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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
<span style="color:#FF0000;"><b><span style="font-size:small;">You are in the gifted forum.</span></b></span><br><br><br>
So, kindergarten is almost over and I will be meeting with the school soon about next year. I am fairly happy with this year because our main goals were met:<br><br>
Dd still loves learning.<br>
Dd is doing great socially.<br>
Dd is honing her leadership skills (from what seemed more like bossiness before).<br><br>
HOWEVER, we don't feel she was taught or challenged at her level in math or language arts. She enjoyed science, art, music, recess, sharing, etc. Overall it was a very positive experience for her. We are concerned that her teachers and school have not really seen her abilities, but think that they have. She is clearly a leader in the class. They know she reads way above grade-level. They know she does well in math. BUT, she really wasn't challenged in reading, writing or math. You may recall my threads about only being allowed picture books from the library (solved that) and the crazy math problem that "stumped her," etc. She comes home from school and sits down to make up her own math problems, write stories and read novels, etc. She usually chooses to read books between the fourth and sixth-grade level. I don't really know what level she is at in math.<br><br>
I guess my overall feeling is we are OK with the lack of academic challenge in kindergarten, as there was so much else going on and so much else to learn and experience. But for first grade, we'd like he to be taught at her level, especially in language arts, and challenged in math.<br><br>
I'm sure this has been covered to some extent before, but if you would humor me with what has worked for you, I would appreciate some input.<br><br>
Thanks.
 

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Your first line made me chuckle.<br><br>
It's hard to know whether to talk to her 1st grade teacher now or wait until the fall. On the one hand, you don't want to seem pushy, on the other, it's nice to get some things organized ahead of time.<br><br>
I kind of recall your earlier posts, but not details, sorry. Does she have a peer group in the same grade, so that some streaming or cluster grouping of some bright/gifted students together is possible? It would be nice if the school organized it now, while they are sorting out the class lists for September.<br><br>
In first grade, subject acceleration worked well for my dc - from 1st to 3rd. Depending on how far ahead she is with language arts and math, it might work for her.<br><br>
You could send purchase materials yourself and send them to school with her. Maybe in August, see how she likes some math curriculum (Singapore or whatever else she likes) - and then when schools starts up n the fall, if it's working well, just suggest to the teacher that she continue with it independently in class.<br><br>
Good luck.
 

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I hate to say it, but be careful how you approach it. The system has NO desire to challenge her or give her appropriate work. It is possible you can find individual teachers or even individual administrators who think that it is a worthwhile cause, but the system itself has no reason to want to provide appropriate work to gifted kids.<br><br>
-Angela
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
OK, I see I should provide a little more information. I do not know if she has peers as far as reading in her grade, but I'm sure she has math peers. She's only a couple grades ahead in math.<br><br>
Cluster grouping would be possible. Next year is the key year as first and second are combined across the board. There are three classes of each grade, so six combined classes of 1st/2nd next year. This would also be where our best opportunity to whole-grade skip would be (1st to 3rd), if that seems appropriate (but we'd rather not if her needs can be met with same-age peers). I know they do grouping at least within the classroom for reading.<br><br>
I am not willing to accept that they won't do anything for her. I do believe there will be "some" ability and desire to create an appropriate learning environment for her. I do understand the limitations and resistance and am prepared to fight the fight if needed.
 

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Personally, I would request a meeting with the principle.<br><br>
The main thing you are asking for is for the principle to put her in a class with a teacher who not only <b>can</b> differentiate, but <b>enjoys it</b> and is especially <b>skilled at it</b>.<br><br>
You would want to this now, before classroom assignments are figured out this summer or fall.<br><br>
I have found principles to be very receptive to finding a good teacher fit as they really don't want to spend all next year hearing from you due to a poor fit. But you are going to have to bring your daughter to the principles attention so that they can put that extra effort into placing her in a class that is more willing to meet her needs.<br><br>
I would go into the meeting with any evaluations by her teacher, any outside evaluations, her current favorite book, samples of her math work from home and lay it all out for the principle. I'd ask them to look at what she's doing. Express concerns that it could be disruptive to the classroom if she's not adequately challenged and ask them what they can do for you.<br><br>
I'd also ask about gifted programs, when they start, etc. If they start in later grades I'd ask about possibilities for getting her into something early.<br><br>
Basically, what is the plan for meeting your daughters needs next year? I would want it spelled out for me.<br><br>
Don't be afraid to say "This is where we are at", "These are my concerns", "What do your propose we do", then leave the long silence. Don't immediately jump in with your own ideas for solutions. Wait and see what they have to say.<br><br>
A 1-2 sounds like a great opportunity for some really good differentiation. I think that the grade set up is a big positive in favor of being able to get some meaningful differentiation.
 

