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DS is starting to get under my skin with this....

post #1 of 29
Thread Starter 

Help me out here mamas, I need advice.

 

DS gets all of his homework done properly, because I make sure he finishes it and that it is acceptable.  He's in 4th grade.  The problem is, the work he does at school is half hearted, not trying, and I'm getting tired of it.  For instance, yesterday he brought home a couple of papers that he had done at school.  One has is an 82 the other an 83. 

 

OK if it was really that he had difficulty with the work I could work with that, but NOPE, instead.....

 

The 82 got marked down because.....

 

he didn't bother to answer the entire back of one page, and it's not like he could have easily missed it as all the other pages have back sides to them and he answered all those..

 

He read, "John is going to catch forty winks"  this is an exercise on figurative language. His answer is that it means John was blinking really fast.  OK, so that might be an honest mistake as he has trouble with figurative language because he is so literal.  But none the less, it just seems kind of silly, and it wouldn't have bothered me had it not been for not BOTHERING TO COMPLETE the back of the sheet before it.

 

The 83 was marked down because

 

HE DIDN'T BOTHER TO WRITE HIS NAME ON HIS PAPER!!!  We have been over this a thousand times.  Yet he still, "forgets" to do it.  You don't know how many papers I get back daily with "NAME????"  written on them.  Oh and his teacher is getting frustrated too, I can tell, because it used to just be, "Name"  then, "NAME", then "NAME?"  Now, "NAME????"  So this is apparently bothering her too.  You can only remind someone so many times before you want to rip your hair out and run around screaming.

 

He had to write sentences with his spelling words, so he writes, "The commercial".  UMMMMMM WHAT!!!!????  Ok, so every other word, he wrote a complete sentence, but apparently got a quick case of writer's block on this one word??

 

The main reason is was marked down was for the name, but the lack of an actual sentence for one of the words also added to that.

 

OK, so these are 2 of the many many papers that come home like this.  All of them scream one thing. HE IS BEING LAZY IN CLASS!  I want to be able to think good thoughts about him.  I want to assume good intentions, but it has gotten to the point that this is my conclusion.  He tries it with homework here too, but I don't allow it.  He brought me a story he was supposed to write incorporating his spelling words.  It was 2 sentences, 1 incomplete sentence, 1 grouping of random words.  I literally looked at him and said, "Ok, look at your words and tell me a story".  It took no time at all for him to come up with a story using all of them.  I said, "Now, go write that down".  He started to cry saying it wasn't fair that he couldn't turn in the first one and that now he has to go write all that down and I'm a horrible mother for expecting him to do that blah blah blah.  I KNOW the boy hates writing.  He has Developmental Coordination Disorder and writing is difficult for him, I KNOW this, but that doesn't change the fact that he HAS to do it.  It also doesn't explain where on a multiple choice worksheet, he avoids half of one sheet when all he has to do is circle the right letter. 

 

HELP ME!!  before I lose my temper with him.

post #2 of 29

Have you tried posting on the Special Needs board?

 

My guess is that he isn't lazy, it's that he may have issues that you are not aware of or he doesn't have the right help for the ones he does have. Developmental Coordination Disorder is often co-morbid with Disorder of Written Expression and Expressive Language Disorder. I have also seen a few posts on the SNs board about children identified as lazy who later received a diagnosis of ADD/Inattentive. He should probably have at least a 504 and may qualify for an IEP.

 

post #3 of 29
Thread Starter 

OK, so I'm going to go ahead and cross post this. 

post #4 of 29

Wow, it must be a 4th grade boy thing.  My ds is driving his poor teacher crazy lately because his classroom participation is brilliant, he understands the concepts and does an excellent job during group glass time.  But give the kid a piece of paper and tell him to write things down and he writes stuff just like "the commercial".  The funny thing is, when she gives it back to him and specifically says "be more descriptive" he gets 100% on the work.  But he won't do it unless it is practically forced.  The really hard part is that he brings home 85's or higher, so it's not as if I can even get on him for "bad grades" yet he's not working to his full potential.  I know for sure he doesn't have an LD, he's as normal and as smart as they come, but he's also ok with being average.  Which isn't ME at all so it drives me extra crispy crazy!!


