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DS Year 4 - teacher says "not focused". How to improve?

(16 Posts)
Mandy21 Wed 26-Mar-14 12:14:10

Had parents' evening this week and teacher said my DS is a delight, bright etc but that he's often distracted / not focused. His concentration span isn't particulary long.

My instinctive reaction is that he's 8, he's a rough and tumble little boy, would love to be playing football etc, its just a boy thing. But I really want to help him overcome this. We are in a selective grammar area and whilst I'm not desperate for him to go, I do think he has the potential. If he can knuckle down in time for Year 5, so much the better.

Has anyone been in this situation? How can I help him improve this?

Teacher also says he often says / writes the first thing that comes into his head, doesn't think about the question / issue long enough, often rushes work etc (and therefore makes silly / careless mistakes).

Any advice? Thank you MN!

chocoluvva Wed 26-Mar-14 13:17:57

Supplements of essential fatty acids might make a slight difference.

Lots of exercise - though it sounds like he gets that anyway.

Listening exercises?

My DS was the same and still is to a lesser extent - now 15 - but he's doing quite well at school.

RosemaryandThyme Wed 26-Mar-14 16:45:37

Ask teacher to consider who he sits with (girl and boy seating combinations can help ), feed him lots of carbs, bannanas and chicken in packed lunch oh and lettuce (calming foods), ban tv, ds, games etc before school including on car journey, make sure he is warm as chilly children drift off a lot in class. Teacher should be making sure he has right level work, too hard or too easy leads to silly behaviour.

Mandy21 Wed 26-Mar-14 20:32:05

Thanks thats really useful.

iseenodust Thu 27-Mar-14 10:20:43

DS's HT recommends audio books for improving concentration and vocabulary. DS yr5 has enjoyed over the last year Paddington, Famous Five, Mr Gum, Narnia, Legend of King Arthur.

Mandy21 Thu 27-Mar-14 11:09:39

Thank you - will try that too smile

chocoluvva Thu 27-Mar-14 11:29:38

I was wondering about suggesting musical instrument lessons. If your DS is sufficiently interested and with the right teacher.

However, your DS is only 8 - with maturity he'll develop a more better approach. It might be that he wants to complete his work as fast as possible so that he can have time to do activities of his choice IYSWIM.

He might not be interested in the work.

How do other mums feel about your DS' teacher?

Mandy21 Thu 27-Mar-14 12:06:18

I think she is good and the difficulty I have (should probably have said this at the outset) is that DS is a twin with DD in the same class with same teacher etc and no such issues. Whether the teacher relates better to more studious pupils / girls whatever is a different issue (I know teacher has a daughter of similar age) but generally happy with teacher.

They've done musical lessons as a class - he wasn't that interested to be honest but maybe he'd be different on a one-to-one basis. Definitely something to consider - thank you.

mamachelle Thu 27-Mar-14 12:08:55

dd1 (yr5) is like this but her teacher this year is absolutely fantastic and dd has made more progress since sept than she has in the last 2 school years.

she is very day dreamy and is easily distracted so most of her previous school work was either unfinished or marked with teacher comments such as "this isnt what you were supposed to be doing" .

she is the same at home so knew what the teachers were up against. we had a good chat with dd over the summer. we asked her what she thought the problem was and she told us very maturely that she zones out and struggles to come back to hear instructions and the same happens when she is at her table.

we relayed this to the teacher and she changed a few basic things that have changed dd completely.

1. dd sits at the front during carpet time (teacher frequently checks shes still awake wink) and is then asked to repeat the instructions.

2. dd is given targets for each task. 5 mins to write x amount. complete 6 questions etc

3. new table and seat. closer to the teacher in a place that has the least visual distractions.

once these things started improving the quantity of work, the quality was then the main focus.

sorry thats an essay but hopefully you can take something from it. have you spoke to your ds about it?

Mandy21 Thu 27-Mar-14 12:13:15

Really good advice mamachelle, thank you. We have spoken about it and he can't really explain it. I think part of it is confidence to be honest (comparing himself to DD all the time - they are both in the top group for everything but she is just very studious / competitive so very focused) so we put quite a bit of effort into limiting comparisons, building him up etc.

Retropear Thu 27-Mar-14 12:40:55

He may grow out of it.

My son was like that in year 3 but he is steaming forwards in y5 with great concentration.He does play the piano though and I'm afraid I insisted on consistent feedback from school.He had a book with smiley faces if attention was good after each lesson.We then moved on to a thumbs up or down re the week as a whole on Friday.I gave him little rewards when we got good feedback.

Are you sure he's being stretched enough? I have to say my son being in more challenging groups with teachers who are pushing him has helped too.He also really wants to go to the grammar which again has helped hugely as he has a goal.

Mandy21 Thu 27-Mar-14 12:52:40

That may be part of it - not being stretched but then its a balance isn't it by being motivated by challenging work or demotivated by getting it wrong. I also think that he hasn't necessarily made the link yet between getting into the grammar and hard work etc (he moans every time I try to do anything "extra" with him). I think maybe I will have a chat with him and arrange another appointment with the teacher to discuss it in more detail.

Retropear Thu 27-Mar-14 12:58:40

And take him for a visit to the grammar.

Retropear Thu 27-Mar-14 13:00:21

I didn't do much extra tbh I just focused on him focusing in class.

chocoluvva Thu 27-Mar-14 13:02:49

Girls of this age are often more mature. More likely to be better organised and also more likely to be motivated by wanting to please people - my apologies if that isn't relevant to your DS.

Sometimes bright children, especially boys IME, are surprisingly uninterested in many school-type activities and then they find it hard to concentrate on them.

When my two were at primary school (we relocated from DH's home-town when DC1 started school) it sometimes felt that life revolved around school eg all their (and my) new friends were from school and conversation often featured school. It can be hard to find a balance sometimes.

But practical steps in the classroom definitely sound worth pursuing.

Mandy21 Thu 27-Mar-14 13:31:44

Retro - very good idea to take him to the grammar. Choc - thank you for your advice - DD is definitely more mature and wants to please the teacher.

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