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    #141403 - 10/25/12 08:03 AM How do I approach this issue ? Need advice.
    mom2one Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/12
    Posts: 128
    Hello,
    My son is currently in Kindergarten. They did a reading assessment through the WJ test and it was found that his reading level is that of an average 4th grader. He is also ahead on math -- he does math at the level of a mid 2nd grader.

    His class is currently reviewing letters and its sounds and doing math with numbers 1-20. He does all the rote counting, rote talking about sounds etc, but then, spends a fair amount of time, memorizing various kids' birthdays, reading other classes' boards that hang outside the classroom when they walk in line etc. His teacher also reports that he has difficulty staying on task. Once, he refused to do a worksheet and accept the consequence (no playtime) because he felt very strongly that the worksheet was at a preschool level. His worksheet work tends to be slower when it involves coloring. Choosing the colors, coloring in the lines (he seems to be very perfectionistic while coloring) etc take a very long time. Testing also revealed a very high verbal ability (he seems to be gifted verbally). His processing speed was average

    His teacher seems to think he has ADD. I don't see it at home, as long as I give him appropriate worksheets to do (which I understand is hard to do in a school environment), or any other places where he takes classes (he does need some redirection, but his classes involve physical activity and he does them with pleasure)

    How do I politely request some sort of enrichment, especially with respect to reading ? When I ask him why he is reading various extraneous things and slowing down the line, he says that the boards are interesting, compared to what they do in the class !

    I am also hesitating to pursue a ADD diagnosis, because I see this more as a emotional maturity issue. I also don't see it happening elsewhere, though honestly, all the other class sizes are small (about 6 kids) as compared to the 20 kids in his K class. I am looking for some suggestions.

    My questions are:
    -- is it possible to challenge a kid who is reading so ahead ? K is full day, I try and get as many books from the library as I can, but he then spends the evening reading, with a late bedtime (which impacts his sleep and the following day)

    -- How can I ensure that his reading level is in line with his reading comprehension ? He reads Geronimo Stilton books and while I am not wild about the "cheesehead" remarks, the books themselves are fairly interesting.

    -- what kind of enrichment should I request in math ? Can I do something at home ? If so, what ? Right now, he is obsessed with graphs (so odd, I know) and he would do a lot of graphing if I let him

    -- I am also afraid or concerned that the teacher will see me as "that mom". Yes, I definitely want him to have a good work ethic, and I have been talking to him every day about the importance of completing his worksheets. My child, sometimes, calls me out on the worksheets (if they don't make sense), and sometimes asks why he can just not answer them verbally.

    Thanks in advance.


    Edited by mom2one (10/25/12 08:39 AM)

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    #141417 - 10/25/12 08:51 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    HowlerKarma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 02/05/11
    Posts: 5181
    Hmmm.


    I'd probably attempt to make suggestions to the teacher which allow her to maintain her regular classroom routines as much as possible WHILE giving your child the opportunity to do work which is meaningful.

    I would politely express surprise at the teacher's suggestion of attentional issues, and explain that you simply don't see this behavior anywhere else, not even in fairly structured situations. THEN suggest that perhaps your child has "extra time" that he's using to tune out... diplomatic, but firm.

    On that segue, you could offer to send in books that your child enjoys. That way, you and the teacher can make a deal with your DS that anytime he is "finished" with the work that the teacher wants the class to be doing (yes, including the 'preschool' worksheets, if that's her thing)... he can quietly begin reading silently.

    What he CAN'T do is interrupt and prevent his classmates from learning.

    That way the teacher feels that she's getting something in the way of better behavior from him, and HE will be gaining an opportunity to do something meaningful with his school day and to demonstrate to the teacher what the REAL problem is here.

    smile

    At that point, you could suggest that he's perhaps in need of something for math, too. wink
    _________________________
    Schrödinger's cat walks into a bar. And doesn't.