I have no real advice except that I know my kid responds very well to the virtual "kick in the pants".  Every few weeks he needs a good hearty lecture about working to the best of his ability and that "good enough" isn't necessarily "good enough" when you can do "great".  Love that kid, but man he just boggles my mind sometimes.  

post #5 of 29


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post
I KNOW the boy hates writing.  He has Developmental Coordination Disorder and writing is difficult for him, I KNOW this, but that doesn't change the fact that he HAS to do it.  It also doesn't explain where on a multiple choice worksheet, he avoids half of one sheet when all he has to do is circle the right letter. 


How much of a gap is there between how much writing he has to do each day and how much writing is reasonable for him to be doing? Reduced handwriting is a common accommodation on 504s and IEPs. And while all kids need to know how to write a little, most of them aren't going to spend much time writing by hand any way -- longer things are done on computer as they get older.

 

If the total amount of writing he has to do is unreasonable, reducing it *might* help him focus on things like multiple choice. But if he is overwhelmed and annoyed to start with, he could easily not bother trying on anything.

 

The option to type or dictate prose, or to do only every other math problem is really quite easy to get if he has an official dx related to handwriting. The line on my DDs 504 said "assignments that require writing may be modified to ensure success." Because the amount of writing required each year tends to increase, by for some kids, their ability to do it does NOT increase, or not at the same paces as everybody else's, working with his school on a plan might be the best plan long term.

 

You seem really upset that he has 82%.  He's in 4th grade, so his grades at this point don't mean a thing. In most schools, that's a B. I'd focus on his frustration level and the fact that he seems to be throwing in the towel rather than the letter grade.

post #6 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Linda on the move View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post
I KNOW the boy hates writing.  He has Developmental Coordination Disorder and writing is difficult for him, I KNOW this, but that doesn't change the fact that he HAS to do it.  It also doesn't explain where on a multiple choice worksheet, he avoids half of one sheet when all he has to do is circle the right letter. 


How much of a gap is there between how much writing he has to do each day and how much writing is reasonable for him to be doing? Reduced handwriting is a common accommodation on 504s and IEPs. And while all kids need to know how to write a little, most of them aren't going to spend much time writing by hand any way -- longer things are done on computer as they get older.

 

If the total amount of writing he has to do is unreasonable, reducing it *might* help him focus on things like multiple choice. But if he is overwhelmed and annoyed to start with, he could easily not bother trying on anything.

 

The option to type or dictate prose, or to do only every other math problem is really quite easy to get if he has an official dx related to handwriting. The line on my DDs 504 said "assignments that require writing may be modified to ensure success." Because the amount of writing required each year tends to increase, by for some kids, their ability to do it does NOT increase, or not at the same paces as everybody else's, working with his school on a plan might be the best plan long term.

 

You seem really upset that he has 82%. Why? What grade does he have to get for you to stay off his back? He's in 4th grade, so his grades at this point don't mean a thing. In most schools, that's a B.

 

 

I'm going to assume your last sentence wasn't meant to sound so rude.  I tend to look at the phrase "stay off his back" as a negative comment.  What grade does he have to get?

 

One that wasn't given simply because he refused to do part of the work

One that wasn't given simply because he refused to write his name on his paper

 

Basically, one that is representative of his abilities.  If he gets an 82 because he only understood 82% of the assignment, then an 82 is fine.  If he gets an 82 because he was only willing to complete 82% of the work he was given, well then it isn't fine.  I expect him to get the grades he is capable of getting.  I will "stay off his back" when he starts bringing home grades that aren't based off of his unwillingness to complete the work, or remember something like, "write your name on your paper".

 

post #7 of 29

I'd like to point out to every one that if it does turn out that Petie1104's ds has a learning disability or something, the only reason they'll be finding out about it now (instead of later, when it may have caused real problems) is that she was concerned about grades in the 80s instead of just accepting them.

 

(And I suspect that she hasn't been haranguing him or anything like that. =D )

post #8 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

I'd like to point out to every one that if it does turn out that Petie1104's ds has a learning disability or something, the only reason they'll be finding out about it now (instead of later, when it may have caused real problems) is that she was concerned about grades in the 80s instead of just accepting them.

 

(And I suspect that she hasn't been haranguing him or anything like that. =D )


No, I haven't been haranguing him, hence the title of the post, "starting to get under my skin" as in, it hasn't up until this point. I just now talked to him about it and asked him to explain, this was his basic explanation....

