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Lesson Plans

Re: misguided help/ a little pick-me-up after the daily grind

From: Sharon Henneborn (heneborn)
Date: Wed Apr 12 2000 - 19:12:46 PDT

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    If I don't try I can't fail.

     Every kid I have ever had who approached life this way was very
    bright and had severe perception, processing, and/or motor problems
    that were highly compensated for but caused real struggle and
    uncertainty. Failure sneaks in as a surprise and is something "out of
    their control" It takes some real digging to find sometimes what has
    squelched their willingness to take risks and since they are so gifted
    parents and teachers think you are crazy.

    This kind of kid has advanced ideas but can't achieve what they want.
    I tell them that everyone moves through stages of seeing and thinking
    up ideas that are advanced of their abilities. When this happens they
    are ready to make a big advance but if they give up at this point they
    will be stuck in immaturity. If they struggle with it they will reach
    a point where they will be satisfied with their work and continue to
    grow. That probably won't work with someone entrenched in protecting
    themselves from taking risks.

    One such kid excelled in soccer, did medium well in class, was social
    and mom was incensed that I thought he should be tested. By 4th he
    was spending lots of energy talking around doing any art work. I
    noticed that he spilled materials a lot. I kept watching to see what
    clues I could pick up. One day we were working with beads which needed
    to be pored back into large flat containers at the end of the period.
    He couldn't get his into the container. I took his hands in one of
    mine and felt him try to aim left where I was pointing to give him a
    guide. Instead he would push to the right. As he moved further away
    from the goal the harder he would push the opposite way taking him
    even further from the dish.

    I asked the OT to come and observe him. She gave a report to his mom
    but she wouldn't hear us. The OT said she hoped none of us would be
    on the road when he learned to drive. By 5th gr. he was turned off
    all classes. Mom still wouldn't have him tested.

    This year I have a girl I have been observing for some time looking
    for clues. We were putting strips of drafting tape around the paper
    for watercolors we are sending to South Dakota for our exchange with
    <purpleart> . she could not get the end of the strip to connect to
    the corner of the paper. She struggled but the tape was pressed about
    3/4 down the edge. she would press that short piece in place and try
    again and each segment would go 3/4 down from the top in the remaining
    space. It took her 40 minutes to get 3 sides done in segments and
    everyone else was already painting. No wonder she gives up and starts
    visiting with her table mates.

    I was so excited. I arranged for the OT and called the Mom She was
    excited too. Now she is tested and starting a program. the mom is
    doing exercises with her at home.
    Art is a good place to identify these kinds of problems but sometimes
    it is very subtle. So often it looks like laziness. Thank goodness
    for this kind of Mom.

    It is important to take the stress off these kind of kids while
    keeping motivation up for everyone. Not an easy task.

    Just 2 cents worth without knowing the boy you are talking about.

    >From: Rdunkelart
    Subject: Re: misguided help/ a little pick-me-up after the daily grind
    >Date: Wed, Apr 12, 2000, 5:35 PM
     heneborn writes:

    > << Accomplishment is empowering. >>

    > Such a wise analogy. Now help me with an over-acheiver. He gets into
    > trouble in
    > art because he says "he isn;t good at art" (is also very spoiled by Mom).
    > This child can draw better than most fourth graders but often won;t - wants
    > to torment other children instead. I have tried to challenge him but he
    > won';t accept the challenge. He doesn't like my positive comments on his
    > art
    > - shuts down when I am near. I talked to him today and asked what he
    > expects
     of himself. He said to do better than anyone else because that is
    that his
     mother told him in all subjects. I held my hands as far apart as I
     said I see you expecting yourself to be as skilled in art as a
     artist but you are a fourth grader and this is where your skill level
     expected to be - held my hands about 1/4 of the distance. So how
    about if
     look for this amount of skill and I held my hands a little farther
    apart _-
     as he can
     easily achieve higher than a fourth graders skill level and said he
     settle for
     the expected. Am I encouraging this guy or discouraging him. My son
     been an overachiever in his mind but an underachiever in life - I
    never did
     find an answer for him - so am lost with this type of student. Help


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