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Teacher says Dd doesn't do any work at school.

(30 Posts)
fillie Tue 13-May-14 13:03:36

My 5 year old dd is in year one. She always loved school in foundation but she found the change to year one a little tricky, she's in a mixed group of year one and year two children.
Her teacher asks for a chat from time to time and says she doesn't do any of the work, says she's bright and when talking to her she's understood everything really well, she just doesn't write anything down. Teacher is worried how she will cope in year two. She also stalls a lot, taking 30 mins to change after PE and go to the loo, in an effort to miss work.
She struggled with letter formations and writing generally at first but can do it. There's a teaching assistant who helps her and one or two others. At home we have reasonable expectations of her, she is an only child and quite well behaved. She can be a bit whiny and puts things off like most 5 year olds!
I feel it's an attitude / motivation / laziness issue.
How can I get her to understand how important it is to work hard and try hard at school?
We've agreed that if she does some of the writing she's been asked to do, she can then draw a picture too, which she loves. We're hoping this will encourage her. Any thoughts or ideas or folk who may have been through this, please I'm starting to worry she's never going to get passed this.

starlight1234 Tue 13-May-14 13:22:56

My Ds went on writing strike for a while in year 1 ( usually a very well behaved ) He found the work suddenly got harder so he stopped.
He is year 2 and fine now.

I found it was confidence in writing so rather than getting him to write at home did mazes, dot to do, answered quizzes and left the writing to the school

voituredepompier Tue 13-May-14 13:35:24

We have a sticker chart and DS gets to specify in advance what he will get when he fills it up (something that costs say a tenner). Each time he makes progress in school (or any other behaviours that we want to incentivise), he gets a sticker. This has made him very motivated and he actually asks to practice his reading at home!

PastSellByDate Tue 13-May-14 13:37:07

Hi fillie:

Since the teacher has raised this with you, my advice would be to take a leaf out of my S-I-L's approach (she teaches 7 year olds in US). With children who won't cooperate and refuse to do work - she speaks to the parents and if they're agreeable she will send any unfinished worksheets home with them to complete for the next day. The rules are clearly explained. If they don't have the work completed they will have to sit in at break time and do it then.

Most of them (but not all) quickly realise it's far better to do work at school than have to do it with Mum or Dad at home.

coffeetofunction Tue 13-May-14 13:46:10

Op were currently dealing with a very similar matter... DD is not completing work & the work she is producing is poor but any standard. What I've found frustrating is that she started school well above the national average & now she's just scrapping by angry bloody child!!!

Teacher suggested a sticker chart which is a joke tbqh but I guess this might be an option for your DD... Sometimes DD is kept in at break time to complete work.

If you find the answer can you share it please thanks

fillie Tue 13-May-14 13:59:54

Thanks for the responses smile
She is kept in at break time to do work and if she still doesn't do it her teacher has sent it home for us to complete, which I completely support.
We also have a star reward system, urg nothing seems to be working right now! I just hope it's a phase!

spottydolphin Tue 13-May-14 14:10:17

wow. she is five!

i think the teacher is over-reacting tbh. she is the teacher, if she can't deal with it at school then there isn't really anything you can do about it is there?

your dd is sooo young still, I am sure that her writing will come on naturally, maybe she just needs to feel more confident at it? I'm not sure that punishing her by keeping her in at break time is going to help... surely she will just resent it and it will become a bigger issue?

my eldest son wrote virtually nothing in reception OR year 1. His teachers allowed him to go at his own pace and in year 2 he suddenly "got" it and was well away with it (same with reading incidentally)...

TeenAndTween Tue 13-May-14 14:17:48

DD2 struggled in y2 when she was first expected to do 'independent' work (ie without an adult at the table with her). Could the same thing be happening? Will she do the work if an adult sits with her?

fillie Tue 13-May-14 14:23:10

Spottydolphin tthanks, hat's what I thought when her teacher first brought it up, she's 5, she's bound to have days where she's not very productive, but also what can I do about it?!
The teacher is concerned I think because it's ongoing.
So we're trying our best to do what we can, I've asked her to try harder and we try to do small fun writing activities at home. I am trying not to make a big deal out of it, think it might make it worse. But I have been worried, no one wants to hear that from the teacher.

I think working on her confidence with writing would help, thanks.

fillie Tue 13-May-14 14:23:56

Teen and tween, she does usually have a TA on hand at her table.

starlight1234 Tue 13-May-14 14:32:28

I hear this problem more and more these days.
I think this is to do with children not been ready to read write due to the fact they are now trying to get them reading and writing earlier and earlier.

fillie Tue 13-May-14 16:25:50

It's such a lot of pressure for a little person! sad

Angelto5 Tue 13-May-14 16:34:24

Might be completely wrong suggesting this but has your dd had a recent eye exam?

sleepyhead Tue 13-May-14 16:34:55

This was ds1. At parent's night last year we had virtually no work to look at because, although the teacher said that it was clear from speaking to him that ds1 understood and was capable of doing the work, he just didn't write anything down. Was getting distracted, chatting, spending ages under the desk picking up dropped bits of equipment, staring out the window etc etc etc.

Anyway, the teacher has been on his case (in a supportive way..), and this parent's night was soooo much better. Lots of work, massive improvement.