 

Classwork is done before recess, if you don't complete classwork you don't go to recess.  The teacher reiterates every day that she gives "ample time" (he even used quote fingers for this phrase) for everyone to complete their work before recess starts, but he is basically always the last one done with his work, yet the first one that the kids ask if they need help with an answer.  So he has started rushing to complete his work so that he can go to recess. 

 

I'm thinking that his fine motor skills are what is causing all of this because he does have to rush to complete it all in time, otherwise he feels he's being punished.
 

post #9 of 29

 

Im just saying that if the child has fine motor issues and what is demanded of him every day is unreasonable, it could easily show as a complete lack of effort, because he is being told that his best isn't good enough and that he isn't trying even when he is.

And after awhile of that, any kid will quit trying.

I've no idea how serious his issues are or much writing he is required to do each day, and accommodations are not usually made to get kids to make As. He is doing fine with his work according to his grades. If he needs accommodation, it needs to be based on something other than his grades. Nonetheless, I'd want to sit down with his teacher and his OT and have a chat about what could be done to help him be successful, to get messages that his best is good enough.
post #10 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by sapphire_chan View Post

I'd like to point out to every one that if it does turn out that Petie1104's ds has a learning disability or something, the only reason they'll be finding out about it now (instead of later, when it may have caused real problems) is that she was concerned about grades in the 80s instead of just accepting them.

 

(And I suspect that she hasn't been haranguing him or anything like that. =D )


No, I haven't been haranguing him, hence the title of the post, "starting to get under my skin" as in, it hasn't up until this point. I just now talked to him about it and asked him to explain, this was his basic explanation....

 

Classwork is done before recess, if you don't complete classwork you don't go to recess.  The teacher reiterates every day that she gives "ample time" (he even used quote fingers for this phrase) for everyone to complete their work before recess starts, but he is basically always the last one done with his work, yet the first one that the kids ask if they need help with an answer.  So he has started rushing to complete his work so that he can go to recess. 

 

I'm thinking that his fine motor skills are what is causing all of this because he does have to rush to complete it all in time, otherwise he feels he's being punished.
 

If he has to complete it to get a recess, then he is being punished. It's a pretty intense punishment even if his recess is just shortened by the time it takes to finish the work, it's an absurdly cruel punishment if not completing the work on time results in losing the entire recess.

 

It is very good that you aren't dismissing the grades because they are "good enough" since that has directed your attention to a potential problem.

 

However, based on your description of how the work is presented and the penalties threatened for non-completion (again, I feel that even losing part of recess to finish the work is unreasonable, and that losing the entire recess would be atrocious) I don't think the problem is with your kid.
 

post #11 of 29

I would try positive reinforcement, opposed to negative. If you've gone over writing his name on papers a thousand times, and nothings changed, then it's time to try something else. Talk to him about a mental checklist when taking tests. Write down what's expected of him-1. Write name on tests 2. Look at both sides of paper to make sure you've answered all questions. I know that stressing him out about tests will only promote test anxiety (real anxiety that is hard to overcome once it starts). It doesn't matter now (his future's not riding on a 4th grade test), but when he goes to take the ACT or SAT, it will be an issue. My 2 cents would be to think of this in terms of what he knows-sure he got a score in the 80s, but did he know 90-100% of the information? I would concentrate on the good stuff. Lastly, I would refrain from name calling like saying he was being lazy in class. When the name calling starts, the self esteem goes out the window. I would tell him that you are so very proud of him getting XYZ right, and how on the next test you would love to see him remember to write his name. 

post #12 of 29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post


 

  He has Developmental Coordination Disorder and writing is difficult for him, I KNOW this, but that doesn't change the fact that he HAS to do it. 



That's just it, his disability does change the "he HAS to do it" to 'he has to do part of it'  or maybe "he can do some of it another way".  Does he have a 504 plan in place or IEP accommodations? You may need to have a meeting with his teacher or even a new IEP meeting. Ample time is very subjective.  A child's grade isn't what you use to decide to make accommodations. The goal is for the disability not to interfere with the child reaching his potential. You make accommodations so the child can experience being successful and learn. Avoiding as much frustration as you can so the child doesn't give up is essential when you're trying to help the child reach his potential.

