

 

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I believe they are meltdowns.  The aide does write for her but when the aide or my dd asks her to try she flat out refuses and digs in.  At this point she refuses to do anything at all.  Not sure how she made it to Kindergarten!  It would be nice if my dd had more info to work with on helping her but thus far those "files" seem to be under lock and key and only the original teacher has the access but refuses to return the keys to the school (looooonnnngggg story-which hopefully ends on Monday).  Overall these kids have had 1 horrible year and my dd is trying her best to fix what she can and get them ready and up to speed for 2nd grade - before the end of June!

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I'm losing track of the situation, but I'll just say that my ds would be that way with those expectations. The school system is slower to assign scribes than the reality of the dc needs. They only just put a scribe for my ds for going into 4th even though it was just as obvious earlier. They want to keep trying. 

And my ds, fwiw, turns out to have this wicked horrible visual motor integration. He's had tons of OT and is getting OT. If I showed you the page he wrote yesterday in OT, it was like blow your mind bad. She had him make a project and wanted him to write 5 sentences to go with it. It was almost illegible and very short, even with high supports. When I did the project at home, I wrote out hs dictation and had him copy. That he could do and turn out something ok. So I think the OT needed to see that. At this point we only have the most brief, functional goals.

If the dc does have really severe issues, yeah there's going to be that lag before a scribe or tech is assigned and he would have had tons of behaviors if someone made him write more. It's just not his reality.

The teacher can refer for evals and push that end to get OT, psych eval, etc. 

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I'm currently student teaching in first grade, and I'm shocked (and honestly kind of appalled) at how much the kids are expected to write.  They spend a TON of time copying and a ton of time doing various kinds of journals (for math, reading, science).  However, there has been literally zero handwriting instruction that I have seen, and very few kids form letters correctly.  A bunch of them hold their pencils in fists.  It's insane, but they're expected to produce this staggering amount of writing.  My kids, even my NT gifted kid, would have absolutely thrown a fit at being asked to write half as much as they do.  (Honestly, she's a people pleaser and huge into herd effect, so if she'd been in school in first, she probably would have done it.  But she would have hated it.  My ASD kid would have absolutely, flat refused.  Copying is still hard for her at almost 14.  

Honestly, the reason it seems like to me our first graders are being asked to do all this writing is because it kills time.  We spend so much time working with kids one on one or in small groups that we have to have something to occupy the other kids.  So they write (and color).  From a classroom management perspective, I get it.  Heck, a lot of the time that we have to spend one on one or in small groups is to do interminable testing.  (And it's really interminable.)  So the kids spend a TON of time on things to waste their time.  It's fine motor hell.  

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14 hours ago, Terabith said:

I'm currently student teaching in first grade, and I'm shocked (and honestly kind of appalled) at how much the kids are expected to write.  They spend a TON of time copying and a ton of time doing various kinds of journals (for math, reading, science).  However, there has been literally zero handwriting instruction that I have seen, and very few kids form letters correctly.  A bunch of them hold their pencils in fists.  It's insane, but they're expected to produce this staggering amount of writing.  My kids, even my NT gifted kid, would have absolutely thrown a fit at being asked to write half as much as they do.  (Honestly, she's a people pleaser and huge into herd effect, so if she'd been in school in first, she probably would have done it.  But she would have hated it.  My ASD kid would have absolutely, flat refused.  Copying is still hard for her at almost 14.  

Honestly, the reason it seems like to me our first graders are being asked to do all this writing is because it kills time.  We spend so much time working with kids one on one or in small groups that we have to have something to occupy the other kids.  So they write (and color).  From a classroom management perspective, I get it.  Heck, a lot of the time that we have to spend one on one or in small groups is to do interminable testing.  (And it's really interminable.)  So the kids spend a TON of time on things to waste their time.  It's fine motor hell.  

 

I agree.  My dc were a little better off because AR was available. I don't know what the theory is behind the copy work, but with no penmanship instruction it just turns into art class, making me think they want to develop observational skills in the most frustrating, tedious way possible. My dc were pretty good at sketching once they were done with copying sentences.  I found out later that most parents are doing penmanship instruction at home.

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Well Friday went really well.  Everyone was learning, laughing and enjoying the day.  I think that the kids, who had gone on for quite some time without any consistency of a teacher, just really lost their way.  They had no boundaries, no rules, and no one in the room that really cared about them.  That has all changed now.  My dd is working mighty fierce to provide a great learning environment to finish up the year.  There is a buzz in the school about this young woman and teachers from the upper level have come down to introduce themselves and meet this teacher who is taking this classroom by storm.  😉 

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It sounds to me like power struggle issues.  Why make her write at all if this is what happens (for the time being anyway).  If she can be co-operative and learn to trust the adult, maybe that is what she is needing right now. She can dictate, and the adult writes for her, that can be the goal for now. 

