How are bright children stretched in Year 1?

(174 Posts)
noseynoonoo Thu 06-Dec-12 23:04:20

My daughter is relatively bright. Her teacher tells me that she is the most able in the class by some distance. However, she doesn't tell me what is being done to stretch her other than encouraging her to tidy up her handwriting. I have witnessed the teacher telling DD not to participate in some work because others will copy her rather than work it out for themselves. This is great for everyone except her. A few ways to stretch her were suggested by previous teacher but current teacher doesn't 'believe' in these ideas.

I appreciate that she can't teach DD parts of the syllabus in advance but can she be stretched in a sideways direction? I'm a bit intimidated by the teacher, I don't want to sound like a pushy parent but I don't understand how DD is reaching her full potential as things stand.

The school is making a point of making efforts to help children with special needs and on the G&T register but I haven't been told how this applies to DD.

What should I expect to happen?
How can I ensure that DD is stretched (whilst not looking like a pushy-mum)?

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 09:19:50

We're all flinging generalisations around as if they were going out of fashion but, adeu, please could you give an example of an arrogant pupil with high self esteem who floundered simply because of it?

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 09:21:38

I also wonder how a child can use their imagination to come up with their own extension work in a phonics lesson when they have known the phonics for 2 years??

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 09:21:54

If arrogance and high self esteem were barriers to learning then presumably private schools would all be closed.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 09:30:28

There is research (a series of studies first carried out by Carol Dweck in the 1980s) which suggests bright girls in particular are more likely to "flounder" when they meet something new or what they perceive as difficult ...
"She found that bright girls, when given something to learn that was particularly foreign or complex, were quick to give up - and the higher the girls' IQ, the more likely they were to throw in the towel."

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 09:32:54

simpson I would ask if the child knew all 180ish ways to spell the 44 phonemes and if not could they find other ways the sounds they know can be written.

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 09:46:05

I am not saying DD knows all the phonics (far from it) just that she would already know what they were doing in yr1 iyswim....

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 10:17:42

Well in Y1 they should be teaching the 180ish ways the 44 sounds found in English can be written ... and looking at heteronyms and homgraphs

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 10:21:49

Sorry, mrz you have lost me, I don't know what any of that means blush

<<rushes off to google>>

I know as I had DD at home yesterday (off sick, she drove me up the wall!!) and she told me about OW as in know, show, grow etc which I think is a new thing she has done at school (might be wrong though!!)

cazzybabs Sat 08-Dec-12 10:24:45

(and be able to use them in context - which is the b8it most of my children (in my class) struggle with).
TBH there are so many ways to stretch children - I do lots of problem solving with my able group, lots of reading and discussion., Writing different genre - different focus on punctuation depending upon ability. Really ensuring they understand things by getting them to explain things to a peer etc etc

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 10:44:49

mrz, I'm looking at Licht & Dweck 1984 now. I did say many posts up that it depends on how algebra and geometry is introduced to seven year olds. Of course if mum asks her daughter to solve the equation of the rate of the expanding universe it's going to tun out badly! I don't think Licht & Dweck need a research grant from a top US institution to figure that. But if it's done sensibly I can't see the problem. (I'll read on and let you know how I get on.)

educator123 Sat 08-Dec-12 10:52:22

Learnandsay - what if the parent doesn't have the ability to teach/stretch the child?

I know from a parental point of view I often worry about confusing my children by using systems I was taught instead of the systems used now.
I do not view myself as unintelligent but I would still need guidance to 'teach' my child.

Also it was mentioned about children not being a school much. I tend to disagree as my two eldest children (still in primary) are coming in from school at around four and more that ready for bed by 7p.m. factor in dinner, baths, downtime etc between those two times and there isn't much time leftover for additional teaching.

To be quite honest I don't think is should be necessary either. I would be ideal for each child to be working at their personal level during school hours and have time to just be outside of the school day.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 11:40:32

I dont get all this angst on this thread. DD could read fluently within a term of starting school. I mean very long words like "architecture" She did used to chat a bit because she was finished a lot earlier than others, but I wouldnt spend hours reading with her at night, just let her get on with reading what she wanted to do. She did it by herself not being pushed by us.

