Friday, February 22, 2008

When it comes to spelling tests, order counts

spelling order
Adam came home from school one day with this atrocious grade on his first grade spelling test. Only 2 correct? On closer examination, it appears that all the words except one are indeed spelled correctly, but just not in the right order. I knew exactly what the problem was. He had memorized the words and wrote them out ahead of time in the order that he learned them. I have seen him do this when we practice with him for homework. In the test, you can see that he actually wrote the second word correctly, erased it and then wrote the word that should have come next in order. He could not accept the random order! Apparently, he is too smart and has too much OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) for his own good.

At first when I saw the teacher's markup, I thought, she must be kidding, actually writing out all the correct words as if he really misspelled them that badly? She must have known he was just doing it in order. But giving him a 2 and not simply putting a note saying that he needs to wait and listen to the words? No sense of humor! When it was brought up during our parent teacher conference, we saw that she did have a sense of humor when she spoke to him about it and was just trying to give him a hard time (whew, but it was not obvious from the markup). She said he was one of the best spellers in the class (actually this one misspelling was the only mistake he's ever made on a spelling test), and was going to start giving him and another classmate extra words that were not so easy to sound out.

Now getting Adam to break this habit of working ahead was still no easy task. I ended up changing our homework routine by announcing the word and its number in random order. He refuses to write the wrong word in the wrong number. Thankfully, he has stopped and listened during subsequent spelling tests and all of them have come back with stars. When he first got the extra batch of harder words, he pitched a fit and told his dad, who is home after school with him, that they weren't the right words and he wouldn't write them. It was only after I came home from work and explained to him that he was special and got extra words because he was so smart that finally did his homework. I kid about OCD, but it may be that he is showing real signs of it. Or maybe he's just been watching too much Monk (for whatever reason, he likes to pick our shows off the DVR and watch them).


Deb said...

Wow, he's doing great for first grade! His penmanship looks so much clearer than Abby's. She keeps going back and forth between the 'A' and 'B' spelling lists - the easy words are too easy for her, but we keep forgetting to practice the hard ones so she always seems to get one or two wrong... Sigh.

Anonymous said...

Mmmm, I have seen signs of mild OCD (is there such a thing?) in my younger son. He wants things in exactly the same place or position that he wants - even when he was a toddler. Also, he does not want us to do things our own way if he could help it. He wants us to do it in the same manner that he wants! When we are accessing a website from the favorites, he wants us to type the URL instead. I just let him be, though.

Melissa said...

My guys like to skip ahead, too. It drives them nuts when I randomize the list.

And I agree, the handwriting is wonderful. Both of my guys have dysgraphia, so I'm just happy when it looks like it's English as opposed to Hindi or something like that. :)

Anonymous said...

This is amazing that his memory is so good. What's with trying to give him a hard time?