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 Post subject: Split Grade Classes...
PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 10:02 am 
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Location: Ottawa
Our school seems to have gone to combined grade classes. OK, I have read all the propaganda on the subject and I really don't have a problem (so long as dd understands what grade level she is working at). What I do have trouble with is that up until now, her classmates have pretty much been the same (small school) and they have grown up not expecting much in the way of food in the classroom. So, when dd mentioned last night that the grade 3's in her class were using marchmallows in math...I had to wonder what that was all about. Last year I OK'd the teacher using Dare gumdrops so that the students could build geometric shapes but that was at the end of the year, not at the beginning. I assume that math builds upon what they've learned and so this would again come at the years end.

How are they going to have half of the class eat marshmallows while the other half watches?

I hate this!

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 1:46 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
I don't get the food in general. At DD's old school they even used hot dogs for a science experiment, to make it 'extra' fun the teacher brought bun etc. and they ate them after wards. Another experiment also used marshmallows. One, WHY the food to create a great science experiment, two, allergies :frightened . So not only does this mean the allergic children can't be included in eating of the food but they also can't even do the science experiment????

In a split class you add as you mentioned the third dynamic of the extra 15 sets of eyes watching the other half of the class eat?????

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DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 14, 2010 2:06 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Yeah, I hardly think that's really going to happen. :roll:
Do I go in with both guns blazing? Do I pump dd for more info? (I hate to put her in the middle)

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 15, 2010 8:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
We have had some interesting experiences with 'food' used in the classroom this year-be careful on how you handle it or it can backfire!
We have a 1/2 class but all the class does the same work at various times.
1)cornflakes were to be used as spines to make a stegasaurus-I offered to supply the class with barley free cornflakes (1st mistake)-that all went well
2)m+m's were to be used as counting to make it fun-not fun with a peanut/barley etc anaphylactic child-suggested another 'non food ' activity could be used (2nd mistake-not providing food and not suggesting an alternative-I didnt explain the seriousness of what was being proposed and next time I was bypassed because the teacher thought he was covering the safety aspect)
3) peanut butter placed in plastic bag (for safety!!!!) and used-along with other food stuffs) to demonstrate textures etc-teacher got into BIG trouble for this-I then suggested if 'food' needed to be used for class room experiments than my son should not participate (another mistake-they need to accomodate him not exclude him)
4) letter comes home saying 'food' will be used in classroom and my son is going into another class for that session (food turns out to be dairy-no allergy to this!!)

So....We have now come to an agreement that 'food' should not be used in the classroom full stop-there are plenty of other things that can be used to make teaching 'fun'=I even offered to provide some bright heart tablets (which would be ok for the kids to use given they werent going to eat them-an arguement that had been presented to me with the cornflakes)-I suggested that the parents would be less than happy for this 'fun' activity to be used on their children-using products that my child is highly allergic to is equally worrying for me!

We have it in writing that food is not to be used and nothing is to be given to my son unless it is provided or aproved by myself.

So advice-dont suggest if 'food' is to be used then your child has another activity-food is too broad a word -they wanted to exclude him from science experiment because baking soda was used-technically a food!

Suggest alternatives to food-something that is safe and not putting any child's life at risk.
Good luck!
caz

_________________
twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 3:58 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
Now that we've put in the request to meet with the teacher, dd adds that the grade 3's go into the other grade 3 class for science. :roll:

Honestly, I don't know what goes on at school anymore. Dd is placed in a group with the other three students who have 'issues', theirs are more behavioural and she finds that she gets distracted.

The teacher called and wanted to know what our issues where so that she could prepare for our meeting. I was heading out so dh took the call. He simply said we had a few issues and what was a good time for her? :huggy He can be prett terrific, sometimes!

