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Does anyone have words of wisdom for my meeting with ds's Yr2 teacher ? PLEASE - long post

(16 Posts)
indignatio Thu 02-Oct-08 09:58:44

Background

Whilst in Yr1 I was told (by his Yr1 teacher)that ds was on the G&T program for Literacy and Numeracy. At the end of the year, I was told that in his mock SATS he scored 2a for reading and writing and 3 for numeracy.

I had a great relationship with his Yr1 teacher and was fully aware of all the extension work she was giving ds (and a couple of others in the class), the G&T extension in literacy (cross year groups)outside class and the plans for a G&T maths group across the years.

My assessment of ds's strengths and weaknesses:

Ds isn't the easiest child in the world. Whilst (IMHO) v bright, he really lacks application and is very very easily distracted. His writing is beautiful (for a 6 year old) but getting him to write more than a sentence is incredibly difficult. In his defence, the sentence will be quite a long one, with good punctuation, capital letters where relevant, excellent spelling and use of adjective and adverbs. However, I understand (from ds) that in the time it takes him to do this one sentence, the others in his group have happily completed the 5 sentences which are expected of them.

Maths: explain a concept to him and he will understand it immediately. He knows (and has done for almost a year) all his times tables. He can add up 2 four figure numbers in his head as well as on paper. He can subtract a four digit number from another (with borrowing - not called that these days) on paper. He can multiply a three digit number by a two digit number in his head and on paper. He understands g, kg, mm, cm, m, km and their relation to each other. Trust me I could go on and on.

At present:

Ds (and his friend) have been coming home from school laughing about how easy the work is in Yr 2. As examples, they are being asked to add 3 single digit numbers and to double and half numbers less than 100.

On occasion (and I don't know whether this has occurred more than once). His group were sent to do jigsaws whilst the teacher worked with the rest of the class as they already knew what she was explaining.

Despite being told that spelling and maths homework would be sent home weekly, four weeks into term, no homework has been received.

Reason for the meeting request:

The teacher has written a note in the communication book between home and school stating that ds is beginning to understand what is expected of him by way of concentration and quantity of work in Yr2. Whilst I appreciate that this has been given a positive spin, it is nonetheless a negative comment and so I have asked for a meeting. I would like to discuss at the meeting:-

1.Why I was not told of a problem with concentration/quantity before now.

2.What I and the teacher can do to encourage concentration and quantity.

As an aside, ds has said that it is difficult to concentrate as one particular child is always asking ds how to spell words. Others ask (ds is good at spelling) but not all the time like this particular child.

3.Whether the teacher feels that ds is being challenged (bad word, but I cannot think of a better one right now) by the numeracy work being set.

4. Whether the G&T groups cross year groups are to exist again this year.

OK - give it to me straight. Am I being unreasonable in wanting to discuss these points? Should I be asking anything else ? Is it too early in the term to be raising these issues ?

TIA

Anchovy Thu 02-Oct-08 10:22:33

I think I would build on what you have said. I would say that your DS has good points and bad points (and I put a comradely arm around your shoulder as the mother of a Y2 boy who can take f-o-r-e-v-e-r to write one, albeit beautiful, sentence). It seems that the school is doing a lot to focus on his weaker points - which is great - but what are they doing about his stronger points and giving them equal weight.

I will make a second point fairly hesitantly and caveat it as being from my own experience. At this age my DS's relative position in the class has changed a lot as the other children around him "catch up". Ds was a markedly bright child at 4/5, but I think is less so at 6/7 when his advantages (for example, being one of the oldest in the class, flatten out). (We do not have formal G&T provision - private school that does differential teaching as a matter of course)

Of course I still think my Ds is brilliant (he is my PFB smile) although in reality he is merely bright, not gifted, but I can see that the other children are now much more similar. All I'm saying is be aware that the teacher could say, well of course he is no longer G&T. I can see that DS would deffo have been G&T in reception but not necc so in Y1. (That is one reason why I am glad that we do not have a formal provision).

Good luck

MaloryDontDiveItsShallow Thu 02-Oct-08 10:25:42

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

indignatio Thu 02-Oct-08 10:40:29

Thank you both.

Have I given the teacher enough time to assess ds, or is 4 weeks too soon to be raising these points ?

Anchovy Thu 02-Oct-08 10:54:44

My gut feel is that 4 weeks is a bit early.

Ds started by saying his teacher was very strict. Now he tells us some very funny things she does with them, which make it clear that slthough she is strict and firm she is also fair and fun.

