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Old 10-11-2012, 03:29 PM   #46
ccgirl
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Originally Posted by Mickey'snewestfan View Post
They have assigned seats, he's in the back and says he can't change. I don't know whether he's asked. That's what we'll address. As far as speaking up, my guess is he doesn't but I'm unsure. He's naturally a really extroverted kid, but he's shy. Some teachers bring out the extroverted side and he participates nonstop in their classes. Other teachers intimidate him, and it's really hard for him to speak up. We're working on it, but I don't have a sense of which category this teacher is in.

He has gone to see this teacher outside of class at least 5 or 6 times outside of class, even though it means he's missing extracurriculars that he really enjoys, so he is making an effort to ask for help.



Quite possibly. I can't tell you if they're supposed to take notes, just that his notebook is very empty. I'll be curious what the teacher says about that.



So, my guess is that the teacher assigned the kids independent reading and used the test as a way to make sure they read the portion that they weren't discussing in class. So they spent time talking about the first half of the book, as a mentor text and then he said "OK, go ahead and finish by Thursday and there will be a test on the rest of the book" or something along those lines. DS missed the entire direction, both the part about finishing and the part about there being a test, so he didn't finish the book and then failed the test. I can't tell you why he missed the original direction.



I think it's likely a combination. I know this is an area of weakness for him, and could have told you that before the class started. But it also sounds like other kids are floundering. I also compare it to math where he was definitely behind when he first go to the school, and where I had to do a lot of extra work to catch him up, but there were always worksheets or notes that at least let him know what to ask. He could always tell me "we're studying improper fractions and I don't understand, can you help?"



You know, that's where I'm asking if things are different in a different kind of school. I don't consider written materials grammar schoolish. If anything, at my school there's a huge emphasis on getting kids to the point where they are learning from texts. I know from my own experience in college, there was always written materials to study from -- a text book, readings, something. In my professional life, I'm constantly asked to read things and integrate them into my knowledge. If I go to a workshop or take a grad school class, there is always a hand out, or an article, or some other piece of writing that is referenced. I guess I don't see reading things to learn something as grammar schoolish.
This post sounds like you are going in to the meeting with a great attitude that you want to hear both "sides" (for lack of a better term). It sounds like you think it *may* be your DS is not working to capacity but you want to talk about it and I think that is a good thing.

I also believe you said he tried to email the teacher and there was no response. When you speak to the teacher, I would ask what their preferred method of communication is. Quite a few of my DD's teacher really don't communicate via email. It is also possible she never got it.

Good luck with your meeting. Let us know how you make out.
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:36 PM   #47
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I'm curious. For those of you who are opposed to parents reading their kids' papers, how would you handle a kid who was struggling with writing in this situation?

If he's turning in papers full of grammatical mistakes, and not getting them back with feedback to review, how will he change things for the next time? How can I teach him the skills if I don't know what he doesn't know, and how can I know what he doesn't know if I don't read his work?
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Old 10-11-2012, 03:49 PM   #48
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My son is also in 8th grade Honors English. His school uses an on-line grading system called EdLine. Not only are their grades posted but the teachers post their weekly schedule. I usually print those out for him and go over his schedule with him to help him stay organized. Every day when I get home, I look at his agenda and go over his homework with him. If he has any problems, we discuss them and I help him when he needs it.

I realize some on here would say I should let him do these things alone, but I am not going to apologize for helping him. Just those 5 minutes a day we spend together going over his schedule really seems to help him stay organized and accountable. Unfortunately before I started doing this, he would say the same thing as the OP's son. "I didn't hear" or "I don't remember exactly". I think boys this age have some kind of fuzzy brain syndrome. In some ways they are so mature and in others not.

To the OP, my son's teacher writes the assignment on the board every day. Sometimes he forgets to write it down. He is either distracted or rushed. She doesn't give study guides but she does give handouts.

I personally enjoy working with my son and seeing what he is learning. I love that I can help him a little and feel like I can be an additional resource for him. I can't imagine not ever looking at his assignments or knowing what is going on.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:01 PM   #49
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My son is also in 8th grade Honors English. His school uses an on-line grading system called EdLine. Not only are their grades posted but the teachers post their weekly schedule. I usually print those out for him and go over his schedule with him to help him stay organized. Every day when I get home, I look at his agenda and go over his homework with him. If he has any problems, we discuss them and I help him when he needs it....
....as a Middle School teacher, we also use something similar - Genesis, where perents may use the Parent Portal to view grades, classwork, upcoming tests, and so on. I haven't read through most of the other posts here, but what jumped out at me was the fact that this is an Honors class, yet the class is unruly, loud, etc. I'm thinking that this particular teacher may be new(?) and inexperienced. It has been my experience that most Honors classes are mostly comprised of students who aren't behavior problems, show self-control, and a deep and genuine interest in learning and success. By all means, you need to get some things clarified with your son's teacher and it is imperative that you do so as soon as possible. Good luck and please let us know how it turns out!
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:05 PM   #50
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They use Edline, and he and I review it regularly. It's super helpful when it works, but this teacher hasn't been posting grades or assignments or test dates consistently.

