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    #111596 - 09/12/11 05:39 PM Am I crazy?
    Eleanor05 Offline

    Registered: 12/17/09
    Posts: 69
    Where to begin. My DS7 is in the 4th week of 2nd grade. It is painfully easy. So easy, in fact, I think a lot of the kids are finding it painful. I had a brief discussion with the teacher and followed up with email. She was commenting on DS's inability to attend to things and I was commenting on the level of academics. One point I was particularly concerned with were the books DS had chosen for quiet reading time. They were instructed to pick a "just right book" from the class library. Some of the books he picked had one sentence on each page. At home he is on the 4th book of the Percy Jackson series. When I asked about his book choices she said she does not have many higher level books out at this point, but they are right behind the curtain! I then asked her if there is an educational reason for not offering the more advanced books now, and can I send a book to school with DS. This is her reply:

    "1. From an educational standpoint I choose not to give too many reading choices at the beginning of the year because I find, even though we review "just right books," that students tend to want to read harder books. This does not apply to all students, as some are ready for the challenge. Some students desperately want to read a chapter book but are honestly not there yet. They might see peers who are ready for that step and then decide they do also. This limitation allows me time to asses students and then accurately guide them with their bin suggestions. Once all reading assessments are finished then students will be allowed to read from the appropriate bins. I prefer students chose the books I provide our classroom library because I have read them and am familiar with their content."

    I find this preposterous, but need to check with you all. I'm emotionally charged.

    She writes, "students tend to want to read harder books" and thinks it's a bad thing. Really?!?!?!?


    #111599 - 09/12/11 05:56 PM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    Belle Offline

    Registered: 03/15/08
    Posts: 435
    I got SO tired of hearing that nonsense to the point that we are now in our 4th year of homeschooling. Total baloney! I taught for quite a number of years and children should have access to all levels of books NOT until the teacher is able to assess them all. Total balhooey and makes me SO angry that there are SO many teachers out there with this opinion. When my DS8 was in Montessori PreK when he was 4 - he was already reading books and I will never, ever forget the day he was SO excited about sharing a new book to his teacher. The LUNATIC actually got upset at him and told me in front of him that we shouldn't allow him to read books at this level because what was he going to do in the classroom - for months after that my DS was actually scared to go to bookstores and get new books because he thought his teacher would get upset at him again. I would honestly sit down again with the teacher and ask someone else to sit in on the meeting like the Reading specialist if there is one and see if there was a way that she can get the assessment completed now

    #111622 - 09/13/11 05:44 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    Eleanor05 Offline

    Registered: 12/17/09
    Posts: 69
    Thank you. We have a meeting with the principal tomorrow. I need to make a plan.

    #111624 - 09/13/11 06:09 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    Kate Offline

    Registered: 02/24/10
    Posts: 462
    Loc: Florida
    You aren't crazy, that sounds terrible! It was like our 3rd grade teacher telling us that kids like to read harder books and skip over words they don't know so they don't have good comprehension, so they should read lower level books. It makes no sense! I do not understand teachers who don't encourage kids to fly as high as they want.

    #111626 - 09/13/11 06:41 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    JonLaw Offline

    Registered: 07/29/11
    Posts: 2007
    Loc: The Sub-Tropics
    This reminds me of a conflict I had with my first grade teacher. I explained that I was quite able to read actual chapter books.

    I recall winning that battle by proving I was able to read them.

    In your situation, I think the teacher is way off base. Although it probably doesn't do much good to fight too aggressively unless you can get a group of parents together to prove that the teacher is way off base.

    #111628 - 09/13/11 06:51 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    NCPMom Offline

    Registered: 10/10/09
    Posts: 247
    No, you're not at all crazy. The teachers who are of that opinion are. Look forward to hearing what the principal has to say smile

    #111635 - 09/13/11 07:38 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    Cecilia Offline

    Registered: 01/07/09
    Posts: 159
    Ughhhhhh!!!!! Rooting for you Eleanor05 smile

    #111636 - 09/13/11 07:49 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    Cricket2 Offline

    Registered: 05/11/09
    Posts: 2172
    Loc: Colorado
    This part in particular:

    "Some students desperately want to read a chapter book but are honestly not there yet. They might see peers who are ready for that step and then decide they do also."

