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    varying work speeds
    By JG

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    ;-) No, I can't tell it's your first year! This is my 10th and I still struggle with the fast finishers and the slow workers/learners.

    Every year, I seem to have at least one bright, but very s--l--o--w, methodical worker. I try to work with those kids to set a goal to get the work done in class, or it becomes homework. They usually come around in time.

    As for slow workers due to ability, I try to work with them individually. Sometimes I reduce the amount of work if I'm taking a grade. Other times I try to work with the parents for the child to practice needed skills at home. If I know I don't have the support at home, I try to give more attention to certain skills by re-teaching and providing additional practice in small groups. Easier said than done in a busy day. (I have a boy like that this year and his parents are both teachers. Argh! Oops. That would be for the vent board.)

    This year my kids have a yellow work folder at their desks to keep work that needs to be completed. That gives some of the slow ones extra time to finish required assignments during the day/week. For the gifted and high achievers, I am trying to give them enrichment work that is tied into the curriculum and addresses their strengths and interests. Again, easier said than done. When I fall behind in keeping them supplied in real work, I want them to read. I've found that the high achievers will work with me very well to complete what I give them. The gifted can be more of a challenge.

    I also always seem to have at least one very bright but lazy student. Those are the ones that are the most difficult for me to keep busy. Their little minds are always going in many directions, more often than not, in non-productive ways. (My one last week was dared by other boys to eat an ant during lunch recess. He did, then threw up.)

    Good luck!

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