I'm so frustrated. We just had dd's PT conference where we finally got to see her work and it's full of little juicy tidbits where dd answered very ambiguous questions with perfectly intelligent responses and was told they were wrong and that she needed to write something less thoughtful.
Example:
________________________________________
Write the number.
six ________ eight ________
seven ________ nine ______
_________________________________________
She wrote
six seven eight nine
seven eight nine ten
_________________________________________
her teacher had her correct it to
six 6 eight 8
seven 7 nine 9
_________________________________________
I know this is the stuff that makes her crazy at school.
So, how do you get teachers to properly word assignments and to show children that they value their thinking?
I think it would depend on what the directions said. If she was directed to write the numeral that corresponded with the word (which it looks like she was), then your daughter was wrong, even if she was thoughtful. She didn't write the number; she wrote a word. If all that was there was six ____ eight _____, then she obviously wasn't given direction.
I will say that one common issue bright kids (and grownups, LOL!) seem to have is that they skip the directions and either assume what's being asked of them or assume they can figure it out on their own. Learning to carefully read directions is a good life skill to have.
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Dd is given worksheet after worksheet. Each problem is different and what I wrote is the sum total of the directions given. It was not based on any class instruction. There was no sample set. Numerals were not mentioned anywhere.
I think it would depend on what the directions said. If she was directed to write the numeral that corresponded with the word (which it looks like she was), then your daughter was wrong, even if she was thoughtful. She didn't write the number; she wrote a word. If all that was there was six ____ eight _____, then she obviously wasn't given direction.
Just wondering where you got this. Are you just assuming she must have been given more direction because (you agree with me) that the directions I copied here are clearly too ambiguous?
The directions said write the number. Your daughter wrote the number word. I'm not denying it was divergent thinking, but she wasn't following the directions given.
Granted we homeschool, but my son has similar work in his first grade, and the text and worksheets definitely differentiate between numbers (although I do believe they're more correctly called numerals) and number words. They're two different things.
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While I can see where your daughter was confused, the directions do not say "write the next number" or "complete the pattern" Despite the fact that the directions weren't clear enough to differentiate between "number" and "numeral," I don't think the teach was wrong in telling her that she was wrong. She didn't answer with a different way of solving the problem, she answered based on a misinterpretation of the somewhat confusing directions.
Just wondering where you got this. Are you just assuming she must have been given more direction because (you agree with me) that the directions I copied here are clearly too ambiguous?
The directions you copied said "write the number" not "write the missing number word."
Number (or numeral) = 7, 8, 9
Number word = seven, eight, nine
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what she did was write the missing number, not the number. What she did was incorrect given the directions.
I would hope the teacher would have returned it to her and said, "Wow! You made the assignment much trickier than it was supposed to be. Now please redo this and write the number for each word."
there are ways for a teacher to re-direct a child's divergent thinking without killing it.
I agree with AnnetteMarie that it looks like she didn't read the directions. It says "write the number," not "fill in the missing numbers."
I would also make sure that your DD understands that she can ask for clarification if the directions are confusing. Gifted kids are often very shy about doing that, because they're afraid of looking dumb if they say they don't understand something.
It was very clever of her to notice that pattern!
Trying to live a simple life in a messy house in a complicated world with : DH, DD (b. 07/07), DS (b. 02/09), and DD (b. 10/10)
Interesting. So numerals are now numbers and the written form of a number is now a number word? Is there consensus on this? That would be helpful information to pass along, if it is indeed the new eduspeak.
I guess part of the problem is it is now November and she has yet to receive math instruction, just page after page of problems where there is just one of each type. I think they are waiting for her to hit a ceiling or something. She has to extrapolate from very little what it is that is asked for.
Anyway, it's not a huge deal, this one problem, it's more a concern about question wording and the feedback given my child.
Look, as a teacher I've gotta say that when a student answers a question based upon an incorrect interpretation of the instructions it is because it was a crappily written assignment 9 out of 10 times. I think that the way your daughter answered it makes perfect sense.
A good teacher will not use an opportunity like this to shame a student or tell them they are wrong...but to see what the child knows when the instructions are made more clear. So I think the teacher should have gone over to your daughter and said "Hey Susie, how would you do this differently if I asked you to write the numeral next to the spelled-out number?" And then go from there.
Teachers need to be able to work with kids...there are many different types of learners and not all will interpret instructions the way the teacher intends (who is a specific type of learner herself). Any teacher who cannot see this (or will not) is being arrogant and abusing her power IMO.
A number is a general abstract idea representing a certain amount. 1 = one = I = 2-1 etc. All represent the general idea of oneness.
A numeral is the actual pictoral/symbolic representation of that idea. So, in America we use Arabic numerals. Roman numerals are another type of numeral.
I don't think it's that new. I did my teacher training almost 20 years ago, and these were the working definitions back then.
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I would also make sure that your DD understands that she can ask for clarification if the directions are confusing. Gifted kids are often very shy about doing that, because they're afraid of looking dumb if they say they don't understand something.