Personally, I think it's partly constant reinforcement and pulling his attention back to the task at hand, partly us being more aware of the problem and working on attention at home (and also the teacher sending some unfinished work home so ds1 has to do it there or at school, no getting out of it), and mainly him just growing up. Probably 80% growing up.

Ds1 is 7.5 btw - at 5 years old I wouldn't be too worried unless she was really falling behind.

mummy1973 Tue 13-May-14 21:54:08

Seems common. Ds in yr 2 and was on writing strike for about 4 months. Teacher tried everything. We asked her nicely to back off and he would come round. He did.

beautifulgirls Tue 13-May-14 22:11:14

Does she write at home? Try some fun activities with her like sending cards to people, writing to the tooth fairy, birthday lists, holiday activity lists and things that seem relevant to her. The more of these things she can do the more she will be practising without realising she is doing so. At school they need to decide if this is an emotional issue, physical issue or attention issue. Whichever they feel is underlying it they need to come up with a strategy to help support her and if needs be investigate. I have a daughter with ADHD and her verbal work is doing ok, her written work is not keeping up at all in class. At least we now know with her what underlies her issue and can work on that. I have another daughter with dyspraxia and hypermobility - she physically finds writing hard so she also has trouble with written work for different reasons to her sister. She is in a specialist school as has other SEN but in her case with written work they ask her to do 2-3 lines as a minimum herself then a TA will scribe the rest of her answers so at least the work done is hers and the thought process is possible for her.

There is a lot the school can and should be doing. I don't think repeatedly keeping her in at break time or sending work home is likely to help from here if it hasn't already had some effect. There are many ways to teach children and the school should really be looking at other approaches and reasons.

AgnesDiPesto Tue 13-May-14 22:39:00

Could it be a motor issue? Is she hyper mobile / does it hurt to write (I'm guessing not if likes to draw)? Is she really bright (and perhaps really bored??)
School should be able to find motivating activities at year 1 - can the school not use a similar reward approach as you?
My DS liked to draw and all his year 1 stories had little pictures and doodles. He used to do cartoons too.
I'd be a bit horrified at a school which kept year 1 children in at break to finish work. That seems OTT to me.
I don't think negative consequences work with all children, better to find a reward she is willing to work for (can earn tokens towards it - easy to do for an individual child if TA on hand). Or what about a timer that counts down e.g. she has to write or get changed in 10 mins and can see the time counting down and gets reward / tokens if she succeeds?
I don't think forcing it is going to help.
I would think they could find some special pens or something which she gets to draw with if she finishes her work quickly.
My children complained about how little fun they had once they were in year 1 and there were no toys anymore and the time dragged….

fillie Wed 14-May-14 14:08:38

I spoke to her teacher today and TA, they aren't sure how to proceed but are trying different things. They are going to try sitting her next to a very hard working friend and continue to send incomplete work home.

angelto5 She does wear glasses and is due another eye exam next month, do you think her vision might have got worse?

I don't think she has motor problems but may be worth looking into.

I'm sure she will get there, she is only little, I am mildly concerned though and she is my only one to worry about! Thanks all for exploring this with me! smile

Ferguson Wed 14-May-14 19:15:00

I can see this is quite a worry for you. I worked in primary schools for twenty-five years, as TA and voluntary helper. During this time (and even more so with Gove) expectations have changed GREATLY! Personally, I think too much is expected at too young an age. After all, it is only two or three years since the poor little kids learned to TALK! And she may be worried about not being able to spell words, so does nothing rather than risk getting it wrong.

In my view, as long a she does produce SOME writing, then that should be acceptable, and she shouldn't be pressured or punished too much. If she becomes worried and stressed, that isn't going to help anyone.

When I had very reluctant Yr2 boys who wrote virtually nothing, I invited them to DICTATE their texts and I typed it on the computer. As a touch-typist I could keep up with their dictation, and they loved seeing their ideas appear on the screen. Ideas just flowed, and stories came out once they were freed from the chore of pushing the pencil around!

If you have a tape recorder, or some other recording device, see if she can dictate her ideas. She can then try to write some of it down at a later stage.

fillie Wed 14-May-14 19:46:04

I love that idea, the teacher does sometimes transcribe her ideas, we could do that at home too.
Her teacher gave her a double thumbs up after school today for doing good work, maybe we've turned a bit of a corner.

It does seem like a lot to put on a 5 year old, she will be 6 soon but that's still very young.

mrz Wed 14-May-14 19:59:21

Unfortunately teachers don't always have the luxury of someone to transcribe and it doesn't really solve the problem in the long term.

You says she can take 30 mins to get changed for PE ... how quickly does she dress herself at home?

How independent is she outside school?

fillie Wed 14-May-14 21:06:09

I love that idea, the teacher does sometimes transcribe her ideas, we could do that at home too. It helps because he has evidence of her learning and level of understanding.

She is pretty independent at home, we do have to nag her to get changed though, she is generally a slower paced person.

Good news ; Her teacher gave her a double thumbs up after school today for doing good work, maybe we've turned a bit of a corner.

It does seem like a lot to put on a 5 year old, she will be 6 soon but that's still very young.

fillie Wed 14-May-14 21:07:02

Sorry didn't think previous version posted!

mrz Wed 14-May-14 21:08:57

As a Y1 teacher and a SENCO I wouldn't find it helpful I'm afraid.

mrz Wed 14-May-14 21:10:36

and in the long term it doesn't help the child

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