3rd week of 3rd grade after 3 days off



We received our first less than stellar note in the communication log (thanks again, Marg) that goes back and forth each day (when he remembers to bring it home lol). It was more of the same from last year "had a lot of trouble focusing today". Well we had a good two weeks! Gotta look at the glass as being half full.

I am making all kinds of rationalizations. 3 days off for the holiday, he didn't have enough protein with breakfast, etc. He won't talk to me about it and gets sassy when I try to pin him down about what was significant about today. The more I push, the more horrible his behavior. So I let it go.

These are the days when I think I really need to try stims. He must have the worst adhd type symptoms (inattentive) than anyone I've ever met. He goes in and out of his own world. Some days he's on track and engaged and others, not so much.

I just needed to vent. Thanks.


Well-Known Member
One day may be a fluke, but I doubt it. Have his allergies kicked up? Duckie's behavior falls apart when she doesn't sleep so well... which happens when her allergies are really acting up.


New Member
Happy to hear that you had 2 weeks of good reports! Yeah! :dance:

3rd week though is hard - most schools review the prior year's work the first few weeks, so you may be seeing more of difficult child's frustration with academics.

Personally I really dislike when teachers write "had trouble focusing today." Honestly that gives parents, psychiatrists, and other special education people NO quantifiable information with which to work with. It's like saying, oh he had a really purple day again today. :confused:

This might be a great time to write to the teacher and let her know you appreciated the feedback. Next time he has "trouble focusing" could she make a note or two of what was going on in the classroom when it was happening? For example, was he off task during transition time? or distracted when copying work from the board? etc. That type of information, in my opinion, is what a communication book should really be about - not a "had trouble with <generalized behavior> today." Cause then you can keep track of when/or what is happening that is affecting his ability to focus. Obviously he CAN focus - he's been doing it for 2 weeks!! :bravo: Now the next step is why isn't he focusing at certain times and what the teacher (or you or the school) can do to accommodate or modify what's happening to help support his ability to focus.

WRT to the communication book not coming home, I finally solved this problem (temporarily I'm sure) by doing two things - difficult child chose what the notebook was (he chose a hot pink with fairy pictures on it) and he gets half of his tokens for the school day based on whether or not he brought the book home. In other words, he gets MASSIVE positive reinforcement to bring it home and give it to me without me having to ask for it. For him, it's the equivalent of 20 minutes of TV time...


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Babbs has some really good points. I think with the luxury of hindsight, I would be tempted to talk with difficult child and teacher and give him the benefit of the doubt and a clean slate to start tomorrow - along with requests to teacher to give you more information if and when this type of thing should happen again. Not to say that you don't prick up your ears and other senses and try to nip escalation in the bud. But it's so early in the year to be so stressed out!


Great ideas!! Thank you so much. Allergies ARE acting up tm, very much so. I do think that's part of it.

I will definitely ask for more specifics. You gals are terrific!


I see the inattentive stuff with my difficult child when her anxiety is up. Think about something that makes you really nervous or anxious. (The thing that scares me most is public speaking. bleck) How do you react? With me my heart races, I get a ringing in my ears, an inability to focus on the simplest tasks or conversation and sometimes I feel like I can't catch my breath. And my anxiety is nowhere near as bad as my daughter's. Then, she will focus in on other things: a student tapping his/her pencil or feet, shuffling papers, etc., to the point of not being able to focus on anything else.

If allergies are acting up and he's not feeling well, that's not going to help either.


Active Member
With the book not coming home - it is important to ensure that the book is the responsibility of the teacher and the parent, NOT the child. If the teacher gives the book to the child and asks them to put it in his bag, this still needs to be watched to make sure the book makes it - if the kid has trouble staying on task, the chances of the book not getting to the bag are too high and frankly, the book is too important to make it a responsibility of the child.

Unless there are legal reasons not to, the teacher should get the book from the bag in the morning and make sure the book goes back in the bag when she's finished with it. Same at home - don't ask the child to fetch the book, get it yourself.

it sounds like such a small thing, but it is very important, we found. The wheels fell off mostly, when the teacher wanted the child to take responsibility for it. But in terms of the child taking responsibility - he already was doing this for other possessions and in other areas. The book is not for the child, it is for the parent and the teacher.