He's not new to teaching or to the district, but transfered to this school this year. I will say that I do think my kid is particularly sensitive to noise/chaos, so it's possible that the class isn't loud by other people's standards. In general, I've been very impressed with the classroom management I've seen in this school, it's one of the reasons I chose to live where I do, because it seemed quiet and orderly which suits my particular kid.
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Old 10-11-2012, 04:38 PM   #51
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In 8th grade, they are also trying to prepare the students for high school so are trying to create more indepenent learners. My DD has yet to receive a study guide. They will get the subject of the test and it is up to them to re-read, study notes, assignments etc to prepare themselves for the test.

What did the teacher say when he approached the matter with him/her?
My DD took honors and AP classes all through HS, and is also in the Honors program at the university she is attending. She almost always receives study guides, even at the college level. I was surprised a bit myself, but that's the way a lot of teachers do it. I don't think it's a bad idea. There's no reason the students shouldn't know what the important parts are.
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Old 10-11-2012, 06:25 PM   #52
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I teach middle school English, and everything I say is also almost always written down somewhere. Homework and due dates are on the board, directions are on every paper, and I also give study guides and practice work that is very much like what their assessments will be. I have kids of all abilities, and many of my kids with IEPs require things to be written down for them, so I might as well give a copy to everyone if I have to do it for one or two kids anyway. I teach in a low income, rural school, but how I teach was taught to me in college and grad school.
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Old 10-11-2012, 08:53 PM   #53
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Op, I have an 8th grader as well & am just wondering if you went to back to school nite? I know at ours I got a good read on my dd's teachers & how their classes are run. If you went did you get a bad vibe from this teacher? Did you see disorganization in her room?
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:02 PM   #54
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Op, I have an 8th grader as well & am just wondering if you went to back to school nite? I know at ours I got a good read on my dd's teachers & how their classes are run. If you went did you get a bad vibe from this teacher? Did you see disorganization in her room?
That's a good question. His room was physically pretty organized. His presentation spent a lot of time on him, and his personal history, the fact that he went to an elementary school that feeds to ours, where lives etc . . . It frustrated me that I felt like we spent more time on that than on the course work.

Then afterwards, because we didn't get to questions, I waited in to line to ask him a question. I waited and waited because he spent a really long time with another parent talking about the neighborhood, and who they knew in common, and how things had changed. Things that had nothing to do with English. I found it odd that he didn't shut it down. Ironically, my question was whether I should continue to proofread the final drafts. His answer was that he feels like everyone does it, and my kid's papers will be compared to papers edited by other parents.

On the other hand the written materials, course guide/syllabus etc . . . were fine, but it's my impression that these are shared across the grade level team. I don't know who actually created them.

So, I wasn't super impressed, but it also wasn't hugely different from other classes, all of which have turned out to be fine.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:31 PM   #55
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They use Edline, and he and I review it regularly. It's super helpful when it works, but this teacher hasn't been posting grades or assignments or test dates consistently..
,,,,I'm surprised that he hasn't been updating it. In our district, we were speciifically told that we must update HW regularly, post test grades within 5 days, and post upcoming tests 3 days before administering the test...
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:39 PM   #56
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,,,,I'm surprised that he hasn't been updating it. In our district, we were speciifically told that we must update HW regularly, post test grades within 5 days, and post upcoming tests 3 days before administering the test...
Our district has a similar policy, but it doesn't seem that they enforce it.

My son and I sat down and talked about the meeting. I'm going to bring him, and we talked about things we want to ask, and things we want to share.
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Old 10-11-2012, 09:43 PM   #57
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Our district has a similar policy, but it doesn't seem that they enforce it.

My son and I sat down and talked about the meeting. I'm going to bring him, and we talked about things we want to ask, and things we want to share.
....great idea,,,,,better yet, jot things down, like specific questions you might want to ask....
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Old 10-12-2012, 06:13 AM   #58
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I agree that you are wise to have the conversation.
Give the teacher the benefit of the doubt (says the recovering MS English teacher who had a class of 38 in an urban school where kids had to work twice as hard to overcome some hard things).