It was very clever of her to notice that pattern!
This is what I need to work on even more all the time. She is very reluctant to ask for help and the teachers are not readily available as they are helping other children. I will continue to stress to dd the need to ask for clarification.
lach, you really hit the nail on the head.
In the past she has seen problems written similarly that were asking for the missing word. I just wish the teacher would write a little something encouraging on her papers when she does stuff like that.
I guess I missed the part where the teacher was being mean or unkind to the OP's daughter. She just said she had her correct it, not how she went about it. I tend to assume most teachers are in education because they like kids and not because they're going out of their way to beat them down. I'm sorry if I missed that part.
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Look, as a teacher I've gotta say that when a student answers a question based upon an incorrect interpretation of the instructions it is because it was a crappily written assignment 9 out of 10 times. I think that the way your daughter answered it makes perfect sense.
A good teacher will not use an opportunity like this to shame a student or tell them they are wrong...but to see what the child knows when the instructions are made more clear. So I think the teacher should have gone over to your daughter and said "Hey Susie, how would you do this differently if I asked you to write the numeral next to the spelled-out number?" And then go from there.
Teachers need to be able to work with kids...there are many different types of learners and not all will interpret instructions the way the teacher intends (who is a specific type of learner herself). Any teacher who cannot see this (or will not) is being arrogant and abusing her power IMO.
I so agree. We had a problem with her teachers trying to "stump" her last year.
A number is a general abstract idea representing a certain amount. 1 = one = I = 2-1 etc. All represent the general idea of oneness.
A numeral is the actual pictoral/symbolic representation of that idea. So, in America we use Arabic numerals. Roman numerals are another type of numeral.
I don't think it's that new. I did my teacher training almost 20 years ago, and these were the working definitions back then.
Exactly! She supplied numbers! The instructions weren't clear on which numbers were desired.
I tend to assume most teachers are in education because they like kids and not because they're going out of their way to beat them down.
I wish that were the case. This has not been my experience though...many teachers I know went into education because they wanted a job, or didn't know what else to do with their degree.
OP what I am most disturbed by is the fact your daughter is doing all those worksheets in first grade! Way to kill a love a learning early.
Exactly! She supplied numbers! The instructions weren't clear on which numbers were desired.
She supplied the missing number words.
Did you talk with the teacher about your curriculum concerns?
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So, how do you get teachers to properly word assignments and to show children that they value their thinking?
Well, unfortunately, I don't think you do. I think teachers should encourage creativity and divergent thinking, but parents can't force it. you are much better off creating an environment where your child's thinking and creativity are valued and stretched at home, and encouraging them to crack the code of the teacher's expectations while at school.
It is important for children to learn that different people have different expectations, and how to "code switch" to function successfully in different settings. (Code switch is a linguistic term for the way children from different micro-cultures learn to communicate in settings with different cultural expectations and language nuances than their home--I've never heard it used to describe this type of switch, but I do think it is appropriate).
I guess I missed the part where the teacher was being mean or unkind to the OP's daughter. She just said she had her correct it, not how she went about it. I tend to assume most teachers are in education because they like kids and not because they're going out of their way to beat them down. I'm sorry if I missed that part.
There's a little history.
The point is that my dd is very sensitive. No one actually teaches her math. They're still "assessing" where she is. She wants to please. She wants to learn. We see how being told she is wrong sometimes really affects her. She needs to learn how to deal with that, of course, but we'd like the teachers to take a little responsibility for how they present things and respond to her attempts. Most of the problems are more challenging. These little doo-dads really throw her for a loop.
well, I've taken college-level math fairly recently, and I wouldn't know what to do given those instructions. as someone else said, "number" is a vague concept, and the question should have said numeral, and if that's too difficult for kids to understand, that means they aren't being taught math vocabulary like they should be.
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So, how do you get teachers to properly word assignments and to show children that they value their thinking?
Dd is in first grade.
Because this post is in the gifted forum, I will address your bolded question with the answer that I think you're asking the wrong question. What curriculum are they using? Is it one that lends itself to acceleration or differentiation? What do you see as your daughter's strengths in math?
I can't believe she isn't receiving any math instruction. I have a same-age dd who is advanced in math I do understand the frustration with having a kid who is well above grade level in that area and what it takes to navigate the system to get more appropriate work.
I'm not certain if this is helpful but I saw the first part of the worksheet and just KNEW that the answers were exactly what your child wrote! Now, I see it was nit the case and I guess it would have made sense in context of prior work.
In MY vocab? they wanted the numeral....
The biggest question in my mind is did the teacher
a) mark it wrong and hand it back
b) mark it wrong and say "hey, nice shot but I was looking for the number not the number word (or whatever their vocab is)
Dd is given worksheet after worksheet. Each problem is different and what I wrote is the sum total of the directions given. It was not based on any class instruction. There was no sample set. Numerals were not mentioned anywhere.
