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Help-i've Got A Genius In My Class!


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I've recently been doing some informal assessments on my new intake of children to see what numbers/sounds etc they recognise. One child, however can read fluently, count, add and subtract numbers (and not just simple 2+2) and is generally a very bright boy.

 

Am a little unsure how to approach this as this week we are started to learn 'Jolly Phonics'. Obviously i do not want him to become bored and want to challenge him, but on the other hand i do not want to exclude him from whole class inputs either. He doesn't complain that things are too simple for him, but i had to speak to mum about his behaviour last week and she made the suggestion that he is finding the work too easy (and the year has only just begun.) What should i do? Any thoughts or suggestions would be much appreciated

 

Tinyone

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good for him!

It sounds like he needs his own IEP to stretch his learning. You say he knows all his sounds and is a fluent reader. Can he blend and segment words? What is his comprehension like? I had a couple of bright sparks last year (although admittedly not this early) and I used to send them home with a little comprehension task to go with their guided reading book. Just a little half lined and half drawing book and a couple of questions relating to their book. They loved this challenge but it did mean a bit of extra work for me!

 

Another child (again half way through the year) used to pop into the year 1 maths groups for the first bit of the numeracy session. It's worth talking to the SENCO (it's not just the slower learners who we should target)

or other colleagues in years above as they maybe able to offer help.

 

I do hope though that he and his mum see the benefits of learning through play as equally important to making the whole person :)

hope this helps and best of luck

Liza

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Hi

I had a mini genius one year, but her behaviour and social skills were awful. I have to say that spmetimes parents only see the importance of reading and writing etc, rather than social skills and behavour...and these he can learn whilst playing! I hope his parents can see the value of this and realise that education is alot more than reading and writing

 

Kate

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I've got a really clever little girl in my class at the moment. I have a mixed R/Y1 class and she's YR and is better at reading than all of my Y1s! She can decode unfamiliar words using her phonic skills and from words she already knows (lots of them). I'm not sure how hot she is on maths yet, but she certainly seems to be pretty good so far. Her writing is good too, altohugh she lacks confidence.

I've spoken with mum about things and she's very supportive. This girl is also very good socially and is no problem at all behaviour wise. Just hope I can do her justice, sure I can!

SENCo knows all about her, as he was in the nursery with him last year.

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Guest Tracey F

As you say, you don't want him to be excluded from the whole class sessions, but at the same time, you don't want him to be bored and become disillusioned / disruptive. Is it possible when you are doing your Jolly Phonics sounds that he can be given the challenge of making up, and possibly writing and illustrating an alliterative silly sentence to go with the sound? Kind of like 'seven silly snakes sit sucking strawberry sweets' ? In this way he could build up his own little book, to share with the other children. I don't know it's just an idea, but I do know that this kind of thing would have appealed to my sons when they were little.

 

Kate, while I appreciate what you're saying, it's not always that easy! My middle child taught himself to read before he was 3 by copying his big brother - long before he was properly toilet trained! In my case the impetus for learning the 'academic' stuff came from him, I would far rather have had him be clean and dry than reading!

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Tinyone, I think it is early days yet and you need to include him with the rest of the class as much as possible so that you can really see where he excels. He needs to learn to be part of a group and interacting within that group socially and more academically or he could become isolated and unhappy. He needs to experience all those things that you are providing for the rest of the class and to enjoy being 4 or 5. Then you will see how to extend him and develop his skills appropriately.

Look at the profile with mum and illustrate to her how you are providing for the development of the whole child. If he is already reading as you describe and then you need to make sure he can transfer this knowledge to writing. You may need to provide him with different aids and teach him dictionary skills, for example. Mum can take him to the library for appropriate reading books and you can help him choose something appropriate in school.

Also speak to your Senco and see what your Gifted and Talented plicy and coord have to say. make sure that someone on yur SMT is aware of this child and how you are addressing this, so that you will be supported in school.

Let us know how it goes.

Good luck.

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I agree with getting the senco involved at this stage. Children who are advanced often need an IEP, and the parents will be relieved that his ability is being recognised and addressed.

 

Look at the whole child and his whole repertoire of skills. As others have said, some children can 'read' but lack other aspects of literacy skills. But bear in mind that this is not always the case. There is also often a common belief that if a child is advanced in one area, he must be delayed in another. This is sometimes true, but sometimes not. There are children who are advanced in all areas. If we take the line that this is not possible, then we will fail to meet their needs. The attitude then that 'things will even out in the end' becomes self-fulfilling.

 

If we think of learning being on a normal curve, there will be children at both ends of the curve in all areas of development. We need to treat each child as an individual and not be frightened of the higher end of the curve, just as we are not of the lower end.

 

I also agree that some parents don't fully understand the education of the child, but we musn't dismiss all parents as lacking such understanding. I believe that most do appreciate the importance of all areas of development. I also believe that many children who come into school or preschool already having literacy skills have not been formally 'taught' by their parents. Many have simply 'taught' themselves. Some children would have to be locked in a darkened room without any print to stop them from becoming readers!

 

In fact, I was one of these children, and could fluently read when I started school, but had to 'learn' with the rest of the class. I recall hours spent in frustration in class on Janet and John and Dick and Dora, which never made any sense to me, as they were not 'real' stories. I could not grasp that you were supposed to 'sound out' words when you already knew what they said! Consequently, my parents were told at the age of six that I was a 'non-reader'. :o

 

I'd say your first task is to talk to the senco, and with the parents, so that you start to build a good partnership to meet this child's needs, whatever they turn out to be. Then take time to assess the whole range of development. He might have some specific strengths and some specific weaknesses. Then come up with an individual plan for him for literacy and maths if necessary. Eg, if he truly can read with comprehension, can he choose books from the book area and library and read with his parents, with some simple fun tasks to do afterwards (but don't turn him off by making him answer endless comprehension questions or write book reviews that bore him!). If his maths is really advanced, maybe in time he could join Yr 1 for some sessions, but watch that he is comfortable with this and that he has the maturity to cope.

 

Otherwise, he will need all the same play and creative opportunities as the other children of his age group. Watch, though, what his understanding is, eg of scientific concepts. Some children do have advanced understanding in other areas too, and he may need stretching here. This is fairly easy, with non-fiction books and simply challenging him more when you talk with him. But make sure that you are aware of his abilities and work with his parents - and that his social and emotional needs are met along with the academic.

 

It is exciting having children of all different abilities with various gifts in a class - I recall one little boy I taught years ago who at age four was fascinated by marine life and knew every type of shark, whale etc and could identify them from pictures and talk about them. His enthusiasm caught on with the rest of the class, and at the end of the year, we were all experts! I often wonder what he is doing now - he must be in his 20s, yikes! But it was really exciting teaching him and learning from him, even if at the end of the year I did yearn to read a story or see a painting that was not of a shark!!

 

Good luck, and have fun with this!

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