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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:33 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:36 pm
Posts: 192
Location: East Kent
Good Morning :)

I got called to see DD2 class teacher yesterday as they are concerned she is not producing enough work. In their words, what she puts in her books (in all subject areas) does not anywhere near reflect her true capabilities. They said if they put an examiner behind her to listen to her rather than reading a test paper her results would be fantastic!

DD2 is due to sit the Kent test in September 2012 (she is a June birthday so is young in the year). Her elder sister will be starting at grammar school this year and DD2 is desperate to join her. Her teacher said yesterday that she is 'grammar school material' but if it went to Head Teacher appeal their is no evidence in her books to back an appeal.

I am very frustrated at the moment and don't really know where to turn - it is not just school that she is slow at, it is everything - it quite often takes a good 20 minutes + to go and clean her teeth as she will get distracted and do something else or just daydream and not do it aaargh :) :evil: This is not a new thing, she has always been very ditzy and daydreamy. Any ideas on how I can motivate her to speed up and stop spending so long playing with the fairies in la-la land?!

Thanks


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 8:59 am 
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ah - the creative mind... wonderful. Can feel myself there, used to be on apollo space missions half the day when I was in junior school :wink: can she do three things at once?

Suggest when it comes to test practice and the exam then explanation of the importance of speed might help followed by undisguised bribery


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 9:31 am 
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OK in Kent there is the head teacher review panel if you are a marginal fail - the story written under exam conditions is important here as well as the school books.

Then there is the appeal you will go to if your child did not get through at the headteacher review panel phase. Then all forms of academic evidence are useful.

If the school is saying that they won't back her at either of these because her schoolbooks are rubbish, then consider other forms of evidence too. What do her school records show? If the headteacher thinks that she is this able surely she must have some other way of demonstrating it - e.g. CAT scores.

If she thinks your child would do some great work if someone else wrote the story / answers down for her, then can't she get a volunteer in to do this for your daughter and build up some evidence this way?

If the school don't have stunning CAT scores for your daughter you could get an Educational Psychology report?

It sounds like you need somehow to open up a more constructive dialogue with the headteacher as it sounds as though she's saying you daughter is very able but she won't back you. But maybe she has a cunning plan and this is to shock you and your daughter into getting her to work harder at school and she doesn't really mean she won't back you.

But maybe this head will never back you so as well as trying to sort out the daydreaming child you need to be asking in the appeals section what you can do now to build up strong academic evidence ready in case an appeal is necessary.

Will the daydreaming be a problem in the Kent multiple choice exams or is it just in other situations her brain wanders off at a tangent?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:03 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:36 pm
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Location: East Kent
Thanks for the information.

DD2 is just finishing year 4 - I think from what the teacher was saying yesterday that if the Head needed to, she would support dd at review or appeal but that there is no evidence in the books that she could use. DD was party to the conversation so she is now aware of the importance of producing more work. As I said before she has always been a bit 'slow' at doing things but I have always put this down to maturity and that it would sort itself out in the end. Maybe it will, or maybe she will always be a dreamer. I don't want to change her, I just want her to show people what she is capable of! Evidence wise, at the moment we haven't got a great deal to go on, only school reports that show optional sats results (at end of Year 3 she was Reading 4, writing 3A and numeracy 3B).

I am hoping that her being involved in the conversation with her teacher will prompt her to pick up her pace a bit. I am trying not to get too concerned at the moment. She will be going into Year 5 in September, and they have a parents evening in October, so I think I will encourage to work hard and see what is said at that parents evening. If things haven't improved by then I will be back here asking for more advice!!!


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:23 am 
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Hi Dottie, my son is also in year4...March birthday so a little older then your DD. He also ' wafty ' at times but I have seen a big change in the last couple of months...maybe it will be the same with your Dd i.e a maturity thing?

In the mornings he would mooch about wearing just his pants , his school books hidden under his wet towel whilst I'd be shouting like a fish wife...now he's up all organised , hair slickly combed ready to go ! I praised him so much and I feel he now knows how important it is to concentrate on his work at home and do everything he is asked.He seems to want to please at the moment...not sure how long that will go on for !

Another thing....your DD still has a little while to go..I would take with a pinch of salt any advice my sons teacher gave me re 11 plus and having to appeal at this age.I was told my first son wouldn't pass and he did..who knows where she will be in 6 months time ? They can suddenly soar so quickly.Perhaps when she sees her sister enjoying her new school it will give her a goal and renewed energy.Can you set any goals at home perhaps ?

When she's at school...does she just stare out of the window instead of working ? What does she actually do ?