You might want to say something like:
(Kiddo) doesn't always seem to have a sense of what is expected day to day. What method do you use to inform students of deadlines, tests, and other small assignments? Do students copy those from a certain area in the room? Is that at the beginning of class? At the end? Not sure he's in the loop.
(Kiddo) has always done well in school, but this year, he seems overwhelmed by the chatter and drama associated with being class with his peers, and it seems to be throwing him off, from what he tells me. In your class, is there a lot of free time for exploration, or is it more structured? Do you have any ideas on how we can encourage him to stay on track during the less structured times? (*Note-I say this b/c when I taught MS I was blown AWAY by how each kid could be in their own world and not notice a child crying or losing it when they needed a question answered. It left me feeling bombarded and pressed for time, so I took more classes on classroom management. Seating some children near me and others who were more independent around the perimeter helped.)
(Kiddo) seems unaware of the criteria for grading or the style of assessments that are coming up. Do you use a rubric, a pre-test, or do you have any other ideas on how my kiddo can do some self-assessment before exams so he knows on what he needs to focus when he studies? It seems like his approach now is both inefficient and producing lousy results.

Asking the teacher for ideas on how you can help your child to fit into their style, while gently pointing out that their style is one in which your child is getting lost may help ALL of you to be less frustrated.

I frequently used debating formats and "round robin" reading. You know why? It got kids talking/engaged and we never had paper for the copier or enough books for each student. It was really hard and NOT ideal for introverts, or more self-directed learners. A smart, sensitive, artistic friend gave me some great ideas on how to include kids who were less comfortable in a high-energy room (after telling me how hard it was for him in middle school), and this kind of sounds like your son, maybe.....The teacher may not notice the challenges he's having, so it is a great time to share that.
I have to say you speak the truth. I am just a parent however my dd has some issues and one of the first things things I ask is where is the homework posted? That is probably the best question you can ever ask.

OP, a lesson I will give you from a veteran parent with a child that has some issues in upper level classes....Once they get behind, they get "scared" to ask what they need to do to get it together. Then you bug them and they get even MORE overwhelmed, esp. if they have a low grade. It becomes a vicious cycle.

In middle school I would be shooting emails, calling, meetings, dropping in to chat, smoke signals, or whatever it takes to communicate with teacher and doing some hand holding with teaching your child to speak up, being proactive, and HOW to navigate a class that is difficult for him for whatever reason. It happens & it will happen again and again...The key is that you have to teach your child how to get a decent grade out of a class that is a challenge for them.

He obviously is not getting "it". He did not finish the book? In my experience a "honors english kid" goes home and reads the whole book right away even though they are not supposed to. They can't help it. Most teachers know that though and pretend they did not read it.

My youngest is in 10th and she has hit her wall. UGH. Well, I have given her the tools and she did sink a bit however she pulled herself up and is going for it. She has 3 weighted classes on the line and cannot afford to mess it up.

Oh her wall? Honors Chemistry. She has to study her behind off for this class if she wants to pull at least a B. PLUS we have a teacher that we have to PHOTOCOPY EVERYTHING SHE TURNS IN!!! She learned that this week. GAK. He is a "loser of homework and lab work". UGH.

She can walk through AP history and english with a blindfold on & get an A, but put her in advanced math and science and she really has to work at it.

Good Luck!!! It is not over yet.

When you meet with the teacher MAKE SURE you allow your son to ask questions. Put him "on the spot" sort of and do a little prodding with talking with the teacher. That way you can sit back and observe how he "talks" to the teacher.

Last edited by The Mystery Machine; 10-12-2012 at 06:48 AM.
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Old 10-12-2012, 07:21 AM   #59
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I'm kind of amazed at the number of people on here who think and 8th grader...so about 13 years old....should be handling all his own schoolwork & shool issues etc. with no help from parents.
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Old 10-12-2012, 08:07 AM   #60
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How very frustrating for your son and the rest of the kids in the class. I agree that it seems the teacher does not have the organizational skills. Who knows why--inexperienced, burned out, etc--but it really doesn't matter. I would schedule a meeting with the teacher. Not to attack, but to be concerned about your son and how we can improve things.

BTW, I tend to err on the side of the teacher, so I do not automatically believe everything the students say at face value, but when many or most of the other students are having issues, that points to the teacher. At least on some level. Even if it is the students, it is the teacher's responsibility to communicate with the parents.

I am a returning student and have a whopper of an English teacher. She is very nice and I personally like her, however she is extremely disorganized and jumps from topic to topic, confusing the class. I have it a little easier since I am an older student and I have more experience writing and with communication skills, but I really feel for the young students in the class. I am a buffer for them....yes, they need to learn how to speak up (and some do), but it's kind of intimidating to do so. On top of all that, the prof often tells us the wrong way to do things. She encourages very loose written expression in papers, but no doubt would critique it if we actually did what she was saying to do. I ran some of her suggestions by my 12yo 7th grade son and he said, "Mom, that's not how you should write. You should instead do ________." Amazing that my 12yo would get it, but she doesn't seem to understand what she is telling us to do sometimes.
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