Saturday, November 14, 2015

1st Grade Trial Week

The first week of November, Gus attended first grade for his trial week. By Wednesday, Jon and I knew what our decision would be.

The week started out okay. Gus was nervous, obviously, but at pick-up, he said that he had an okay day. After dinner, Jon asked if he got to choose first grade or kindergarten, where Gus wanted to go on Tuesday. Gus responded that he wanted a mix of both; first grade for better learning and kindergarten for more fun.

On Tuesday at pick-up, I asked the first grade teacher, what she thought, knowing that it had only been two days. She said that there were academic holes, based on 1st grade assessments he would fall in the average to below-average category compared to the rest of the class. She said the academic holes could be filled, but you can't fill social holes. She was also looking down the road to not just first grade, but the maturity and social expectations of 2nd grade, 3rd grade and beyond. Tuesday night and Wednesday night, Gus told us that if he got to choose he'd choose kindergarten, because it was more fun.

Based on the homework that he was getting, I learned that Gus is ahead in reading for kindergarten, but he hasn't learned the strategies to sound out words, that he will learn later in the kindergarten year. As for math, the same. He is really good at the sight words and counting to 100 by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s, but doesn't have the concepts behind the counting down. So, academically, he's between kindergarten and first grade, and socially he needs to be in kindergarten.

So, we just finished his first week back in kindergarten. The principal and teacher are going to reach out to the TAG coordinator (whose placement is only grades 3-8) to see if he can come in to observe and meet with Gus, to hopefully provide his kindergarten teacher with resources and enrichment activities for him. There also need to be discussions about how to incorporate more of what Gus does need help with (writing) instead of focusing on literacy, which the others kids need right now, but he doesn't.

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