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Yr 1 and a comment from the classroom assistant...

(23 Posts)
GrownUpNow Fri 30-Sep-11 21:42:58

DS(5) is pretty bright academically and a comment today from his CA that she thought he should be in Yr2 because he knows all the answers and gets bored easily has made me worry a bit. She takes him in groups and assists the teacher, so she does know better than I do about where he's at at the moment, although I try to keep up with his teacher once or twice a week to see how he is doing.

He's a lovely boy, but definitely a bit socially immature, so I'd rather he stay with his peers, although I was moved up a year around the same time, I definitely think he would struggle with being a lot younger. I don't want him to miss that extra year of socialising and learning the rules of school, learning and day to day life.

What do I do though... I learned that I did well without any effort and it wasn't a good lesson as it only served me as far as GCSEs and then I struggled with no real revision or study skills, or work ethic. I know that's waaaay off yet, but these are his academic roots and I want him to love school like I did.

Would doing extra work outside of school have a beneficial effect? He already does spellings a couple of nights a week (which is really just handwriting practice at the moment as the words are quite basic), we read together nearly every night, and he reads alone for pleasure daily... we're reading Roald Dahl and Dick King Smith together, and he is only struggling with a few words in each chapter, which I help him with when there, and which I think he just skips over when he takes them to bed himself.

I have no real clue how to teach a child his age, but mum suggested work books for him. I do provide him with books from the library or that I buy, and try to involve the themes they are already doing at school, but I have no confidence about doing any proper educating myself. Is there anywhere I can go to learn a bit more about what I could do to accompany his school learning.

Would you speak to the school about it? He's due his first parents evening sometime soon, I hesitated to push in reception as I don't want him to feel pressured and enjoy learning, but if what this CA thinks is true, then would I be doing him a disservice to not say anything?

beautifulgirls Fri 30-Sep-11 22:13:39

I think that the teacher really should be talking to you about this, not the TA. Unless they want to see you sooner I'd bring it up at parents evening and ask what they are doing to keep him challenged at his particular ability level. I personally wouldn't put him up a year as I suspect that he can not move to secondary school a year ahead (though please correct me if anyone knows different). I would focus on getting him just to enjoy his learning and being in a routine of doing some work at home, even if not that testing just so it isn't a shock for him later on. Does he have a hobby or interest he could learn more about instead perhaps to keep him learning but off at a bit of a tangent to school based ideas.

olibeansmummy Sat 01-Oct-11 22:12:36

Are you in a private school? Or not in the uk? If not you have no real choice a out moving him up a year, British state schools don't do that. The teacher can provide him with harder work though so speak to the teacher about it.

muffinflop Sun 02-Oct-11 05:04:59

'British state schools don't do that'...I think you'll find some do. My friends' DD has just skipped year 2 in a state school

OP is your DS happy? If so I'd leave him where he is, ask at parents evening about differentiating work and stretch him sideways at home.

cat64 Sun 02-Oct-11 21:26:34

Message withdrawn

GrownUpNow Sun 02-Oct-11 23:04:50

It was said when DS was still in the classroom and I was waiting for him outside the school, she was leaving and walked past me.

I think I have settled on doing extra work with him at home, trying to get the teacher to provide him with more challenging reading and spelling and just making sure we are stretching him whilst still keeping it fun.

I have some research to do as I have no idea what they learn at this stage and next, are there any resource websites with some help on how to supplement his learning, or primary teaching books for ideas on what to do together? I encourage him to write as much as he can, he's been doing comics this weekend as handwriting practice as he could spell all his spellings straight off without learning them. I also have a vague idea of what he is learning about at school. We have picked up some more advanced non-fiction books about dinosaurs and the like for him to learn about contents and reading factual stuff, we have a few more advanced books (with chapters and harder words) which we read together, and I can always give him sums to work on and maybe start to teach him (easy) times tables. Am I getting it right? This is where I could do with a primary school teacher friend to ask questions.

sarahfreck Mon 03-Oct-11 09:17:09

Teacher and tutor here.
I'd let him lead on the "extra work" you do with him. What is he interested in? Get books/ help him do internet research on these topics. Suggest he might like to make his own "scrapbook" on dinosaurs or whatever.
Keep reading to him/with him and discuss the stories you read "what do you think will happen next, why do you think x said/did y?" etc.
Do practical maths like baking. Give him a small amount of pocket money to spend at the weekend so he gets used to prices and change. You could introduce some times table stuff by using lego bricks. 1 row of 5 bricks, 2 rows of 5 bricks etc or colour in the multiples of a times table on a hundred square. Look out for natural "arrays" for times tables in your home and talk about them ( eg groups of tiles).
Play games like children's scrabble ( maybe a bit old for him yet but have a look at orchard games for ones with an educational element). Go to the library and let him choose his own books. Don't say "I think that's too hard for you" but help him read books where the text is too difficult (as long as they are age appropriate of course, not suggesting he should read novels about teenage pregnancy!!).
Keep everything practical and fun. If you want to spend a bit more money you could buy some cuisinaire rods or numicon and let him play/explore with these himself. Don't underestimate the playdough/plasticene type experiences that can help develop fine motor control

GrownUpNow Thu 06-Oct-11 16:24:03

Thank you sarah, that is very good advice.

