Friday, 9 December 2011

Report Card Day

Being hella busy the last few weeks preparing for the holidays, I totally forgot that today was report card day for Coder until I pulled the brown envelope out of his book bag. Oops! Coder was struggling quite a bit at the beginning of the year with his alphabet and number recognition among other things. I will take part of the blame for this. While I did try to point out the ABC's around the house and while we were out and about, I never really made him sit down and review them or practice regularly. My bad! He has also never been in any type of daycare or preschool, which obviously gives a head start to the basics of kindergarten. Throw on top of that the fact that he is terribly shy with new people and unfamiliar situations and it is easy to see why he was having some difficulty. The teacher actually came right out and told me he was the lowest in the class. Ouch! In that moment I felt like a parenting failure. It was kind of hard for me to accept the fact that he was struggling the most in the class because he is such a bright child. He has an amazing vocabulary and is very aware of his surroundings. He is very good at explaining things and expressing his wants and needs. But I knew it was the truth. I had seen it myself first hand. I would ask him, "Cody, what letter does the word 'cat' start with?" and he would looks me square in the eye and say, "Seven?" Ummm, no.

 The first thing I did was schedule a meeting with the teacher to see exactly what he needed to work on and how I could help him at home. I was told the main things he needed to improve were letter and number recognition, letter sounds, and printing his letters and numbers. She gave me a list of activities I could do at home to help him improve. I was told to work on these things for only about 5-10 minutes a day so he didn't get "learning burnout" and end up hating it. So being the good mom I am I went out and bought every single letter and number toy I could find. Well, not really, but I did get a few including my personal favorite,  the Match It! ABC self-correcting (?) puzzle, shown below (which he LOVES and will play with for like an hour straight! No small feat for a kindergartener). I also picked up an ABC border for his room, some flash cards, a few alphabet coloring and activity books and some alphabet fridge magnets.
The plan was for it to seem more like play then school work. I'm smart like that.Anyways, after about a month of working at home I am very proud to tell you that the teacher has reported major improvement in Coder. I am so proud of him! He still has a ways to go but now he gets more letters right then wrong when asked to identify them. He can now print his own name without any help. He counts to ten no problem, sometime past ten to almost twenty! He knows the sounds to many of the letters and can identify many just from hearing the letter sound. I like to think the improvement is a direct result of my tutoring him daily, however, I'm sure that a big part of it is that he is now a lot more comfortable in class with his teacher and peers and with the classroom setting in general. A few things I was told he had trouble with he would do no problem at home when asked.. I think he just sorta clammed up when put on the spot and the pressure to perform wigged him out. Whatever the reason, I am very pleased with him.

Now, back to the report card. I was actually pleasantly surprised with the results. Because he is in kindergarten, the report cards are not graded with the standard A for Excellent, F for Fail, type of system. Instead, for each subject the teacher comments on the students progress, what they have mastered and what still needs work. Then they are graded on each goal for the term (such as "Can clearly print name," "Can count and create sets with 1-5 objects," and so on) They are given a check mark for each task. Either "Most of the time," "Some of the time," or "Not Yet," are checked. I am not going to list the full results as that would take forever but he did pretty well. He did pretty good on each section (Math, Language Arts, and Personal Growth. He got all "Most of the time" checks in personal growth. In the Math and LA he got about 50/50, half very good and half needs improvement. I am actually very pleased with this though because truthfully I was expecting much worse. The final section he is graded on is "Social and Emotional Development and Work Habits," which includes things like "Pride in doing work," and "Cooperation with others." He got an 'E' in every single task in this category, which is the best grade you can get and stands for Excellent! So proud!

All in all I would say that he had a pretty decent first term. I was so worried about how he was going to adjust to school since he had never been away from me since birth and can be pretty shy, but he has totally surprised me with how well he has adjusted. He also now attended a special help class in the resource room twice a week for one on one help. It is amazing to me how much he has grown and become his own person. He truly loves school and is always telling me about his new "big kid" friends (oh god) or what he has done that day. I still forget that he is in kindergarten sometimes and will run around frantically searching for him until I remember he is in school. My baby is growing up so fast! *Wipes tear* I like it though because it gives me time to bond with Nelly-poo, who is only two. She misses big brother while is gone and will frequently ask me "Where brah-doo?" which is how she pronounces brother. So damn cute! Another thing I love about him being in school is I get to let my inner Martha out and make adorable goodies for his class on holidays and help out with school activities. See the super-cute gift I am giving his teacher for Christmas HERE. Now that the report cards are out of the way I have Christmas break to look forward to! Almost two weeks of sleeping later and not freezing my buns off walking him to school. That's a Christmas gift in itself!

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