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    #141419 - 10/25/12 08:53 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    st pauli girl Offline
    Member

    Registered: 01/29/08
    Posts: 1917
    Hi mom2one,

    I think you have at least one bright spot in your story -- the school did the testing on your kiddo and found him to be way ahead. (Schools do not generally like/understand/accept outside testing, so having them do it themselves is a plus.) My first question is what did they say to you about the testing results? I'm assuming the testing was done either by your request or on their own for some reason. If it was to test for GTness, they must have some sort of protocol? If all my assumptions are incorrect, and you need to start at square one to get more appropriate materials for your DS, then I would recommend starting out by scheduling a meeting to discuss the test results with the school staff (curriculum person, teacher, principal, GT person). If there is a GT person at the school, I would start with that person and ask her advice about how to go about requesting this meeting.

    As for the teacher and the ADD, I'd recommend getting hold of this book: Misdiagnosis and Dual Diagnosis of GT Children I don't know your kiddo, and of course it's possible that he is 2e, but how the heck do you think a kid who is not learning anything new is going to behave in kindergarten?

    As for enrichment in reading, a couple of easy things you could do. You could ask if you could send in some books at your DS's level that he can read during the school day, especially if they are working on things that he already has mastered. You can request pretesting out of things, if necessary.

    Is it possible to challenge a kid in kindy who is reading so far ahead? Well, yes and no. First, I'd make a list of the things that you think your kiddo can get out of kindergarten. For us, DS refused to learn how to write before he went to kindergarten, and that was a great place for him to learn it. Our DS also had no experience in the "do school" department --- being in a large group of kids, getting along with all of them, getting from room to room, etc. If you don't think there is much your DS can learn from being in kindy, I would think about checking out the Iowa Acceleration Manual and requesting a grade skip.

    Sorry, gotta run. I'll try to come back later...

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    #141425 - 10/25/12 09:17 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    remalew Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/20/11
    Posts: 30
    Hi,

    My son in now in 7th grade but we went through something very similar in K. One thing we were able to do was get a formal IDEP for gifted differentiation, even though the gifted programs in our district did not begin until 4th grade. I simply looked up all the state and district laws (found this avenue to pursue) and made a visit to the elementary school's gifted coordinator. What this ended up looking like: going to another K class for a higher reading group, independent reading practice in the library before school (I had to take him & I'm sorry, I can't remember the system, but basically, he was assigned books that were near his level and then had to answer questions about them on the computer in the school library), and getting a pull-out once a week for a enrichment activities. He also had access to a computer math program, but she hardly ever let him do it (it wasn't fair to anyone else).

    We first tried asking the teacher to differentiate for him politely. That was a big failure. She passive-aggressively dumped a bunch of college texts on the poor child's desk and started sending home HUGE numbers of coloring worksheets (he hated coloring). She also demanded that he still participate in all the phonics lessons and alphabet lessons, even though he was reading at a 5th grade level (by their own tests). She was quite nasty, yelling at him in front of the class about how terrible he was because he always refused to do the play centers. He had no friends and cried daily. He even once yelled at her that he was "Smarter than her and one day she'd see that." (He was beyond frustrated).

    After the meeting with the GC, things improved for a short while (he especially LOVED going to the other K class where the teacher was quite sympathetic). But then his K teacher started finding excuses (lots of them) to not follow his IDEP (which she was legally bound to do). So meetings. Many meetings. At one she told me "mother to mother, we need to bring him down to the level of his peers because if we don't where will he be when he gets to 5th grade?" (If I knew where she is, I'd answer her now: Seventh grade, and happy.)

    Anyway, we attempted to take this up the food chain, but the principal gave us the run-around. Very unprofessional. The GC even walked me to the office one day and the principal refused to talk to me or even schedule a meeting (just too busy, sorry). All the while, we had been looking for other options (we had formally requested being put full-time into the sympathetic K teacher's class: denied) and we had been looking at every other school we could think of. Something else came up, and we bolted. A week after we did, we found that we had been assigned for the next year the WORST 1st grade teacher for a gifted student at the school. The one the GC told us we should not have under any circumstance, because she had her hands full with the ESL students.

