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This boy may be a genius


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I have spent the last 6 years of my life trying to help my youngest son understand that the directions occur at the top of the page or before tasks, exercises or problem sets for a reason, and that the reason for this format is because the instructions are meant to be read before you begin and followed as you complete the tasks, exercises of problem sets.

You know. If the instructions on a page say: "Find the quotient for the problems below." Then you're supposed to actually find the quotients.
|But if they say "Explain why the Boston Massacre is a misnomer in complete sentences" then you're supposed to actually write complete sentences that explain why the name "Boston Massacre" doesn't fit the event that took place in Boston. You know, tricky, challenging things like reading the friggin directions and then doing what they directed you to do.

For the last 6 years, Pal has used several evasive maneuvers to avoid reading the directions. These methods have proved consistent failures because they result in rework, but he's made a valiant career of staring at the problem sets or the blank lines beneath the actual instructions and pondering helpless what it is exactly he's supposed to actually do. After a moment of directionless-ness, he will usually take charge of the situation by doing 1 of 3 things.
1) Just doing something and then become indignant when I reject and reassign the assignment because it wasn't completed correctly.
2) Call me over and ask "What am I supposed to do?" as if he can't read or as if the directions aren't written on the page in front of him.
3) Procrastinate until I notice that he's off-task and ask him about his work to which he will reply "But I don't know what I'm supposed to do for that page. I didn't want to do it wrong so I was waiting."

Today, Pal commented (and very casually too) "You know what, so long as I read them carefully, I can do the work right the first time and I don't have to waste time redoing it. I just have to read and follow the directions--they're usually on the page anyway." I stared at him dumbfounded. Absolutely shell-shocked.

I think that there may be hope for him yet.

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Oh, my, the epiphanies they have. 😂

Had you ever given him that famous direction-following exercise that starts by saying "Read through all the directions before starting," then gives you 10-15 weird tasks like drawing pentagons and doing sums and otherwise filling the page with marks and drawings, and then the very last line is to "disregard all the previous things and just sign your name at the bottom" (of what should be an otherwise blank page).  And then 99% of the students fill their pages before realizing they weren't supposed to do any of it...

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I actually have given each of my students a math test that has in the instructions, "Read through all of the problems before beginning work."  Then at the end of the test there is an instruction to "Draw a happy face here and show it to your mother.  If you do this before doing any other work, you will receive extra credit."

You would not believe how many of my students have not gotten extra credit.

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16 minutes ago, Matryoshka said:

Oh, my, the epiphanies they have. 😂

Had you ever given him that famous direction-following exercise that starts by saying "Read through all the directions before starting," then gives you 10-15 weird tasks like drawing pentagons and doing sums and otherwise filling the page with marks and drawings, and then the very last line is to "disregard all the previous things and just sign your name at the bottom" (of what should be an otherwise blank page).  And then 99% of the students fill their pages before realizing they weren't supposed to do any of it...

I did some thing like that to them several years ago. They bombed the test and man it was funny. I tried it on them again a few years ago with a slightly more sophisticated version and Pal actually caught on. But it didn't transfer into him doing it as a normal, every day thing.

But this morning he really said it like it had just occurred to him. As if he hadn't heard it multiple times every school day and then argued about it every other school day for the last 6 years. He really said it like it was a epiphany. There was a little note of wonder in his voice.

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46 minutes ago, Gil said:

I have spent the last 6 years of my life trying to help my youngest son understand that the directions occur at the top of the page or before tasks, exercises or problem sets for a reason, and that the reason for this format is because the instructions are meant to be read before you begin and followed as you complete the tasks, exercises of problem sets.

You know. If the instructions on a page say: "Find the quotient for the problems below." Then you're supposed to actually find the quotients.
|But if they say "Explain why the Boston Massacre is a misnomer in complete sentences" then you're supposed to actually write complete sentences that explain why the name "Boston Massacre" doesn't fit the event that took place in Boston. You know, tricky, challenging things like reading the friggin directions and then doing what they directed you to do.

For the last 6 years, Pal has used several evasive maneuvers to avoid reading the directions. These methods have proved consistent failures because they result in rework, but he's made a valiant career of staring at the problem sets or the blank lines beneath the actual instructions and pondering helpless what it is exactly he's supposed to actually do. After a moment of directionless-ness, he will usually take charge of the situation by doing 1 of 3 things.
1) Just doing something and then become indignant when I reject and reassign the assignment because it wasn't completed correctly.
2) Call me over and ask "What am I supposed to do?" as if he can't read or as if the directions aren't written on the page in front of him.
3) Procrastinate until I notice that he's off-task and ask him about his work to which he will reply "But I don't know what I'm supposed to do for that page. I didn't want to do it wrong so I was waiting."

Today, Pal commented (and very casually too) "You know what, so long as I read them carefully, I can do the work right the first time and I don't have to waste time redoing it. I just have to read and follow the directions--they're usually on the page anyway." I stared at him dumbfounded. Absolutely shell-shocked.

I think that there may be hope for him yet.

🤣

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29 minutes ago, Gil said:

I did some thing like that to them several years ago. They bombed the test and man it was funny. I tried it on them again a few years ago with a slightly more sophisticated version and Pal actually caught on. But it didn't transfer into him doing it as a normal, every day thing.

But this morning he really said it like it had just occurred to him. As if he hadn't heard it multiple times every school day and then argued about it every other school day for the last 6 years. He really said it like it was a epiphany. There was a little note of wonder in his voice.

I really think that Charlie Brown had it right, and all they hear from us is "Wa wa wa wa..."  😂

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One of my adult dc called me about a month into college with a truly amazing discovery that I simply HAD to share with the younger dc: taking notes during class helps you remember stuff.  'Cause, you know, I'd never mentioned that to any of them before. 🙄  
 

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False alarm everyone.

As of this morning he officially forgot about printed instructions. That they exist, that they are too be read--the whole 9 yards.

Oddly enough, it made me feel better to see that he ignores common-sense advice even from himself.

 

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