Handling Classroom Conundrums


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Coping with first-grade antics

Question: My son, a first-grader, is a saint at home but behaves terribly at school. I get an e-mail from his teacher almost every day about his constant talking, making funny noises and getting out of his seat. The teacher has tried sending him to the principal, eliminating recess and putting him in the hall. I have taken away privileges, from TV time to play dates with friends. What can be done to change his behavior? The teacher says he appears to be gifted academically.

Answer: What your son is doing in the classroom is not unusual behavior for a first-grader. It would be best handled in the classroom. Since the teacher doesn't seem to know how to handle the child, she should ask for help. One or more experienced teachers could visit the classroom and make suggestions.

You are too removed from your son's behavior to punish him after he has misbehaved. Instead, tell him that you expect him to behave well in the classroom. Also visit the classroom and observe his actions. You might come up with some good suggestions for the teacher based on your knowledge of what type of discipline works with your child.

For example, a behavior chart helps some children. Your son might give himself a checkmark each time he talks to classmates. The goal would be to reduce this number of checkmarks each day until his talking is at an appropriate level. Seating him in the back of the room could make his behavior less noticeable.

A bright child sometimes misbehaves out of boredom. Perhaps he could be assigned more challenging work after he has completed routine assignments. He may also need to work on his social maturity to handle being in the classroom environment.

This teacher is spending an inordinate amount of time e-mailing you about your son. She also may not have good classroom-management skills. While it is rarely possible to change teachers, a different teacher might be a better fit for him.

Parents' role as teacher

Question: My daughter's preschool wants parents to leave teaching the students to the teachers. Should we not supplement the learning experience at home as well?

Answer: We're not 100 percent sure what the school means by this statement. It may refer to the formal teaching of reading and math, which could include teaching your children phonics, sight words and basic addition. Why don't you ask exactly what the school means?

Parents are their children's first teachers. It is definitely your job to encourage and guide learning by:

Providing an adequate supply of playthings.

Exposing children to a variety of adventures to help them learn about the world.

Giving them the opportunity to play with other children and engage in both indoor and outdoor activities.

Practicing and encouraging reading skills and talking to them about stories and reading signs and menus.

Teaching them to count and recognize numbers.

What you don't have to do is to use workbooks and worksheets to prepare your children to read and do math. This may be what the preschool is referencing.

Motivating an underachiever

We have been struggling with our 10-year-old son, who is definitely an underachiever. He has been evaluated/tested recently and was not found to have any learning disabilities. His IQ tested in the gifted range.

Last year, it was a nightmare trying to get him to do his homework. The same thing is happening this year. Punishment/rewards simply don't work. Do you have any recommendations to help him?

Ask him what it is about his homework that he doesn't want to do. He may say that he doesn't want to do what he already knows. In this case, both of you should talk to his teacher or teachers about making a deal to reduce the homework load provided he is succeeding on tests without this practice. An alternative is to have him do more challenging assignments.

On the other hand, if your son says homework is boring but he is not doing well on tests, ask what is holding him back on tests. He may say that he has trouble writing out the answers to test questions. In that case, he can be taught to organize his answers.

Whatever he says is the problem, see that he gets help in this area.

High IQ scores are not always predictive of success in school. Many bright students need help learning how to study or have areas of weakness that need work. Your son needs to learn the discipline of handling appropriate homework assignments. Look now for the help that he needs.

Parents can send questions and comments to dearteacher@dearteacher.com.

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September 2019

Take part in a class that teaches individualized ways to foster motor development for your child. Learn about tummy time alternatives, best positions for your baby, how to help your child learn to...

Cost: 24.00

Where:
Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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Cost: Free

Where:
Erwin Road
Durham, NC  27705
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Sponsor: Mindful Families of Durham
Contact Name: Adam, Laura, Josh, Sumi
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Cost: 24.00

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Open Arts
1222 Copeland Oaks Dr.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Babies On The MOVE
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Cost: Free

Where:
Compare Foods Parking Lot
2000 Avondale Dr.
Durham, NC
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Cost: Free

Where:
City Market
214 E. Martin Street
Raleigh, NC  27610
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Sponsor: Jay's Italian Ice
Telephone: 919-780-4169
Contact Name: Jay Jones
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Discover Historic Yates Mill—a place of business, community, and exciting local history! Watch a brief slideshow, then explore the inner workings of the mill itself and witness the power of...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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See Peppa Pig and her friends embark on a new adventure in this live stage show. Purchase tickets online. 

Cost: $29.50 and up

Where:
Durham Performing Arts Center
123 Vivian St.
Durham, NC  27701
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Cost: Free

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Crowder County Park
4709 Ten-Ten Road
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Sponsor: Crowder County Park
Telephone: 919-662-2850
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Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Join park staff for an informal fishing experience for the whole family. Bring your own poles or borrow one of ours through the Tackle Loaner Program. Bait and basic instruction are provided. All...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Lake Crabtree County Park
1400 Aviation Pkwy.
Morrisville, NC  27560
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Sponsor: Lake Crabtree County Park
Telephone: 919-460-3355
Contact Name: Carol Cunningham
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Robert Gibbs discusses his latest book, "Charlie Thorne and the Last Equation." Ages 8-12. Purchase the book from Quail Ridge to reserve two seats for the event and a...