Did the teacher tell you she didn't give the class instruction or are you assuming this because the worksheet had no sample set or definitions. Teachers usually give instruction first, go over examples, then have students have at it. I think you should clarify this with the teacher and go on to complain to the principal if she truly isn't giving the kids any math instruction. I really doubt that the kids had no instruction before doing math unless this was a pre-test. It may be that the problem you need to work with your daughter and her teacher on is that your daughter didn't pay attention to instruction and didn't write down the numbers. If she isn't paying attention and doing the work correctly then there is no way the teacher can know what she can do.
I am finding that getting differentiated instruction is very hard because they expect kids to solve things a certain way and to follow a certain format before they will concede that the child has any ability above what other students have. It is very frustrating. Following directions and paying attention are also important though because teachers can't see what a child's abilities are if they aren't paying enough attention to show that they can do basic skills. At my dd's conference her teacher and I talked about the difference between what she can do and what she is showing and she is finally willing to concede that it may be okay for my dd to do higher math with her one strategy, but that agreement still hasn't paid off with differentiated instruction.
Does her teacher have any training or experience with working with gifted children? It doesn't sound like it. Divergent thinking is something that should be encouraged and someone who's used to teaching gifted kids would know that especially in math and science there are expected answers but also logically correct answers that are non-routine instead of only one correct written in stone solution, at least with most things. The thing with divergent thinking is a teacher may not be able to word things just right all the time. She just needs to be respectful of logically correct answers instead of seeing things so one dimensionally.
When I read the problem, I solved it the same way the OP's daughter did. The question was not clear. I think number word vs numeral is really picky for first grade as well. In fact, I wouldn't distinguish between them so concisely as an adult in most cases.
I think the best way for the teacher to handle it would be to admit that the problem was unclear, then explain what she had expected instead, and given her the chance to demonstrate that skill.
The point is that my dd is very sensitive. No one actually teaches her math. They're still "assessing" where she is. She wants to please. She wants to learn. We see how being told she is wrong sometimes really affects her. She needs to learn how to deal with that, of course, but we'd like the teachers to take a little responsibility for how they present things and respond to her attempts. Most of the problems are more challenging. These little doo-dads really throw her for a loop.
this is a special education need, honestly. especially if she's having frequent issue enough that a parent/teacher conference was needed.
my child is being tested for being on the spectrum. he's extremely brilliant, but his mind thinks in very literal ways. instructions have to be explained to him as literally as possible for him to understand them the best. i could totally see him answering that paper just like your daughter did.
also, has she tried asking the teacher to clarify the instructions? for some students, having the instructions orally explained works better than seeing them written out. or maybe, having an example at the top of the paper. have all of these things been tried? are you sure the teacher doesn't say the instructions aloud first?
also, maybe finding out what's going on with the kid-teacher communication there. does she ask for clarification on the instructions if she doesn't understand? if not, why? if so, how is the teacher responding to that? My kid's communication skills skip a beat sometimes. in certain situations, he sits there inside of his shell instead of asking for help. so the communication between teacher and himself breaks down on his end, because that's how his mind works. but this may not be the case with your kid, see if she is trying to get help or not.
instead of marking her answers wrong, she should instead be trying to understand how your daughters mind works, and within reason, try to cater to that. if the teacher is not giving the instructions in different ways, then your daughter is probably not the only student who would benefit from the instructions being presented differently. so while those kids may not have problems enough to warrant a conference over it, they still may also improve if the teacher switched it up a bit. so it's not like she'd be singling your child out or anything.
I agree that the directions were confusing, too. Write the number to me makes me lean towards writing out a "number word" which is a term I have never heard of (but then again I'm an English teacher But seriously, it's the teacher's job to define these terms if she wants to use them so specifically, and to make instructions clear). Write the numeral would have been far more clear, but it sounds like she's actually not been instructed in any of that anyway. By November, yeesh!
i notice you said your kid had issues last year and has been having ongoing issues this year too.
i don't know if you are in the US or not, but if you are here, the school systems are required by law, to teach in such a way that your child will understand. sometimes that can be as simple as an understanding with the teacher that he or she has to make sure to put a visual example up for every test, for instance, or it can go deeper than that sometimes. (i.e., pulling your child out of class at regular intervals to have a more experienced special education teacher teach them the subjects they struggle with in such a way that they can absorb it.)
if the teacher is are unwillling to try simple methods to help your kid understand the instructions better, then talk to the guidance counselor of the school. i had to when my kid's teacher kept pulling the "I got too many students to do that, you'll have to take him to get formally diagnosed before we can do anything" route. the guidance counselor got the ball rolling towards getting my kid the understanding that he needed. I don't think we would have gotten there without the guidance counselor. Either way, the teacher will have to unbend a bit and to make sure her methods of teaching are in such a way that your child can understand, because it's the law.
it's amazing how fast the "issues" that my kid's teacher was "too busy and overwhelmed" to deal with melted away once she knew that there were a team of evaluators periodically coming in and examining how he learned and watching everything that happens between the two of them.