    sounds like "we are going to hold back the higher achieving kids in order to avoid making the kids who can't keep up with them feel bad or try to do things for which they aren't yet ready."
    Study Strategies for Accelerated Learners

    #111639 - 09/13/11 08:05 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Cricket2]
    Bostonian Offline

    Registered: 02/14/10
    Posts: 2639
    Loc: MA
    Originally Posted By: Cricket2
    This part in particular:

    "Some students desperately want to read a chapter book but are honestly not there yet. They might see peers who are ready for that step and then decide they do also."

    sounds like "we are going to hold back the higher achieving kids in order to avoid making the kids who can't keep up with them feel bad or try to do things for which they aren't yet ready."

    I was going to write the same thing. If it makes kids feel bad to observe classmates who are more advanced, schools could use ability grouping in reading and math, but that idea is anathema to the kind of teacher described in this thread.
    "To see what is in front of one's nose needs a constant struggle." - George Orwell

    #111640 - 09/13/11 08:11 AM Re: Am I crazy? [Re: Eleanor05]
    Iucounu Offline

    Registered: 06/02/10
    Posts: 1457
    You're definitely not crazy. But to play devil's advocate for a moment, isn't it reasonable to have an initial assessment period before beginning differentiation in general? (I know four weeks is so long as to make one chafe, as we're in the third week here and I'm already antsy.)

    Also, the teacher's saying that, in her undoubtedly fathomless well of experience, she gets valuable feedback from the children's unpressured choices, and that she's seen kids try to "keep up with the Joneses" in the past, ruining that as a useful tool for her. Some thoughts on that: she might be right that this is helpful information; she could well be wrong; but especially during the initial assessment period, you might harmfully create a real enemy in her and also come off as unreasonable with the principal if you too aggressively suggest that she is wrong on this.

    She's not insisting that your child stick to easy readers all year long. I'd take a light approach for now, remembering that the teacher (and probably principal) will feel that the teacher is due some deference in her area of "expertise". I would above all want two things at the very least: 1) when the assessment period's over, free reign for your son to read whatever he likes, bringing books from home/library as necessary in light of the fact that the teacher won't have appropriately-leveled books, and 2) some definite (and short) date by when the assessments will be over. Best of course would be to bypass the teacher's assessment period; I just don't know if that's going to be possible, not knowing enough of the situation.

    I might ask innocently during the meeting whether some sort of standardized reading assessment would be helpful, mentioning that there are some online ones available (DORA springs to mind and might help because it can generate some high, impressive grade equivalents), which you'd be glad to pay for. Go in if you can with samples of reading material (and if possible reading comprehension writing samples, past reading comprehension test scores, etc.). You might try giving full credit to the teacher's wisdom and expertise, while saying that your son is just so far out of the norm that that sort of assessment approach might not work as well as for children who were closer to normal.

    You might ask how she plans to differentiate the children who pick the toughest easy readers, and ask how many there typically are in a classroom. Mention more than once what he's reading at home, and ask if she has any way of assessing children who can read at that level.

    I'd try to stay away from specifically mentioning boredom (that could sound like "he's not being taught, and you're hence not doing your job" in their ears). Instead, I'd kill two birds with one stone by saying things like, "Research shows that highly gifted children can lose attention and focus when they are not given appropriately-leveled material" or something-- this will suggest that he needs higher-level material even during the assessment phase, and hopefully put a stop to any suggestions by her that he can't handle high-level material due to lack of attention span.

    I'd use the phrase "evidence-based practice" and similar language whenever possible. I was given that advice, and I think it helped. I noticed that the school teachers and admins tend to use it in my local area as well.

    I might also make a video and bring it. Have him read a passage from a Percy Jackson book and explain what he just read. Whip out your laptop or other device at a key moment and say, "I have something to show you that will really show his current reading ability we see every day at home, and will take just a moment." It will be hard for them to refuse.

    At the end, I'd perhaps wrap up with, "I see him all the time just turn off when he is asked to do things that are too far beneath his level. It's just hard for him to stay excited when that happens. I'm just trying to avoid that. DS presents a really rare situation, where a lot of assessment tools may not work very well if his ability level isn't taken into account."

    Just some random thoughts. Good luck with the meeting, and please report back.
    Striving to increase my rate of flow, and fight forum gloopiness. sick

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