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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)?

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:48:59

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. and the difficulty of words to be blended and segmented's very easy to differentiate in phonics which is why I don't understand setting.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 13:50:55

Have you any idea why the child thinks she always has to be the best, mrz? If the parents are pressurising their child to achieve something that neither they nor their child have any control over then they're silly.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:57:20

By catching up learnandsay I would suggest the example of a child in my class last year who started the year reading red book band with difficulty and left reading Roald Dahl, Michael Morpurgo, Cressida Cowell and Enid Blyton ...

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 13:59:18

She always has been the best ...she was best in nursery and best in reception and everyone in the class expects her to be the best the pressure is from her not her parents or the school.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:05:53

Being competitive isn't necessarily bad. But everybody, not only children, have to learn how to be gracious in defeat. That's a great lesson in life. It doesn't mean that one is not going to move heaven and earth in order to win next time though.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 14:21:08

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.

That's what I was trying to say above. Those type of skills do not really start to appear in school until later. They may not be in lead when it comes to the basic. But those children will go on to be able analyse why a war started, not just tell you the dates it started and who it was between.
My ds probably wouldn't remember the dates, but his history teacher says he is the one child he can guarantee to be able to work out the reasons for it.
Bigger pictures skills are not really recognised until secondary, it's these children that take off and pass the ones that got reading and writing early.

hettie Sat 08-Dec-12 14:24:04

Hilarious that 'very bright' children don't need pushing and will find interesting things to do that challenge them because they are intrinsically motivated....
I was bored brainless at school, until university (post grad) nothing much was a challenge.... but I didn't achieve outstanding academic results because I never put any effort into anything. I got turned off from learning at quite an early age (bored) and only really found my way into it by doing a Master and Phd (much later on in life).....I might also add that I was a pain in the arse at school and went AWOL in my 20's for a bit....The conscientiousness part of my personality is pretty non-existent, so it's hard to buckle down and actually do stuff despite being very bright.... the two are not related. I would say it's very important to stop a kid getting bored in class, but social and emotional skills and learning how to apply yourself are just as important.
My last thought on this is there is an assumption that 'bright' people are destined for great things? I think parents of 'bright' kids need to be very careful to manage their expectations because great things for that child might turn out to be something that interests them, not necessarily something that comes with social or financial kudos......

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:30:50

Sorry, bruffin, you're starting to lose me completely here. Wars and their causes are notoriously difficult things to analyse and the noted historian AJP Taylor once put forward a theory that the causes of WW I came down ultimately to railway time tables! I'm not sure how most of our children would get on with analysing the Roman punic wars against Carthage for example, or the reasons for Napoleon's campaigns in Spain. Historians are still arguing about all of those things. It seems to me from a child's perspective what's possible is to pay attention and return her teacher's analysis of the war. But as far as I can tell a child has no ability to realistically analyse any war and not many adults have that ability either.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 14:38:33

I think there is a big difference in working out a reason and analysing learnandsay. So Bruffins son could work out that Rome and Carthage had a long standing mistrust and hatred but left each other alone until Rome decided Carthage needed to join the empire ...Carthage disagree and the rest as they say is history ...

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 14:45:16

That's interesting, mrz. When you say "work out" are we suggesting that the teacher tells the child nothing at all and just says: What was the reason for Napoleon mounting an extensive campaign in Spain? He then points the children to google or Encyclopaedia Brittanica and closes the library door?

I'll wait a few years and try that with my daughter. I can't begin to imagine what the resulting answer might be.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 14:45:39

hettie - of course it's important to challenge and interest clever children, but most won't dissolve if they are faced with 20mins of dull stuff to do (and I would hope that your own experiences of long boring days are in the past).

Indeed, coping with dull stuff can be a skill in itself. When my DC complain of being bored at school I ask them what the lesson was about and tell them about six different ways that they could've made that lesson interesting. I think it makes them resourceful, self motivated and conscientious - all skills that contribute to academic success later on.

learnandsay - I think that bruffin was just trying to say that anyone can parrot a date but a clever child can analyse information, make connections, empathise.

onesandwichshort Sat 08-Dec-12 14:46:59

mrz - I was agreeing with you. But, as I say, if Dweck is right, it's a big argument for stretching bright children and giving them space to learn to try, and to fail, early on, rather than it being a big shock later on.

The whole Dweck mindset is really important also for children like the girl you mentioned further up. DD has a tendency to perfectionism (and therefore not trying things she is not good at) so we have tried very hard to praise effort, not results.

bruffin Sat 08-Dec-12 14:47:56

I'm just trying to say why children appear to take off at different stages. Some are good are remembering the facts and tend to look good in the early parts of education, but the bright ones that will be historians may appear to be late bloomers because analytical skills are not really appreciated until later.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 14:49:33

yes onesandwichshort I realised you were agreeing I was just adding more info sorry if it came out wrong

onesandwichshort Sat 08-Dec-12 14:50:03

adeucalione - I think those kinds of self extension skills come later on in school.

