Friday, November 12, 2010

Parent-Teacher Conference Maps Progress

We had our first official parent-teacher conference with our son’s first grade teacher the other day. It was nice to get in the classroom, see the work our son has been doing, and talk to his teacher about it.

We already knew that Kai is doing well in math, but it was good to see the actual work he has been doing.

We also knew that he loves science, and it was fun to hear the teacher describe his enthusiasm for the class. For the last couple of weeks, Kai was upset because he was being pulled out of science class for his one-on-one time with his school therapist. Although he later got to make up the material, his anxiety about missing out and not being first (to learn, in this case) manifested itself. At the conference, they told us that they have worked it out so he will be able to partake in science with his classmates.

As far as reading goes, while Kai can read words well past his grade level, his comprehension is lacking. So, they are starting to slow down, asking him more inference questions and forcing him to think more about what he read. We will try to work on that more at home, too.

One of Kai’s least favorite classes is writing. It’s interesting that he hates writing, or rather, that it is a “non-preferred activity” as the school calls it, even though he loves writing the alphabet. In fact, his teacher brought to light the latest expression of his passion for writing letters. She said that when Kai saw her with a book about cursive letters, he kept pestering her until she let him have it. Now, he is learning how to write in cursive on his own during break time.

What he does not like to do, however, is write sentences that answer questions or express his thoughts. For instance, the students keep a journal that they write in several times a week. Looking at his journal, it is easy to tell that he does not like this activity. When he writes the alphabet, his writing is beautiful. But, the writing in his journal was incredibly sloppy, indicating that he was in a hurry to get it over or was angry about having to write. And, the things he puts down often do not make sense. I think he finds it frustrating because communicating, both verbally and in writing, is still hard for him.

But, they are working with him on it and he is making some progress. One recent entry was actually coherent. “I love going to Virginia because I visit Dads family. When I am there I will have fun.” My favorite part, though, was the map he drew to accompany the words. He drew the states that we will travel through to get from Illinois to Virginia, and the highway numbers of the roads we will drive on in each state: 94 in Illinois, 90 in Indiana, 90 and 80 in Ohio, 76 in Pennsylvania, and 70 in Maryland and Virginia.

Frankly, I was shocked. No, not that he remembered all the highways. I was shocked that he did not write out all the exit numbers, too.

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