Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Writer's block

Sometimes I really wish I had a teaching degree, or a magical ability to explain things in a way that just makes things click. I'm at my wits' end trying to help Aidan with his homework these days.

Aidan's a smart kid--he tested into AIG in Kindergarten, he's well above grade level in reading, and he's on/slightly above grade level in math (fluctuating depending on the topic). Unfortunately, he's not a good speller, and he sometimes struggles with creative, thoughtful, descriptive writing. He's been known to end every statement in a paragraph with "It was fun." He's had a couple of really excellent writing samples, but overall, this is an area we've known he needs to work on.

Maybe (probably) it's related to his writing struggles, but so far this year, he's really been struggling with critical thinking, making inferences, and translating those thoughts to paper. Whenever he has to answer why or is asked to write any kind of open-ended answer, he gets extremely frustrated and has a total mental block.

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Then of course I get frustrated because he won't listen to me when he gets upset like that, and he tells me he hates school, hates homework, and can't do it. The most frustrating thing is that if he didn't have to write down anything, he could tell me all about a story, answer my questions, and have a totally open-ended conversation with me about what he's read. So I know he understands what he reads (and that's part of his reading level assessments).

But how do you teach someone to think more deeply and less literally, and how to organize those thoughts in writing?? I've gotten some good suggestions I'm trying, and I'm going to bring this up during our parent/teacher conference in a few weeks, but I just want an instant fix because I hate to see Aidan so upset and discouraged about something he was so excited about just a few weeks ago.

If you've got a magic wand I can wave, send it my way!


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