Currently DD is in year one. Her questions about time at the moment are about when clocks were invented, and what we would call the century when the-big-bang-which-didn't-make-any-noise happened. In school, they are learning the days of the week. Making that a challenge is a struggle, especially when large chunks of the day are like that.

learnandsay Sat 08-Dec-12 15:00:28

sandwich, if my daughter was asking questions like that I'd start a project with her to work out why there are seven days in a week and not six or eight. That's a subject she could eventually write a PhD thesis on. We'd talk a bit about what a century is and maybe about how time is measured, with sand, sundials, water clocks and so on. An advanced child could study the same subject as her classmates but just look at other details.

adeucalione Sat 08-Dec-12 16:32:38

I agree that a project sounds like a great idea for your daughter sandwich, she sounds lovely.

How long are they spending learning the days of the week? Surely no more than a minute a day? I would be very surprised if they were spending a lengthy amount of time on it.

Learnandsay - when I refer to 'catching up' I suppose I am really comparing children of similar intelligence (NFER scores etc); those with high levels of parental input excel initially but at some point they are faced with work that needs analytical rather than memory skills, and then the field begins to even out.

I'm not trying to be argumentative, I am just saying things that I can't say to parents in RL. I think that both viewpoints are entrenched and nobody is going to have a lightbulb moment and stop what they're doing because of what some anonymous person on MN says. But my DC are all at secondary school now and I really really do wish that I hadn't worried about all of this nonsense in the early years, although I probably wouldn't have listened if someone had tried to tell me either.

socharlotte Sat 08-Dec-12 19:19:06

Her teacher tells me that she is the most able in the class by some distance.

isn't that breaching confidentiality on the other pupils attainment ie you know know each and every pupil is less able by some distance.

mrz Sat 08-Dec-12 19:23:32

and pretty meaningless

yellowsubmarine53 Sat 08-Dec-12 22:39:15

Maybe it's not all that helpful to define the terms 'catch up' and 'overtake', because learning is a lifelong, holistic experience - a marathon rather than a sprint.

Joyn Sat 08-Dec-12 22:54:03

Having read this thread with interest, I'm left wondering why onesandwich is supposed to start a project with her dd, because she is bored in school & 'learning' things she has known for a couple of years. What if onesandwich is a loneparent, holds down a full time job, or has 3 other children to look after?

All parents want the best for their children, but we don't all have the time to take over from school & keep learning interesting. We all accept that education can't be tailored to suit every individual child, but the further a child is away from the standard expected level the less there is for them. If your kid is smart they'll do great in the top group, anymore than that it's a lot harder to get what they need.

Resources need to be focused on helping kids who are behind to catch up, but we are doing a great dis-service to able children, if they aren't offered any sort of extension. My biggest fear for my own children has always been that they will lose their desire to learn & their thirst for knowledge, because they spend so much time being taught things they already know or going over things again & again that they understood the first time.

Tgger Sat 08-Dec-12 22:56:47

I wondered how onesandwich seems to know exactly what goes on in the Y1 class for the whole school day. I'm pretty sure they are not "just" learning the days of the week etc, or not in my DS's class. He is far from bored.

simpson Sat 08-Dec-12 23:00:28

Joyn -if it was possible to "like" a post,I would!!

I am a LP and once I have done the usual evening stuff, asked about their day, fed them,bathed them etc....the last thing I would want to do is a project on something (especially as I feel my child should be extended in school - if needed, although I am more than happy to support the school in any way I can...)

adeucalione Sun 09-Dec-12 04:23:26

I don't think anyone has said that sandwich is supposed to start a project with her child have they? Someone suggested it as a way of encouraging an interest at home, that's all. If a clever child is very interested in a topic then giving them access to books or the Internet and suggesting some independent research doesn't take very much time. And it's a bit rich to say that your child is bored at school but then leave them bored at home because you haven't got time to answer their questions either.

Children are always complaining of being bored. Don't yours ever say it at home, even when surrounded by books and toys? When I hear children saying this at school it is usually either a face-saving explanation for struggling with something, because they lack the social skills to fully engage with an activity, because they think they know all about a topic but go on to prove that they don't actually (spiralling curriculum) or because they know it's an ace way to push mum's buttons. Occasionally a child may genuinely know what you're teaching, which is when differentiation comes in to play.

Children will come home saying 'I'm bored' because they spent 5mins recapping something they already knew, a bit like when they say 'no one played with me today' because they were on their own or 2mins at lunchtime. Whenever a parent tells me that their child has been bored I am usually able to demonstrate quite conclusively that they weren't. That's not to say that there must be the odd dire teacher, getting away with terrible teaching in terrible schools, but I am just cautioning against jumping to conclusions.

learnandsay Sun 09-Dec-12 07:55:58

School doesn't have a responsibility for teaching our children what century the big bang was in, why the sky is blue, why grass is green, why the sun is hot and Greenland is cold and why mice live in our cellar but gerbils don't, or any of the four million five hundred and twenty six other good questions that children ask. Half the time we have no idea what the proper answers to these questions are and as parents we can either say, I don't know, dear, ask your father. Or we can say because that's the way life is, deal with it. Or we can open Encyclopaedia Britannica and google and get busy finding out. There's one type of response that I favour greatly.

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