Module 3, Unit 1, Assignment 3.
Because so much attention is devoted to numbers and letters that appear on paper, it is easy to overlook students who excel. Omar is such a student. He is a rising eighth grade who consistently excels in class and on standardized tests. He participates in class, completes all assignments and projects, and reads voraciously. He comes from a stable lower-middle class household and his parents are actively involved in his education and meet regularly with his teachers. Omar is not a student who would seem to require special attention and that is exactly why he does.
Although both parents are in the household, the father is at a low level of English Fluency and the mother’s English, while better, is still very limited. AS such Amharic is the primary language spoken at home and the child is the primary English speaker in the household. Similarly, the parents limited English does not allow them to effectively monitor and understand all the material to which Omar exposes himself. As a result, he exposes himself to concept which he is not fully capable of interpreting without the guidance to fully analyze these concepts. This issue manifests itself when Omar introduces inappropriate content that he does not fully understand into discussions with teachers and classmates. As a result of Omar’s intellectual maturity and intelligence, he has trouble interacting with his fellow classmates and adults. These issues manifest themselves in inappropriate outbursts in class, actively and passively belittling classmates, and inappropriately challenging adults. These factors have led to a gifted student being labeled a behavior issue but allowed to continue such behavior with little intervention.
This year represents the last opportunity to intervene and correct these behaviors before Omar leaves middle school and moves onto high school. Failure to correct these behaviors could negatively impact which high schools he is able to attend and preclude him for achieving all the honors to which he is entitled. Furthermore, these issues are less likely to be addressed on the secondary level and as such, the student’s high school potential could be negatively impacted.
There are three primary objectives for this intervention plan. The first objective is to challenge a gifted student academically. The second is to expose the student to more age appropriate content which will still be challenging but not contain adult themes and graphic violence. The third is to modify his behavior. Because the student is in eighth grade, the interventions must take place immediately and there is a limited time to enact them in order to achieve tangible results.
The first step is to have meet with the other primary middle school teachers to develop a consistent set baseline set of expectations for the student in all classes. At this meeting the teachers will create a set of expectations for Omar’s conduct in class. This meeting is necessary to ensure that all teachers are on board and expectations across all classes are uniform and enforced constantly
At the beginning of the year the student will be invited to meet with the teachers. We will explain to the student the necessity of these interventions and our goals and expectations for him for the upcoming school year. At this time he will be able to present his goals for the upcoming year as well, and together we will develop a system or rewards and consequences. The plan will be put into document form and signed as a behavior contract. Because the parents have specifically asked that steps be taken to assist the child in modifying their behavior, it is not necessary for them to be at this meeting. Omar’s progress will be monitored initially on a bi-weekly basis in meeting with the primary homeroom teacher. The meeting schedule can be adjusted throughout the year as necessary. The mutual behavior contract will enable the student and the teachers to work together to create a plan to achieve the objective of decreasing disruptive behavior in class and change the students attitude towards his fellow classmates.
In addition to addressing behavior with the student, the teacher will also create alternative project based assignments for the student that will challenge Omar academically, expose him to more appropriate content, and improve his writing and research capabilities. These additional projects will be a combination of increased requirements for projects, but evolved into individual project based learning assignments. In addition the student will be asked to develop an individual project for the National History Day competition. Should the student succeed in the additional work, he will be given extra credit, the opportunity to present the research to fellow classmates and outside individuals and entered into the National History Day competition. Through this intervention, Omar will exceed the standards required for the eighth grade curriculum.
By giving Omar individual agency in developing a plan to modify and monitor his behavior and presenting him with individual opportunities for academic challenges, he will take ownership of this plan and participate actively in it.