Samantha & Nash both had parent teacher conferences tonight. I wasn't too sure what to expect. What? I know. Here's why though: In October when they had conferences, I was deathly ill and Travis went to their conferences. I've talked to their teachers some here and there, but nothing major. I was curious to see how their tests were looking (typical teacher, right?)
Samantha is getting 4's in all areas except math (Cache uses a scale of 1-4 with 4 being proficient). She's still having a hard time with rounding for some reason. Not only have we tried pounding it into her head, so has her teacher! Guess we still need to practice that. After I got home I was talking to Travis and was telling him that she also has trouble doing multiplication like 13 x 4 when it's going up and down. She would write the answer as 412. The whole concept of carrying the 1 from the 12 is foreign to her which boggles my mind because she carries in addition just fine! She also has a really difficult time counting money. She can't figure out how to count a few quarters, nickles, dimes & pennies. She can skip count mind you, but give her different amounts to skip count, and it completely throws her for a loop. Travis and I decided it's a place value problem. So, somehow we've got to figure out where the kink in her place value understanding is and then iron it out!
Her teacher had sent home a print out of all her scores. I noticed as I was looking through it that about 9 of her homework assignments she only got 50% on. I asked her teacher why that was tonight. She said it was because she had turned those in without a parent signature. What?! Yes. Apparently 50% of my child's homework score is whether or not a parent has signed it. Now, being a teacher, I have a bit more tolerance for this than my husband does. Travis doesn't think he should have to sign anything to do with homework. I understand. I get it. I might not agree with it, but I get it and I respect it. I told her teacher I'd be sure to sign every stinkin' paper she gets out of her folder from now on.
She also hasn't been taking AR tests on the books she's reading at home. Now, I don't remember if I've said it before or not, but I take serious issue with AR. Why? Because in my experience, kids have a goal that they didn't set themselves. A goal, that at first glance, seems nearly impossible to reach in the amount of time given. So, in order to reach said goal, they do 1 of 2 things. Either 1-read books that are way, way, way below their reading level & take the test simply to get the points. Or, 2-they cheat and take tests for each other or take tests on books they never read. I've told my kids I don't care if they take AR tests or not because I for one, know they are reading and would rather they read books that are on their level and that they are interested in than have them do one of the other choices I mentioned. However, I have also told my kids that if their teacher wants them to AR test, they need to be taking AR tests. Sam has only taken 20 AR tests since October. That sounds like a lot, but considering that the girl reads 6 chapter books at a time (I'm not even exaggerating) and that she always reads to her brothers, she should probably have double that many AR tests. So, I got to have the AR conversation with her teacher tonight too. Her teacher told her that since she doesn't have her fill out a reading calendar, the AR tests are how she keeps track of her home reading. She had set Sam a new goal of reaching 40 pts (she has 26) but after our conversation, she changed it to 70. I told her we'd come home and make a list of all the chapter books she's read and not taken a test on. I'm hoping I didn't just doom my daughter!
Nash is doing about how I expected. He needs to work on being a better reader. It isn't that he can't read, he just isn't fast (thank you DIBELS). I don't time my kids when they are suppose to be timed in the phonic books, because comprehension and accuracy are more important to me than speed. Speed doesn't do you any good but comprehension and accuracy are a must! Nash has taken more AR tests than Sam. His teacher is pretty good at helping them find time to take an AR test (they are suppose to put their finished books on their desks so she knows they need to test). Plus, they take AR tests on the phonics books they bring home and read. I was happy to see that his STAR test had gone from .8-1.8 at the beginning of the school year to 1.2-2.2 at the end of January (Comprehension test for those that are unfamiliar with teacher lingo). His DIBELS score was 30 cwpm & 83% accuracy. The district goal for the end of first grade is 45 cwpm. Cache District has set a goal of 60 cwpm. Since he didn't hit a particular percentage, he wasn't able to do the retell part of DIBELS. We will have to practice reading more with him. I guess I'll have to break my rule of not timing my kids when they read (annoys me!).
Overall, I'm happy with how well my kids are doing. They are both happy & well adjusted. They make friends, listen (most of the time) and do what they are suppose to (usually). I'm proud of both of them. They both work hard at school and at home. Especially when you consider they both do piano, Sam dances twice a week and Nash will be starting soccer again soon.
Today I was also observed by my boss from the district. She told me that the principal from my Wednesday school was bragging about me at the principal's meeting yesterday. That made me smile. I really, really like my Wednesday principal. As my boss was leaving, she turned to me and said, "Please don't quit! Please come back next year! I want to put you in charge of this program when I leave the district." That completely caught me off guard! What a compliment! I for one, hope she isn't leaving the district any time soon! I also found out the other day that I'm eligible to submit lesson plans to the Utah High Ability Initiative. If my lesson plans are approved and placed in the state database, I will receive $100 per lesson plan. Wahoo! I've got more than one lesson plan sitting in my binder that I know will be accepted!