Friday, June 15, 2012

Semester 1

It is hard to believe that we are nearly half way through the year already. I have just finished marking final examinations and will start writing reports next week and preparing to do it all over again next semester. The twins have settled into year 2 really well. I am glad that I asked for them to be put in the same class as each other as I feel that has worked very well for all concerned.
They have 2 teachers (job share). Both have been able to establish a firm but fair relationship with Hannah. They 'own' her education and while I know it isn't always easy for them I am sure that they do their best within the mainstream environment to provide Hannah with equal access to learning opportunities. She has only 1 aid this year who is a wonderful woman.
As these things go the teacher they have 3 days a week is going on maternity leave next term. (selfishly I wish she wasn't but I can't begrudge her the joy of her first baby - it is very exciting) and so we got their class reports a little early this year.
I am absolutely thrilled with their reports. As I pointed out to them - they both got 1 for effort for everything - and I don't think I can ask for more. They both love school and their classroom has a open and caring feel to it. Kit wasn't well on the afternoon of our P/T interview so Phil went on his own - something that I think was really valuable because too often I find that I have to explain the report to him - because I am a teacher - but I am not a primary school teacher and I am not the twin's teacher so it was great for him to get specific feedback from them.
Most of the interview was spent talking about Kit - no surprises to me in what they said but I think it helped mobilise Phil to pay closer attention to Kit's homework which is fantastic. Kit is a great kid and achieving good grades - but he likes to see a job done. He loves to tick the box to say the work is done - and the work is usually correct - but it isn't 'perfect'. he rushes through we are encouraging him to take more care in his presentation of homework. Also he does the basics (very quickly and easily) but does not do more - for example they have extra homework tasks each week that earn them points. The minimum points is meant to be 10 - so Kit was always making sure he got his 10 points and then he'd stop - whereas he could easily be doing all the additional activities and getting MORE than the minimum points...also he and a few others are doing some extension spelling words and for these it isn't enough to just write them out 3 times - he was getting the odd one incorrect - so I have set him up on Spellboard (which is a fantastic app I use with Hannah) and just going over them a few times more has meant he usually gets them all correct.
Hannah is very proud of herself - she can read by herself books like Where is the Green Sheep and her sight words are increasing steadily. She loves Emma Quay's Rudie Nudie and is very motivated by the fact that there are whole pages in it that she can read independently. It is so exciting - I remember how proud Kit was when it happened for him - with The Deep Blue Sea.
This year is the first year where Hannah has also had a chance to attempt some of the spelling words too. Now because she didn't really do them in kindy or year 1 she is a bit behind but I choose  of the clearest ones I can and she practices them with me. I use letter blocks (for manipulative practice) and Spellboard for motivated practice as well as simply writing out he words in her homework book like everyone else. This week one of the words was 'cry' and I swear - I nearly cried - but Hannah got that one. She could spell it orally and in writing - and boy did she know she'd just cracked a bit of a milestone - she is very happy to spell aloud 'cry' whenever asked to show how clever she is.
This year was also the first time that her report was in exactly the same format as Kit's but incorporating her IEP goals - and that was such big improvement - it meant the report actually told us things that we needed to know about her education.
So in summary Kit has 'made excellent progress' is  'bright and enthusaistic' and when challenged shows an ability to 'think extensively and provide intelligent responses' 'self motivated'. Hannah has made 'steady progress' is capable of following 'simple instructions' and when 'compliant can produce quality work'. She is 'engaging and communicating more with her peers and teachers' and 'participates very well in Creative and Practical Art activities'.
So all in all it has been an excellent semester.
I finally started to get my head around maths for Hannah - this arrived just today for me to start to play and see if it helps Hannah as much as some of the research suggests it will:
Kit has also been getting even better at helping out - he often helps Hannah with her homework without being asked and he is keen to help out around the house too - setting the table, carrying bags inside for me, putting away the shopping etc. Hannah loves it when he works with her...
 Practising their solo dance...

And enjoying afternoon tea of homemade cream buns

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