Looking for ideas - how do kids take a single subject one grade level up (3rd/4th grade)/ - Mothering Forums

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Old 03-29-2011, 09:05 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds is in 2nd grade now.  He loves math and is pretty good at it.  After two years of him basically working on worksheets at his level on his own in addition to doing the regular grade-level math, it sounds like we might be able to move him up a grade in math next year.

 

Basically, he will be in 3rd grade, but he could go up to 4th grade for math classes.  I think this could be great, but it is complicated.  The grade levels don't all do math at the same time, so in going up to 4th grade for math, he misses something (other than math) in 3rd grade.  Likewise, he ends up in 3rd grade when they do their math - what does he do then?

 

We will be setting up a meeting later this spring to work out a plan to make this happen next year, and I'm curious if anyone has done this before.  If so, what worked?  What didn't work?

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Old 03-29-2011, 10:03 PM
 
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The year we had DS work up a grade in math I ended up just buying him the Singapore Math Curriculum he was ready.  Then he participated in the class math activities but did his own work while the other kids did their assigned math sheets.  I wouldn't have been willing to have him miss other parts of class and then double up on math (definately the thing he needs the *least* work on).


 

 

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Old 03-30-2011, 09:49 AM
 
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We've done it, but it takes some effort on the part of the teachers, so they really have to make it work. For example, in first grade, DS left his regular class and went to the third grade classroom for language arts. The 2 teachers had to co-ordinate his schedule. They had to adjust the expectations and assessments for him. Although he was reading and comprehending and able to compose at the third grade level, his writing skills were still at a first grade level. In class, the third grade teacher adjusted expectations for his output and he did more verbal work with her. For homework, I did some scribing while he dictated. 

 

He was ahead in the other first grade subjects, so we weren't too concerned if he missed some of the in-class instruction. He either didn't need it or made it up quickly independently or with his teacher's help. While the class worked on their language arts lessons, he either did some independent reading or worked on other assignments and lessons.

 

Subject acceleration worked really well in those early grades. By the time he was in 3rd grade, it was obvious he was going to need a better long term solution and we moved him into a full-time gifted program. I think subject acceleration also works well in later school years when the students have a rotary schedule, especially high school. It's a lot tougher in the middle school years, when classwork tends to be integrated more. 

 

 

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Old 03-30-2011, 10:03 AM
 
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We're there. 

 

DD's third grade classroom is on a different schedule than the other 3rd grades so that DD can go to a clustered  math class with the 4th graders.   Next year will be trickier because the same teacher teaches the 4th and 5th grade gifted clusters, and more math intervention will kick in for kids who do poorly on the 3rd grade state test. 

 

We are working our way through 4 solutions to be decided on at a meeting May 18:

 

DD is in a 4th grade room with no other kids with math interventions of any sort so that her room can be on its own schedule, scheduling math at the same time as the building 5th graders.

DD does the 5th grade curriculum with next year's 4th grade gifted cluster, mostly independently with the help of the teacher (won't work for our DD)

DD does 5th grade with next year's 5th graders, and then makes up what she misses in her 4th grade room during their 4th grade math time.  (won't work for our DD but this is what worked for me when I did this in elementary school)

DD does 5th grade math with next year's 5th graders while her 4th grade class is scheduled for specials each day, then she does her specials with other classes during her regular room's math time.  I'm currently favoring this solution, though it will likely require gym with 3rd graders and music with 5th graders or something complex like that.  The problem here is that none of the teachers have come up with this solution on their own, and so it's a bit of a matter to explain it and explore whether or not it will work.  I've planted the idea already, but little understanding of it has penetrated.

 

This is inherently relying on the good will of all the teachers and administrators.  We are fortunate for an intervention specialist/director who is forceful with her support for this acceleration.

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Old 03-30-2011, 11:32 AM
 
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Both my kids have done subject accelerations. To be successful, the teachers really need to be on board and flexible. It works best if the teachers involved sync their language arts and math periods. This way my kids only miss the subjects they are replacing and they never have make-up work. I'd just be careful that your child isn't consistantly missing a "fun" period in class. When I was a kid, my teachers would often pull me out of craft and fun activities to give me academic challenge and I hated that.


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Old 03-30-2011, 07:46 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for all the ideas.  It's nice to know that other people have been successful at getting classes in different grade levels in sync for those subjects.  The possibilities the principal brought up involved getting classes with two teachers on board who could sync their math times, missing specials, going some of the time but working independently during normal 3rd grade math some of the time, etc.  I think too many different groups of kids would stress him out some.  He's already a little wary of the idea of going up to another class for math (but then, he's wary of anything new). 

 

I'm hoping we can get this all in place this spring with willing teachers for next year so that things can go smoothly next year.  It doesn't help that there are about 30 kids/class and my son is already a bit, er, high-maintenance for behavior issues.  I just need to make sure I don't give up until we have a solution that will work. 

 

Thanks for the ideas and your thoughts on what does/does not work well for your kids and why!

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Old 04-03-2011, 08:56 PM
 
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It's a pain in the neck, but it can be done. When I was in 4th grade I shifted to the other 4th grade class (there was a distinct and unspoken difference in the rigor of the two classes) for reading and math. So I wasn't with my class during gym, or something like that. I straddled the two classes. I didn't mind too much. I had more friends in the other class anyway. I was pretty annoyed when partway through the year I somehow found out that the teachers realized they placed me in the wrong class (it was my first year there), but my parents thought it would be easier on me if I just stayed put instead of switching classes entirely. I don't think they realized that it wasn't particularly easy to go between two classes like I was!

