Causes of Student Stress

Hello All!

Last time I spoke about what types of stress there is and how it can affect students. This post is going to be about things that students stress about. I was reading this link and it was crazy to see some of these reasons students are stressing. Here are some of the factors that surprised me or shocked me the most:

Changes to routine: A routine including dedicated homework time and a consistent sleep schedule helps guide students through their day. When changes to the usual routine start to happen, your child may find it more difficult to manage his or her time, leading to more stress.” I know that some students do not like change to routine, and I see that in the classroom setting; but I had no idea that they could stress due to home routine changes.

Participating in class: For many children, the thought of getting called on in class and speaking in front of their classmates can be terrifying. This can be particularly true if your child struggles to keep up in a subject or area (common examples are math and reading).” Looking at my class this semester (grade 1), I can not see any of them not wanting to share in the discussion or wanting to try and read in front of the class. Even though I don’t hear them say they don’t want to, that does not mean that they want to. This really turned my head a new way.


To conclude, there is a lot of things I did not know that cause students to stress. My goal is to take this information into the classroom to help the students feel safe and happy in this environment. I hope that this helps you as well and maybe there is something you read here that you may not know.

Next post I will be sharing a different perspective of stress.



Common Causes of School Stress For Students


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What is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder??

What is Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder??

ADHD is quickly becoming one of the most diagnosed disorders seen in schools. Children who are showing signs of having energy and not being able to focus for more than 5 minutes (pretty much any child ever) are being diagnosed with ADHD and are having pills shoved down their throats to calm them down and make them focus the way the adults think they should.

But do these children actually have ADHD and how would we know?

Here is a quick video to help us get started

A few points from the video

  • People who have Attention Deficit Hyperactive Disorder don’t actually lack attention, they lack the ability to regulate their attention.
  • Good analogy – It’s like watching tv. You have the remote and are able to change channels (attention) when you want. Watching TV when you have ADHD is the same, but you don’t have the remote. It’s like your younger (slightly annoying) sibling has stolen the remote and mashing the buttons in the corner causing the channels (attention) to change without you having control over it.


The 3 Categories of ADHD

There are 3 types or forms of ADHD that you will see. There is inattentive, hyperactive/impulsive, or a combination of the two. You cannot be solely inattentive or solely hyperactive/impulsive. Every person who has ADHD has a combination of both types, however, people who have the inattentive type are predominately inattentive and the same goes for hyperactive/impulsive. The difference between these types and the combination is that the combination type has a fairly even split between the two. Here are some characteristics of these types.

  1. Inattentive
    1. miss details and are distracted easily
    2. get bored quickly
    3. have trouble focusing on a single task
    4. have difficulty organizing thoughts and learning new information
    5. lose pencils, papers, or other items needed to complete a task
    6. don’t seem to listen
    7. move slowly and appear as if they’re daydreaming
    8. process information more slowly and less accurately than others
    9. have trouble following directions
  2. Hyperactive/Impulsive
    1. squirm, fidget or feel restless
    2. have difficulty sitting still
    3. talk constantly
    4. touch and play with objects, even when inappropriate to the task at hand
    5. have trouble engaging in quiet activities
    6. are constantly “on the go”
    7. are impatient
    8. act out of turn and don’t think about consequences of actions
    9. blurt out answers and inappropriate comments


The main take away from this post that I would like you to have is that ADHD is not a choice for your students. It’s something they can’t control and often the hardest part of their day, and while this is the case, it doesn’t mean that they can’t be successful. They can be, but it takes a bit more effort on everyone’s part.



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The Downfalls of Homework (researched)

This post is going to be researching the negative aspects of giving out homework instead of looking at it from a first hand perspective. Here is a list of 12 cons that you may not have thought about when it comes to giving out homework.

  1. Children benefit from playing – with too much homework, a child doesn’t have enough time to play and that can impact their social development. Low levels of play are associated with lower academic achievement levels, lower safety awareness, less character development, and lower overall health.
  2. It encourages a sedentary lifestyle – long homework assignments require long periods of sitting.
  3. Not every home is a beneficial environment – some children have highly invested parents that are more than happy to help their child or get a tutor in order to help their child succeed. Some children do not come from homes like this,, and they may be offered little to no help at home.
  4. School is already a full-time job for kids – At my school, the bell rings at 8:42 and then again at 2:37. That is almost 6 hours of work that kids as young as 5 are putting into their education everyday. Add in extra-curricular actives that schools encourage, such as sports, musicals, and after-school programming and a student can easily reach an average of 8 hours of education a day. Then add homework on top of that? It is asking a lot for any child, but especially young children.
  5. There is no evidence that homework creates improvements – Survey after survey has found that the only thing that homework does is create a negative attitude toward schooling and education in general.
  6. It discourages creative endeavours – If a student is pending 1 hour each day on homework, that’s an hour they are not spending pursuing something that is important to them. Homework can take away time from learning an instrument, painting, or developing photography skills as well.
  7. Homework is difficult to enforce – Some students just don’t care about homework. They can achieve adequate grades without doing it, so they choose not to do it.
  8. Extra time in school does not equate to better grades
  9. Accurate practice may not be possible – If a child is struggling with their homework then they may ask a parent or guardian for help. This can cause more confusion because the person may attempt to explain it to the child in a different way than the teacher. The teacher will then have to re-teach the topic which may result in a prolonged learning process.
  10. It may encourage cheating on multiple levels -Some students may decide that cheating in the classroom to avoid taking homework home is a compromise they’re willing to make. With internet resources, finding the answers to homework instead of figuring out the answers on one’s own is a constant temptation as well. For families with multiple children, they may decide to copy off one another to minimize the time investment.
  11. Too much homework is often assigned to students
  12. Homework is often geared toward benchmarks