    Now... fast forward to 7th. My son is 2 years grade skipped. He loves school (and MS, very rare). The school we bolted to has worked with us to find solutions when there have been glitches (and there have, he's not easy).

    Anyway, if the nice way doesn't work, you can always look into legal options (like whether his testing qualifies him for some kind of differentiation according to district rules). If that doesn't work, keep taking it up the food chain as you have to, and/or look for other options. Every child deserves to learn something in school and every child deserves to be valued.

    And it will get better. The older they get, the more options there are.

    good luck!!!

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    #141427 - 10/25/12 09:29 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    remalew Offline
    Junior Member

    Registered: 10/20/11
    Posts: 30
    Also wanted to make it clear, the IDEP was not common knowledge and was not offered to us by the school. I had to "uncover" it and ask for it. Time and time again I have found it really pays to look up all the official rules and regulations-- many things do not get volunteered, because they're a pain in the butt for the schools.

    And, my son never did learn to color in the lines. It appears he is going to survive.

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    #141430 - 10/25/12 09:39 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    Evemomma Offline
    Member

    Registered: 05/17/12
    Posts: 451
    We are sending in reading material for ds6 during reading time and free time at school because he is bored to tears with what is available. He is still stuck in a with the still basic 'highest level' guided reading level group at school, but I do think he gets some merit from this as I see his phonics improving vastly in a short amount of time (he is a whole language reader).

    I don't know if there is a way to avoid being 'that mom'. I'm sure that is my title at this point with my ds' teacher. I'm over it though, I just want ds to be learning NEW things and excited about school (at least sometimes, anyway). He was thrilled to come home yesterday after acing an AR test on a higher level book. He pushed himself to read and review another one last night and this AM so he could take another one today.

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    #141436 - 10/25/12 10:12 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    polarbear Offline
    Member

    Registered: 09/29/11
    Posts: 3363
    mom2one, you've received great advice already. I'll just add a few quick thoughts:

    If your ds is testing very high in verbal ability but average in processing speed, it might be helpful to keep a watch for potential signs of a struggle related to the discrepancy in ability vs processing speed. There are quite a few of us who have 2e kids with learning challenges related to that type of a WISC profile, and it's sometimes mistaken for ADHD (inattentive type) in early elementary kids.

    Re how to challenge your ds - one way to approach this is to volunteer to help if you have some time to come in for 30 minutes or an hour once per week. When my ds was in K-1 I used to help the teacher give her weekly spelling tests, and that helped give her the time and ability to keep a differentiated word list notebook for each child - which meant that in turn, my ds had his own word list to work on. The teacher had to make up lists for him because he was farther ahead than any child she'd ever taught... which was something extra for her to do, and I think it helped me get the differentiation by having built that helping relationship in the classroom. Re reading levels, it's quite possible there are other children at the school reading at or near the level your ds is at, so if you are able to come in once a week, you could volunteer to come in during reading time and lead a small group of advanced readers (or do the same with math etc).

    I know that it's not something anyone should *have* to do to get the appropriate education for their child, but it was something that helped out a lot in the early years of school for my ds when we were dealing with a lot of brick walls in the way of being able to work at his ability.

    Best wishes,

    polarbear

    ps - re how to know if he's reading the right level of books for his comprehension level - you should be able to find out more info about his comprehension level from classroom assessments - most K-2 grades do some type of standardized reading assessment at the beginning and end of the year. If your ds is beyond the level of the assessment that's given, you can insist he be tested up to his level. I also have some tips from an educational advisor who evaluated our ds who has a reading challenge - they are things you can do when reading to your child at home. I'll try to look them up this weekend and post them for you.

