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EMO109 EMO109 is online now
 
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EMO109
 
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Help with student
Old 02-10-2020, 01:44 PM
 
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I have a 4th grade student, who is very distracted & avoids work, who therefore is always behind on his work.

I have spoken to mom about taking him to the doctor, but mom is not completely on board with that. I tried a motivation plan in the fall, but he didnít really care about it. When I talked to mom about trying it again with better rewards, he had no interest in trying it again. Mom thinks there is something academic and thatís the problem, which very well could be, but heís getting Bís and all other data shows as normal, and my school will not test without something to go on. Mom thinks heís also looking for attention in any way he can get it, including negative attention, so Iíve tried praising him when he does work, but that doesnít seem to help either.

I told mom I would check in with her again this week, but I have nothing new to tell her. He will work only if he has someone right next to him prompting him, talking out what he needs to do, etc. Iíve tried all the tricks I usually use with students with focus issues and no luck. Any suggestions for what I can tell her?


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Teacherbee_4 Teacherbee_4 is online now
 
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Old 02-10-2020, 04:44 PM
 
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I have a similar student this year. My class policy is that work that's done at school gets done at home as homework. This girl was coming home with as mom says, "over 4 hours of homework" which I don't believe but whatever. Anyway, we don't give homework on the weekends (even unfinished work), so mom and I made an agreement that she would do homework for an hour a night. If she didn't finish that night, that she saved it for another night when there it was or it was done on the weekend. Since we put the weekend catch in there, it has not been an issue.
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MaineSub MaineSub is offline
 
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Only more questions...
Old 02-11-2020, 06:56 AM
 
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I also teach adults in courses that require online work. I've found that students work very differently... some get the work done quickly and even work ahead... others successfully procrastinate until the last minute. And some are consistently late. I offer that keen grasp of the obvious as a way of wondering if he's getting all B's what, actually, is the problem? (I'm not suggesting it's only about grades--but if not working is a plea for attention he's getting it, plus his grades are okay... I guess I'm kinda wondering who has the problem?)

I sincerely hope that doesn't sound accusatory... it's just a question. Some years ago I worked with a guy who firmly believed that most problems aren't solved because we don't consider who actually has the problem--and often times the solution is for that person to make someone else bothered.

Personally, I would ignore him when he's avoiding work--as long as he's not being disruptive and his grades are okay. Set some deadlines... or, if possible, let him set his own. Make it about the work, not about the "motivation." I once had a student who would literally lay across her desk and whine during math. She wanted constant help because she couldn't "get it." I told her the only time I would come near her was when she was sitting up straight holding a pencil--I would be busy helping the kids who were trying. I can change behavior. If we're lucky, changing the behaviors will ultimately impact the attitude. I don't, for example, try to convince kids to "like" the work.

As for Mom, I would ask her why she thinks he's looking for attention. Does he have chores at home? Does he get them done without somebody nagging him?

One other thought... or question. Would he benefit from further breakdowns of work assigned? "I'll be back after you finish problem one..."
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Old 02-11-2020, 07:03 PM
 
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I've had students like that before. Once it was in kindergarten. The kid would literally avoid work all week and have a giant pile of incomplete work by Friday.

If the student struggles to stay focused I often will try a timer. They would then have a goal to get a specific amount of work done by the time the timer goes off. I have also made them do incomplete work at a time when they would rather be doing something else. For example, if everyone else gets to get on a chromebook to do some fun activity he would have to finish his work first. Often I would try to have a fun Friday or something. Only kids without unfinished work would get to participate.

I typically didn't have good enough parental involvement to send work home. Parents were working and the kid was with a sitter or they just didn't make time for it in the evening.

Another possibility is that the work just looks overwhelming. You might be able to literally cut the work into pieces. So, if it's 10 problems cut the worksheet in half and give him half at a time. Maybe even give him less work for a bit.

I wonder though about the good grades. Is he being graded on all of this late work? Are their policies in place if the work isn't done on time? Is someone usually helping him through each piece? It's possible he's been fed steps and supported to the point that he is getting good grades because he is essentially being spoon fed the material. My students with IEPs do not even get a teacher next to them during independent work. I get them started and then check in periodically.
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is there a dad at home?
Old 02-15-2020, 05:59 PM
 
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you are describing a young man I sub for frequently, who is struggling through a messy divorce. dad isn't available every day, and his thoughts are not at school. I spent a recess affirming him and talking about how he didnt make it happen, he works for me a little better because he trusts me, but the counselor has been able to make some great headway by working with him and informing the regular teacher.

just a thought.


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