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When my dd was in first grade, in her school it was set up so that a lot of it could be done differently by different kids depending on where they were. For instance, they would do "writing" every day. Some kids would draw a picture and tell the teacher what to write, but my dd could do the writing herself, and as much as she wanted. They did clustering for reading, so she was with other advanced kids as far as reading goes, although there were phonics lessons in her class as well that she had a little touble during behavior wise because she was bored. But overall she really liked first grade. The biggest problem I had was that the librarian didn't want her checking out books beyond a first grade reading level, but eventually that got sorted out.<br><br>
I would ask if they have a way to accommodate children at different levels and see what they have in place now. I would make sure the library doesn't have limits as to what books kids can check out, as that was our biggest problem. Also, this year (second grade) my dd has been sent to a fourth grade class for a few things. They didn't do that in first grade, but I didn't ask for it so maybe if I had that would have been an option as well.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
JollyGG, that is exactly what I want to do. I have called and scheduled an appointment for Friday. I just talked to my dh before calling to schedule the appointment and we agreed to focus on the following:<br><br>
She has had <b>no</b> appropriate instruction in math this year.<br>
She has had no appropriate reading instruction this year.<br>
She has had opportunities to write in class, but not a an interesting level of challenge for her.<br>
She is sensitive and will need reading material at a 5th or 6th grade level, but not at that level of maturity as far as violence and evil goes.<br>
We want her to have a teacher who is able, experienced and excited about differentiating and tiering instruction for her, but <span style="text-decoration:underline;">not</span> in a competitive way.<br><br>
So <b>math</b>, <b>reading</b>, <b>writing</b>, <b>sensitive</b>, <b>non-competitive</b>.<br><br>
I have already fought the library battle and am willing to keep fighting it if necessary.<br><br><br>
Any other tips/suggestions? I especially find wording suggestions helpful. Thank you so much JollyGG!
 

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Um, when you figure it out, can you let me know? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/smile.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="smile"><br><br>
My DD sounds like she is about the same place as your DD. I wish I had a better idea about her math level--we'll look at that this summer. I accidentally bought the wrong Singapore books, though (the textbooks instead of the workbooks, damn it).<br><br>
My sense is that math is going to be a harder fix than reading. They need some actual instruction to progress in math; they can kinda just go on their own in reading and do increasingly more complex writing. Also, reading level is impossible to ignore, IMO. Math is less obvious.<br><br>
At least your K kid got to GO to the library. Sigh. (K kids don't, at DD's school.)
 

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Honestly, I would ask for the reading materials for the 3rd grade. I would do the grade skip, I would ask for that, and then if they negotiate down, and you are satisfied, so be it. But I wouldn't start small and hope to go up--I would get their attention with the grade skip.<br><br>
Also, I honestly feel that your daughter will be harmed by not having challenge... and honestly, 2nd grade is not a lot more intense then 1st. Not for a child like your dd.<br><br>
It doesn't take many years of no challenge in school for kids to write school off. Sure she might do work at home, but she won't do it at school.<br><br>
Please, please, seriously consider the skip to 3rd. Look over the materials. Sit in on the class. Really compare the 1/2 to 3rd and see where you can see you daughter.<br><br>
It is great that she has learned leadership skills, etc, but she has the right to learn academic things at school, too.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>carmel23</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15421358"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Honestly, I would ask for the reading materials for the 3rd grade. I would do the grade skip, I would ask for that, and then if they negotiate down, and you are satisfied, so be it. But I wouldn't start small and hope to go up--I would get their attention with the grade skip.<br><br>
Also, I honestly feel that your daughter will be harmed by not having challenge... and honestly, 2nd grade is not a lot more intense then 1st. Not for a child like your dd.<br><br>
It doesn't take many years of no challenge in school for kids to write school off. Sure she might do work at home, but she won't do it at school.<br><br>
Please, please, seriously consider the skip to 3rd. Look over the materials. Sit in on the class. Really compare the 1/2 to 3rd and see where you can see you daughter.<br><br>
It is great that she has learned leadership skills, etc, but she has the right to learn academic things at school, too.</div>
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I agree. I think your DD is significantly advanced to the tune of needing either grade advancement and/or an alternate program which provides a high level of differentiation and individualization. I base my impression on having read your posts for a couple of years. My experience and observation is that many gifted kids will tolerate kindie (novelty, they're young and naive, social milieu). It's after kindie that things can get dicey as the learning to read curriculum starts in earnest and days are longer.<br><br>
Personally, I ask for nothing re language arts until gr4 when they collectively move to the reading to learn phase. I only ask that they be given an alternate activity or project to do during those times of day. My rationale is that my kids are highly verbal and pick up on LA pretty organically. HSing DS last year really added to my confidence in this. If you look at gr2-3 phonics programs you'll see what I mean, and who wants to do a gr4 novel study alone?<br><br>
I have a meeting set for next week with the principal for planning for both kids for the next couple of years. My kids are on her radar and she ensures they get differentiation, pull outs and other opportunities. I will follow this meeting up with DS's teachers for next year because I have some explicit requests for next year, which include no phonics and no timed math drills on concepts way below his level but outside of the reach of his written output.<br><br>
Will the school test your DD? If they don't start to cotton on to how out of norm she is soon you may have to push testing to demonstrate it. PG kids usually get the attention of admin.
 