20 Pros and Cons of Homework


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Literacy Center Assessment

Through out my research about assessment I noticed that their is more to assessment than formal documentation, and anecdotal based off observations. Assessment can be done through many different facets and each lends its self to new insights about the students and their needs as a learner.

Initial Assessment for Learning

In Early Reading Assessment:A Guiding tool for Instruction it is stressed that every student who comes into a class, comes in with different strengths and weaknesses. So formal reading assessments are done to determine what each student already knows and where they have gaps in their knowledge. Assessments like these allow teacher to be informed instructors. At Vancouver Island University we were taught how to use bench marks to assess students reading fluency, accuracy and comprehension; but their are more formal assessment tools that teachers can use when assessing their students. Some teachers find some tools more effective then others. Bellow are a few different prelearning assessment tool that can also be used.

NOTE: Its important to fully understand tools and be trained in them, before using them with students and it is important to not solely rely on these tools to assess students abilities and what they have learned.

Comprehensive Test of Phonological Processing (CTOPP):
Assesses phonological awareness, phonological memory, and rapid naming. Use in K-12 for student performance. Administered individually only.

Dynamic Indicators of Basic Early Literacy Skills (DIBELS):
A set of standardized measures of early literacy development designed to monitor the development of prereading and early reading skills. Use in K-3. Administered individually only..

Iowa Test of Basic Skills (ITBS):
Assesses the reading areas of vocabulary, word analysis, and reading comprehension. Use in K-8. Administered individually or group.

Multiple Intelligences (MI):
A theory that eight intelligences should be used to assess students’ strengths and weaknesses.


In Alison’s Blog post How to assess Primary Students’ Work in Literacy Centers she shares some helpful tips on how to assess what learning is taking place in literacy centers. Her tips are both simple and provide informative feedback on how your student are doing. One idea is to pick two students each literacy block to check in on, since the teachers will be doing small group work this could be as simple as standing up and looking over at both students twice for about a minute each time, to see if they are on task and if possible what they are working on. Quickly jot down what they observe and return to small group work.

At the end of the week she would go through the students written work that have been placed in their literacy folders. She makes some simple comments, maybe a tip to work on for next time, to show the students that the teacher is checking their work. While she is doing this she also records what she is noticing about their work on this grid. She puts check marks where students are meeting expectations, giving her an overview of what is going well and what needs attention with individuals and the class as a whole. If you would like to see what exactly she focuses on you can check out her blog and get a FREE recourse package on literacy center assessment.

That being said some centers do not have written components so it may be hard for a teacher to see what students are doing in these centers, this is where the teacher can encourage the student to show case the learning they are proud of through the use of technological. Students can capture themselves; reading out loud, making new words with magnet letters, or showcase a puppet show they have created. The teacher can review these over time and use them when assessing the students learning.

All of these observation can help build up a learners portfolio; they show how the student is interacting with materials and provide insight in how the student is doing and what areas the student can use more support in. This being said Alison cautions teachers to not to formally assess work done in literacy centers, for example in report cards, since the purpose of literacy centers is for student to practice literacy skills, not showcase their learning.

Self Assessment

Keeping student personally accountable for their work can be done in many ways. This can help students look at what they are doing critically. Both of the previously stated  articles give suggestions on how to have the students assess how they are doing in their literacy centers.  A simple way to check in with students and have them assess how they did in centers, is to have them fill out a simple happy face table. (shown bellow) And allow them to write on the lines below what they did well and a goal for next time.

Get this FREE self-assessment form for literacy centers in the blog post!

The End

In conclusion it is important to continually assess students learning to provides informed instruction to the class as a whole and to individual students. Weekly assessment of the whole class can allow teachers to find where students are excelling and where they need more guided practice and support. Observing a few student in literacy centers each day allows for purposeful observation of all student (over time) and help teachers know if centers are accessible to all students. By providing simple feedback and instruction, students are held accountable for the work they are doing and give purpose to the work they are doing. Self assessment also allows students to create goals and think critically about how they are doing in their literacy centers. A balance of formal assessments, observation, self evaluations and evidences of learning create a functional and informative learning environment for literacy centers to take place.

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