Friday, September 23, 2011

Big changes this week

     So our new second grade teacher started this week. She spent most of the week setting up her classroom, planning, getting caught up on school/county policies, and pushing into the existing classrooms so the kids could get familiar with her. Families were notified on Thursday if their child was moving to the new classroom and was also Back to School Night. Our principal decided not to have her host her own "presentation" for Back to School night since the families hadn't had much time to process the news. She was in her room and we encouraged families to go up and meet her, more like an Open House thing. Today, her kids spent most of the day with us and then she took them for the last 45 mins of the day to do some class-bonding stuff. I'm sure that was interesting because the room still doesn't have desks....
     We moved our kids' desks to the new room after school today and they will start fresh with their new teacher on Monday. I lost 6 children to the new class, which will put me at a FABULOUS 20 students!!! I can't wait to get started with this new, smaller group!

     On another note, I've got some new information on my sticky fingers girlie. Apparently she isn't stealing due to a lack of "things" at home. She actually always has the latest pop culture gadget and is covered head to toe in Beiber-related paraphernalia. Her stealing is an attention-seeking behavior. She has an older brother at home who gives mom an extremely hard time. Mom is preoccupied with the older brother and compensates by giving my little one material things. Really what she needs is some quality time. I started her on a behavior program her teacher used last year and her rewards are not material. She can earn computer time, go help the art teacher, visit another teacher as a helper, eat lunch with a friend, etc. She craves social interaction and I'm using that to motivate her at school. I hope this works!

     I know this is turning out to be the world's longest post but I have one more interesting story for the week... I'm not sure if you're familiar with it, but our county uses the Math Investigations program for math. It's a hands-on, inquiry based program that has a tendency to stir up some controversy among the more conservative schools. I have a student who moved here from out of state and her parents made sure to tell me she is gifted and needs to be challenged in math. I thought, no problem. Investigations has differentiation built in and makes it easy to extend lesson for high students. Well, at back to school night, the mom says to me, "I knew we would be repeating some math but I didn't think we would be repeating an entire book." And she pulls out the same student work book we use in second grade. In first grade, her class used the same exact book we are using now.... Uh oh. So now we have to have a meeting with admin and the parents to figure out what to do for her. Her parents want her to go to a 3rd grade class for math but my principal is against it. Somehow I have a feeling this is going to create a lot of extra work for me... sigh. Oh well, add it to the To-do list :)


  1. Hang in there! We use Investigations too! We do have a few kids in our school that are going to the next grade up for math, but it's usually only if it's stated in their IEP.


  2. I'm glad you found out why your little one has sticky fingers! I think a lot of time the behavior we see is a cry for attention. I think your behavior plan for social interaction rewards is great!
    I am in the same boat with you regarding differentiation. I have one little guy reading at a 4th grade level who can do 2 digit addition/subtraction in his head etc. Obviously I need to differentiate for him, but I hesitate to send him up to 2nd grade because his maturity level is low. I will be watching to see what you do with your challenge :)

    Jennifer @ Herding Kats In Kindergarten

  3. This is in reference to your little one who is "gifted" in math. I don't usually say this out loud because I feel that I would probably get blasted for my perspective, but I really, really don't like it when a teacher differentiates for a child using the grade up or below's materials. What is happening to you is my exact reason why I don't like that practice! Her teacher last year could have easily had the kid practicing the same skill as the rest of her class but on the child's level. Then, you would not be in this mess.

    I think that's where the disconnect is for some teachers. They just don't understand the meaning of differentiation and how to put it into practice.

    Also, now is the time to really deepen her understanding of number sense. Because her parents and teachers see that she can do it with ease, then they just move her along to next years lessons. Well, this may come to haunt the child later when she is in her algebra class and is struggling. Developing a strong understanding of number sense is the backbone for algebra and future maths.

    It is like the equivalent to skipping phonics and phonemic awareness instruction just because the kid can read. There is a reason those are two parts of the five components to reading. If a student lacks the proper instruction in one of those components, it will show later on in their schooling.

    Sorry so long. Rant over!

    Great Post! I like to reflect on teaching and best practices!!

  4. Andi- because her WHOLE school was gifted, every grade level used the next grade level's curriculum. Apparently every gifted kid in the state (it's a small state) is tracked into that school and they transfer them back to their home-school if they have problems with the accelerated pace. I had never heard of this in a public school system before. I know some schools use tracking, but to send all the gifted students in the state to one school seems really odd to me.
    After meeting with the admin, principal, and gifted teachers we will be doing a lot of pre-assessments with her so I can find out where she may still be weak and so the gifted teacher can help me with enrichment. I'll let you know how it goes!

  5. Oh...... Nevermind! I take back what I said! Ha! However, I must add that this story is the craziest thing I have ever heard of! Maybe that family shouldn't have moved at all. Good Luck and definitely keep us posted. That is A LOT of work for you for one child.