Posted by: wildflowerz | August 15, 2012

Australopithecus would really have been sick of us, debating how we’re here. They’re catching deer! (We’re catching viruses!)

Good morning!  I have to tell you, I think I’ve got to be a gym girl.  When I go to the gym, I do it absolutely first thing in the morning.  I get up and get ready and leave directly from the bus stop, so it’s easier for me to get there.  This is the same thing that happened before when I was working.  I also find it easier to exercise longer.  At home, there’s all these distractions and I just want to be done, not only because I’m tired and a little bored, but because there’s my computer there or my tv or something that needs to be cleaned.  But at the gym, I’ve driven all the way there, I’m in my exercise togs, and it’s just much easier for me to work longer and harder.  Before, I’ve gotten into a rut at the gym.  I’d end up spending most of my time on the recumbent bike because that was the only one I could read on and I LOVE to read.  However, with the Kindle, I can read anywhere.  It’s easy and I don’t feel it distracts from the exercise.

I’m feeling good about the Couch to 5K this time too.  I’m on day 2 of week 2.  I did the first day of week 2 on Monday and it was tough.  Today, it felt better.  One thing I’m liking is my jogging play list.  I don’t normally listen to music while I exercise, but I do during the C25K because I’ve got to listen to use the app anyway.  I’ve been using this play list for a bit and like it, so I thought I’d share it:

  • History of Everything – Barenaked Ladies
  • Mamma Mia – ABBA
  • Single Ladies – Beyonce
  • I Can’t Decide – Scissor Sisters
  • Telephone – Lady Gaga and Beyonce
  • Raise Your Glass – Pink
  • Town Called Malice – The Jam
  • Cool – The Guild
  • OMG – Usher feat. Will.I.Am
  • Brokenhearted – Karmin

School, so far, is a mixed bag.  Em loves it.  Absolutely.  She had AIM for the first time yesterday.  They’ve decided that both teachers will teach all the grades.  So Em has one teacher in the morning and one in the afternoon.  I LOVE this and think it’s a great idea.

I’m a little concerned for her regular class though.  She’s got a male teacher this year.  Is it a fundamental difference in typical men and women?  I don’t know.  The communication is really not there.  For instance, I’d heard before from other parents is that 3rd was when they had to read certain levels of books for AR instead of just reading whatever they wanted.  So, they had their first STAR test (assesses their reading level) and the results came home.  They seemed pretty accurate.  Em said her teacher told them that the GE (Grade Equivalent) was the important number, though her 1st grade teacher said that it was the IRL (Instructional Reading Level) number.  The IRL is usually (if not always) lower.  She also has a ZPD range.  I can’t remember what that stands for.  Em’s ZPD has always spanned about 2 grade levels.  So, I feel like it’s kind of obvious that maybe she should read within her ZPD level.  And to be honest, most of what she reads fits in there. However, she sometimes picks higher books and every once in a while picks lower books.  So, before it became an issue, I just sent a quick email to her teacher asking if she needed to stay within that range for AR tests, or if it was permissible to read above or below.  I thought it was a pretty straightforward question.  He totally didn’t answer my question in the least.  He goes on about not squelching her love of reading and sometimes she needs to read in her level, blah, blah, blah.  Yeah.  He said he’d talk more about it at curriculum night.  Curriculum night isn’t until the end of this month.  They get progress reports 2 days after curriculum night!  Yeah.

Also, with AR, Em says that they’ve got individual AR goals instead of a generic one for the whole class.  I think that’s a great idea, especially within an inclusion class like Em’s.  Except that Em tells me that she thinks her’s is 19 points.  Hello, have you met my daughter?  She had 26 points after the first 8 days of class!  Shouldn’t we be challenging these kids?  And shouldn’t you maybe let the parents know what you’re doing in class?

The second area is Spelling.  This year, what he put in his newsletter, was that there would be a pretest on Monday.  If they got 90% or 100%, then they did the challenge words instead.  If they didn’t, they tested on the regular words.  It’s pretty straightforward and a version of what they’ve done in the past.  Em missed 4 on the pretest.  So we studied the regular words.  When they had the actual tests, the kids that got the regular words got the chance to try the challenge words for extra points.  Shouldn’t that be something we should have been told?  I mean, Em probably doesn’t need the extra points.  And I wouldn’t force her to do the extra work if she didn’t need it.  But she should have gotten the choice to study them if she wanted to, but we didn’t have all the information.

So, yeah.  He also seems to not have a lot of follow-through.  Math’s another place with issues.  The follow-through comes from the times tables tests.  They tested on the 2s the first Monday and Em made 100%, so she moved on to the 3s.  He told them that they’d test on them that Thursday.  They didn’t.  He said they’d do it Friday.  They didn’t.  He said they’d do it Monday.  They didn’t.  As far as I know, he didn’t give them another day, but she was in AIM all day yesterday.  Another thing with math, I’m not getting:  She brought home math homework on Monday on rounding.  They’ve not gone over rounding in class last year or this year and Em didn’t know how to do it.  She did it (in pen) on the bus and missed almost all of them because she didn’t understand it.  I whited it all out and taught her in 5 minutes how to do it.  She missed one, corrected it, then got the rest right.  Easy peasy.  On Friday, their newsletter says they’re talking about rounding this week.  Huh?  Is this how he assesses them?  Shouldn’t that be done in an in-class situation?  Homework doesn’t seem to be the best way to try that, but that’s my opinion, I suppose.

I’m not generally the type of mom to question a teacher’s methods.  I feel like they’ve got the degree and the experience and they know what works.  What my main problem here is that I don’t know what they’re doing!  There’s not much communication and when we do get some information, it’s not complete.  Having curriculum night so far into the school year isn’t helpful either.  Though, I will say that I’m pretty sure it’s always been this late.  But it’s not been a problem before.  Em’s teachers did a good job of telling us what we needed to know as we went along.  Her teacher this year does not.  I’m hoping stuff smooths out after we meet at the end of the month.  Jeez.

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