Friday, October 03, 2008

Lo Hicimos

On Wednesday, Connor received his first ever report card. This led to two important realizations:
1. My baby is so grown up!
2. Kindergarten report cards are kind of jacked up.

I used to teach elementary school, but I was never qualified to understand how kindergarten report cards worked. To begin with, regular grades are just not applicable. But also, the first six weeks only measures about a fourth of the skills they will work on overall. This makes sense, since kids enter kindergarten all over the map- there are some kids who come in knowing how to read, and some who come in unable to identify a single letter on sight, let alone tell you what sound it makes. But what, exactly, is Connor supposed to know after six weeks of formal education?

It turns out, not much. He got marked for "mastery" or "non-mastery" of a small list of skills. His only area of non-mastery was knowing his own phone number, which he now knows. His attendance is on there, and as you know I don't put a lot of stock in showing up every day so this is of no concern to me. Then there is the non-fiction "conduct" section. All "E"s? Really? He is respectful and responsible at school? If I woke up tomorrow with my head sewn to the carpet, I wouldn't be more surprised than I was when I saw that.

We were proud of him, though, and tried to let him know what a big deal the report card was. He didn't really get it, and didn't have time to waste on receiving our praise. We weren't worried- it's the first one, after all, and since there aren't even real grades on it I can see why it didn't really register with him.

Today there was an awards program at his school. They have one every six weeks, just a quick half hour for the kids to feel good about themselves while learning how to behave in an assembly. I wasn't sure if I should go- do they even have honor roll in kindergarten? Or would it be one of those things I hate where everyone gets an award? It turns out, it was a little of both. Connor got a Citizenship award for making all Es in conduct, did not get a Perfect Attendance award, and got an Honor Roll ribbon for. . . something. Most kids in his class got something, even if it was the highly suspicious "Outstanding Effort" award.

But when Connor's awards were read out, he got one that I didn't see any other kids receive- the Outstanding Spanish Student award. All that time watching Dora finally paid off! I was really proud of him for that one. He was already excited that I had come to the program (I didn't mention it to him, just in case I couldn't get away from work to attend), but soon he became excited about his accomplishments as well. He and his sister visited me at work this afternoon, and I told everyone about Connor's Spanish award. And something amazing happened- he actually internalized the praise he received. He was proud of himself! But not in a crappy, boastful way- in a surprised, totally endearing way. It was just like those childrearing experts said it would be if we focused on the positive and ignored the negative!
Now that we've got one report card under our belts, we know what to spend the next six weeks working on together- counting by 10s, praising more than punishing, and figuring out how it is that my baby grew up so fast. Mi bebe!


cjaxon said...

It is amazing what kids will do for their teachers. I don't know whether to laugh or cry when I am helping out at a field trip. Those kids act like God is speaking to them anytime their teachers mouth opens.
And then they come home, and it is just us blabbing into thin air.
So glad to hear that Connor adjusted to school so quickly!
I am giving you the "Outstanding Effort as a Parent Award" How ya like it? hehe

Stacey Greenberg said...

que bueno!

Stanfill said...

way to go connor!

Stan said...


An said...

who learns their lan line these days? big c's just waiting for his own cell phone