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  • JenniferSTEM
  • Dear Laura:
    I was really touched by your description of Amira in your post “Amira, One of Our Students” because you painted a very compelling picture of a sensitive child. I am sad that Amira seems to give so much more respect for others than she receives from her peers. Reading your review I felt that Amira had someone who could understand and be…Read More

  • Dear Laura:
    I enjoyed your description of Keila in your “Description of a Child” because I felt like I could picture her via your words. I also appreciated how strengths-based your approach was in this description and the way you noticed small details that might have eluded many of us.

    One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “She also…Read More

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    Jennifer wrote a new post

    Description of a Child

    Nahla is a 10th-grade student at a transfer high school in NYC. She recently transferred from a selective middle/high school where she had missed more than 100 days of school. Parents and teachers report a high level of school...

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    • Dear Jennifer,

      I am astonished by your post “Description of A Child” due to the fact that it really goes into depth about the lives that children live. It describes in detail many obstacles they face and how they feel on a daily basis.

      One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is “Parents and teachers report a high level of school anxiety despite strong grades and test scores…” I think this is very important because even though students may perform well academically, it doesn’t necessarily mean that they are doing fine emotionally or mentally.

      Thanks for writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because I love the way you go into depth and describe the topic and provide numerous examples for that the reader can vividly imagine the story right in front of them. This allows individuals to gain a deeper understanding and a new perspective they never saw before.

      -Natalie Juarez.

    • Dear Jennifer, 

      I am devastated by your post, “Description of a child” because it worries me how moving schools can take a toll on one’s mental health. I do strongly believe that it can be quite difficult to learn new things when not being comfortable with the environment you’re in, it may cause stress and other hardships which I feel can be resolved. 

      One sentence you wrote that stands out to me is “Sometimes she can seem deeply concentrated on her work or what’s going on in class, while other times her attention seems to drift away.” I think this is because students, in general, can have a tough time focusing which is mainly because students tend to lose their focus. In this case, Nahla can have trouble focusing because of her circumstances which causes her to lose concentration skills which I feel can be resolved.

      Thank you for taking the time to create this. I look forward to seeing what you write next because I am interested in farthing my knowledge of what students can go through when having changes in their education. I also want to see how Nahla can use these difficulties to resolve them and understand them. Lastly, I look forward to hearing from you and what you feel about this situation.

    • Dear Jennifer:

      I am astonished by your post, “Description of a Child,” because it gives us a greater perspective on how school can be mentally draining, &’ challenging. I feel as though this post thoroughly describes how hard it can be for one to be mentally &’ physically in the present moment.

      One sentence you wrote that stands out for me is: “Parents and teachers report a high level of school anxiety despite strong grades and test scores in elementary school and strong contributions when present in school.” I think this is very eye-opening because parents and teachers should understand that school can very much be one of the reasons to one’s anxiety.

      Thanks for your writing. I look forward to seeing what you write next, because based off of this post it seems as if though you will have more amazing posts. I was very fascinated by your work.


    • I love this article, i think it shows accurate ways on how young people can think and act.

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Alderson M
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Description of a Child

My son's school was a public school (Central Park East 1) and class sizes were standard.

This calls into question whether her grade retention earlier was inappropriate. The use of high-stakes, standardized, non-holistic testing can lead to such inappropriate retention in my opinion.

This is a problem, particularly for girls. Many girls with ADHD go undiagnosed until middle school because girls tend to be well-behaved, have strong verbal skills and are able to compensate.

I noticed this too! The language really matters.

That must be a lot of trauma at such a young age to not be able to even describe what happened.

It just feels like there's so much missing here.

This is a really great question! Sadly, I think the answer would likely be yes.

The nonjudgmental language, and lack of assumptions, is so critical.

I think there's an inherent challenge in that people who go into teaching are likely to have been successful in school and had an affinity for it.

It seems her verbal language abilities outpace her written expression and print reading.

This is a really good question. I'm also wondering if Jane would benefit from a scribe. This could help her separate out the thinking process of composing from the technical skills of writing, which could build confidence.

I'm curious why it's hard to find developmentally appropriate literature. Is she saying her reading level is below her developmental/interest level? Or is it the reverse? I'd like to hear more.

I really love these focusing questions. They are the most child-centered of all the ones I've seen thus far. I think the right questions are important because they shape what you notice.

Imagine if kids in public schools could be in a class with only 10 children!!!

I have a general objection to the use of rewards and punishments, but I think there's a specific concern about their impact on Amy. They will likely yield short-term results, but could increase anxiety that interferes with learning.

This is such an important point. Linguistic skills and literacy skills are not the same thing. This close observation will yield far more useful assessment.

This description confirms that she is struggling to meet expectations at school. She is also clearly working very hard and is “motivated” by rewards. These may come at the cost of internalizing her difficulties, however, rather than seeking help.

The discrepancy between cooperative behavior at school and challenging behavior at home is very common. These kids may be struggling to meet expectations at school and decompose in the safety of home.

This is the second time she's mentioned his enthusiasm for Reading Street. This seems like something to explore and connect with him over.

I wonder if the teacher's obvious frustration with Jacob's distractibility is getting in the way of her being open and curious to his interests. She mentions his enthusiasm for reading, but then moves on to behavior.

I find it striking that the teacher has extensive commentary about his behavior but seems to have limited knowledge or observations about his activities and interests.

My son went to an elementary school where descriptive review was the centerpiece. All the teachers were trained at this center. The deep knowledge they had of my child was evident.

I remembered this when I read quotes from Simone Biles about why she stepped back from competing at the Olympics to protect her mental health. I think it's a great example of also modeling when to NOT persist. Link in full comment.

Diving head first into Scratch – and hoping it’s not the shallow end!

This is so true. I grew up hating math. But as an adult I realize that math is all around me. I think math curriculum these days is much better at teaching underlying concepts, which I think are inherently more relevant.

I was hoping I could post a picture, but I had an example of this. I used coding blocks (conceptually) as a way to teach my son subject & predicate. I had subject as everything related to the sprite & predicate as the action blocks.

I really agree with this. And I think the content creation is far more collaborative than previously. I think re-mixing is easier and tremendously exciting. It breaks down barriers between writer and audience.

I think this is true. I had a lot of classmates in undergrad who begged to be taught the 5 paragraph essay. And I know that structure has been a bedrock for me. But I'm also starting to see computational thinking as more recursive & messy than I assumed.

I have a question about how computational thinking relates to a messier understanding of writing process as a non-linear process. Are these things at odds? I'm not sure.

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