Sunday, November 8, 2015

First Official Report Card

Ayden Jane is in second grade and at her school this is when "real" report cards start. She gets a number grade for Language Arts and for Math. Personally, I think it is a bit silly to spend the teachers time and efforts with grading students so young but at least they just stick to the two subjects. Science and Social Studies is still the good old fashioned check system. Yep, they learned the skill, nope they didn't...

Now there are a couple of ways for me to look at this transition. I can worry that Ayden Jane gets the very best opportunity to get high grades. I can set it up in such a manner that she gets to go test in a small group setting to she can ask questions as she goes through. I could even put it in her IEP to modify the tests or allow her to retake tests...

My approach? None of the above. I have taken the approach with Ayden Jane that I will allow her to do things with as little help as possible and see the extent of what she can do. This does not work for lots of kids but I find that for Ayden Jane it works best. Mostly because I still tend to underestimate her. I wasn't sure how I was going to approach all this grade stuff until I had a conversation with her teacher. She asked me how Ayden Jane would handle it if she did not get A's? Hmmm. Good question. I wasn't sure of the answer, but I was sure that I didn't want Ayden Jane to be caught up in 'grades' that young. I wanted her to stay caught up in learning. Her approach to school so far has been to do her best and learn. She measures if she is learning enough by whether or not she is learning what she needs to know to go to the next grade.

So, in that simple question of, will she be okay if she does not get A's? One thing I knew for sure was that if I made school about the grades it was going to be a long ride. No matter how smart a child is, getting all A's all the time will make one crazy. So I knew that I did not want to set the expectation in Ayden Jane's brain that A's are what school is about. Additionally, if she got all A's the first time, then it would be set in her brain that all A's would come in every report card. Yeah... don't want to deal with that.

I could go on a rant about society and all kids being rewarded and how everyone is a winner.... but I'll just leave it to say that some kids are A students and some are not and I am totally okay with grades less than an A if it your best work. For Ayden Jane that may be A's at times and it might be C's at times. In the end, who cares.

So for Ayden Jane's very first graded report card, how did she do? She had a B in Language Arts and she had a C in math. She was just 3 points shy of a B in math and she conquered some new territory and worked really hard for that 82 so we are very proud of her. Her teacher gave her the class "Hard Worker" award and if a kid ever deserved that award it is her.

The best part is she is proud of her report card and the fact that she works very hard. She says she hopes she gets on the A/B honor roll next time but mostly she just wants to keep learning. I'd say that's a perfect attitude.

As for the extra help? The time may come but seriously. Ayden Jane just started a new school year - newness always throws her. She is reading well and doing all the Language Arts on her own with zero extra help or help on homework and she got a B!! She worked her tail off in math and is understanding concepts and thinking mathematically pretty well. She always makes mistakes like miss counting and gets things wrong on tests because of that but I know that she understands the concepts and she got a C all by herself. She is in a typical classroom doing the same work as typical kids and is doing great. I'll take it.

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