 

When I was teaching gifted junior high math and history, I had a student who was allowed to use a portable word processor for taking notes in my history class. He could also type assignments. He didn't need any accommodations in math class. The reason behind these accommodations wasn't keeping up the child's grades. It was helping the student to reach a potential. He couldn't write fast enough to keep up with his thoughts and would lose his train of thought. Also the task of trying to write legibly was distracting.  A typed paper was a completely different quality of work than a hand written one. 

post #13 of 29

I would speak to his teacher about it.  Maybe he's only hurrying up to finish so he can go to recess. Or maybe the teacher has noticed a learning disability as well.  My DH and his brothers had learning disibilities growing up and his parents never took the time to help them or correct them.  My DH barely made it out of HS and his brother got kicked out of several schools.  No at 28 my DH really wishes he did better and put more effort into school. I think you're already on the right track with noticing.

post #14 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ssh View Post



Quote:
Originally Posted by Petie1104 View Post


 

  He has Developmental Coordination Disorder and writing is difficult for him, I KNOW this, but that doesn't change the fact that he HAS to do it. 



That's just it, his disability does change the "he HAS to do it" to 'he has to do part of it'  or maybe "he can do some of it another way".  Does he have a 504 plan in place or IEP accommodations? You may need to have a meeting with his teacher or even a new IEP meeting. Ample time is very subjective.  A child's grade isn't what you use to decide to make accommodations. The goal is for the disability not to interfere with the child reaching his potential. You make accommodations so the child can experience being successful and learn. Avoiding as much frustration as you can so the child doesn't give up is essential when you're trying to help the child reach his potential.

 

When I was teaching gifted junior high math and history, I had a student who was allowed to use a portable word processor for taking notes in my history class. He could also type assignments. He didn't need any accommodations in math class. The reason behind these accommodations wasn't keeping up the child's grades. It was helping the student to reach a potential. He couldn't write fast enough to keep up with his thoughts and would lose his train of thought. Also the task of trying to write legibly was distracting.  A typed paper was a completely different quality of work than a hand written one. 



When I homeschooled him, I used to have him type any essay format things.  If he had to write a book report, he could type it.  He was able to turn in 3 pages easily to me on a book he read.  Now, because he has to write out essay answers, his teacher says he has poor reading comprehension.  It is frustrating, but the spec. ed coordinator at the school said his teacher hasn't reported him having issues.  I think I may need to set up an appt. with her (we were actually meeting for dd and ds came up in the conversation) specifically to address his level of frustration with the work he has to do. 

post #15 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sublimeliving View Post

I would try positive reinforcement, opposed to negative. If you've gone over writing his name on papers a thousand times, and nothings changed, then it's time to try something else. Talk to him about a mental checklist when taking tests. Write down what's expected of him-1. Write name on tests 2. Look at both sides of paper to make sure you've answered all questions. I know that stressing him out about tests will only promote test anxiety (real anxiety that is hard to overcome once it starts). It doesn't matter now (his future's not riding on a 4th grade test), but when he goes to take the ACT or SAT, it will be an issue. My 2 cents would be to think of this in terms of what he knows-sure he got a score in the 80s, but did he know 90-100% of the information? I would concentrate on the good stuff. Lastly, I would refrain from name calling like saying he was being lazy in class. When the name calling starts, the self esteem goes out the window. I would tell him that you are so very proud of him getting XYZ right, and how on the next test you would love to see him remember to write his name. 



Oh no, I would never tell him that I think he's lazy.  I actually know how awful that feels as my mom called me lazy when I struggled with algebra.  I honestly couldn't do the work and she said I was lazy and didn't want to learn it.  I am really careful about what I say to any of my kids. 

post #16 of 29
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by sublimeliving View Post

I would try positive reinforcement, opposed to negative. If you've gone over writing his name on papers a thousand times, and nothings changed, then it's time to try something else. Talk to him about a mental checklist when taking tests. Write down what's expected of him-1. Write name on tests 2. Look at both sides of paper to make sure you've answered all questions. I know that stressing him out about tests will only promote test anxiety (real anxiety that is hard to overcome once it starts). It doesn't matter now (his future's not riding on a 4th grade test), but when he goes to take the ACT or SAT, it will be an issue. My 2 cents would be to think of this in terms of what he knows-sure he got a score in the 80s, but did he know 90-100% of the information? I would concentrate on the good stuff. Lastly, I would refrain from name calling like saying he was being lazy in class. When the name calling starts, the self esteem goes out the window. I would tell him that you are so very proud of him getting XYZ right, and how on the next test you would love to see him remember to write his name. 



