We received a letter from my son's school telling us that he qualified to be considered for the high ability program at his school, but that he would be required to take an additional test. We don't know if we should agree to the testing or why we would want him to be in the program. How should we decide if we should allow the testing?
In recent years, many school corporations have expanded their offerings for students whose academic abilities are different enough from their peers that they are not easily met with the same curriculum offered for the majority of students. Sometimes additional testing data is required to be sure that students are being placed appropriately. The school personnel take great care to understand each student's needs so that they can provide academic challenge without imposing stress. By agreeing to the testing, you will be allowing the school to collect the data needed to determine if your child might benefit from a different academic program.
Should you agree to the testing and then find that the school offers to place your son in the high ability program, you will have to determine if you believe this to be the best placement for him. This decision is one that should be made by you and your son's teachers, not by your son. Together the adults should determine if your son's Education would be enhanced by participation in a more academically challenging program.
School corporations' approaches to high ability education are varied, so knowing whether your corporation's program focuses on faster pacing, enriching concepts in the regular classroom or compacting curriculum will be important in making a good decision for your son.
Our school corporation has opted to extend school days in order to make up all the lost time from the bad winter weather. For my elementary aged kids, this additional time each day seems to be a big challenge. How can I help them keep a good attitude through the long days?
Ensuring that your children get plenty of rest and eat well is always important, but it is even more critical when additional demands are being made on their time. When rest or nutrition is compromised, a child's ability to cope with typical demands is strained. The problem is multiplied when even more is expected of them.
Extra effort to stay organized will likely also be necessary. If there are more things to juggle, your children may need your help keeping track of additional work and deadlines. Some students will be able to handle this additional responsibility easily, but others may be overwhelmed by it. Recognize that this is an unusual situation and your help may be needed.
Maintaining a positive attitude yourself will go a long way in helping your children to stay upbeat. If your kids detect that you are bothered by the school's decision to extend days, they may see that as justification for not putting in the required effort.
My eight-year-old daughter and a girl in her class seem to be constantly at odds. The conflict between them centers on the attention of a third girl in the class. The triangle results in feelings being hurt on a regular basis. I don't know how to advise my daughter on to make this friendship work.
Forming friendships can be one of the most difficult parts of school, and it can certainly color how children feel about all aspects of the school day. When children struggle with friendships, they may struggle to focus on academics. Typically, girls deal with this situation more than boys who seem more adept at letting comments and perceived slights roll off their backs. Girls tend to take every interaction to heart.
Coaching the girls into forming a circle of friends rather than maintaining an exclusive one-on-one friendship will be to everyone's benefit. To nurture this circle, encourage your daughter to include both girls in lunchtime and recess activities. You can play a key role in developing these friendships by inviting both girls to your home or to after school activities.
For at least some of the time that the three are together, it is important that you are directly involved in their activity or are at least nearby. When you learn more about the personalities involved and the dynamics of the friendship, you will be able to influence their appreciation of one another. You will also be able to help the girls understand the value of multiple, genuine friendships. With a deeper understanding of the natures of the girls, you will be able to advise your daughter as to how to make the most of the opportunity to have two "BFFs" rather than just one.
Ask the Teacher is written by Deb Krupowicz, a mother of four and current teacher. Deb holds a Master's degree in Curriculum and Instruction and has over twenty years of experience teaching preschool, elementary and middle school students. Please send your questions to her at firstname.lastname@example.org