Sunday, June 9, 2013

We passed the third grade!

Thursday was the last day of third grade.  Can I tell you that Hubs and I have been counting down to that day for a while? 

I should add that we never actually questioned our daughter passing 3rd grade.  The year was just so danged long!  She held her grades pretty well, being on merit or honor roll all year.  We had the D+ in math on the first report card.  We praised K for her D+ because she really did do her very best.  (It was a grade that I never thought I would praise, much less on a report card.)  I admit, it was hard for me to swallow that my daughter, despite doing her absolute best, ran into an otherwise unacceptable grade.  She didn't get in trouble for it.  We did slog with her through the entire year of math.  Sweet love.

Then came grading period 2 where her social studies dropped from an A to a C because she was being pulled out of SS for math tutoring and as such, the teacher was giving a "quick review" to the children who missed it, but obviously the "quick review" wasn't working for K.  No bother.  I told her that I would home school her in social studies and we pulled that C back up to an A.  

We've had some difficulty with K's teacher this past year.  At one point at the beginning of May, K came to me and said, "Mom, I think that Mrs. H hates me."  My only response was, "You know, we can't wait for 3rd grade to end, either."  While I'm sure that Mrs. H didn't hate K, she knew that she had several papers that were misgraded or mislogged onto the online grade system, she knew that despite how hard she was working, the teacher wasn't always willing to work with her.  It is a growing-up thing.  Just the jump from 2nd grade to 3rd grade in the area of teacher helping students was a bit sink-or-swim and K wasn't a big fan of the sinking feeling.  

They started pulling K (without consulting me or Hubs) for literacy intervention where they were pulling her out of science.  They were pulling her because her OAA score was 7 points shy of the end of year points goal (they took the reading OAA in October) and I declined.  They were shocked.  If K truly needed the help, we would sign up.  Science was hands on with a lot of experiments.  How exactly am I supposed to home school that at home with a fairly non-communicative teacher?  The tutor called and apologized for telling the children that quite frankly, they had failed the OAA reading portion when we specifically told K that she had passed the 3rd grade guarantee (the reading score required to move on to 4th grade) but that she was a few points shy of the end of year goal.  K was an absolute pile and I told the tutor that she had undone 2 1/2 months worth of self-esteem work we did in one fell swoop.  She felt horrible. 

Because of the OAA fall score, K was invited to reading pre-fall and she wanted to do it.  They are doing a bit of reading intervention and while K reads several books a week, I think that help with slowing down (they were so much about speed that I think that they had her skimming things), comprehension, and prefix and suffix concentration would be great for her.  K is a good average reader.  Kiddo does read herself to death.  Her comprehension is generally pretty good.  If they want to teach her more tricks, have at it.  

In October, there was a bit of a shake-up with the art department.  The public schools that we are in reserves the right to do a bit of a teacher shuffle after 3 weeks of school.  The population settles a bit more and occasionally teachers need to be moved.  Mr. B was moved and the kids were crushed.  All of our 531 children had their schedules shuffled in order to accommodate the replacement staff of 3 part time art teachers.  As it turns out, Mrs. J was a superb replacement.  K loved her and came home having learned things in art.  Mrs. J doesn't expect the kids to be Matisse, but as long as they take in the information that she teaches and tries to apply what they've learned, she'll rock it out with them.  Mr. B was almost like a glorified craft teacher.  K never really did anything of worth with him, so it is okay that he moved on.  Later in the year, K agreed that Mrs. J was a better choice for her.  

Mrs. C was the math tutor that helped pull K out of the math depths.  She is a wonderful Christian woman who takes her job as seriously as these children are HER children.  She e-mailed me on weekends and met with me in hallways.  She was as excited by K's progress as we were.  Yes, I gave her teacher goodies as well as Mrs. H (K's teacher) and Mrs. D, the speech intervention specialist. 

Speaking of Mrs. D, though K's IEP expired last year, she kept her on twice a month for some continued help.  K has been seeing Mrs. D since her 3rd week in Kindergarten.  When K started, she was going to see Mrs. D 3 times a week.  She has worked wonders with K's speech.  We're still battling the "r," but that is pretty common and the LAST correctable sound.  K and I were talking about it today.  We talked about the neighbor girl and I told K that I noticed E's "r" a bit more lately.  "You know, Mom, I've noticed that B (another girl at school) really needs help with her 'r', too."  I continue to compliment her on her hard work and stop her occasionally to get her to work her "r" a bit more.  K's sister was an "r" kiddo, so we weren't surprised.  J has since ditched her "r" and I'm certain that K will, too.  Mrs. D has worked so hard with her.

Mrs. H, the librarian, I credit for helping K a lot this last year.  She knows us from years of 100 Book Challenge Book Pass that K used to help me with.  It was when K was in 1st grade that Mrs. H put her reservations on K for 3rd grade library helper.  Mrs. H also attends church with us.  She helped me through those tough math moments and was there to give K an extra hug in the AM when she had her doing her library duties.  Mrs. H made sure to tell me that K will be the only library helper that she is keeping.  The rest of the girls seriously did not want to do their jobs and she is not continuing with them in the library.  In fact, she allowed K to make her choice on what she will be re-shelving this next year. Apparently, that's a pretty big deal in the library volunteer world.  K is thrilled to be a library volunteer. 
Kiddo loves books so much that to be surrounded by them is a dream for her!

As I said, 3rd grade is a huge jump.  K moved from 2nd grade (as a honor roll student) to 3rd grade having to be happy with a D+ at one point and a few C's on her report card at different times (merit roll and honor roll once) and had to be happy with that.  We had hours long study sessions where we went running (despite having a mama that does not run) down to the end of the block and back.  We drilled spelling words.  We reviewed reading stories.  I don't think that she'll ever forget the social studies test that we studied a week for that she got a 100% on.  Just ask my kiddo who invented the first sky scraper.  She'll tell you!  ;)

Grades had been pretty easy for K up to this point.  She found this year that she is a kiddo that requires studying in order to get the good grades that she gets.  At the beginning of the year, I had to ask for the teacher to allow her to bring her books home.  None of the other kids ever do.  In fact, they even asked her at the bus stop why she brings home so many books.  God bless the kiddo.

We're looking forward to 4th grade.  We're hoping for a better year.  Until then, we will enjoy our summer.  We have bridge work to do, but that isn't every moment of every day.  I bought K a beautiful diary (on clearance at Target for way cheap) and she is excited to write in it.  Every other day, she'll write in cursive.  We worked on diary writing rules the other day.  We'd like to improve her writing skills (she gets tangential and misses some connective words) and frankly, her handwriting can get pretty awful when she is rushing.  (It can be delightful otherwise.)  She's blessed with the opportunity to go to some camps with Hubs at work.  K and her dad get on very well, so it's good for her to hang with him and to be a big help.  

We're enjoying the start of our summer.  Our first day of summer?  We had a Brady Bunch Marathon!  I love that K loves a show that I loved when I was her age!  :)

1 comment:

Rach said...

You know, there are some teachers who are amazing, and some who are burned out by all that must now be done in order to save their jobs. I'm in no way defending Mrs. H, I'm just saying if you hit that wall, it may be time to find a new job...

To that end, there is definitely value in being in a class with such teachers, and if Lil should wind up in that situation, we'll roll with it as you all did. There will be times in life when you'll be working with someone who is a pill and those lessons you learned with that teacher will help immensely.

I'm just glad third grade is over. Whew! What a year.