Amelia is nine years old. She is frequently late to arrive in the mornings, sometimes by more than an hour, and typically without explanation. Amelia has three sisters of different ages (11, 7, and 6 years old at the time of this writing), and all of these children typically arrive at school together. Amelia’s clothes and hair are always neat and clean. Her waist-length hair is always brushed and pulled back into a ponytail or braid.
Most days, Amelia is smiling and joyful. She is well-liked by her peers, particularly the female students. Amelia finishes her work quickly and will often sit and read quietly by herself when she is finished. Amelia also enjoys reading during lunch and recess, frequently preferring to sit alone to read rather than to play games with other students. About once per week, Amelia will produce a self-written story or play that she wishes to share or present to the other students.
Amelia is impatient, though not unkind, with other students who need more time to work or who require more explanation before beginning a project. Amelia prefers to jump in to a project as soon as she feels she understands the assignment, though occasionally she will miss important instructions. Amelia holds herself to a high degree of performance, and is curious and excited about most subjects.
When presented with feedback or criticism in any form from adults or peers, Amelia rejects the information and becomes angry. When I told her that she needed to speak more slowly when presenting her ideas in class, she became irate, screamed at me that I was wrong, and sat down with her arms crossed, tears welling up in her eyes. She was angry with me for the rest of the day, and yelled “I don’t like you!” at me nearly two hours after the initial outburst. The following day, she greeted me with a fun fact she had read about Abraham Lincoln, and was cheerful, but she still refused to adjust her speaking pace until her father told her that she spoke too quickly when presenting, nearly two weeks later. I was told by other teachers that, despite Amelia’s outbursts, she is gaining more skills at self-regulation than in previous years.
Amelia’s writing is clear, precise, and largely free from errors – well above the typical expectations for a fourth grade student. Amelia enjoys reading and stories, and typically brings four or five books of her own selection to school with her to read when she has completed her work, or during breaks. She loves books of poetry, U.S. History, and fantasy novels the most, but also enjoys books comprised of surprising facts. “Did you know…?” is one of her favorite conversation starters, and she always has an interesting bit of knowledge to share. Amelia’s curiosity and imagination manifest in her writing narratives and plays, and she enjoys performing her written works with her peers.
I am amazed with your descriptive review of a child. I liked how you presented the student in a concise, but yet very formal specially when describing her development. Amelia seems to be a very introvert child specially when you mention that she like to be left alone while reading a book.
One sentence that you wrote that stands out for me is: “Amelia also enjoys reading during lunch and recess, frequently preferring to sit alone to read rather than to play games with other students” to me this only confirms that Amelia enjoys spending time on her own rather than her presenting a social- emotional deficit. Like Amelia, some children do prefer to have these moments of “me time” where they can enjoy themselves into something that they like to do.
Another sentence that got me was:” Amelia prefers to jump into a project as soon as she feels she understands the assignment, though occasionally she will miss important instructions. Amelia holds herself to a high degree of performance and is curious and excited about most subjects.” This stood out for me in the way that makes me think that Amelia may get over stimulated when is time to work on project and may need redirections and reinforcement in order for her to focus on the instructions before getting to do the project.
Have you seen this? https://youtu.be/KbB2y0rYvk4. I thought that you might be interested in this because of the tools it provides for teachers to promote focus and concentration in children who may be experiencing ADHD. I understand that Amelia may not be experiencing such a behavioral disorder, but it can help in managing challenging behaviors.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because the way in how you presented this child was straightforward and with a concise knowledge and with a clear understanding of Amelia’s personality, likes and dislikes.
I am excited to read your child description given in your post about Amelia because it showed a few strategies on how to write a description of a child. I noticed the physical description followed by the behavior in class. You followed it by giving the emotional and strength of Amelia.
One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Amelia enjoys reading and stories, and typically brings four or five books of her own selection to school with her to read when she has completed her work, or during breaks” I think this is good because she you can use “think flexible” skill to ignore giving her criticism and instead offer her to create an activities on tablet related to one of the multimodal. She can create her own story using text, images, sounds, and movements. She can also use Scratch as an alternative.
Another sentence that caught my attention was: “Amelia’s curiosity and imagination manifest in her writing narratives and plays, and she enjoys performing her written works with her peers.” This stood out for me because since Amelia enjoys reading books, she should be given the opportunity to act some of her stories in class or create digital artifacts of her favorite stories. Have you seen this video on how to make a story using scratch? It is easy and children love it. Scratch Tutorial video. I thought you might be interested in this because Amelia will enjoy it and will stop getting upset.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because your post is very detailed and to the point.
I find your Descriptive Review of Amelia fascinating because I, too, have encountered students of a similar type — deeply curious, fiercely independent and generally of good spirit. Even though teaching students who take the reins over their own learning can present us with difficulties and challenges, I think it’s such a delight to be able to work with students who provide their own educational momentum. It allows us as teachers to focus more precisely on the steering.
One part of the account that you wrote that stands out for me where Amelia is extremely upset one day, and then comes in greeting you happily with a fact about Abraham Lincoln the next morning. That stood out to me because it seemed to capture the ethos of this particular student’s personality — good spirited, yet struggles with taking input on her process. Also, I would be lying if I said I couldn’t personally relate to the student in some way…
Another couple of sentences that grabbed me was: “[s]he loves books of poetry, U.S. History, and fantasy novels the most, but also enjoys books comprised of surprising facts. ‘Did you know…?’ is one of her favorite conversation starters, and she always has an interesting bit of knowledge to share. ” This stood out for me because it emphasized that what may very well be the driving force behind this student’s personality is her strong desire to understand and comprehend the world around her.
Having that kind of helpful information such as what really makes our students tick is crucial to be able to establish a good relationship with them and set them on to the paths of success for the long term.
Was it in this cohort that we discussed Student-Centered Learning? I can’t quite remember, but I’m certain that I’ve had some discussion on it in recent weeks. In any case, reading your post makes me think of how helpful SCL techniques might be for a student like Amelia.
I read the Wikipedia page for SCL (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Student-centered_learning) and I thought you might be interested in this because it gives some helpful resources (see the “Sources” section as well as some of the suggested articles). I’m sure that there is a wealth of information on this type of learning in the theories of Vygotsky and John Dewey, to name a few mentioned in the article.
Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I’m curious to see if you’ll continue to write on Amelia. If so, I’m interested to know how her development is coming along and what techniques her teachers have used to help her do so.
You did a amazing job describing Amelia. I feel as though I know her and I never met her. She seems to be very independent and has a love for reading books which is amazing. one sentence that caught my attention was when you stated “but she still refused to adjust her speaking pace until her father told her that she spoke too quickly when presenting”. Students look for more familiar voices. You were saying the same thing her father said, but I guess because it came from her father, who has a more personal relationship with her, she listened and adjusted. As a teacher I believe that parents can help us get our point across to students. Communication between parents and teachers are vital to the students success. I attached an article about relationships between parents and children that may be helpful to you.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts. Keep doing the great job you are doing.