My 1st grader is not being challenged in the classroom - I have issues w/ this being a former teacher

Katie - posted on 10/27/2008 ( 15 moms have responded )

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Does anyone else have this issue in the public school system? What steps did you take to remedy this?

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Julie - posted on 01/27/2011

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Make up for it at home!
Give them good things to read and projects to do.
Remember that not all the kids are on the 'same age', so to speak)so there has to be a median level that the kids are taught.

Kim - posted on 11/12/2008

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I have 2 sons that have tested gifted, one in 2nd grade and his younger brother in kindergarten (we warned them that little brother was sharper than older brother when we were going through the testing process of our 2nd grader!). Getting them tested can take lots of time, but it did result in both of them going to our 1-day-a-week pull out program that they both enjoy. As far as in the classroom, I am a former teacher too, and I always have a conversation early in the school year with their teachers telling them I know they are swamped with meeting the needs of students that need to get up to grade level, but I want to make sure we can do something to make sure the boys aren't getting bored with school so they don't lose interest. That usually is a way that makes it friendly and easy to talk from there. Different teachers handle things differently. Both of my kids, at one point or another, have gone to different classrooms for learning. My kindergartner went to 2nd grade for math & reading daily which scared him at first, but once he was comfortable with the teacher, he fit right in. Other teachers have had them do special projects related to what the class is studying that fits with their own interests. For instance, when the 1st grade was studying butterflies (very basic) my son researched for more detailed information and made a powerpoint presentation to share with the rest of the class. With a teaching background, try to have some ideas that you think would help challenge and I bet most teachers would be receptive!

Stephanie - posted on 11/08/2008

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We had my son now almost 12 tested in the 1st grade, only after a long battle with the school system. I had to practically raise a fuss for them to test him. They would say he was being disruptive in class, and that he had a behavior problem! errrr...But when they tested him he scored off the charts! That shut them up! lol...Anyway...I have struggled every year for them to give him more challenging work to do, not EXTRA work. I would send in things from home he liked to do, ie, puzzle books, crosswords, etc. His TAG teacher also helped with this....I even went off on his 3rd grade teacher because she seperated him from the rest of the class with his back turned to his friends. We had a meeting with teachers and I got up placed a chair against the wall facing backwards and told her she needed to sit there for the rest of the meeting and see how she liked it! errrrrr...I said something will be done to keep him occupied and not segregated from the rest of the class...And there was the No child left behind act...why is it only for the slow learners! They needed to get my child to like school again or I am going to the school board! They finally up'd his time in gifted class, and would challenge his work with more advanced work. You are his advocate! Stand up to the system and for your child. It is a long process and a hard one. But our kids are soooo worth it! Good luck, and Stay strong! Sorry to ramble on! We all know how you feel!

Erin - posted on 11/07/2008

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I'm glad you asked this question. I think I'm in the same situation as many of the parents who have posted here. My son is also in first grade and was tested last year in Kindergarten for the "gifted program" this year. In our public school system, 1st and 2nd grade do not take part in separate classes for gifted children, but they are identified in a couple of key areas of learning at this age (reading and math) and then given more challenging course work and guided by a "gifted program instructor" along side the other kids in the regular classroom setting. At least that's the idea. I like the idea of him not being singled out or made to feel awkward at his age yet praised and encouraged to exceed the curriculum expectations while still participating in the class with all his other friends. From what I have seen so far this year, he is being greatly challenged in reading and he loves it! He is 6 yrs old and reading chapter books at the rate of 3 or 4 a week so far. He is even starting to bring home books that are above his current reading level just to challenge himself (that's what he told me). So reading is not a problem at all obviously.

Where I get concerned is that recently there have been days when he tells me he hates school and doesn't want to go and that it's boring because he already knows the stuff they're learning. The math he's bringing home for homework is so simple. Some of it is even repeating what he learned in Kindergarten. I mean, at home he's grasping multiplication and addition of double and triple digit numbers and at school they're still talking about adding nickles and pennies and telling time on the hour and 1/2 hour mark. So, it seems to me he is getting great help finding challenging reading material, but nothing is happening where math is concerned.