Cost: Free

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Quail Ridge Books
4209 Lassister Mill Rd.
Raleigh, NC  27609
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Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
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We are Voted BEST consignment sale in the Triangle and TOP 10 in the NATION!! Our sale features Children's Clothing including a wonderful boutique section, costume section, and coats section,...

Cost: Free

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Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
Cary, NC  27511
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
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Enjoy a free sunset movie by the picturesque Lake Raleigh. Take a picnic blanket, lawn chairs and a non-perishable food donations (human and pet) on Fridays in September to NC State's...

Cost: Free

Where:
Lake Raleigh Meadows
Campus Shore Dr.
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: VisitCentennial
Telephone: 704-651-3179
Contact Name: Jude DesNoyer
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other scientists...

Cost: Free

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North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.707.9800
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Each year more than 30,000 visitors come to BugFest to experience over 100 exhibits, crafts, games and activities. This year's theme is beetles. Interact with entomologists and other...

Cost: Free

Where:
North Carolina Museum of Natural Sciences
11 W. Jones St.
Raleigh, NC  27601
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Telephone: 919.707.9800
Website »

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Cost: $5

Where:
Piney Wood Park
400 E. Woodcroft Pkwy
Durham, NC  27713
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Sponsor: FIT4MOM West Raleigh Durham
Telephone: 984-329-5970
Contact Name: Jenine N Pearson
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Cost: Free

Where:
Baileywick Road Park
9501 Baileywick Rd
Second Shelter Field
Raleigh, NC  27615
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Sponsor: Raleigh Redhawks Rugby
Contact Name: denise travis
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Please join us for our 27th annual Triangle Festival of Hope & Walk to De-feet Dementia at Knightdale Station Park. The 1-mile walk through the park, or 1/4 mile shorter version, will begin...

Cost: Free

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Knightdale Station Park
810 N First Ave
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Cost: Free

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Main Street Creedmoor
301 N. Main St.
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Sponsor: City of Creedmoor
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Contact Name: Angie Perry
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Cost: Free

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Cary Towne Centre
1105 Walnut St
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Sponsor: Kids EveryWEAR Consignment Sale
Contact Name: Gail Walker
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Cost: $5 suggested donation; free for children under 12

Where:
Durham Arts Council
120 Morris Street
Durham, NC  27701
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Sponsor: Durham Arts Council
Telephone: 919-560-2719
Contact Name: Susan Tierney
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Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

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Cost: Free

Where:
River Park
114 E. Margaret Ln.
Hillsborouh, NC  27278
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This family-oriented event includes corn milling demonstrations and costumed tours of Yates Mill, and other event activities including a fun children’s scavenger hunt activity, live music and...

Cost: Free, though there is a $3-5 fee for mill tours

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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For almost 200 years, farmers brought their wheat and corn to what is now Yates Mill to have their grains ground into flour and meal. Today, you can stop by the Yates Mill visitor center to see a...

Cost: Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
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Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

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Take the family for Caribbean food, live music, a Kids Zone, bounce house, face painter and more. 

Cost: Free

Where:
West Point on the Eno
5101 N. Roxboro St.
Durham, NC  27704
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Website »

More information

Step back in time with our 19th-century costumed interpreters and watch the millstones at work grinding corn into meal. Tour fee: $5/Adult, $4/Senior (ages 60 & over), $3/Child (ages 7-16),...

Cost: $5/Adult, 4$/Senior (60+), $3/Child (7-16), 6&Younger Free

Where:
Historic Yates Mill County Park
4620 Lake Wheeler Road
Raleigh, NC  27603
View map »


Sponsor: Historic Yates Mill County Park
Telephone: 919-856-6675
Website »

More information

Celebrate diversity in Wake Forest with live performances, traditional cuisine and family entertainment. 

Cost: Free

Where:
E. Carroll Joyner Park
701 Harris Rd.
Wake Forest, NC  27587
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Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $11.25 – $20

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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Live bands showcase this event that also features a kids zone, vendor village and food trucks.

Cost: $15 advance tickets, $20 at the door. Free for ages 5 and younger

Where:
Raleigh Little Theatre's Rose Garden and Stephenson Amphitheatre
301 Pogue St.
Raleigh, NC  27607
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Website »

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The Teen Advisory Board invites you to meet up with other gamers to mingle, snack, and test your skills for prizes! Guests are welcome to bring their own controllers/fightsticks. Register by...

Cost: Free

Where:
Orange County Main Library
137 W Margaret Ln
Hillsborough, NC  27278
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Sponsor: Orange County Public Library
Telephone: 919-245-2539
Contact Name: Libbie Hough
Website »

More information

East Cloud Kungfu hosts a Parent's Night Out event, featuring a safe environment for kids as they about the wide world of kungfu.   Check it out!...

Cost: $25 first child, $20 each additional child

Where:
East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
5655-A Western Blvd
Raleigh, NC  27606
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Sponsor: East Cloud Kungfu, LLC
Telephone: 252-646-7053
Contact Name: Imari Colon
Website »

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The Clayton Center presents country crooner Billy "Crash" Craddock in concert. Sing along with Crash as he belts out his biggest hits, including Knock Three Times, Rub It In, Ruby Baby, Broken...

Cost: $25 plus taxes & fees

Where:
The Clayton Center
111 E. Second Street
Clayton, NC  27520
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Sponsor: The Clayton Center
Telephone: 919-553-1737
Website »

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