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Underachievers... what to do, what to do
Old 01-28-2009, 08:56 AM
 
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I have a few students who are really bright and capable but underachieve in their regular classrooms. When you have a conversation with them, you can tell that they are way ahead of the game, but when you look at the work they produce, you think they are on the lower end of readiness in the class. They are not motivated by grades or pleasing people or the curriculum offered to them. When I work with teachers to offer differentiation, this usually works, but these few students do not respond. They still put in minimum effort. I'm disappointed. Their teachers are disappointed. More importantly, their parents are disappointed and looking for changes.

I have two questions:
1. Does anyone have ideas about what to do?
2. Does anyone know a way to word an IEP goal or how to set up an IEP goal to address this issue?

Any ideas or help is appreciated!!


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Speaking from personal experience...
Old 01-29-2009, 11:57 AM
 
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Are they involved in any sort of Independent Projects? In school I WAS the classic underachieving GT kid. And my attitude towards run-of-the-mill-just-do-it-because-you're-expected-to work was that I knew that I knew the answers, so why should I care if YOU knew that I knew it? But an Independent Research project where I got to pick the topic was a whole different ballgame.

If they respond well to that, maybe figure out a way to make IPs conditional upon them successfully completing other assignments. Maybe alternating Independent topic selections with mandatory work will act as a motivator to do what they have to do so they can move on...

Just throwing some thoughts out here. By the way, what grade levels are these students in? That might also affect the approach you take...
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Old 01-29-2009, 04:22 PM
 
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In some of the reading I've done, they suggest giving those types of kids a pre-test of the information that's going to be taught. If they already know what's going to be taught, give them some kind of project or something.

My son is gifted with dyslexia and adhd. His work looks like a 1st grader did it, even though he's in 3rd grade. His verbal skills, however are amazing and his presentation skills are fantastic. My point is, maybe these kids need a different venue for their finished product as well.
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I agree with the PPs
Old 01-30-2009, 03:09 PM
 
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My DD was much like CityGal, her thought was "I already showed you I know how to do it, why do I have to KEEP on showing you?" and she'd stop turning in work....

What sort of differentiation is the teacher offering? Is it in place of the work that is already mastered or in addition to? My DDs attitude was why do the work I already know, just so I can get MORE work??

They need replacement assignments, not additional assignments. That's the thing to remember with homeroom teachers. They often want the "paper" to get the "grade" and aren't willing to use the replacement task as the grade.
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CHoices
Old 02-01-2009, 07:31 AM
 
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I agree! So often we give them "choices" but all of them are of our choosing. None of "our" choices may interest them. In the menu training I attended one of the choices is always "free choice - with teacher approval" which gives them a choice of their own, but still allows you the control you need to insure they are covering the needed skills/conent.


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Old 02-04-2009, 12:39 PM
 
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Thanks, everyone. I will keep trying to find out what makes them tick and what interests them. The problem with choices, even their own, is that they always choose the easiest thing. I offer the choice of an independent project seminar, but they do not choose it because they view it as a lot of work. I think that this should not be a choice at this point. After they put the work into presenting their own project of their choosing and see their success, maybe they will be motivated to try it again. It's a start!!



Thanks again.
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Old 02-04-2009, 05:12 PM
 
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I just found out about an organization called AEGUS. It's something like the Association for the Education of gifted underachieving students. Or something like that.

http://www.aegus1.org/

You might want to check it out.
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Old 02-26-2009, 05:30 PM
 
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Thanks again!
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