I have been to speak to his teacher today and she told me she was glad that I came in, even the (new) headmistress has commented on DSs ability from observing in class, and that she definitely agrees that he is gifted and talented. She doesn't think they can test him until the end of year 1, but is looking into it for him.

She showed me his work and said that his reading, writing and maths are all at year 2 level now, that they'd be looking for him to be at level 1B overall by the end of Year 1 and that his is already consistently at 1C. She is most pleased that he is ready to work in double figures in maths, and that his sentence forming is very good, he uses conjunctives and tells great stories... we had a giggle about his ending... "all is good in the world, no problems" (spelled quite phonetically, which made it even cuter).

She explained to me how the transition from Reception to Year 1 is about getting used to the way they work and the rules of the classroom, so DS is not being pushed yet because of that, but that she would organise something and talk to me next Friday because she agrees that he is getting bored and easily distracted. She seemed pleased I wanted to work with him at home, so we talked about homework, he can do it if he feels like it, so not an expectation, and I can encourage him to read for pleasure and get him to practise his writing form with stories and comic books, which he seems to enjoy writing.

After half term they'll test where he's at level wise.

So I'm glad I went in, I did mention the CA's comment, but only in saying he was getting a bit distracted in the group work because he was finding it a bit easy. Hopefully we'll have him working more at his ability level in the next few weeks.

Iamnotminterested Thu 06-Oct-11 16:54:33

Sorry, but a bit of your last post has confused me confused.

You say that he is working at 1c now, which they say is year 2 level hmm and that they are looking for him to be level 1b overall by the end of year 1?

I mean this in the nicest way, have you or they got their figures muddles up?
A level of 1b at the end of year one is the target level for all year 1's nationally, year 2 levels would be 2b and upwards. ?.

Tgger Thu 06-Oct-11 16:57:10

It's brilliant they are taking an interest and he is not being left just to float along getting bored! I am hoping our school do this for my DS, although perhaps I am a little premature as he is only just starting reception and hasn't learnt to write his numbers the right way round yet!

I think if you just do things that excite your DS (well he does and you encourage) then you can't go wrong. Eg, my DS at the moment is making books most days! (I have to do the writing, he does all the pictures). Just staple several sheets of A4 plain paper in half and off you go. Keep it child lead, don't "know better", but do show and suggest- well that's what works for us, although your DS is a bit older and further on.

My DH is really into science and shows DS experiments that he loves and tells him all about how the world works (good job he does this as he'd get a garbled version from me!).

All good advice above. Definitely go with his interests and use games to keep it fun.

GrownUpNow Thu 06-Oct-11 17:02:11

I'm just saying what the teacher said, I don't really understand the levels and how they work. She said that in maths, reading and writing he is at Year 2 level... and gave me an example that he can do sums like 25-9, and showed me a story he had written independently with conjunctives and several sentences, so maybe there are other areas not at that level, some of his spelling is very phonetic and not at all correct? Do they assess at the end of Reception? I think perhaps he was at 1C on transition and that after half term they are going to assess him again to see what level he is working on.

WoodBetweenTheWorlds Thu 06-Oct-11 17:26:46

If he is genuinely very bright, then I'm guessing you've misunderstood what they said about levels - 1c at this stage of year 1 sounds very average to me. FWIW, lots of dd's class were using conjunctions and doing sums like that etc in year 1.

Either way, I'd ignore the TA's comment - sounds like a flippant remark to me. TA said to dd in reception that she should go straight to year 6 but I'm under no illusions that she actually meant it! Just take the lead from your dc with regard to any work out of school, and raise it with the teacher again if you think he's getting bored.

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 18:12:02

yy, he sounds fine. the TA made a passing comment and has now probably been asked not to comment to parents again! grin

he sounds lovely, top of the class-ish, but not exceptional, and i am imagine they will occupy him quite well enough in the yr 1 class.

usually kids have to be working two year above before they even think of moving them up a year (all classes have very mixed abilities so you will always have kids working a year above and below average) and particualry if they are socially average or slighlty immature then it's not worht the hassle.

he sounds fine. let them get on with it. grin

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 18:15:32

dd2 was assessed at working between 5 and 7 years ahead in the middle of yr r - the bit about 'can't assess until the end of yr 1' is clearly bollocks btw - but has stuck rigidly with her peer group. appropriate differentiation within the classroom is perfectly possible.

mind you, the nursery tried to get the lea to assess ds1 at 3, and they did say then he had to wait until school grin. he knew his times tables and would add up shopping and work out change whilst the other kids learnt to count to ten. grin (he's also bone idle).

