Saturday, November 08, 2008

Sweetie Saturday #131 - Improvement Edition

Hubby and I went to our Parent/Teacher conference earlier this week. I was both a little concerned to find out what the teacher had to say about Sweetie's behavior, and interested in hearing what she had to say about Sweetie's academic skills.

Well, as it happens, we didn't find out anything we didn't already know: Sweetie is academically smart but is often stubborn and bossy.

Yep - sounds pretty accurate to me.

On the other hand, Sweetie's teacher did note that she's already seeing good progress in Sweetie's behavior.  

Sweetie used to "complain" about a ton of things - not being able to sign her name every morning on the 5th line of the sign-in sheet (because she's five years old, so she has to sign that line!), to "arguing" with her teacher about why the white board says "we will go to P.E. today" when the class is reading it after they've already gotten back from P.E. (the teacher wants the other kids to recognize the sight words "to" and "go", but since Sweetie already knows those words, it's the whole time frame/grammar incongruity of the sentence that gets her upset). Even recess line up time is getting better (I owe that change to our including Super (Sweetie) in the process). 

And most impressive of all? A boy in her class accidently bumped into Sweetie the other day, spilling his cup of water all over her shirt - and Sweetie handled it all without (many) tears (it's still unclear to me whether she did actually cry or not. Sweetie says no, but her teacher thought Sweetie did ultimately cry a little in the end when the assistant teacher was helping her out). 

Don't get me wrong. According to Sweetie's teacher - and what I know of my daughter - Sweetie was obviously very mad. Apparently, when it happened, Sweetie immediately got a shocked/upset look on her face, balled up her fists at her sides, stomped her way - the long way - around her entire classroom, and (I think) complained about how she DID NOT LIKE SPILLS. But she didn't cry. Her teacher explained that it was just an accident, that neither Sweetie nor the boy were looking where they were going, and that it was just water - it would dry soon and be okay.

I guess that was enough to mostly calm her down. But then Mrs. M. said she soon noticed Sweetie talking to the assistant teacher, whom she convinced to help Sweetie take off her shirt (Sweetie was wearing a turtleneck and a shirt over that that day, so she just wanted that top shirt off). At that point, Sweetie may have been crying.

Anyway - still, an improvement. Obviously not anywhere near the ideal way to behave when such an accident happens. But much better than Sweetie's usual immediate breakdown into sobbing tears and shouts.

At home, I've also noticed some good improvement in Sweetie's behavior. It wasn't even a week ago that Sweetie was working in one of her activity books. At one point she was writing down a needed word, but she accidently wrote a wrong letter. And, ooh boy, was she upset! Even though we explained that she could just write the correct letter over the wrong letter - making it darker and more easily seen - or she could cross out the whole word and write it correctly underneath - both were horribly wrong fixes. In fact, there was no fix in Sweetie's mind. It was just plain, irrevocably wrong. The end.

But only days later? Sweetie's again working in the same workbook and, upon making the exact same sort of mistake, she easily, without even a hint of drama, wrote in the correct letter on top of the wrong one and moved on. No problemo at all. Yay!

And (knock on wood) the very few times that I have recently picked Sweetie up from school when she's been in a less-than-chipper mood, she's also been much more easily brought out of her grumpy state. Before we're even around the corner from her school, she's apologizing, laughing, and talking about the next fun thing she wants to do once home.

Academically - she's really liking math now. She gets in the car after school and tells me she wants to go home and "work on math" in her activity books. She's also brought home a lot of math-related books from her classroom (Mon. - Thurs. the kids all get to bring home one book a day from their room). She and I always sit down right away, once home, to read together and, in these cases, learn a little math. 

Then, of course, there's her reading and spelling. Those subjects have been of great interest to her for a long time now. This week she learned about palindromes. She's very interested in discovering all sorts of different words and phrases that are palindromes.

So - Sweetie is doing well. She's smart and academically curious - but seems not to be bored in a class where most other students are still learning what she already knows. 

She's improving socially - starting to play more with other kids (rather than on her own), learning to control her emotions, and realizing that things cannot always be the way she expects them to be.

Sweetie is where she needs to be. Kindergarten is necessary for her to improve her still-developing interpersonal relations. She's enjoying learning. 

And once she gets to 1st grade, there's an opportunity to separate out into an advanced level in reading, math or whatever fits best for her academically. She'll flourish in a group of peers who are equal to where she is scholastically.

Things are good. 

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