This teacher means well, but she's the sort who wants everyone (especially thew children) to like her. She becomes very defensive and blames the student for everything. Dd's being bullied last year turned into dd should self advocate more. Grade 3? You couldn't see the kid in front of you hitting her for over an hour? :verymad

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Mon Oct 18, 2010 11:23 pm 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
I appreciate your frustration. People who do not live with allergies themselves don't think of all of the things that contain our allergens. Lists of safe alternatives can be helpful. Are there safe items that can be used as counters? Beads, buttons, marbles come to mind. I often see jars of these in classrooms. Be watchful that old peanut butter jars are not the storage containers. I encountered that one when my peanut allergic daughter was in kindergarten. I pointed it out and provided a safe alternative.
I taught my own classes for over ten years. More often than not they were split classes. This really should not be a reason for the allergic students to be in jeopardy in any way. Many subjects involve group work or centres. Even in a class that is all one grade level there will be students with a variety of skill levels. Not all students are doing the same assignment at the same time in that setting either.
As a teacher I would appreciate knowing what items would be a problem for my students. Similar items that are safe also help. You shouldn't have to pay for such items but it is a positive step to offer to do the shopping. Even doing all these things doesn't ensure everyone gets it.


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:15 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
think I need to get my head around this split class thing. It seems the kids are moving through out the school at various times (it's like Grand Central Station!) and so...I'll have to have the no food in lesson plans speach with several teachers.
Also, why do you need to call out spelling test words alternately for grades 3 and 4? My anxious child can't concentrate...while you're at it, please move her from the group of children with behavioural issues. Sure, it's easier for you to group all special needs kids together but she's easily distracted and when the girl beside her keeps taking things out of her desk, she worries about cross contamination as well as having her space violated. She will not self advocate as that involves talking during class which is against the rules. (very black and white)
And...if you are so concerned that you filled out forms to have her reading formally assessed so that she can get an EA, why would you not mention it to us? Last I heard, less than a month ago was that her reading was vastly improved!
So I want:
-My kid moved so that she feels safe at her desk and can focus.
-Lesson plans more structured, less distracting.
-To have a sense of how big a role food plays in the lesson plans of all of the children in her class. Heads up to all of those teachers involved as to what her allergens are. I don't want the kids to feel that it sucks to be in dd's class because then you don't get fun lessons, but that is the reality.
-Communication to be open. If you feel her performance is slipping...call us! Or perhaps we'll have to book monthly meetings, or I will simply sit in on the occassional class...with no notice.

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Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:27 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 10, 2008 9:40 pm
Posts: 2034
Location: ottawa
Susan, Oh my gosh, all I can offer you right now are a few well needed :huggy :huggy :huggy !!!!


And... children with behavioral issues require totally different attention than those with allergies. :scratchy If anything, seating DD for whatever reason directly in contact with some children who are requiring extra care makes the situation even more unsafe. I would imagine that a child with special needs might not mean any harm but might also be the least likely to grasp the concept of keeping an allergic child safe (not touching items in her desk etc.). :dungetit

_________________
DD 12 yrs -no allergies
4 yr old DS - asthma/eczema Anaphylactic to Peanuts, all tree nuts, sesame , all pea/lentil legumes, gelatin.
Allergic to trees, grass,ragweed, feathers, dander, mold and dust.
Outgrew eggs, fish, shellfish


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PostPosted: Tue Oct 19, 2010 2:53 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
Posts: 6456
Location: Ottawa
Yep! Meeting in less than 10 minutes.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 1:10 am 
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Joined: Sun Oct 25, 2009 4:24 pm
Posts: 190
Location: B.C.
So how did your meeting go Susan? I hope you got the support you sought.

I remember how challenging it was to make sure all staff dealing with my allergic daughter

The spelling dictation you mentioned is a really familiar scenario. I taught a split 3/4 for many years. It is not the only way it is done. I think teachers feel it will be more efficient to get it done all at once. I used to record a dictation for students who were behind or needed extra practice and put the cassette at my listening station. This is another way for a student who needs to focus to have a dictation.
Behavioural students really do demand a lot of teacher time.

My daughter did not like to speak up but always had friends and classmates in her class who would be advocates for her.

Wishing you all the best.


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 7:06 am 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
We met for 75 minutes with the teacher. I know have a better understanding of who moves, when and what subjects are taught at various times (helpful in booking appointments).
Dh and I attempted to explain how living with allergies changes your perceptions in that you have a heightened awareness of what is happening around you.

