Monday, September 28, 2009

Transitioning From Lower Elementary to Upper Elementary

My 8 year-old has moved into 4th grade this year, and that means she's officially in Upper Elementary. Once a child moves into upper elementary the expectations change for the quality of their work. As her teacher, I am expecting neater handwriting, complete sentences with proper punctuation, showing work on math problems, and just an overall display of a greater effort being shown. No more winks and nods at little errors. As a result of my new expectations, she is experiencing meltdowns. I actually remember my oldest experiencing these same meltdowns when she was in regular school. Now that I am the teacher, I have to deal with the meltdowns.

It's a challenge for me, and I am working through it. Here's what I've been going through:

1) Problem: I have to repeat over and over again that I want her to write her header on the top of the page.
Solution: I had her to write a page of headers.
Result: This morning she presented her writing work nice and neatly with the header in the right place.

2) Problem: Daughter claims she doesn't remember how to write out her math problem properly.
Solution: I change the rules for math work. Now she has to write the problem and the answer, plus show her work.
Result: Meltdown at the thought of extra work -- oh well. I'll have to report back the when progress happens.

3) Problem: Asking said daughter to start each sentence with a capital and each paragraph with an indention.
Solution: Rewrites of sentence or paragraph
Result: Meltdown at the thought of extra work and neater work with capitalization and indentions. However it's not yet consistent. Still climbing the mountain.

I think you get the picture now. Anyone want to guess at when we'll get to the point where my upper level elementary student will get to the point where she is presenting work that matches her cognitive ability? Anyone? Anyone?


  1. Slow and steady wins the race.

    I didn't start quite that young with Baby Boy, but when we did bring him home . . . he had no knowledge of ANYTHING . . . so we basically had an 10 year old kinder level student on our hands.

    Just introduce one or two concepts at a time and wish upon a star for endless patience.

    Endless patience is key. Children will try you.

    Did I mention Endless Patience.

    Oh, and a secret stash of tequila for a quick "sanity shot" every now and then. ;-)

  2. Girl yes, endless patience. I have about another four weeks before I can take a swig of some wine or somethin' (I'm still preggers). Thanks for the encouragement.