At first, I thought it was due to the beginning of the school year and evaluating everyone's level of knowledge so far and they hadn't really gotten into learning new concepts yet. Then he started bringing home the chapter books and telling me about his reading group and a couple of other kids that are reading the same harder books that he is, etc. and I could tell that they were working on the reading part, but it saddens me to hear him say he hates school because it's boring when it comes to math. I am doing a couple of things about this...1) when he comes to me and says "Mom, let's do some math! Show me how you...(fill in the blank)", I do it. We've bought workbooks for a higher grade level and multiplication flash cards and whenever he expresses an interest in a "challenge" I give it to him. 2) I have a parent-teacher conference next Thursday since the 1st nine weeks is coming to an end and I will discuss this with his teacher as well. Maybe they just haven't gotten completely into the math section yet, but it's November already! I look forward to discussing this with his teacher and hopefully getting some insight from her into the program and how we can coordinate together to help him stay challenged.

Mindy - posted on 11/07/2008

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I have been very blessed in the public schools. My daughter is 13 and in the 8th grade now. She was tested in 1st grade through the school system. This had to be reccomended by her teacher. Although there is a gifted program here once a week for elem. age. She had great teachers that worked with her and also used her to help other students in the class with reading ect... Every year I would give the teacher a week with Aminda in class, then requeat a meeting. I would always start out by telling them I knew that in a class of 20 kids there are 20 levels of learning. No one can teach on 20 levels at the same time. I never asked for special treatment, that her boredom could lead to problems. Every teacher had a little differnt way to keep her interrested. One used her to help a non english speaking student, one had her read to the class, one let her start a news paper. Her gifted teacher also told me that a lot of her students she got from being tested for ADD. because they are bored and there minds work so fast that sometimes they have a hard time paying attention to everything. My main advice would be to just not give up and talk to as many people as you can. Call your school board rep. and see if they can get the ball rolling...

Nicole - posted on 11/07/2008

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Who doesn't have problems with the public school system? lol...my son is only 2 so hes not in the system yet, but I'm in college and have done some volunteer work with some area preschools...omg...i'm terrified to send my kid to school now...the things i've seen...uncertified teachers...horrible teaching methods...'teachers' letting the kids run amok....its crazy!

Kelly - posted on 11/05/2008

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Hi Im new here! My daughter is 8 yrs old and is gifted also. But according to SC she didnt "pass" to make it in their gifted and talented program. Which is a crock..but thats another story. So I decided to homeschool here. But actually she is taking public school online.. through Connections Academy. They tested her, and she is in their gifted and talented program. She is being challenged. I actually have a say in her education! I love this program. I was so tired of talking to a regular brick and mortor teacher who had been teaching for 30+yrs and "knew what she was doing" and not getting anywhere, while all my daughter did was bring home countless of drawings because she was already done, and had to keep herself busy. No one would work with us, because she didnt "pass" the test. Which is a test that I never saw, or saw the results of. Just a letter in the mail.

Anyways, sorry I got to rambling. But thats how I fixed it. Connections Academy, is a publice virtual school. You still have to abide by the state rules, but you dont have to deal with a homeschool Association, and its free. And its been a great fit for my daughter!

Jessica - posted on 11/05/2008

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i homeschooled. i couldnt stand that my child wasnt having his learning needs met with the hope of exceeding due to self imposed regulation by the facilty in the public system. once i pulled him, he became Sponge-Zack. he learns continuously. plays at times & places where i know other children will be. so his socialization is not an issue, unless I count the adversities he would have faced if left in the stand still spot he was in entering just grade K for my boy. definately was in an easy target criteria for other childrens teasing. he was overstimulated but not dumb. just easily distracted but wanted to learn. went above & beyond his age ranking once i pulled him to focus on himself & his energies . try this website, i know its long but it has good children learning tools that i got from the local library. www.ala.org/ala/alsc/greatwebsites/greatwebsiteskids.htm

that & rainbow resources, lots of Mcgraw hill type of learning, great stuff. my suggestion is to cut him loose on some serious learning sources, i started with the internet, a childrens lap top, then let it quickly grow to National Geographic & second language tools

Linda - posted on 11/04/2008

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I have one son that is in the schools gifted pullout program and another that is currently in the testing process. Both were very board in Kdg. and first grade. I made sure that their teachers understood that I was "on their side" and wanted them to be challenged to prevent them from developing behavior problems, and so that they didn't develope lazy learning habits that would create strugles for them later. I then worked with them to find alternative assignments to grow on. Each spring I communicate with the principal to make sure she is aware of my child's need for a teacher that is experienced in working with gifted children and that will differientiate the classroom activities to accomidate him. Our school has a good pullout program, and for that I am greatful, but 2 hours a week of gifted level "thinking" isn't sufficient, the classroom teacher needs to be able to make accomadations as well.

