Tuesday, September 29, 2009

9/29/09 The Presentation

Whew. I'm exhausted. I got Gabriel from the CDC today as early as possible, which was still as late as 4pm, and set him about to work on his book report. With some breaks and a lot of reminding from me to stay on track, he got through two more big pieces of it, but was really burnt. Now we have just one more big piece, and his book report presentation, to practice. He also had regular homework to do tonight, and after that, I tried to get him to work a little on the book report presentation. He was so, so, SO tired. I felt terrible, and got him to do just a bare minimum (introducing the book).

It's staggering how much work this has been. There is no way possible a 2nd-grader could do this on his own. It requires far too much planning and summarizing and practicing presenting. We probably made it harder on ourselves with the book we ended up with, but still. I think the school needs feedback on how burdensome this has been, what a tremendous time sink it's been, despite the teachers' telling us how far along we should be on the project. It also hasn't helped that we had the "Star Of The Week" presentation today, either.

We're in the habit of arriving early to school anyway, so time was no problem. The boys and Katrina played on the kindergarten playground first. Katrina tried, anyway.

Then it was time to go to Gabriel's class, early to set up. (Another potential conflict with this thing about requiring parents at the presentation: I'm one of the few kindergarten parents who will leave my kindergartner outside class and trust him to go inside when the bell rings; most K-moms&dads see them inside. But since we had to get to Gabriel's class early, I had to leave Julian -- many K-moms won't do that.)

I asked Gabriel's teacher if I should interject if he started off on a tangent, and she said it's meant to be a family presentation, so, sure. But we hadn't practiced it that way, and most of my interjections ended up being corrections and reminders to look up and speak out. Not only didn't he like that, but it had no effect; if he repeated something he'd mumble it worse, trail his tone, and be reaching for the next item anyway. He wasn't exactly nervous, he was smiling and overall relaxed, but made no eye contact with his audience, and looked down the whole time he was talking, causing him to mumble, and his articulation is so-so to begin with. After he'd gone through describing his Big Bunny Fun Run trophy, one classmate asked him what that "medal thing" was for -- she had no idea! And I wouldn't have either.

He brought the house down showing how his Bear waves his arms and wiggles his tail though.

And, overall, I think he did pretty well; remembering most of what he'd planned to say, not going off on tangents, keeping each topic about the same length. If only he'd been intelligible, it'd have been perfect.

Speaking of perfect, Katrina was...well, perfect. I thought she'd be a big problem, but she mostly just sat with the class and looked at Gabriel.

Now if we can just get through the book report....

I took Gabriel with me to the CDC tonight, briefly, for a potluck celebration for a favorite CDC teacher who's getting married. He'd deserved the break. We rarely drive together in the dark, and on the way back, he said very sincerely, "Mom, I want to go to the city at night. I want to see the city lights, they're so pretty."

There are times he says things like that very meaningfully, like he's genuinely moved by the thought, and it floods me with warmth and love for him. Even something as simple as, "Wow, this is a really beautiful day," or while we were running a few weeks ago, "Those views are really wonderful, Mom" -- he really means it and he's just happily expressing his appreciation of something beautiful to him. It's a glimpse into his older self; his expression isn't at all kidlike when he says things like that.

He wants to see the Golden Gate Bridge at night, and I think he's earned it.


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