 

My nephew is in 4th grade and taking 5th grade math right now. He misses out on his 4th grade cartooning class, which is a huge bummer for him. It's been good for math, but awkward in other areas. Next year he's just skipping into 6th entirely, which will make things easier.

 

At the school I teach at, we do absurdly complicated scheduling magic to make it so the grades that have kids jumping up a level all have math at the same time. It's worked ok for a few years, which is helped by the fact that we are a TINY school, but next year there are so many kids in 6th-8th that are above grade level in math that we are just going to have a whole separate independently-paced class for them.

 

Every school is different. Some can find ways to make it work seamlessly (at least from the kids' perspective), while in other places it can just be a complicated hassle.

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Old 04-05-2011, 12:16 PM
 
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It worked really well for my DD.  But it was a totally different circumstance- all of the math classes meet at the same time, and she was already in a mixed grade classroom for the rest of the day, so she wasn't going into a classroom with kids she didn't know.  The teachers actually found it easier when DD was moved to the other classroom because up until that point her math teacher was trying to come up with multiple differentiated activities for DD, which was exhausting for the teacher and took up a lot of class time that the teacher could have used to work with kids who were struggling.  My DD's horrendous attitude also improved when she wasn't quite so bored in class.

 

 


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Old 04-05-2011, 12:36 PM
 
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Quote:

Originally Posted by annethcz View Post The teachers actually found it easier when DD was moved to the other classroom because up until that point her math teacher was trying to come up with multiple differentiated activities for DD, which was exhausting for the teacher and took up a lot of class time that the teacher could have used to work with kids who were struggling.  My DD's horrendous attitude also improved when she wasn't quite so bored in class.

 



Yes, when a subject acceleration is appropriate is a whole 'nuther ball of wax.  It's generally a bit simpler decision than a whole grade acceleration, but there are guidelines and best practices out there, particularly for math.

 

Kaybee, if you are still trying to figure out if you should accelerate, I really liked Developing Math Talent.  It requires some out of level testing that our school did for DD.  Note that the school was using different metrics with a significantly higher and/or just plain different bar than recommended in the book.   However, it was excellent for helping DH and I decide what was best for DD, and will guide our decision making in advocating for DS.  The book recommends the Explore test, but our school did a math-specific test (Keymath 3) to fully probe exactly what DD did and did not know. 

 

A skip should be put into place to solve a problem - generally an inability to further effectively differentiate for a child.  Just because a kid can handle a year's skip, doesn't always mean they should. 

 

The scheduling and logistics should really come as a secondary consideration.  In our case, the testing results were undeniable enough that the school was motivated to make the scheduling work.  In our case, the program is extraordinary, which will result in a 2-grade acceleration for DD spread out over a year, where the second year of the acceleration was already structurally put into place through the gifted program for the next grade level up. 

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Old 04-05-2011, 02:52 PM
 
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One of my DDs is accelerated in math. It's a small math class of mixed ages, but all the kids are math bright.

 

She goes to a private school that is VERY big on working with kids at their level and at their pace, which is wonderful, but the scheduling is the difficult part. For the first two weeks of school, they kept changing the schedule trying to get everything to work. They finally got things worked out so that her math class meets 3 times a week, at time that work for all the kids.

 

It would be ideal if your child's homeroom teacher and math teacher could have math at the same time, at least on some days.

 

Last year, she was in a public school and the gifted program was a pullout. She was responsible for missed work. The teacher tried to work it so it was language arts or something workbookish to simplify things for the kids in the gifted program. But ever whining about the makeup was considered a sign that a child didn't really belong in the gifted program.

 

If your son will end up in his homeroom during some math periods, it would seem appropriate to allow him to do homework for a different subject during that time or read.

 

Our experience with differentation is that scheduling is far more complicated that one would guess, and that kids with differentation need to be somewhat independent.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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Old 04-05-2011, 09:28 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by annethcz View Post

The teachers actually found it easier when DD was moved to the other classroom because up until that point her math teacher was trying to come up with multiple differentiated activities for DD, which was exhausting for the teacher and took up a lot of class time that the teacher could have used to work with kids who were struggling.  My DD's horrendous attitude also improved when she wasn't quite so bored in class.

 

 


I admit the bit at the end is something I hope will be part of the outcome of this push.  He's bored, he acts out, and he's developing a bad attitude about school because of it.  He doesn't see the point.  I think if he were challenged more, particularly in the area he really enjoys, that it would help with that attitude some, too.    

 

The only "differentiation" that goes on is that he gets his own math packets to work on, primarily to keep him busy.  There's no instruction in any of it.  I think that's what's been bugging me the most.  If there is some way he could be with the class that's essentially doing the same work he is doing, it seems like it would be beneficial.  

 

We can look into the book you mentioned, Wendy.  I don't think it's a problem moving him up - when I brought up the idea, the principal did a quick check on his latest math assessment and then said, yes, we could move him up.  So whatever bar they have, it sounds like he has met it.  I think if we can get everything worked out this spring, with willing teachers, it could work out well.

 

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