By Kathy Glass, Consulting Educator
My child will be going into sixth grade. Could you please tell me what I can do so as to make the transition easier? He is an honor student and is already thinking about college. Is there any way that I can help him to remain focused?
An engaging and stimulating environment seems to be the key to keeping him attentive if he is an honor student thinking of college. Many dynamic teachers focus on a differentiated curriculum in which they assess the needs of all students and plan accordingly to meet their needs. Unfortunately, some teachers are more comfortable providing the same curriculum to all students rather than challenging each to their ability levels and considering students' interests when teaching.
You should definitely talk with the teacher and find out his or her philosophy. I suggest you have a parent/student conference with the teacher and discuss how your son and his teacher can work collaboratively to provide an enriching curriculum. See if the teacher would be willing to create a system in which your son can test out of a certain curriculum if it is a course of study he knows well. If he does test out, then he can work independently on a project of his choice within the overarching unit focus. That way, he will not be bored relearning material he has already covered. Sometimes, teachers invite these students to present their projects to the class to augment what the teacher provides.
If the teacher is amenable to an independent project, suggest that your son abide by certain conditions for the project and sign a contract. I had students work in a corner of my classroom or at the library for independent projects and had them sign a contract including conditions such as the following: maintain focus at all times; contact the teacher only when she is not involved in teaching a lesson; do not be boastful about the opportunity to work independently; when working somewhere other than the classroom, follow the directions that the teacher sets at that location. Students could continue working alone or with a partner of similar abilities if they abided by these conditions. If not, they lost the privilege. Your son and the teacher will regularly check in with each other during an independent study to assure your son stays on track and is challenged.
Collaboration during the school year between student and teacher is essential. Ask if the teacher can provide pre-assessments at the beginning of each unit to determine what your son (and others) already knows. Your son, on the other hand, can alert his teacher to material that is too hard or easy. With opportunities for your son to work within a Kathy Glass whole class setting, small group work with similarly able students, and independently on learning contracts, the classroom can work well for your son and keep him challenged. This is what is known as "diffentiated instruction" in education circles. For more ideas and information about differentiated instruction, do a Google search on the term. There are a multitude of articles and resources that you can read to educate yourself and share with a teacher who may not be well-versed on this topic.
Advice from our experts is not a substitute for professional diagnosis or treatment from a health-care provider or learning expert familiar with your unique situation. We recommend consulting a qualified professional if you have concerns about your child's condition.
Sign up for our free newsletter and we'll send you
more just like it every week.
Thank you! You will begin to receive newsletters from us shortly.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to complete your registration.
Great work! Only one more step. Now we just need you to verify your email address. Please click on the link in the email we just sent you to submit your review.
Please click on the link in the verification email we just sent you to complete your change of email address.
Whoops! It looks like we still need to verify your email. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the e-mail? Click the button below and we'll send you a new one.
Thanks for registering. Welcome to GreatSchools, the largest online community committed to improving educational outcomes through parental involvement.
Thanks for verifying your updated email address.
Oops! You haven't verified your email address yet. To do so, please click on the link in the email we sent you. Can't find the email? Click the button below to receive a new one.
Oops! That email verification link has expired. Please click the button below to receive a new one.
Create an account to submit your answers.
Sign in with an existing GreatSchools account or using Facebook:
Your review has been posted to GreatSchools.
Share with friends! Post your opinion of on Facebook.
Welcome to GreatSchools!
For principals and school officials, we offer a special Enhanced School Profile (ESP) which allows you to update and add information about your school, as well as respond to reviews. If you are a school official, click Continue to start.
Please note that it can take up to 48 hours for your comment to be posted to our site. While you're here, we'd like to invite you to fill out a survey on your school's programs, activities, and extracurriculars. It only takes a few minutes and will help parents get a full picture of your school.
Get started now! You have successfully registered and can now start updating your Official School Profile. The information you provide is extremely valuable in helping parents and students learn more about your school, so thanks for taking the time!
Thank you for registering as a school leader. We just need to verify your email address. We've sent you an email - please click on the link in that message to get started editing your school's information!
Thanks! We just sent you an email – please click on the link in the email to post your answers.
Get timely updates for , including performance data and recently posted user reviews.