Sunday, January 22, 2012
All teachers teach students to recongize, continue, repeat, and create patterns.
In math we find patterns; 2+1=3, 2+2=4, etc.
In reading we teach patterns: Words that end in "ump" rhyme, jump, bump, pump, stump, etc.
In science we teach patterns: The seasons are a pattern, the life cycle of a frog or a butterfly, the pattern of cloud formation, etc.
In geography we teach patterns: land and water forms, natural borders, the needs of humans, etc.
As teachers we spend time observing the patterns of our students. These can be subtle patterns but when they are repeated we can take note of them and possibly head off the effects before they occur.
If a student loses concentration and has a hard time focusing on his or her work, we note the time of day. If it occurs at the same time every day, we suggest that a snack be eaten. If this works we keep an eye on it and remind the student to have a snack around the same time each day until he remembers to do so on his own.
If a child comes to school and has a hard time settling down to work, we note a number of things:
Did he come to school late? Who dropped him off? What did he eat for dinner and breakfast? Did he get a good night's sleep? Is he wearing something that is uncomfortable? When we keep track of this we often see a pattern develop and then we can speak to the parents about making changes in the routine. I cannot emphasize this enough - Routine is necessary for a child's security.
If a child always has a conflict with another child, we note this as a pattern and work with both until the pattern changes.
As a parent, you can note patterns you see and work with your child to change negative ones. Many patterns in children have to do with time of day, fast food or junk food, excessive sugar in the diet, and changes in routine. Keep notes on your child's behavior. If you work at changing some of the elements that occur prior to a negative pattern, you can change it to a positive one.
If your child continues to engage in negative patterns, what we call tanturms or meltdowns, take your notes to your pediatrician and your child's teacher, they are there to offer guidance or suggestions.