Spacefem (spacefem) wrote,

spring parent-teacher conference

We had parent-teacher conferences last week and I figured I'd put down the interesting notes.

First off of course Josie is brilliant and above average and her teacher wishes she had a whole class of Josies. This is funny for me to hear because if I had a house full of stubborn Josies I'd go insane.

What should she be reading, I asked. We get these Junie B. Jones chapter books about cupcakes or whatever and she's not that interested, is that because she's not ready? Apparently not. She is past the level of the cupcake books... the reading group she's in will be tackling Charlotte's Web. Advice: don't get "chapter books" just because they're "chapter books", some of them aren't that good. Some children's picture books are better written and more advanced than chapter books. Get GOOD books. Reading level is not correlated to how many pages a book has.

To me, Josie seems to get easily frustrated, but her teacher says her perseverance is above average for a six year old. My expectations are too high.

On the other hand when it comes to communication I have some expectations that aren't high enough. I ask what josie learned she said "I don't know". Her teacher said, "Don't ACCEPT THAT!" In class, when a kid is asked a question she has to answer in a complete sentence of at least seven words. This teacher loves asking kids questions. In fact she says she never gives answers. Everything is questions and getting there yourself. If a kid asks her a question, she asks a question right back.

They do a lot of group work. Sometimes she puts Josie in any group and she just has the best ideas and the others go along with her. Frequently the teacher puts her in a group with another strong kid so they butt heads and have to work together and she says that's always fun to watch, it's a serious challenge. Just depends on the day and the assignments and what's going on.

I asked a lot of questions about math, and in explaining what they're doing the teacher got a little nervous and said "I don't know how you feel about common core..." I said I loved common core. She was like "Oh AWESOME okay here's how cool this is, see a 13 is a ten and a three and we break down everything to find the tens and this really freaks some parents out because they don't know why we're doing this breakdown..." Then she showed me more assignments and told me a lot more about what they're doing. She didn't say it, but it's like she's afraid to show the diagrams because someone will say "IS THIS THAT COMMON CORE BS?" and it gets all political.

Parents get freaked out seeing things that they haven't seen. Marc said it best: he wants to tell those parents "Just because you're a dumbass doesn't mean your kid has to be."

I told the teacher about this interesting conversation I'd had with Josie. Josie asked when she was born. I asked how old she'd be this year... she knew seven. What year is it... she knew 2017. What's 2017 minus seven? blank. What's 17 minus seven? 10! So what's 2017 minus seven? blank.

She's not there yet. Her teacher said these kids are learning tens but hundreds... totally big. Thousands? Way out there! But they will get there, it's okay, and still cool to talk about. Don't get nervous.

She's getting along with other kids. Here's a weird thing... I have friends whose kids are first graders and they come home with stories about DRAMA and bullying and mean kids, even in the first grade! Josie does not come home with those stories. Is it because she doesn't notice? Is she the one BEING mean? that's my real concern. This teacher said she just does not allow it in her class at all. Doesn't happen. I'm still skeptical and concerned because school can be weird.

Anyway, it sounds like I can bug my kid to get more information out of her and ask questions and have lots of conversations because there's a lot going on in her head, I just need to keep getting it out.

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