Oh and he knows over 90% of the information.  He has some issues with figurative language, but he only got 1 wrong of the questions he answered and I asked him the ones he skipped and knew the answers to those.  Funny thing is, we went over and over the figurative language and the differences in simile and metaphor and all those things to make sure he understood them.  This is the first thing we've had to actually "study", everything else, once it's presented he's got it.  But he is a very literal person.  His first thought at the 40 winks thing, was that someone winked 40 times but (this is how we went over it) that makes no logical sense.  He just couldn't figure out exactly what it means.

post #17 of 29

As far as things like remembering to write his name on the paper and such, perhaps a checklist for him that's taped to his desk top at school?  Something that has a few steps like

 

1. write your name on the paper

2. read the directions

3. answer the questions

4. check the back of the paper for additional work

5. check your answers

 

Or whatever all it is that he's having issues with. 

post #18 of 29

Ugh, does he have one of those teachers who thinks that only kids who are failing could possibly have learning disabilities? I hope that isn't the case, but either way, I hope you're able to get things straightened out.

 

Also, if he usually doesn't have to study, you may have yet another problem to sort out, to wit, getting him work that is at his level. I'd be cautious starting that struggle with the school because schools often think that "more of the same work" is the same as the "more advanced work" that is being requested.

post #19 of 29

If he's left-brained, a written checklist (for writing the name) would help, but I'm guessing if he were indeed left-brained he wouldn't need it in the first place.

 

If he's a visual learner, it might help him more to sit and visualize the steps. He pictures himself getting a test and picking up his pencil. He pictures himself writing his name first before doing anything else. He pictures himself scanning the test and answering the easiest questions first. He pictures himself going back and filling in the harder questions. Then he pictures himself checking to make sure he answered them all.

 

This can go like a movie in his head and he can replay it whenever he wants - he can confirm this to you (his mother) by repeating all the steps verbally to you.

 

I'm no expert on handwriting issues, but if it were me, I'd ask him if he thought something would make handwriting a little bit easier - ideas include a wrist pad to elevate his wrist (so he can rest his wrist and put more effort into his hand motions), or a really thick pencil, or a triangle grip? Are markers easier for him - he doesn't have to press as hard as with a pencil. I'm just coming from the perspective that handwriting is obviously very tiring for him, so anything that will reduce the effort (not having to press as hard or elevate his wrist or whatever) might help a little, though I doubt it will produce absolute magjic.

 

Or perhaps an IEP could allow him to type, yeah.

post #20 of 29

It doesn't sound like he has a LD to me, it just sounds like an awful set up.  I don't see any mystery here, it seems quite clear what the problems are.

 

The work itself isn't actually hard or challenging for him, so it doesn't really keep his full attention/concentration.  Do you really focus when playing Candy Land with your kids?  I know I don't.  If he can answer all the questions without thinking, there is a good chance he's not going to be thinking/paying attention while he is working.  So, of course he makes mistakes of inattentiveness.

 

Loosing recess time for not completing work encourages fast sloppy work.  how could it not.

 

he has hand writing issue.  Since in the past he was allowed to use a computer, he hasn't even had much time to work on his hand writing problems.  It means that doing the work takes longer and is painful.  Being bored and uncomfortable makes on inattentive.

 

Other students are asking him for help.  It is easy to forget stuff when constantly being interrupted.  Also, he is spending time helping them, which means he has less time to finish his own work, so he has to work faster to finish.  Fast often means sloppy.

 

The not writing his name is probably mostly a question of habit.  Most of the students in his class probably learned to write their names on their papers as their very first lesson in kindergarten.  They have been doing it ever since and it has been taught to them for year.  When they forgot to do it back in 1st grade they were retaught it.  By 4th grade it is second nature to all of them.  Your DS was hs, and had no need to write his name till recently.  he just hasn't had as much time to get into the habit.

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