My child’s teacher recently asked me to schedule a conference with her because she described my daughter as being a struggling student. Is the teacher trying to tell me my child is now going to be placed in the special-education program?
You definitely need to schedule a conference to find out what is going on. Struggling during the school year does not mean your child needs to be in special education. It sounds like the teacher is being proactive and wants to address any problems before your child begins to fall further behind.
Before meeting with the teacher, take a moment to write down a few questions. They might be as follows:
1. What academic subject (or subjects) cause my child to struggle?
2. Can you show me examples of my child’s work and point to her specific difficulties?
3. What are your suggestions for ways matters can be turned around?
4. Does my child need a tutor?
5. Do you offer before- or after-school tutoring that my child can attend?
6. What are some ways that I can help my child at home?
7. Can we schedule a meeting later to see whether or not my child is making progress?
Ways to Help Organize Writing
My fourth-grade son has a very difficult time trying to organize his writing. He is a great little reader, but getting his thoughts down on paper seems to be an impossible task for him. What suggestions do you have so I can help him to improve his writing skills?
Since your son is a good reader, this is definitely the place to start. Get some good short children’s books out of the library, like Curious George or Clifford. Read this book with your son.
Encourage him to tell you what happened first in the book, next in the mid-section, and finally, at the end of the story. By doing this, your son has just completed a verbal outline. Explain that this is one way that authors organize their thoughts, and it is a way that he could organize his own writing.
Read a second book together and show him how to make a timeline of the events that took place in the story. Have him write the beginning and ending events on the line and then fill in the middle of the line with a few other events that happened. Point out that this is another way to organize his writing.
Another technique that almost writes a story or report is simply talking to your son about what he wants to say or what he knows about a topic. What he says should then be written down on 3 x 5 index cards and placed, by him, in the order of their importance. He can then complete his writing assignment.
Remember: The more your son writes, the better his writing skills will become.