But teachers would find her a little exasperating with the chat but they also appreciated that she gave a lot to the class, she was the one they used to bounce off of to liven up the class and start a debate. When the teacher had a sore throat she used DD to read to the class because she would do all the voices of the characters .

All this with no extra work for us and no stretching from school

She was in a g&t for maths and had some sideways extension later in year 5&6 but G&t was fairly new then.

I can't help thinking that these stories of clever children being caught up or overtaken are entirely the fault of the parents

If they are only ahead because of parental pushing then I would say they are not as clever as the parent thinks they are. Also as children get older different skills come into play ie ability to analyse situations and not just regurgitate what they have read etc.

My DS was one of those that caught up and over took. He does have dyslexic problems so didnt click with reading until he was 7 when he did pass a lot of children who were reading well in reception. I used to help out with reading so I knew which ones were reading well as I was usually given those to hear.
But intelligence wise he is up there with the best in his secondary school.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 11:55:53

I did ask how we could help at home but teacher said we didn't need to do anything. To be honest, at this stage I want home to be relaxing time although she does plenty of reading and writing at home.

Thats exactly as it should begrin

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 11:57:36

I think we need to explain what we mean by pushing and what we mean by catching up and overtaking. Upthread we were discussing a seven year old who was supposed to have the mathematical ability of a fifteen year old. Now I don't know how the child got to that level.

Let's suppose that (a) the child isn't very bright and had just been given endless maths workbooks since she was a toddler. Now let's suppose that the parents aren't very bright either and once maths capability became necessary they couldn't stretch or push their well-primed daughter any more because they didn't understand the maths themselves. Then they will need to get a tutor who can carry on where they left off. Then the child won't get caught.

(b) The child is just good at maths. Get down to WH Smiths education section and buy her maths materials. The other children are only going to catch her up if they can do both their school work and her extension work both at the same time. There may be some brighter children in the class, (and why not?) and they might be even more able than our hypothetical girl. But the typical pupils won't be more able (ever) if our girl proceeds at an even rate indefinitely.

onesandwichshort Sat 08-Dec-12 12:01:25

mrz - the Dweck stuff is interesting because to my mind it is the single best argument for serious differentiation within the classroom that I can think of.

If a child is - say - starting reception as a fluent reader and has a reasonable aptitude for maths, then they will spend the first couple of years of school not really being challenged, unless they are very lucky. They get used to the idea of school work as 'easy' - and because of the reading, their knowledge of other subjects is most likely ahead anyway. Then, a few years down the line, when they've got used to coasting, they are so shocked by having to work and try that they do throw in the towel. So the higher the IQ, the more likely they are to throw in the towel makes complete sense. It's certainly what happened to me; I coasted through school and was utterly shocked by university. but fortunately did an MA and learned how to work (a bit).

"Clever children don't usually get bored." So does that mean that a bored child is not clever? I just don't buy that. I was deeply, deeply bored in school. Sometimes I read in class, sometimes I was disruptive. But boy was I bored.

SantasBitch Sat 08-Dec-12 12:15:21

Learnandsay - you don't seem to believe that children develop at different rates! It's perfectly feasible that children (particularly boys) who seem not to be the sharpest tool in the box in the first few years of school can absolutely steam ahead in secondary. I'll give you the example of a friend's daughter. She was in the remedial classes for maths and English until she was nine. Her parents were told she wasn't academic and she should look at a career in childcare or hairdressing. She went to secondary school and absolutely took off - got a string of GCSEs and five As at A level - maths, further maths, physics, French and Biology. She's now at a RG university reading maths.