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 10:50 am 
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You are describing my younger son too! But I can't get angry as I'm wried that way too, and use a kitchen timer often to stop myself from forgetting that I'm unstacking the dishwasher and wandering off to feed the cat then answer emails etc. :oops:

I've tried the following with my son:
At home, use a kitchen timer with a buzzer to get them to focus on simple tasks for a set time. Start off with very short missions - tidy your lego for 5 minutes or put all your dirty clothes in the wash basket in three minutes. He seems to be motivated by the timer. If she could take a silent buzzer into class and say, set herself the task of writing the opening paragraph in 3 minutes, then the developing paragraph in another 3 etc. that might help her stay on task, as it brings her back to what she should be doing with a physical buzz and stops the teacher having to remind her all the time.

The other possibility is that it's physically tough for her. Is she not very strong and sporty? Does she have dyspraxia? If so, holding the pencil gets so uncomfortable that they stop frequently and drift off. Use squeezy balls to strengthen their muscles. Squeeze in palm of hand and release as often as possible. Get her to play with it and grip it when she's watching tv. Maybe buy her some of those chunky ergonomically designed pens and pencils (WHS Smith had them when I looked) that are easier to grip.

Get her to write at home for longer stretches than she's used to - letters and shopping lists and To Do Lists.

Teach her the Biggles stretch to relax her arm if she gets writer's cramp. (Make your thumbs and forefingers into a pair of 'glasses' then put them in front of your eyes so that the inside of your palms are against your temples and your other fingers are touching your chin. Very big stretch.)

Play concentration games, like Pelmanism or 20 things on a tray covered by a cloth - take one off each time and she has to work out what it is.

Have you checked she's being correctly guided through the stages of what she needs to do? Does she understanding planning longer pieces of work and how that planning and note taking translates into the full sentences and paragraphs she's being asked for?

Suggest some tricks she can use at school to get her focused. One I've just made up for my boys to stop them starting every sentence with The is to start each new sentence with a letter of their name. So the first letter of each sentence in the first paragraph spells out her first name, and in the second para, her second name. It's a bit of a challenge but it gets them on task and makes the writing original.
Another I use with my students is to make sure they use all five senses when they describe a scene, but without mentioning the sense. (So not: It smelled musty. It looked dark. The door sounded creaky. But The door creaked as I entered the dark and musty chamber. etc.) Just having very specific things to focus on like this can help set the writing rolling.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 11:21 am 
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Joined: Thu Nov 12, 2009 1:36 pm
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Location: East Kent
scarlett wrote:

In the mornings he would mooch about wearing just his pants , his school books hidden under his wet towel whilst I'd be shouting like a fish wife...



:lol: You've described our house exactly!!!!

I don't know what she is doing at school while she is supposed to be working, but at home doing homework she goes into little dazes just staring at her homework book. If you call her name to get her attention she comes out of the daze and starts working. I guess she does similar things at school.

menagerie wrote:
I've tried the following with my son:
At home, use a kitchen timer with a buzzer to get them to focus on simple tasks for a set time. Start off with very short missions - tidy your lego for 5 minutes or put all your dirty clothes in the wash basket in three minutes. He seems to be motivated by the timer. If she could take a silent buzzer into class and say, set herself the task of writing the opening paragraph in 3 minutes, then the developing paragraph in another 3 etc. that might help her stay on task, as it brings her back to what she should be doing with a physical buzz and stops the teacher having to remind her all the time.



I like that idea - I will buy her a stopwatch timer and see if it motivates her!

menagerie wrote:

The other possibility is that it's physically tough for her. Is she not very strong and sporty? Does she have dyspraxia? .


She isn't athletic and always comes last at sports day but I think that is because she has no interest in winning a race! She would rather walk somewhere at a leisurely stroll than run it!! She does street dance and gymnastics and no-one at either of these clubs has mentioned lack of concentration or ability. I don't know much about dyspraxia but I don't think that is the problem.

Menagerie, you have come up with some great ideas and games. I will definitely give them a go - I think that idea about sentences starting with a letter from her name will even help DD1 who's writing can be a bit dull.

Thanks everyone :)


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 12:43 pm 
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Joined: Thu May 26, 2011 8:37 pm
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Hmm. If she really is day dreaming, it could be she has a really rich imaginative inner life. That can be very alluring, almost addictive! It might be worth sitting at a computer with her and getting her to tell you her story or ideas verbally and you type them up. Show her the difference after about half an hour between what she could achieve if she gets her ideas down on paper, and what she is actually achieving. Show her how much has gone on in her head in half an hour and what great quality stuff it is, that her teachers said so too, but what she needs to do now is put it on the page. The difference between what she is thinking in half an hour, and what she has shown of what she's thinking on the page might be a wake up call to her.


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PostPosted: Tue Jun 14, 2011 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Jun 02, 2009 9:28 pm
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Maybe her day dreaming is due to not hearing everything that goes on. Possibly she misses instructions as she can't hear them.

My son has intermittent glue ear. He goes through stages of turning the tv up and not being aware of us talking to him (or is that male selective hearing!) so we then know he is having a bout of glue ear.

Someone I know had grommits put in and her school work dramatically improved as she was aware what was being said to her.

I don't want to make you worry but it may be worth getting her hearing checked out.


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