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 18:16:16

as far as what you should do, just go to the library more. grin

seeker Thu 06-Oct-11 18:19:46

Really,madwoman- she was working at secondary school level in Reception? Wow!

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 18:33:52

mm, it was a bit complicated. grin i took her for the testing (it was actually done for something completely different, and we needed proof she didn't have any learning disability fwiw grin) and sat there open mouthed whilst she read and interpreted graphs, and read passages and answered questions about the uses of unpronounceable trees native to africa or some such nonsense... my favourite bit is always the 'which one is next in the pattern? thingy, where there are sixteen teeny tiny squares and a whole host of options. she'd go 'that one' with no hesitation, and both the psych and i would be like 'really?' and it obviously was. <not that i could tell even with the answers> it was an entertaining afternoon. we drove back with me peering at her in the rear view mirror going 'wtf? i had no idea she could do that!' and her going on about barbie or some birthday, or 'when are we going to auntie x's for tea....?' the ep just decided to do the slightly older age group testing as it became apparent that the early years one was appropriate. feck knows how she learned to interpret graphs though. <shrugs>

it wasn't across the board - she can't do the physical block arrangement stuff as her fine motor is rubbish. and actually it doesn't mean a lot in real terms - she's quite happy chugging along. bit of a loner and i do wince a bit at some of the things she says (she can sound patronising, but doesn't mean it in a patronising way, she'll be trying to help blush) but she settles down with a book or three and is quite happy. funny kid.

mrz Thu 06-Oct-11 18:41:31

GrownUpNow I'm really not sure what the school are saying as 1B is quite an average level for the end of Y1. I'm sure your son is a bright child but the level thing is not exceptional

madwomanintheattic Thu 06-Oct-11 18:41:47

inappropriate lol. <clearly she doesn't get it from me>

she can't write for toffee either. school are going to get her to ft keyboard any time now. she's just started y3 and they asked her what she wanted to do, and she said 'start a book-writing club'. so that's what they've done, twice a week in lunch hour. she has illustrators organised and everything. wink i suspect they are only moving to keyboard because they can't actually read what she writes. grin on monday morning we spent half an hour trying to decipher what she had written on friday as a reminder in her agenda. she had no idea what the word was either. grin but then she remembered what the teacher had said, and when we looked at it again we could read it quite clearly.

(in fact, at her last school, they said she wasn't eligible for the regional gifted programme because of her handwriting grin. her sister was offered a place, which is v funny, because although dd1 works hard and is bright, it's in a completely different league. tis no bother though. they are all happy enough.)

apols op. <removes self from thread>

cat64 Thu 06-Oct-11 19:12:56

Message withdrawn

Greensleeves Thu 06-Oct-11 19:25:19

It's not true that British state schools don't move children up, plenty do

My ds1 did Y6 SATS in Y1 (the teacher did NOT consult me first, and I would have said no) and was assessed as working at 10-11yrs in all areas

he is in Y3 now and there is plenty for him to learn - good teaching, good skilful differentiation and he is neither bored nor overly conspicuous. He has Aspergers and he NEEDS to socialisation that comes with being in his peer group. A lot of very bright children need extra support in developing social skills - and they didn't get that in the 80s when I was at school, where being bright meant sitting on a pile of magazines in a much older class being gawped at and resented, or chewing your pencil and looking out of the window for hours on end hoping you wouldn't get punched in the playground that day

Also children who are very advanced academically tend to have glaring holes in their knowledge and understanding - people notice the "clever" things they can do but not so much the fairly ordinary things they can't. And if they are moved up they can miss out on things that the other children are learning that they will need later on.

I wouldn't worry too much about extra work. Just spend time talking to him, reading with him and answering his questions (and if he is anything like ds1 there will be many, many questions) grin

teacherwith2kids Thu 06-Oct-11 20:15:45

Agree with other posters that
- Moving up is possible BUT it all gets a bit tricky in transitions between schools (e.g. a secondary school may not accept the child a year early so they may have to repeat year 6)

- The level mentioned, and the types of sums mentioned, I would say are fine for year 1 and i'm a bit surprised that the school aren't coping with him absolutely fine through decent differentiation within the class. DS could add and subtract 3 digit numbers, and negative numbers, in mid-Reception but has always (albeit with one change of school) been catered for very adequately through diferentiation within his own year group.

GrownUpNow Thu 06-Oct-11 22:15:26

I don't really want him moved up at all, as I said I was when I was a wee bit older and I don't think it's the best option. I do want him to be given correct level of work though, whether he is gifted and talented or not, and I'll support the school in supplementing his learning as I would do whatever his level of ability. He has a very definite passion for reading and writing (which pleases his bookworm mum no end) and I will ensure he gets as much encouragement to explore that as possible. I'm not looking for a label, I just want to see that he achieves what he is capable of and has the love of learning I know I had through school.

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