Thursday, January 29, 2009

Meeting with the teacher

I emailed TB's teacher the other day because I had some questions about his report card. At the end of the first quarter, he was a level 6 in reading. At the end of second quarter he was an 8. I emailed to ask what that meant, where he should be, etc. When I dropped him off the next day, I got told "it is time we had a meeting about his reading. Don't worry, it isn't all bad" Um, ok, seriously not confidence inspiring because that seems to indicate that it is mostly bad. I had my meeting yesterday after school.

First she told me that the end of second quarter benchmark is a level 10 and he is an 8. However, he is 93% accurate at level 8, so he isn't grossly behind. His word test score was 16/20 for knowing sight words. His writing vocab (they give them words to write in 10 minutes) was 41 (43 is grade level) and his dictation (copying sentences) is 28/37. Nothing, in my mind, is tragically low. A little behind, sure and obviously we don't want him to fall further behind but nothing to freak out over, like her "don't worry it isn't ALL bad" suggested. She told me this morning that he qualified for reading recovery so he will go a few days a week to work one on one with a reading teacher, who will help him get back on track. He did RR last year with a different teacher and it was great for him. He did something (I thought it was RR but apparently it was reading support or something and was small groups, not one on one) with one of the teachers (who was a first grade teachers and the one he most desperately wanted for this year) and that is the best part of his day. He just adores her and I have a feeling he will be sad when he finds out he won't be seeing her anymore.

The other stuff she wanted to talk about was the fact that he doesn't stay focused in class. Ok, first? 7 year old boy. Anyone that has met this child knows there is no keeping him still. Second? The classroom is so cluttered and there is so much stuff everywhere that during our meeting, I felt my attention roaming. I'm an adult and it was a topic that I cared about and I STILL couldn't maintain focus because there was so much stuff (and there weren't even any kids in the room, it was just stuff), how can they expect 7 year olds to manage it? She mentioned that she was having him evaluated by the school's OT for his cutting (apparently, he doesn't cut well, looks like it was done by a 7 YEAR OLD to me, but what I know, my training ends at 5) and for his inability to sit still. Apparently, they have these rubber air filled pillows that the slightest wiggle makes kids feel like they are moving alot so they don't have to move as much to get the wiggle sensation. That keeps them in their chair and less fidgity. After the evaluation, I will talk to the OT and see what she recommends. I'm all for helping him but OT slaps a special ed label on him and I'm opposed to lables. We'll see.

The final issue was partly his lack of focus and partly his reading. He isn't doing his work in class. He doesn't want to do it, he can't read it to understand how to do it, so he just isn't doing it. He says that no one will help him when he doesn't understand things and I told him that if he doesn't understand, he is better off not doing it, than learning it wrong (because the stuff he gets wrong, doesn't get corrected, they just hand it in and it comes home in the folder so the kid has no feedback about is and isn't working). It seems like he has taken my suggestion to the extreme and isn't doing any work. She is going to be sending home the things he doesn't finish as homework. My issue with that is I feel 99% of the paper he touches in a given is just crappy busy work and I wouldn't make him do it. I've decided to pick and choose what I will make him do. Handwriting practice sheets, reading and math all get done (mostly, some of the writing stuff is just garbage) other stuff, I really look at to see if it is something that I see value in. His "daily sheets"? They are nothing more than a ploy to give the kids something to do in the morning when they first come in while they wait for the rest of the class and for everyone to get organized and settled. And I refuse to force him to do busy work at home. He is plenty without it, thanks.

Out of all of this came a new afternoon schedule. The rest of our day is fairly well schedule, why not those 2 hours in the afternoon? From now on, we play at school for about 20 minutes (if at all possible, weather will sometimes impede this), then we come home and have a snack and watch TV until 3. At 3 pm, all electronics get shut off (yes even the adult's, which nearly killed RF this afternoon) and we have homework/reading time. TB can do his work and read his books. MT can either look at books quitely or I can read to her (I may throw in puzzles or quite drawing for something else for her to do) and I can read my book. At 3:30, it is chore time. We all get up and clean something. Even though MT doesn't have chores she has to do everyday, there is always some mess she made that she can pick up during that time. TB can do whatever his "chore of the day" is and I never lack for things to clean, unfortunately. At 4, we can do something else (actually, if they get done with the chores earlier, then we do things earlier). Today we went in the backyard and played in the snow. I built a sad little snowman and we had a snowball fight. Other days we will go to playgroup or FCC or parks (if spring would ever come) or whatever. Something active and unstructered is going to be the name of the game. That is going to force me to drag my butt out of the house every afternoon but I'll deal with it.


Quigs78 said...

I have no constructive advice for you since we're obviously years behind you in the school scene.

But good for you for coming up with a plan!

Jennifer said...

Those kinds of meetings can be very frustrating. I am so impressed that you came out of there as cool as you did and then even came up with a GREAT plan! I think I am going to use a version of it with my kids. To help curb the Wii!!! It is 10:15pm and my 3rd child is STILL up playing! So I obviously have no control over the Wii or my children... I digress... he can sleep in tomorrow - right?

I think it is hard for all 6-7-8 year old boys to sit and learn in school. He sounds like the average boy - and you probably wouldn't want it to be any other way! Give C a hug from me - I think he is SUPER! You're pretty great too!

~rachel~ said...

did you mention the clutter to her? When I was working at a school last year attended a conference w/ all the local rural schools one of the classes was w/ Ot on sensory stuff. That was a big issue they talked about, some kids can't handle it and others need it- so they recommend letting them have some stuff on their desk to help.
Maybe if he does end up getting OT services they'll work w/ you (and the teacher) on something like that? Good Luck

makeup_girl said...

What is OT?

The Fearless Freak said...

Occupational therapy. It for for motor development.