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Reasonable - spelling?
Old 10-14-2014, 06:41 PM
 
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I would like some opinions on whether or not I am being reasonable. It has to do with a spelling "test" in grade 2.
Each week I give 5 words (high frequency, frequently misspelled, subject specific, etc) to my grade 2 students. While we do have a spelling "test" I don't count the grade, but I do expect that word to be spelled correctly in the future. This was clearly explained to all parents at the beginning of the year. Further more, I have told my students that in grade 2, I expect them to be able to form their letters properly, or very closely at least. So for example, if you write an "n" and an "h", both lowercase, but the stick of the "n" is a little high and that of the "h" is a little low (so that they are identical) it will be incorrect.
Last week a student did what I described with "n" and "h" on the word "bench". I marked it wrong and carefully wrote next to it to show why, and spoke with him as well. Mom wrote a note today, very upset as she could clearly tell what he meant. I referred her to the info she got at the beginning of the year.
So after all that backstory, my question is am I being reasonable to expect a 7 year old (who is now in his fourth year of all day schooling) to form letters properly so that they can be distinguished from one another? If I'm not, please don't hesitate to say so - I'm still somewhat of a newbie in the primary grades. I taught older kids for many years, so this never came up!


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Old 10-14-2014, 06:56 PM
 
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Stick to your guns. You have given clear guidelines as to what is acceptable. You follow through and students know what to expect.
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Do not lower your expectations!
Old 10-14-2014, 06:58 PM
 
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I teach first and I expect the same thing. I frequently tell my students that I am not a mind reader and I will not assume that they know how to spell a word correctly. If I cannot read it or cannot tell what letter they have written, I will mark it wrong. We work on proper letter formation during guided reading groups. I also tell them that I have very high expectations for them and I will not lower them to meet their behavior. Their behavior has to rise up to meet my expectations!
I have taught for several years and I am tired of seeing students who are never held accountable for anything. I do not think you are being unreasonable and I do not think you should change your policy because a parent complained!
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I agree with you
Old 10-14-2014, 07:00 PM
 
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I am with you/but then again I set high goals. I feel when you learn a word it is learned forever. I questioned my daughter's teacher about a misspelled word when a letter was formed incorrectly, however, no guidelines were presented prior to the start of school year and I was not upset just questioned.

I commend you for raising the bar.
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Old 10-14-2014, 08:24 PM
 
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Was it the child's best effort or was he goofing off and being sloppy? I agree in high standards, but feel that sometimes kids can get discouraged when effort isn't noted.

Example:
I make my kids write their full name on everything they turn in to me. I have a child who can write his full name with handwriting that looks like an adult, when he wants to, so if the letters of his name are not correctly formed, uh-oh for him. On the other hand, I have another child who struggles. Today, she stood at her desk tongue sticking out and all staring at her name plate and intensely focused on each letter. I could only read the first letter, but it was her best work and it was one letter more than she could do last week, so I accepted her paper and praised her hard work. Does that mean that's the most I expect out of her? No. I fully expect that she will write her full name, and I or anyone else that looks at it will know what it says. What it does mean, is that I honor her attempt and accept that it is a process. I wrote her name correctly next to her attempt and showed her again what the letters should look like while emphasizing that awesome first letter, and my belief that she would do even better next time. We'll keep working on it, and the next assignment, she again put effort. Why? Because my response motivated a desire to keep trying.

I would also take into account what first grade does at your campus. Some first grade teachers use lined paper while others still use primary lines, so he may still be transitioning.

I don't know if any of what I'm saying makes sense, but I guess the gist if it is: Have high expectations, but take into account where each child is developmentally. Also talk to mom, see where she's coming from, there might be more to it. I know I was pretty upset one year and so was mom. One of my tutoring students couldn't add to save his life. He worked on it in class, then with me, and finally with mom. Takes the test and misses passing by one question. The answer was right, but his 4 was backwards so the teacher counted it wrong. Mom and I both had a fit. He was so heartbroken and had worked so hard.


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Old 10-15-2014, 10:50 AM
 
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I'm with you. My 3rd graders love to capitalize letters everywhere; beginning of words, middle of words, anywhere. I told them at the beginning of the year that if there are capitals where they don't belong (and then spending 2-3 weeks on proper vs common nouns) it's wrong.

I would also add that I think we need to get these kids writing neatly early. I always one or 2 with completely illegible writing and I can't help but think that if it wasn't corrected in kinder and 1st I wouldn't be dealing with it in 3rd-5th.
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Old 10-15-2014, 11:28 AM
 
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Thanks everyone. I taught the student last year in grade one, so he's familiar with me and I'm familiar with him. He was just goofing around and being sloppy, so it's not a question of him not making his best effort. Today during a guided group, he made a point of showing me that he was trying to make his H really look different from his N so hopefully that sticks!
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Old 10-15-2014, 01:26 PM
 
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I'm in 1st and count such sloppiness as incorrect, too.
I tell them that it doesn't matter if I think I know what they meant because I'm used to their scribble. Would any body else know what they meant? THAT's why they must write legibly, to be understood.
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Old 10-15-2014, 03:48 PM
 
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Like others said, I think it is somewhat based on the child's abilities.

I think it's also really dependent on whether letter formation is taught in the lower grades at your school. I know that I teacher 2nd, and letter formation isn't a focus in K and 1... since it's never been explicitly taught to them, I think it's kind of hard to penalize them for that. I can't tell you how much time I have spent the past few weeks going over the fact that this g and y go down to the worm line, t goes up to the sky line, etc. I feel that by just giving them some clear direction, I'm already seeing some improvements, but it definitely depends on the writing paper they are given.
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Old 10-15-2014, 04:57 PM
 
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My daughter is in 2nd grade and still writes 5s, 6s, and sometimes other numbers backwards. We correct it all the time but she still does it. So... yeah.


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