DD1 was definitely stretched (at home and school). But it turned out that she's not a maths whizz at all - she just coped with more at an earlier age because she developed sooner than others in the class. Her English - especially creative writing, is really outstanding (and it's not just me that says this - her teachers do, and she has won short story competitions) still and way above her years in terms of phraseology and vocab.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 12:17:38

I still dont see why they need to spend time out of school to stay ahead. If I had spent the time they might have been miles ahead, but I wanted them to have a life. FWIW my dd did used to ask for workbooks and take them to bed to do before sleep [strange child emoticon] and at 8 or 9 my DS was asking questions in science that the teacher was having to go away and ask her degree level DH. They are both known for their love of learning and knowledge, but I think spending hours trying to push them would have been counter productive. It makes very little difference to them whether they are top of the class or 2nd from top.
When DS started secondary school he came home and said he had joined the electronics club. Turned out this club was a 6th form only club, but obviously his interest and maturity showed that he would be fine in it.

Very bright children dont need that much pushing at all they do it themselves and tend to open doors themselves as well. The just need a little guidance in the right direction once in a while.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 12:19:51

I'm not sure about Licht and Dweck 1984. They're giving pupils work with passages or problems inserted at the beginning which have deliberately been constructed in order to confound them. Well, exams have passages and problems in them which are designed to confound pupils, aren't they? So, according to Carol Dweck's methodology all intelligent pupils should do badly at exams. Why doesn't this happen? Because pupils can prepare for exams. I'm sorry. But I think what Dweck is doing is plain silly.

Sorry, folks, wrong thread back there.

SantasBitch Sat 08-Dec-12 12:21:31

Equally, you can coach children, by force feeding them work books and extra work to be above the level of their peers (a friend of mine admits she coached her daughter "up the wazoo" to get into a top public school), but if the natural ability isn't there, in secondary, you can only get so far with this method. You can coach to regurgitate facts but not think for themselves. My friend's DD does not seem happy - nor does she have much spare time, and she is really struggling at her academic school, particularly when she is told by her mother that a B in Mandarin and maths is "not good enough."

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 12:50:56

Poor child, I think as others have said that when they get home they play or do whatever they want.

Both my DC say they miss each other when they are at school so just like to hang out.

Also the evening goes very quick once tea, bath etc is done.

Reminds me of a programme I saw on tv about families trying to get their DC into grammar school and one poor child was doing 6 hours a day on a saturday and another 6 on a Sunday as well as about 4 hours each week day shock

Surely what will happen is that as that child grows up and has some say over what he does himself, he will refuse to work and enjoy the freedom of not having to do anything....

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 12:59:35

Well, yes. I suppose one could strap children into those frames the French use to hold geese in and force feed them maths worksheets to make the academic equivalent of Foie Gras. But I'm presuming most parents wouldn't want to do this. (I'm assuming your friend, Santa, was a bit potty and had an educational chip on her shoulder.)

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:36:26

onesandwichshort the Dweck study has been repeated by other researchers with the same results and I'm sure most experienced teachers will be able to identify pupils they have taught who behaved this way.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 13:37:45

learnandsay - I could give you more examples than you can shake a stick at but it generally boils down to the fact that where self esteem is tied to achievement, they fall to pieces the first time they are presented with something that they can't do, find difficult or are simply not the best in the class at.

simpson - not a lot of self extension possible in a phonics lesson, I agree. The teacher will be extending the most able of course, through questioning and discussion.

There is a big difference between a clever child and a child that knows stuff because they've been talked to, and read to, and taken to interesting places - parents often get upset when their child begins to lose their lead, when cleverer children start gaining confidence and catching up.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:46:56

I have an example from yesterday ... an able child in my school sobbed because her best friend was the first person in the class to score 17/17 in our weekly "Beat That" (all the other children cheered and clapped but she couldn't bring herself to be happy for her friend). At the end of the lesson she came to me and whispered that she thought her friend must have cheated ... lots of pressure for a 6 year old who thinks she must always be the best.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 13:48:24

I think most children are clever. I also think that the more a child has been taught and shown the more it will be able to do. I'm not sure what you mean by catching up, adeu, (it's a relative term, and has no definitions in this thread) but it all depends on the relative rates of progression. I'd imagine that a child who hadn't been shown or taught much of anything who caught up with a clever, interested and motivated child who had been shown lots (say educated in applied maths by a maths lecturing father) wouldn't be clever, that catching up child would be truly exceptional. The terms catch up and overtake are meaningless unless defined.

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