Monday, October 18, 2010

Parent Teacher Conferences

It's that time of year again. The dreaded parent/teacher conferences. Well, not dreaded. I usually have a pretty good idea of what to expect since I try to talk to the kids teachers on a regular basis. Parent/Teacher conferences become just a formality really. I have done all three kids conferences now though and as usual there really were no big surprises.

Let me start with CJ. There wasn't too much to say. He is polite and doing as well as can be expected for a not even 3 year old preschooler away from mom for the first time. He gets along great with all of the other children. They all really like him and are excited to see him. He's doing well with using the potty at school. He is not potty trained by any means, but he does on occasion say that he has to go. So we'll keep working on that. He likes to dump toys and then walk away. He has been good about following directions to clean them up. He does that here too, but won't clean them up. You can see right here what he likes to do...

He threw his toys out of the toy box and then climbed in it. Just look at that face. A devious fellow he is.

His teacher said in group he will just sit there. Won't really sing or do any of the hand motions or anything which she found strange. I told her that's always the way he has been. Takes it all in. I assured her though that at home he is attempting to repeat the things he's learning. He's often attempting to sing his ABC's and has even started doing "The Wheels on the Bus". I got proof of that tonight too...

So as you can see he's doing very well.

Now Kaitlyn, her conference lasted the longest, but it was all good. I am so pleased with how well everything is going for her this year. Her teacher is so encouraging. He LOVES Kaitlyn. Wishes he had more students like her that truly wanted to learn. So he has been so great in finding ways to encourage that in anyway possible. He says she has a great mind. She really gets stories even those beyond her reading level that are read to her she can retell them and answer questions about it. She's an in the moment writer which is hard to teach I guess at this age. So for example if she's writing about a trip to the store she will start with the trip to the store and not with she got up and it was sunny out that morning. We have to work on her listing of things, but he will get that with her in time. All in all things were positive and he really gets Kaitlyn which I am so happy to see. He sent me to talk to her special ed teacher who I must say had me breathing a huge sigh of relief when I went there. They are finally teaching her that letters are sounds and when grouped together with other letters they will make other sounds. Not the memorizing words they were trying to get her to do. It's the Wilson Program they are using with her and I've heard great things about this. I have even seen improvement in her reading this year already in the short time she has been doing this. In all honesty I think Kaitlyn eventually will be able to decode and read words better than her sister who is an excellent reader. I feel like we're moving in the right direction with her. So very happy with her hard work and the help of her wonderful teachers this year.

Now for Natalie. She also got a progress report today. She wasn't happy with her grades, but I assured her she has time to pull them up and get them where she wants them. Now she knows what she needs to work on. She got all A's and B's except for Social Studies she got a C. I wasn't too surprised by her grades. So lets see I'll go in order of subject by how I spoke to her teachers. I started out with her Language Arts teacher where she has a 95 average. There wasn't much to say about her. Her teacher LOVES her. She said she's a great student and I should be very proud. I am. I love those reports. She hands all of her work in on time and it's all great work. I talked to her about the after school Literary magazine that she's doing with the kids and told her that I think Natalie would be interested in that so she's going to talk to her about it. It's creative writing. She'll be great at that. So she's very excited to talk to Natalie about that. She has no concerns about Natalie and showed me a test she just graded of her which she got a 97 on. So she's continuing the great work there.

Next I moved onto her Science teacher. She said she is pretty quiet in class. She'd like to hear from her more, but she's doing great. Handing in all of her work on time and everything. She has an 84 average in that class, but there's lots of room for improvement there. Many extra credit assignments she can complete. She would like to hear from her more in class too. Ahhh, story of her life. That's always the thing I get about Natalie. We discussed that at length today actually too. And when I came home I told her that her teachers truly want to hear what she has to say so they will welcome any input she can give.

After Science I moved onto her math class. She also has an 84 average in there. He said that all her work is complete and handed in on time. He's not sure if she's understanding things or not because again she doesn't talk in class. Hmmm, see a pattern here. But he can't see where she's having problems if she's not coming to him and often won't find out things until test time. It is very early in the year. He said conferences are even earlier than usual this year too so normally they would have more grades to go off of. So again lots of room for her to improve.

Finally there's Social Studies. Unfortunately this is the class that Natalie struggles the most in with a 77 average there. And unfortunately that's the one teacher who was not there tonight. Something about he was going to try to get there, but he injured his eye today or something. So I had to leave my name and phone number on a piece of paper for him to call me and do a phone conference. But I know we're going to hear she doesn't talk enough in class. I would like to find out about extra credit and ways she can improve her grade. I have also talked to Natalie about going to him before or after class and discussing ways to bring up her grade. They are doing a lot in geography right now which she finds boring. Maybe eventually it will become more interesting for her, but right now she just doesn't like it. I can't say I blame her since Social Studies was usually my worst subject too. But I get the feeling from all of her other teachers that they really want to do everything possible to help them succeed. So if Natalie's not happy with her grades (which she's not) then she can do something about them. She just needs to get herself noticed I think and ask for help or find out about extra credit. Since all of the other team teachers had this same attitude about her I'm pretty sure with a little extra work she can get that grade where she wants it.

So that is it. Parent/teacher conferences are done until April. For the most part all of these changes we've experienced in education this year are going well. I'm very pleased with all of my kids hard work, good manners, and respect that they show their teachers.