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I was extremely academically advanced kid, esp in elementary. I was also very small, and already young for my class so grade skipping was ruled out - which I am glad of. I did academic pullouts when they were available and self directed study when they weren't. It really is no big deal for her to be finding her own challenges that take her above and beyond what she is learning in school. Also, not everything has to be a challenge to be worthwhile. I really liked reading from my library books and doing my own math problems, I like the self directed-ness of it. TBH, I think that environment played a huge part into making me into a confident and capable teen and adult.<br><br>
When you say that she had no appropriate instruction in math or reading, what exactly do you mean? What would you expect to be different by putting her in a pullout? Sorry, I don't know any of your history here. Doing single subjects in higher grade levels can be hard emotionally. I liked the subject matter, but at a certain point you become the weird smart kid. Like I did social science in an higher grade level (don't ask me why, I was 10 - I think it was because reading and social science went together) and it was very awkward- that school didn't have the ability to make other accommodations. I would have rather not done it and just stayed in my grade level. If the pullouts are with a resource or GATE teacher and one on one or small group, that is SOOOOO much better than just going into another class for instruction. Going into the other classes makes a big deal out of it and is just really socially awkward. IME.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>rhiandmoi</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15421727"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I was extremely academically advanced kid, esp in elementary. I was also very small, and already young for my class so grade skipping was ruled out - which I am glad of. I did academic pullouts when they were available and self directed study when they weren't. <b>It really is no big deal for her to be finding her own challenges that take her above and beyond what she is learning in school.</b> Also, not everything has to be a challenge to be worthwhile. <b>I really liked reading from my library books</b> and doing my own math problems, I like the self directed-ness of it. TBH, I think that environment played a huge part into making me into a confident and capable teen and adult.<br><br>
When you say that she had no appropriate instruction in math or reading, what exactly do you mean? What would you expect to be different by putting her in a pullout? Sorry, I don't know any of your history here. Doing single subjects in higher grade levels can be hard emotionally. I liked the subject matter, but at a certain point you become the weird smart kid. Like I did social science in an higher grade level (don't ask me why, I was 10 - I think it was because reading and social science went together) and it was very awkward- that school didn't have the ability to make other accommodations. I would have rather not done it and just stayed in my grade level. If the pullouts are with a resource or GATE teacher and one on one or small group, that is SOOOOO much better than just going into another class for instruction. Going into the other classes makes a big deal out of it and is just really socially awkward. IME.</div>
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There's plenty of research to support skipping, and it's been long discussed on this board. There's no great consensus as there's certainly a diverse range of points of view and experiences, but many adults have posted here about how skipping did or didn't work out in their experience. In my case, the school system my children are in is very, very different than the one I was well educated in without a skip.<br><br>
Thus far we have not elected to skip either of our children. DS may in a couple of years, we'll see, but we don't think it's the right choice for DD. That said, and in relation to what I highlighted in your post - my DD checked out of school at the ripe old age of 10 because of years of reading independently during class time. Personality is a huge variable in addition to intelligence and DD needs a supportive, warm, engaged teacher and certain academic supports to thrive in school.
 

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expecting-joy, someone up thread mentioned split classes. DS is THRIVING in a 3 grade split with a teacher who individualizes and has a passion for teaching. Does your school have splits?
 

