Our school had a classroom "open house" tonight. Good thing Julian brought home an invitation, or I'd never have known about it. Gabriel didn't tell me anything about it.
Gabriel's class was showing videos of their poetry reports. Gabriel's teacher told me that he was robbed, because somehow the video recording of his "How To" report, about making a battery from lemons, was lost, and she said that was much better, though he did get some good laughs during his poetry presentation too.
Gripe as they do, I think this early emphasis on presentation is really good.
We non-volunteer parents rarely get a chance to really look at the classroom and their work posted to the wall, so this was a nice opportunity. The class had done paintings of flowers in an oil pastel, for example -- I had no idea Gabriel had ever done that. Gabriel's teacher told me that he resists anything the art teacher asks the class to do, but he will do art projects she asks for. Gabriel's desk also had a stack of his stories and compositions to show parents, that was interesting.
I took the boys alone while Dave had a nice quiet dinner alone with Chatty-Katty, so I had to boogie between the 3rd-grade and 1st-grade classrooms during the short 1/2-hour open-house.
Julian's classroom had a Rain Forest theme, and this was really impressive. Every art project, composition, story, in-class book report, and task that the 1st-graders have done for the past 3 months were related to Rain Forests, and were posted to the walls. Julian was excited to show me his craft project of a red frog, a coloring of a Toucan, a Tiger stripe collage, his report about gorillas, a story about saving the rain forest, and many other things I can't remember. I think this would make the granola "whole-learning" crowd pretty happy -- this was great!
I was struck immediately by the drastic difference in social scenes between Gabriel and Julian's classrooms. Gabriel has a very familiar and comfortable rapport with his longtime pal Parth, a super-nice kid I adore too. They were in kindergartenn together and really do know each other well, and are very relaxed together.
Julian, on the other hand, was approached by kid after kid after kid: "HI JULIAN!!" Kids ran up to him to tell him something, to say hi, to pull his Rain Forest hat off, to kid around. Julian's teacher told me that he's extremely well-liked, and this contributes to his problems concentrating. He's very very social and easily distracted.
Though our evenings rarely have room for diversions like this, it was really worthwhile and fun. I had a rare good day at work today (Mr. Horrible was out of sight all day), so I wasn't as tense and snappy to deal with the boys. It really was nice to see the classrooms, chat with other parents and their teachers. Someday maybe our discussions will entirely exclude behavior discussions. Someday maybe my work will be the same!!