I hope this helps

Julie - posted on 11/04/2008

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My son's first grade teacher first brought up the possibility of him being gifted when he was in her class. Unfortunately, the criteria they use in our district to evaluate involves standardized test score that are not applicable until the students are in 3rd grade. I spoke regularly with our guidance counselor (who pulls test score and initially evaluates)and she pushed for the district to create other avenues for evaluating younger students. She was able to use my son as a concrete case to take to her superiors. He was finally accepted into the gifted program in 3rd grade. My advise is to not only speak with the classroom teacher, but also talk with the principal and guidance counselor if you are not getting anywhere with the teacher. I am also a teacher (currently a sub.) and it helps to be constant presence in the school so they don't forget about you!

Sonja - posted on 11/03/2008

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I am new here too, but not new to the problem. We have been in an on again off again battle with our school. Some support increases with different classroom teachers, but here we are in 5th grade and I could not be more frustrated. Being a stay at home mom and former teacher doesn't help either as I know what he is capable of and not having all the resources I once did when working. I just recently met with the GT teacher to voice concerns for this year. She is working to get me in contact with the middle school team for next year so that I know what to look forward to. As for this year, we just got the old 6th grade text book for math as a place to start. He is higher in reading than math, but we feel that is due to lack of exposure. He is going to take the Explore test again in January, and as he wants to qualify for camp in Chicago this year he knows he has to buckle down on the math end. We also found a website called Scratch for those of you who have computer kids. Gives them a taste of programing. My advice.. be the squeaky wheel.

Heather - posted on 10/30/2008

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I think piano lessons are a great idea! My daughter is very talented on the piano as well as the violin. She started piano lessons when she was 3 and violin when she was 4. She's already auditioned and made it into a community orchestra. I've read that taking music lessons is good for perfectionistic tendoncies as well. They need to learn that they can't be perfect all the time, and what better way than when they're learning music!

Samantha - posted on 10/29/2008

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Hi!. My son's in a gifted public school, but as I started this group "highly gifted" he isn't challenged in the gifted program either.

What I try and do is to give him more challenging things from home that he can do between activities at school, like more difficult (exciting to him) reading and puzzles. Keep him stocked with stuff that interests him like flashcards about different kinds of animals, etc.

I'm in the process of moving right now, but once I get settled in my new state I plan on getting him involved in a chess club (because he LOVES chess and taught himself to play. I have no idea how to play...) and piano and art lessons. He Loves to go on the computer too so I'm going to buy him some learn to type CD's and am considering online language lessons as well. He's like a bottomless pit for information I swear...

Hope that's helpful!

[deleted account]

I am new to this community as well. I have an academically talented first grader in public school; however, our public school has incredible resources for her so being challenged hasn't been an issue. I agree with Julie that if he has been tested then the best thing to do is to set up a meeting. When my stepdaughter was in Kindergarten the teacher was able to do different things with her than with the other kids. For example, the teacher would help her pick out books that were at a more challenging reading level for her (but she would also read some of the easier books for fun) and instead of writing single words, the teacher would have her write stories instead. Now that she's in first grade the program is different. They address the state mandated curriculum, but above and beyond that they explore those ideas in further detail, giving the students the freedom to pick the way they want to explore it. For example, if the theme of the project is "polar animals" then the kids can choose if they want to study the food chain of polar animals, the geographic area of polar animals, the habitat of polar animals, etc. That way the students have more freedom to explore the ideas in a way that it stimulating to them. Like I said, we're lucky to be in the school district we're in, but this is all in the public schools. My experience with teachers is that they are generally willing to do what it takes to make sure all students are stimulated. If you meet with them I'm sure they will be willing to do what it takes to ensure your child is challenged.

Julie - posted on 10/28/2008

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Hi. I'm new to this community so hopefully my first post will be helpful. I'm assuming your child was tested and was found to be gifted. If he hasn't been tested yet, I would start with that. I would then set up a meeting with the teacher and the principal and present this info to them. We are lucky that our school district has a G/T coordinator and SRT's (Supportive Resource Teachers) to assist the regular class room teacher. If you are also in a school district like that, they are a great resource to have in the meeting.



But, be careful. My son was in 1st grade last year and instead of getting more challenging work, he was getting more work which wasn't right. This year is going much better.



My answers are pretty vague, but hopefully they'll help.

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