A few weeks ago, a teacher asked me what to do about a daydreamer. He was a bright student, new to the school, but always had his head in the clouds, she said. I suggested she “dream alongside him.” I’m not sure where this idea came from, exactly. It kind of appeared on the screen in my mind, and felt like the right thing to say. So she tried it and got some insight into the way this student thought.
Last week another teacher asked me the same question, but with more urgency–she understood the daydreaming, but she wanted the student to get to work already, so that she could carry on with her conferences. For her, my suggestion was different: bring the child with you during conference time. Let the student know this is not a punishment, it’s free help. She said something like, “I’ve noticed you do better work with somebody to nudge you once in awhile. So here I am nudging.” Happily, it worked. She brought the daydreamers to her conferring spot, and reported back to me that they worked harder than ever.
Pretty soon those daydreamers probably won’t want to sit next to her. Hopefully, they’ll still daydream, but they’ll also be used to working every day. Learning as they read or write, and becoming more independent in the process. Which, of course, is always the goal. (For more hints see Tips for Working with Student Writers.)