So I think the first 4 weeks or so are all about everyone getting the measure of each other. (for example, we have had some reading books coming home that he did last year and is w-a-y beyond, but I'm working on the basis it will be adundantly obvious that he can read well beyond that stage).

We have out first parent's evening in early November and I think only by then will DS's teacher have got the measure of him and he will be relaxed and settled so she gets to see the real him.

fortyplus Thu 02-Oct-08 10:59:48

Take a look at your school's last Ofsted report to see whether the inspectors thought that 'more able' (has now replaced the term G&T) children were being challenged appropriately.

Some schools operate a 'buddy system' where a more able child partners a less able one. It is felt that the more able child will benefit from helping to explain the work to the less able one.

indignatio Thu 02-Oct-08 11:24:07

Anchovy - we have the same issue with reading books, but as ds reads books of his choice in addition to the set books, I am not at all worried about this and take the same view as you.

We also have parents evening at a similar time to yours, however my feeling is that I would like these issues raised now so that progress can be seen before we are 1/6th of the way through the school year. (or 1/3 given the less than academic nature of the last half of the summer term - I'm not knocking the curriculum in that half term - the kids do a lot of wonderful non academic stuff)

fortyplus - I do know that the school wants to improve its provision for the more able child.

indignatio Thu 02-Oct-08 18:54:01

BUMP for the wisdom of the evening crowd

singersgirl Thu 02-Oct-08 23:40:10

I don't really have any advice, but didn't want your bump to go unnoticed.

It sounds as if his maths is really far ahead for early Y2; his literacy is possibly more within the normal range for the top tier of the class, if that makes sense.

I wouldn't worry too much about the concentration comment; you say he is very easily distracted, so it doesn't sound as if it's that much of a surprise for you. The teacher's probably just alerting you gently that this is an issue. I think it's absolutely fair to ask how you and she can work together to help him achieve better concentration though.

Perhaps you could say how much DS was enjoying the G&T stuff last year and how much you hope there'll be something similar this year. I'm not surprised he's bored in maths if he can do so much more.

You might be pleasantly surprised. I was expecting to have to tell DS2's teacher last year the way the world was shaped, but she had his measure exactly and realised that challenge in certain areas was important to keep him on task.

fembear Fri 03-Oct-08 10:50:16

Can you speak to parents in the year ahead of you about how they found Y2. Do the school provide for all individuals this year or are they more worried about the whole-cohort SATs result.

It could be seen as a bit PFB to ask for a meeting this early in the year, what about casually broaching it in a friendly chat first. You can always escalate it into a meeting later on, if still dissatisfied.

indignatio Fri 03-Oct-08 11:16:38

Thank you both

Singersgirl - I think you are exactly right re his literacy and numeracy skills - and you know he is dreamer. I do like your approach re last year's enjoyment.

Fembear - it is not the same teacher as last year's Yr 2. However, last year, ds was working in literacy with a few of the year 2s. I would prefer a casual chat, but unlike previous teachers, this one does not make herself readily available for such chats. I am aware that I have a tendancy to PFBitis - and am working on it.

emiliadaniel Fri 03-Oct-08 15:48:36

I'm not sure you should be worried about it being too early in the term to speak to the teacher. I arranged to see my DS's (Y1) teacher yesterday as I had some concerns over his reading (he's very able). She was happy to talk to me, allayed my concerns and gave me lots of useful pointers for things we can do at home.

lijaco Fri 03-Oct-08 21:07:22

Don't think this is such a big deal? Year 2?

googgly Fri 03-Oct-08 21:21:37

I think multiplying a 3-digit number by a 2-digit number in your head at 6yo is really amazing.

singersgirl Sat 04-Oct-08 19:00:21

Yeah, I agree. I couldn't do it now, unless the 2 digit number was 10 or 50 or something. DS1, who is in Y6 and predicted a very high 5 for maths SATS, couldn't do it either.

JazT Sat 25-Oct-08 13:57:14

I'd speak to her, even though it is relatively early in the term. It has never ceased to amaze me throughout DD's years at school (she's now Y6) that some teachers appear not to pass on info to the child's next teacher.
The worst example of this was when DD went into Y1 and spent 2 weeks doing worksheets on full stops and capital letters. By the end of reception she'd been doing Y4 literacy work and had a reading and spelling age of 13 (as measured by the school).
I am always really wary about being a pushy parent, but the consequence of giving them work way below their ability is that they become bored and/or disruptive and/or are turned off school. It's far better to raise it early with the teacher than to end up feeling disappointed and frustrated, which will inevitably affect your relationship with her and the school.

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