Make a big deal that her ideas are good. Point out punctuation and caps as you go along...that is teaching right there.     There may be all kinds of issues at home.  Besides, she has had a lack of consistency in teachers this year, so it may take her more time than others to adjust. Is there a counselor in the school that can help?

After she dictates, type up 1 sentence.   Cut it apart in phrases.  See if she will put the sentence together correctly and see if she will glue it down.  Ok, so there is her sentence, and she did some of it...she co-operated...(yes, this may take longer, but to get her to co-operate in some way should be the goal, not making her write the sentence.)   After awhile, cut apart each word and have her glue them down...

In other words, celebrate her co-operation and small successes.  

I remember subbing ages ago and had a young student who refused to write in his journal.  I made a bargain with him that he only had to write 1 sentence.  He wrote something like:  I hate you.   I guess he figured he had the upper hand.  I smiled and rewarded him because after all,  he had done as I had asked. I only needed 1 sentence-and I got it!😉

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On 3/29/2019 at 2:11 PM, Terabith said:

I'm currently student teaching in first grade, and I'm shocked (and honestly kind of appalled) at how much the kids are expected to write.  They spend a TON of time copying and a ton of time doing various kinds of journals (for math, reading, science).  However, there has been literally zero handwriting instruction that I have seen, and very few kids form letters correctly.  A bunch of them hold their pencils in fists.  It's insane, but they're expected to produce this staggering amount of writing. 

 

I hear you on this.  I just went back to teaching after raising my family after 20 years and feel the exact same way-even expecting kindergarten students to write opinion paragraphs-ugh!   It is so sad how they (common core) are killing the desire to learn.  And you are right, they are not teaching handwriting instruction and letter formation.  I spent so much time correcting second graders on where to begin lower case a, and how to make a lower case n-most are making a small hill-what is that??!

Pre-skills should be taught for easier success later on, instead of the absurd writing skills they are expecting at an earlier age.  I'm so glad my kids are not being exposed to all of this nonsense!

I feel bad for this generation of kiddos, who may not have been exposed to the love of learning like in our day.  Skills are not developmentally appropriate and are one of the reasons why I do not desire to teach in a general ed public school.  I don't agree with the philosophy. 

 

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Just a quick update - things are going very, very well in her classroom.  They've gotten into a routine, they understand the expectations and all are learning.  My dd is definitely exhausted at the end of the day (and 3 nights per week she heads off to a lecture hall to finish up her college courses!) but she is seeing positive progress.  She has teachers that have come to support and encourage her.  The principal has recognized her and her works and the change in the kids.  Apparently they have been the top behaved class in the lunch room for 2 weeks and counting! and everyone thought it was just luck that 19 kids with a slew of issues were all placed into the same classroom and hence poor behavior.  The kiddos just needed boundaries, patience and expectations that are followed through on.  This has been one awesome experience that is nothing short of God having His hand on this - each and every day!  Those kiddos that had learning/behavior issues - much of those have disappeared and it was discovered that 1 student was actually gifted in math.  The student needed challenged with higher order/logic thinking skills.  Everyone had been focusing on the bad behaviors by all the kids - until little Miss Mary Poppins (as I lovingly call her) showed up!  I'm so excited that I get to witness this young woman bloom in the classroom and pursue her passion!

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Great update!!

For the child that does not like to write much, use my letter tiles, also the whole class could do them: first my chart, review sounds daily, use little cards instead of writing.  Everyone in class could use them for a few days, then those with trouble writing use them most of class and write a bit at some point, maybe one on one while class is playing a math game or my phonics concentration game in groups.

Free to print, fun to color in.

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/40LChartsCombined.pdf

My game, also free to print:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Phonics/concentrationgam.html

Phonics bookmarks:

http://www.thephonicspage.org/On Reading/Resources/40LBookmarks.pdf

The kids could play "go to the dump" in groups while working with people who need extra help after she teaches it, she could use a normal deck A, 2, 3...9 and use the A as a 1, then you only have cards that make 10.  She could also print some decks of number cards on card stock.

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On April 10, 2019 at 10:39 AM, 1shortmomto4 said:

it was discovered that 1 student was actually gifted in math.  The student needed challenged with higher order/logic thinking skills.

This is SO TRUE!! My ds has SLDs, but he lights when you give him Tang math and things that make him think. 

 

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