"had a lot of trouble focussing today" - I get that. OK, it's waffly, but it's better than no communication. Sometimes it's hared to quantify this sort of problem, it's just a gut reaction with the kid either gazing into space or having trouble settling to task.
If you want more detail, then ask in the next post in the book - "Was he simply staring into space, or was he getting upset with himself for not being able to concentrate? Was it at the beginning of a work session, the middle or the end? Or all the way through? I'm trying to think of ways we can help him (and you) with this."
You can also ask, "Is he worse in the mornings? Or the afternoons?"

You don't want to make the book too much work for either of you, but simply knowing he wasn't on task can be useful. If he IS more on task some days, you can begin to see a pattern, when you see that maybe he's on t ask on Wednesdays but not on Fridays - you then ask the teacher what is the difference in her classroom between Wednesdays and Fridays. Sometimes it's as simple as the subject being taught. difficult child 3, for example, was great at English spelling and grammar but not as good with comprehension exercises. And when he was expected to write something - utter disaster! We found another way around the problem but by working together, teacher and parents used the patterns to identify problems more specifically. Waffle is still a good start with this.

There will be good days, there will be bad days. It happens. We can't always find a reason. Sometimes it's as simple as, he didn't like the cloudy sky that morning. Or he wanted to play a game at lunchtime but the bell went before he got a chance. Some days he will be more frustrated (and frustrating) than others.

if he's having trouble focussing, one medication-free trick you can use is to keep as little as possible between him and the teaching focus of the classroom - for example, in the old traditional style of classroom, you would have the child sitting on his own at a desk in the middle, up the front of the classroom.
Something that worked for difficult child 3 was to sit him where his desk faced a wall. He actually had two desks - one in the classroom, close to the teacher, so when the teacher was talking or working on the blackboard difficult child 3 was close with nothing between him and the teacher; and the second desk was on the classroom veranda, facing a blank wall. That way he wasn't distracted by movement flickering peripherally. He sat at his work desk to do worksheets, writing tasks etc. He had an aide sitting with him and could still swivel round and ask the teacher something if he needed to.
He also needed to be out of physical range of other students - this didn't always happen. Some kids would delight in poking him until he got angry with them, at which point it was difficult child 3 who got into trouble for being disruptive. YOu can't know if t his is happening, and it takes an attentive teacher to notice, although a fairly smart teacher will cotton on to this sort of thing. If you notice, via the book, a sudden, consistent deterioration, this is one possibility to look for.

Good luck with your choices. You've made a good start this year.



Active Member
it sounds like such a small thing, but it is very important, we found. The wheels fell off mostly, when the teacher wanted the child to take responsibility for it. But in terms of the child taking responsibility - he already was doing this for other possessions and in other areas. The book is not for the child, it is for the parent and the teacher.Marg

Our experience was the opposite. difficult child came to see the book as a helpful tool in communicating issues that were giving him problems. Meltdowns over not understanding an assignment or his anxiety over something that was going on at school were greatly reduced once he realized it offered a genuine solution just by me informing the teacher about something. When the point came that he said "Mom, just write it in my notebook" instead of melting down I knew we'd made some real strides. In my difficult child's case the book wound up being very much for him.

Because of this it wasn't an issue for him--he set it on the teacher's desk every day when he unloaded his backpack and I unloaded it at home with the rest of his stuff. About a month into 3rd grade the notebook stopped coming out on a regular basis and one day in the van he said "Mom, uh, I haven't been giving Mrs. P my notebook. To which I replied "I guess that means you don't need it any longer, do you?" "Nope" We agreed if there was ever an occasional issue I could do it by email.


New Member
At least you had good reports for 2 weeks. Today was the first time since school started that my difficult child got a good report. I observed an entire day of classes last week, and one time, during a TEST, he took 4 minutes to begin writing after the teacher asked the question. I timed it. He can't focus at all. Then, in the afternoon, he sat and did nothing for 20 minutes while the teacher was busy with reading groups. He has a bad case of ADHD I'm sure, but his psychologist appointment is not until Sept. 11. We'll just have to hold out that much longer. It doesn't help that the teacher is not very good, and this is her first time teaching 2nd grade. She's only taught preschool before. She can't handle my difficult child at all.