It's not only vacation time but the end of the semester and, uh oh, report cards.
This wasn't too much of a concern and few surprises for Katherine because I had made an appointment earlier in the year to speak to Ms. Bayly, followed by mid-semester conferences. The topic was the same each time, Katherine is extremely bright but has a hard time listening and being organized. Her report card reflected that and not just in her main classroom, but in her music class as well. It all stems from her difficulties in listening. She can't get organized because she didn't hear all the directions and she can't get started on tasks because she can't remember what was said. It's frustrating, not just for her teachers and us, but for her as well. She says that they give too many instructions in a row and after the first few she forgets what the rest are. At home it's often the reverse, she catches the last direction and neglects the first three or four.
I've explained how, when the teacher starts speaking, she needs to stop what she's doing completely and listen intently. Having her write everything down is a non-starter as she wouldn't be able to find a pencil to do so, but would easily waste 3 minutes looking and miss all the comments anyway. Maybe having her repeat the directions quietly to herself as the teacher is saying them? I need ideas!
The report card is graded differently than I'm used to. An E = Established, meaning that she is consistently meeting and exceeding expectations. A C = Consolidating. She's getting there, but has days where it's out of her grasp. A D= Developing, or the requirements have been set forth but she has consistent troubles meeting them.
Thankfully, in the specified curriculum (Language Arts, Math and Social Studies/Science) she has Es in everything but the very first. A "C" for listening. Like I said, not a surprise. The last section labelled "The Child as a Learner" (where do they come up with these things??), she has mostly Es, many Cs and *gasp* a D. The D, not suprisingly (insert *sigh* here), is in the area for taking care of her belongings and other classroom materials. OK, the kid can't keep track of -anything-, and it's a constant source of frustration at home as well.
Now, outside of her homeroom, the other class she has troubles in is Music. Grandpa would not be pleased. She has Cs in the three areas singing related, from knowing the words for 10 songs to matching pitch. She also has troubles identifying instruments by their sounds.
OK, I scanned the report card, I see all the Cs (and that one D) and I cringe. Then I read the actual items being graded on and I just can't take some of them seriously. How do you objectively determine is a kid is using a "singing voice" and then grade them on it? I guess that's a good excuse for me not being a teacher. I couldn't imagine telling kids that they don't have a good enough singing voice in second grade. How does she get an "E" for "Listens Purposefully" and a "C" for "Listens Effectively"? How does she get a "C" for participating in music class and using her singing voice, but in the comments have it written that she "has a lovely singing voice and participates well"? Who knows.
Overall, I think she did great. We have a lot of work to do yet in listening and organizaion. Now that we have several weeks at home, I need to make a conscious effort to slow down my directions, get her full attention, have her repeat things. She gets on my case for picking on her and not doing these things to her sister, but you know how it goes. Rebecca doesn't need the constant reminders and she automatically does things like put her shoes away and change her school clothes. I imagine it's very difficult for her to hear her name repeatedly being called to complete tasks.