When the classmate goes into her desk and takes a pencil without permission, and then chews on the pencil (eww) this causes dd to consider issues of cross contamination.

What the teacher calls self advocating, saying "Hey, get out of my desk. Give me back my pencil..."; Dd calls breaking the rules "No talking in class,". To dd, rules keep her safe and she ridgidly adhears to them. The same goes for hanging back and talking to the teacher at recess breaks etc. The rule is to line up and go outside.

Because dd has quite a bit of anxiety and is constantly surveying her surroundings as well as her senses (for reactions),having her focus on spelling a word while listening to the next word and comparing it to the list of spelling test words in her head to see if it's one she has to then write...this is too much for her.

I doubt that the teacher got all of this, but...I did ask her:
1. Change the seating plan so that dd sits beside someone who will not go into her desk etc.
2. Change how she gives her dictation tests so that dd can focus on the task at hand and only the task at hand.

She seemed focused on self advocacy (she mentioned briefly that she had to work with her son on this so I suspect this is a sticky spot for her) she feels that dd will feel more empowered when she does this and we discussed setting up scenarios where dd can do this (approach the teacher when she is seated at her desk) Ultimately, I told her expect dd to self advocate until dd feels safe in the classroom.

We'll see where this goes.

I will follow up with the principal regarding food items used in lesson plans for all grade 4 and grade 3 classes.

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Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:38 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
Food alleges aside......my mom always said DON'T PLAY WITH YOUR FOOD!!!

all those dirty little hands handling food, then they eat it. Welcome to flu season. and if the intent isn't to eat it....then WHY use food?

Germs...icky germs.

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self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 9:43 am 
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Joined: Thu Mar 03, 2005 9:38 pm
Posts: 1643
Location: Toronto
regarding the self advocating. It needs to be taught. for some children it is not just a "natural" ability. As you said, she needs to feel safe there...safe with the teacher....before she will do it.

DS's grade three teacher actually did teach all the kids. they had a table with a few chairs, and if a student had a problem with another student they sat and discussed it. If needed another student would join them to help them work it out. (There were a few kids that were quite good at that.). If that didn't resolve it, they would then involve the teacher. By the end of the year the teacher rarely needed to get involved. she was also very open in her time with the students, making sure they knew they could talk to her.

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self: allergy to sesame seeds and peanuts
3 sons each with at least one of the following allergies: peniciilin, sulfa-based antibiotic, latex, insect bites/stings


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 4:03 pm 
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Joined: Tue Mar 22, 2005 11:17 pm
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Location: Ottawa
I spoke to dd this am. I told her that it's OK to go up to the teacher quietly and tell her what's bugging you.


We'll see. I am also requesting the teacher change the seating assignment and change how she gives dictation. One grade at a time please! :evil:

_________________
Moderator
Daughter: asthma, allergies to egg, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, most legumes (not soy) & penicillin. Developing hayfever type allergies.
Husband: no allergies
Me: allergies to some tree that flowers in May
Cat: allergic to beef, pork and lamb


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PostPosted: Wed Oct 20, 2010 8:45 pm 
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Joined: Wed Jun 17, 2009 9:23 pm
Posts: 129
re self advocacy-my son too, is a stickler for the rules-no getting out of your seat, no talking in class etc-I was really proud of him for speaking up and telling the relief teacher that he had an 'itchy' arm-unfortunately she didnt seem to put itchy arm and potential allergic reaction into the same category and told him to go and wash it with some cold water :scratchy and to sit down and keep working (he did all that and came home covered in hives which responded to antihistamine-obviously not driving him mad with itchiness but there non the less!)
So...he thought he'd done the right thing-its been drummed into him to always tell the teacher-which he did but she didnt manage it well...now weve drummed into him to tell the teacher and say that the school nurse always needs to look at any itches he has because hes allergic to lots of things.

_________________
twin boys-
c-eosinophilic oesophagitis
j-avoids peanut, sunflower, pineapple all ana-sensitised to maccadaemia.pecan.Passed barley (previous ana) last year...out grew egg ana and peanut at 3 years..became re sensitised with ana at 6 years to peanut.


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