So the Elmos aren’t working, as you already know. It looks like the tough love approach might be the ticket.
Ms. X called the other day to report that Sophie had had a pretty terrible morning. In the afternoon (and without any interns to help out) Ms. X tried a new tactic. She sat Sophie down and sternly (but lovingly) told her, “Sophie, you are a smart little girl! You can do the work the other kids are doing. Stop screwing around and do it!”
And sent her off with the afternoon’s work, a multi-step project: pasting the correct words onto a picture of a tiny plant (stem, seed, etc), coloring the plant, writing her name at the top.
Ms. X held her breath and firmly sent Sophie back to her seat.
A little while later, Sophie appeared at Ms. X’s side, paper in hand. It’s now proudly displayed on our fridge. Darn good, and the best writing of her name I’ve seen yet. The leaves are black (hey, her mom’s never kept a plant alive, so she has no point of reference) but the flower is yellow, the stem green, the soil brown.
“And she did it all by herself!” Ms. X said proudly.
One afternoon down. So many more to go.