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    #141437 - 10/25/12 10:22 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: remalew]
    Old Dad Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/30/12
    Posts: 423
    Originally Posted By: remalew
    Also wanted to make it clear, the IDEP was not common knowledge and was not offered to us by the school. I had to "uncover" it and ask for it. Time and time again I have found it really pays to look up all the official rules and regulations-- many things do not get volunteered, because they're a pain in the butt for the schools.

    And, my son never did learn to color in the lines. It appears he is going to survive.


    I'll second that thought pattern. They just hate it when I quote their core philosophy of "Data driven decisions" and ask them to see the data supporting their decisions! I've also learned that in our district you can request a specific teacher for your child in the coming year, I've done so every year and my request has always been met, of course, they don't publicize that policy, you have to dig for it.

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    #141438 - 10/25/12 10:27 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    Zen Scanner Offline
    Member

    Registered: 07/13/12
    Posts: 1478
    Loc: NC
    Yea, I think AR may be the system that remalew referred. Was great for DS6, who until he had his vision corrected a year ago wasn't really reading books. It gives the kid a chance to gauge their own understanding and what to focus on. There are always things they could gain through instruction, but gifted can often intuit their own understanding.

    Math is a funny one. He has a really nice teacher in 1st this year, but she doesn't get it. Had the regular parent-teacher conference last night, and she told us how well was doing and showed us his in-class skill assessment (yay, I didn't roll my eyes on what 1st grade stuff he did well on.) Homework came up a bit, and she asked us (a bit unsure seeming) "Do you think he might like some multiplication homework?"... "Yes, yes he would enjoy that as a challenge"..."Yes, two digits would be good."

    So out of her league, but she's accomodating and it was her suggestion. It may have helped that we've begun a testing process through the GC for HG placement. Possibly the GC relayed that DS is pretty far out there.

    Another suggestion may be to ask "Would maybe the 2nd grade have some math homework he could do? We could score it and all, but he is really interested in ____, and that would give him a focus."

    p.s. It is no fun to have a parent-teacher conference with DS in the same room, who hears and understands everything and is a little over-sensitive. Sitter next time, for sure.

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    #141516 - 10/26/12 06:30 AM Re: How do I approach this issue ? Need advice. [Re: mom2one]
    Michelle6 Offline
    Member

    Registered: 03/16/12
    Posts: 76
    First and foremost, I don't see this as a case of ADD. A child with ADD has problems focusing ALL the time. Almost any child will show those symptoms if they are bored to tears. (I would not suggest phrasing it that way when you speak to the teacher, but you get the point)
    I have found that it helped a lot to show the teacher that you are willing to do your part as well. Perhaps ask if you can sent a notebook of extra work to do during down time - you can download tons of worksheets on every subject from the internet, and it only takes a few minutes. I used to send my children with a couple of math worksheets, cursive writing, alphabetizing, and something to read on whatever subject in history appealed to them. It worked well with some teachers, but DS's second grade teacher decided that it was distracting to the other students for him to sit quietly at his seat and write in a notebook - so if you take this route, make sure you ask the teacher first.
    Many schools have advanced programs for math and reading. AR is good, although many schools don't do it for kindergarten. DD, however, got special permission to do it in K because her teacher agreed that she was capable. If this is possible, it will give you a good idea of his comprehension level as well. If not, there are other options. Over the summer I told my two to write a good summary of each book they read, and when they got a certain number of summaries done, they got a reward (a trip to the zoo, camping, etc.) It gave me an idea of how well they comprehended the books they were reading, helped them to practice their writing, and encouraged them to read.
    Also, ask if your school offers a computer- based advanced math. A lot of schools offer this, but for some reason Kindergarten teachers seem more hesitant than others to use it.
    Lastly, ask the teacher if she has any suggestions. Some are horribly opposed to the idea of differentiation, but you never know. Some have fantastic ideas of how to help your child without overwhelming herself. Good luck!

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