Kindergarten 12-11-13

What a difference a little time makes. My order this week was J, S, and V, but V was out because she had to go to the doctor’s office. That is too bad because I wore the necklace that she inadvertently designed.

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It is all stars and hearts. They are sparkly, too.

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Not my style, but I think I need to get back in touch with my inner kindergartner. Maybe I’ll wear it again next week. I am a little concerned that she will want it. If I give a present to one, the others will get jealous. It is bad enough that some of the kids are upset that I don’t work with them. Today S asked me if I would buy him a Christmas present and I had to explain the concept of being fair to the other kids.

Plus, it is rude to ask for presents. But then, if you don’t ask, you won’t receive.

I had J first and boy was he excited. Maybe his enthusiasm is part of why other students ask me if I’m going to work with them. He pumps his arms and whoops when I call him to go to the tutoring desk. He acts like he just won a huge prize. Maybe he did. Who doesn’t like a little personal attention? Sometimes the teacher will assign a student to me who doesn’t need help with schoolwork. Sometimes all they need is a little one on one time with a person who cares.

It is too bad that J’s enthusiasm didn’t last long. He did very well for a while but then wanted to go back to class soon because they were working on math. Now that I think about it, numbers have been his favorite since the beginning. It is good findings something that can build up his confidence, but he has to nail reading too.

There are workarounds for not being able to read at all, but he doesn’t show signs of needing them. He does show signs of neglect, however. I get the impression that his parents don’t spend time with him. His hair always looks dirty and unbrushed, and he is a little wild. He seems to have a hard time controlling his reactions – they are a little over dramatic and agitated. He also is noticeably behind on his speech. It is very hard to understand him. He has been going to a speech therapist but I’m not seeing improvement. At times it seems like it is getting worse. I wonder if he acts like he needs specialized help because he just wants attention – since he isn’t getting it at home.

I worked with S for a while too. It is amazing to see a child who is being raised in a non English speaking home do better than one whose parents speak English. He does well with vocabulary and his letters, and it is heartening to see how confident he is getting. His speech reminds me of another Hispanic child from last year. It isn’t quite English and it isn’t quite Spanish, but he is very enthusiastic about it.

I finished early because V wasn’t there so I stayed to help with the math centers. They had a bunch of fun ways of learning about numbers and shapes. If math had been that fun when I was in school I might have liked math more. The students had to work with partners and one of the girls asked me to work with her. She has asked me to work with her every week, and remembers that I was there helping her the first week of school. That is pretty amazing for a kindergartner. Usually they don’t remember very well.

It is part of what makes the books hard for them. They can’t get the pattern. Page one. “See the bear. The bear can climb.” Page two. “See the squirrel. The squirrel can climb.” After we have gone through all the other animals that can climb I’d think they would get that the only word that changes is the animal, and there is a picture of it on the page. Nope. It is all a surprise every time. Books for five year olds are very short on purpose. I wonder how much of that is to keep the reader from pulling out her hair because they are so simple.

There was a bit of a wrestling match over who would get to have me as a partner. J wanted me, but I pointed out to him that we had already worked together so I needed to work with someone else. He was having none of that. Now, I’m not going to be monopolized, and I actually do want to see how the other kids are doing. I’d like a sense of perspective.

The teacher came up with a good plan. I could go around and check their work, instead of pairing up with them. She’s very good at plans like this. I think part of what I go there for is to learn these lessons. I think I might have missed some life lessons when I was five. It is a good idea to fill in the gaps.

Soon it was time for them to get ready to go out to play. It was a little cold but sunny, so they put on their costs. I put on my coat as well because it was time to leave. S saw me with my coat on and asked if I was going outside to play with them. I said I was going to lunch and he looked sad. I’m a little sad too. Why don’t adults get a regularly scheduled playtime?

I think that and a nap would do us all a world of good.

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