Friday, December 02, 2011

12/2/11 Report Cards!

I guess I'm supposed to know about this, but I was surprised when all 3 kids came home sporting the famous little manila envelope, with the first report card of the year.

This time, with three, it was interesting to see the different teacher styles in the reporting. Gabriel's teacher, an energetic intense semi-perfectionist, included a letter describing each section and how he graded it. Julian's teacher's ongoing exasperation with him showed, her comments were short and terse and included words like "stubborn" and "disrespectful." She's right, of course -- and what a shame; Julian is brimming with ability but it's trapped by his awful attitude. She gave Julian mostly average grades across all items, including for things that he excels at (reading) and stinks at (following instructions).

Katrina's teacher had a little more variation -- which usually we don't see in kindergarten -- including a rare "Mastery" score on some of the reading items. For kindergarten, I really don't worry about "report cards" unless there's an area of serious deficiency, which none of our kids have ever had in kindergarten. Deficiencies haven't shown up until 1st grade and really peak in 2nd!

The only negative thing noted was Katrina's class participation, but I count that as "that's just the way she is." It's completely consistent with our little non-joiner's personality. Katrina does not like to perform, join groups, or speak in front of groups, or be put on the spot. Around other kids, that is. When she has a small roomful of adults as a captive audience, then she lights up. I was just telling my mother today that Katrina is more relaxed and silly around her classmate Molly's father than she is around Molly -- a sparkly dazzling little girl -- herself.

This is the first time that any of our kids have ever completely aced a report card section, however (though Julian came close in 1st grade with reading once). Gabriel's teacher, who's known for his heavy interest in science, gave Gabriel rare highest-possible scores in science. By 4th grade, this means a lot, especially around here, to be marked "exceptional."

But not in math, interesting....then I thought about it. I asked Gabriel, "Have you moved on from electricity and magnetism in science yet?" "No, Mom, thank goodness," he answered. No wonder. It's like giving honey to a bear. My guess is that when his class moves on to earth science, his science prowess will align more with his general school performance -- a mixture of shining spots and pits of ambivalence.

Perhaps of greatest concern, if there is one, is that Gabriel's "math reasoning" skills were marked as average -- which is fine, but he does have some talent in this area. The teacher noted that this can reflect sloppiness and poor test-taking skills, like not reading instructions or planning his time well. That, I can speak from experience, can be a serious detriment in life!

Julian wins as being our #1 behavior problem still, but even he's managed to avoid the principal's office, notes from the teacher, alienating friends, and suspensions for a few weeks. That, to me, is a great score!


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