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My 4th grade At student has gradually dropped his grades to a Bt. From Sept to Jan.


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luvmy3boys January 7, 2009


He is preoccupied with wanting to take his recess break and lunch break so that he can play. He is not paying attention to his assignments being turned in. Therefore, making careless mistakes, and lowering his scores. My husband tells me not to worry about it, this is what boys do at this age, of course they are going to be more interested in playing than getting their assignments done perfectly.
How do I get him excited about his outcome on assignments as he is for playing? I don't want him to do his assignments on my behalf, I want him to feel good about the work he is doing. When he gets his test back, he is shameful, admits he did not double check his work, and was in a hurry to just get it done.

Any suggestions, ideas, words to say, experiences, I would love to hear.
Thanks,
Norma

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healthy11 January 7, 2009


Hi. It's obviously hard to get a complete picture of your child from a couple of sentences, but I want to share some knowledge that I've learned over the years, which may or may not be affecting your son.
In some cases, kids who previously did well in early grades, hit a "wall" where they start to struggle, for different reasons. As people have said, in K-3, kids learn to read, but 4th grade & beyond, they're expected to read to learn. Sometimes, kids can have mild learning or attention difficulties that interfere with their ability to do the work independently, because it is "getting harder." It's human nature to avoid tasks that are difficult, or rush through them and hope they can get to do more "fun" stuff like recess.
Another issue that becomes more prevalent as kids get older is the "awareness" of what their peers are doing. Some kids "dumb down" in order to not appear as "nerdy" and to be more socially accepted.
Does your son's teacher have a sense for what's going on? I wonder if his 3rd grade teacher could be contacted by the 4th grade one, to "compare notes."

For general questions pertaining to Elementary School Kids, you might like to talk with other parents at http://community.greatschools.net/groups/11527

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luvmy3boys January 7, 2009


Yes, this started happening at the end of 3rd grade. He was intrigued with what the popular "good athlete" kids were doing in class. I noticed he started to do as you mentioned "dumb down" to be more socially accepted. Deliberately missing one or two and vocalizing his missed answer like the others did. He is an avid reader, loves to read, and many times his books are also a distraction. Get the work done so that he can get back to the story. (fun stuff)
This year he is more coordinated, he is allowed to play with the "good athletes", loves to be a part of the play.
This morning I tried a different approach....I noticed he had thrown his mitt into his backpack for recess. I commended him on his memory to pack his mitt, how that was so important to him, that it was the first thing he thought about when packing up for school. I said it's no problem for that to be the first thing you think about, but make sure that the second thing is: Did I do a good job on my responsibilities, am I going to feel good about what I just turned in.
If you think about play first, make sure your next thought is about your assignments.

Your thoughts on this approach?
Thanks,
Norma

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healthy11 January 7, 2009


My attitude is "if what you've been doing isn't effective, try a different approach." That sounds like what you're attempting, and hopefully, it will help your son to realize that you recognize and share his enthusiasm for sports, but he's also got to balance that with his schoolwork. (Truthfully, being a B student isn't bad, but I understand it's frustrating as a parent when you feel he's capable of doing better.)

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luvmy3boys January 7, 2009


"Thanks"

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TeacherParent January 20, 2009


Has he always been an A+ student? I'd disagree with your husband - children even active boys don't usually change this quickly. It's not usual for a boy who could once sit still, do his homework, and check over his tests to rather abruptly stop doing all of that.
Unless.... some children can come to take a strong dislike to their teacher and it leaves them just wanting to get done and get out of the room as soon as possible. What are his feelings about his teacher?
If your son has always been on the distractible side and always had trouble with homework and checking over his tests, that's one thing. But if till now, he's been a fairly consistent A+ student, it is unusual to change this quickly. B+ is still avery good grade but - is he holding at B+ or are his grades still going down? If they are, then I'd suggest going in to his class and quietly observing to see what you see. See what the class is like, what the teacher is like when she's teaching and see if you can figure out why your son has changed so quickly in his approach to his school work.
There can come to be more and more homework with each passing grade andn some children are understandably more and more frustrated when they have to spend more of their evenings doing it. Does he have a great deal more homework than ever before? I've seen increasing amounts of homework change a child's attitude toward school.
When you ask your son, how he likes school this year what does he say?

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luvmy3boys January 20, 2009


Thank you so much for your insight! His grades are going back up. Yes, they do have quite a bit of homework, he has to be responsible for packing his books and study material, writing in his daily agenda, etc. I do think the homework is a turnoff. He does like his teacher, I just think he likes playing more. :) Another step I took was to cut-off all electronic games. Such as computer games, DS, and Wii. I have never allowed them (he and his two younger brothers) to play these electronics for long periods at a time. There allowance was 30 minutes once a week, maybe an hour at most on Friday's. Simply because these things seem to overstimulate my three boys. We did go away for a weekend, my husband wanted to allow them endless time for play on their DS, and I think allowing the endless freedom had a bad effect. That's all they could think about doing. Playing DS! My son seems much calmer, more focused, and he has also been falling asleep with a nice Jazz Music station. I have seen even his piano practice improve since he's been listening to the music at night and in the morning before school.
The brain is quite a marvel.

Thanks,
Norma



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