DS having trouble in school, teacher confused — The Bump
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DS having trouble in school, teacher confused

DS started off the beginning of the year great. In the past several weeks he has been struggling with math. They take a math test where the have 5min to complete 50 addition problems. At first he was doing fine but a few weeks ago his test scores started to go way down. One week he only answered 9 questions in 5min. The next week he only answered 4. All of the questions he answered were correct. We work on this at home and he always does great. His teacher said she knows he knows the answers. He is also having a similar problem in reading now.

She said she knows he knows the answers but when he is supposed to be working he is zoning out. When I asked him about it he said he was trying to think of the answer. His teacher said she would talk to the other first grade teachers for ideas because she doesn't have any.

I'm really confused and at a loss. I'm not sure what the issue is so I'm really not sure what to do about it. Does anyone have any ideas or input?

 

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Re: DS having trouble in school, teacher confused

  • I have two ideas.

    1. Could he be getting bored? I know my 7 year old is at the end of a 2nd grade reading level in only 1st grade and is getting bored with it. He has even told me he doesn't want to go to school because he already knows everything and isn't learning anything new. Granted the whole trying to think of an answer thing is not exactly him getting bored but maybe he doesn't want to tell you the truth?

    2. Could he be trying to not seem too smart? In 1st grade kids start to make fun of the smart kids. I know cause it happened to me(of course that was 20 years ago). My sons teacher has commented that he pretends to not know the answer or wont raise his hand when she asks a question she's sure he knows. I've asked him about it and he said that he didn't want his friends to pick on him. Unfortunately bullying starts this early.  

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  • DS has always been a very average child and maybe a tiny bit above. I doubt he is getting bored when all the other children are doing fine but I guess it's possible. He isn't worried about being too smart so that's not it.

    The work he is struggling with is stuff he used to know. It hasn't been getting harder. It's the same.

    The reading has been getting harder but that doesn't really explain his issues. The reading tests he takes have 3 parts.  He has to pronounce specific letter sounds, he has to pronounce nonsense words, and he has to pronounce real words. He used to do fine with all three but now out of nowhere he can't/ wont pronounce the nonsense words correctly. He scores have been so low that he is now getting extra reading help at school everyday.

    He is able to complete tasks even if they aren't something he loves and he isn't the kind of kid who would rebel either. He is pretty laid back and a go with the flow kind of kid.  He never has any behavior problems and up until a few weeks ago he never had any academic problems.

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  • Have they explained the purpose is of the lesson is to get him to think quick? As this will eventually build to bigger and better things (double, triple digit addition, subtraction, etc).   Do they learn in fact families?   (1+4 = 5, 4+1=5, 5-1=4, 5-4=1).  This helps some recognize that some are the same question, just turned around.  Have they tried telling him if you are stuck, just move on.....do they allow or have they taught math manipulatives?  Can he use ticks to do the addition? Have they taught him to get to 10?  For example if you have 8 + 6...get to 10 you have to add 2 of the 6 "to get to 10", then the next 4...I know it sounds more complicated but some kids add better getting to a round number.  Can you get flash cards and practice at home?  Those are some of the strategies we use for 1st grade RTI (response to intervention), which is probably what he is being pulled out for.  

    If he is really getting stuck, I think explaining the purpose and telling him to skip hard questions and learning strategies for the addition (fact families, get to 10, ticks) would be helpful in addition to flash cards at home.   If that doesn't work then, the next issue is does he have a lack of focus and attention for other reasons?  

    Reading at this point in the year, most first graders are E-F leveled readers.  It is only going to get harder.  Level J is expected by 2nd grade. (some books will give you their level, so if you want to know).  There should be a focus on sight words, vocabulary words and TONS of repetitive reading.  Is he given words to practice at home?  Can you get a copy of his weekly reader?  Can he tell you the sound each letter makes in order to use phonics/blending sounds?  

    It sounds like he needs a lot of praise, extra support at school and supports in education at home.   

    ETA:  Anything life shaking (divorce) or any other major events happening in his life (getting a new brother or sister)?   

    Those are just a few ideas.  GL!  


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  • Is he getting enough sleep?

    Have you tried having him to these tasks at home? Maybe have him try it at home, let him know it's just for practice, so he's not nervous about it.

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  • It sounds like test anxiety to me. When students in my class act like this but I know they know the material I let them come in before school or during a recess and give them the test alone without a time limit. They always finish in time but without the pressure they can really shine.
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