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Good luck!<br><br>
The one other thing I would go in knowing is exactly where she is in math. I know you won't know now where she will be in the fall b/c of how much she'll probably accelerate over the summer, but at least if you go in with a printed list of what skills she has and when the state standards/district curriculum covers them, you'll be able to advocate better for significant advancement. You could probably just use the Singapore placement tests on their website for a quick assessment.<br><br>
Heather
 

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re cluster grouping and in-class differentiation: when trying to find out more about Susan Weinbrenner's book ("Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom" I think it's called, it's been mentioned a couple times recently) I stumbled across some ppts on her website (called "handouts") which look like they might be useful for that kind of conference.
 

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<div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Honestly, I would ask for the reading materials for the 3rd grade. I would do the grade skip, I would ask for that, and then if they negotiate down, and you are satisfied, so be it. But I wouldn't start small and hope to go up--I would get their attention with the grade skip.</td>
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Our experience has been the exact opposite. We found the school appreciated our willingness to take steps, to try things out. In the end, it was the school that reccomended our DD for a grade skip. I feel it's very important to be realistic in negotiations. To ask for an extreme accomodation that isn't obviously warranted makes you look foolish and not interested in the best interest of your child. Asking for a 2 year grade skip because a graduating kindergartener reads 4-6 grade level is not realistic.<br><br>
I am an advocate of grade skipping in the right circumstances. My oldest was just about the most ideal case you could find and skipping an excellent decision. Even then, we took steps and tried other accomodations first. My DS tests in the same percentile but we knew full-grade acceleration was not the path for him. Once we accepted that, other avenues opened up. It's smart to take steps, to try things out. I caution the OP against asking for a 2 grade acceleration when she was happy in kindergarten.
 

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Discussion Starter · #17 ·
I only just had time to read your posts and have to run. Thank you all so much! I will be back later today to respond , share more thoughts and ask more questions.
 

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We are in a similar situation. We have been advocating for our kindergartener all year long. The school was very resistant to giving her any kind of differentiation until about mid to late February. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> This was at about the 7th conference that we had had with the school, and had finally enlisted the superintendent in the meeting. After that, it was slightly better. We just had another conference, and the school has grudgingly agreed to a grade skip. I believe that my child is an excellent candidate to skip grade 1. She is confident, friendly, a leader, socially very outgoing. Academically, she is around an end of 2nd grade level for math, and around end of 3rd grade for language arts (she reads around a 4th-5th grade level when allowed to choose her own books).<br><br>
I would probably have been more receptive to a cluster of high achievers and keeping her with her age peers, but for a few factors. The way the district is organized, they have K-1 in one school, and 2-5 in a different school across town. She is currently going over to the 1st grade for reading. There would be no where for her to go next year. Also, the school has been so resistant to every.single.thing we have requested, has communicated with us very poorly, and has done the very bare minimum for her in regards to differentiation. So, they do not have my confidence that they will be able to see to her needs next year. It has been a lot of work on my part to keep her upbeat and positive about school. She has been complaining about it being too easy from the get go. The only time she is engaged is when she is helping the other students. I am not sure I'm entirely comfortable with that kind of dynamic as it gives her a bit too much power, and I fear will be socially isolating (as opposed to making her into a leader).<br><br>
I feel that she will blossom and thrive in a grade skip and that is why we have been advocating for that. This is in the face of dire warnings of what may happen to her in 10 years when all her friends are driving and she isn't.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> Anyway, that's our situation. We will see how it works out next year!
 

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Discussion Starter · #19 ·
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Tigerle</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/15422202"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">re cluster grouping and in-class differentiation: when trying to find out more about Susan Weinbrenner's book ("Teaching Gifted Kids in the Regular Classroom" I think it's called, it's been mentioned a couple times recently) I stumbled across some ppts on her website (called "handouts") which look like they might be useful for that kind of conference.</div>
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Can you post a link? I cannot find her website.
 

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Do you have the Iowa Acceleration Scale? It's pretty inexpensive on amazon. It could help you think through it.<br><br>
Cluster groupings are a challenge in a regular neighbourhood school. You have to have a sufficient number to make it work. When DD was clustered with the same 4 other kids in her last school (a magnet school that attracts gifted kids) it was a bit strange because they were always working together on stuff and some strong personalities and quirks came to be recurrent themes.<br><br>
What works at the kids' current school is really, really extraordinary teaching staff, well-supported by admin, who embrace indivualized instruction and think outside the box.
 
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