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Abby field notes 7

asweeney's picture


What? I worked individually with Child F because the teacher said that he did not know how to draw his letters, which is something that the rest of the class was working on at the carpet. It took SO MUCH COAXING on my part until Child F even let go of his white board marker to begin. In the beginning, I drew a letter and then asked him to draw the same one (we were actually only working on the lower case “a”) but he would just start scribbling. Eventually, every time he drew it correctly I whisper-yelled “BAM!” which he thought was funny. It encouraged him to fill an entire white board with lower case “a” and then half of a board with lower case “b”s. During this entire session, I was basically chanting “BAM BAM BAM”


Later, when the entire class was sitting down to write stories, I tried to help this same student again. He refused to accept my help or listen to what I was saying. He squirmed excessively, got up from his seat, scribbled all over his work, and got yelled at by the teacher. Even though he had been receptive to my help about 40 minutes before this, in this setting where the entire class was working on the same thing, he seemed inclined to refuse to participate and create a mini-scene in the classroom (note: this is the same student who took off all his clothes on my first visit to the classroom).


So What? I’m wondering if the presence of other students bothered this child. He seems to have difficulty sitting still and concentrating (perhaps he has a learning disability), and yet when it was just he and I working together separate from the rest of the class, he eventually engaged in learning---we just had to work to break down some of his barriers and inclinations towards resistance. Why did my same strategies of trying to connect with him through humor and confidence ( “I know you can do this”) not work the second time? Were there too many distractions for him to focus? Was it embarrassing that he needed help?


Now What? I wonder what we can do to help students like Child F. I think one thing that would help would be smaller class sizes with more one-to-one teacher-student attention. I also think we should be careful about how we label certain students are trouble makers or “bad boys” at a young age because it seems that some kids stick to these labels even starting in kindergarten.