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November - what are they doing now?

post #1 of 32
Thread Starter 

Happy November!


We just had our first parent-teacher conference of the year, and am feeling pretty good about how things are working out in second grade, and I feel like sharing....


DD's teacher has impressed me with her willingness to tailor DD's homework to her level while still connecting it to concepts the class is covering. For example, they just started a geometry unit, so she gave DD a list of spelling words with Greek or Latin number prefixes (monotone, biceps, triangle, quadrilateral, quintessential, etc).  She doesn't have a lot of time to differentiate instruction for DD during the day (DD's teacher said that 14 of the 22 kids in her class are identified as ESL students), but meets with her at the end of the day to review homework assignments as needed, and has been asking for and responding to feedback from me.  DD has a weekly reading group with 2 other kids who are fairly close to her level.  The teacher said she is running out of books for that group though, but said she plans to consult with the group about what to order for their reading bin.


Normally they don't do "advanced work" until fourth grade here, based on testing in third grade, but DD's school will be starting a couple of pull-out classes for second graders this month.  The science teacher will be running an advanced math group, and the librarian will be running an advanced writers' group.  They plan to meet weekly with 3 kids from each second grade room, so 6 kids combined.  This is the first time her school has tried this for that age group.  They planned for this when setting the class schedules, so pull-out math will be during regular math time, and the same with the writing.  


Afterschool:  DD is enjoying Math Circle and Irish dance.  She has a dance competition next month.  Violin lessons started last month, but they still haven't found the right-sized instrument for DD yet.  I knew DD was young for the program (normally for grades 3-5), but it didn't occur to me that she could be too small for the instruments!  The instructor brought a 3/4 violin the first week, then a 1/2 size the next week, and plans to bring a 1/4 size tomorrow....  


So (big sigh of relief), second grade is going pretty well so far!  Much better than first grade, which was such a disappointment for DD.  I think it really paid to meet with the principal last spring to discuss options for second grade.


post #2 of 32

5 yo dd is in kindergarten and I spoke briefly to her teacher last week who informed me she is in the top reading group and when tested she estimated her DRA level to be mid to late 1st grade level. although i will say at home she will read books at a mid to late 2nd grade level for me but i don't ask her comprehension questions so maybe she's not comprehending everything she's reading. she's really enjoying the Frog and Toad series. 


and 8 yo dd wrote a beautiful story last week that made me cry.

post #3 of 32

DS6 is not receiving any math instruction in his second-grade classroom until early December, when we meet for a follow-up TAT team meeting.  In the meantime the team is following up with the middle school math department head and the district's math consultant for ideas on what to do, and I've been asked to evaluate several online math programs with my son to see whether one would be a good fit for using inside the classroom.   I don't feel that I should have to afterschool him just to keep him learning.  His test scores indicate that a skip to at least fourth grade would be warranted, but my school district rarely skips, and then has (according to the principal) a rule that one skip is all you can get.


DS6 will be meeting regularly with a new "support group" of other advanced kids at his school.  Apparently they will be taken from different grades, since no one in his grade seems close to his wavelength.  His guidance counselor had this idea.  She said she will select some kids that might not be quite on DS's wavelength academically, but that are advanced in different ways and have unique interests, and can hopefully share in some of the feelings he's having.  I don't know what sort of activities they'll be doing.


Yesterday DS6, out of school again because of a power outage here in the Northeast, accompanied me to two courthouses and learned a bit about the legal system.  He had a blast.


DS2 continues to be speech-delayed.  He is a reluctant speaker in many ways, but is starting to hazard more words and three-word sentences.  He is very silly, and tackling 48-piece puzzles now.

post #4 of 32

Dd17 is living independently in a big city (Montreal) on the other side of the country and doing just great. She has no family, no adult supports, no college structure or school-style 'soft landing', just figuring it out on her own. There have been a few wrinkles. There has been a major conundrum getting internet service, and it still isn't connected, which is a problem since she is supposed to be doing her schooling on-line and is now almost a month behind during her graduation year. But she's learned how to call customer service and advocate for herself! And she was mugged in the subway, had her iPhone and only means of communication stolen -- not hurt, nothing else taken, but a major (expensive!) pain nonetheless. Anyway, she's third chair in the city's most advanced student orchestra, preparing for their tour of China, picking up French like crazy as rehearsals are entirely francophone, is working on an hour-long performance program for violin performance/scholarship auditions in January/February for university next year, managing all the business of independent living, picking up occasional gigs to help pay the rent and such. Her repertoire for the auditions: Bach Chaconne, Wieniawski Concerto, Kreisler Tambourin Chinois, one of the Mozart Concertos. Great stuff!


Ds15 is the one who has blown me away recently. Over the past few years he's shown himself to be highly introverted, perfectionistic, underachieving, procrastinating, anti-academic, avoidant and dysgraphic, and very comfortable hiding in the shadow of his high-achieving older sister. However he recently decided to attend high school part-time, after a lifetime of unschooling. And the transformation has been amazing! He is now seeing his abilities in some sort of rational light. The validation he's getting from teachers and peers at school has been overwhelming. He has become a de facto leader of 10th grade and an idolized role model for the 8th and 9th graders who hang on his every word. As the English teacher mentioned last week in writing me about an non-school-related matter  "Your 'shy' little boy, wow! He sauntered into school, grabbed centre stage and hasn't let go!" About his participation in the major cross-curricular project of the past term: "He literally "held court" most of the week with his group and a growing number of other students. I can't believe his zeal for social connection and his artfulness in being so kind and supportive of others while also leading. Very exciting to see him in action." He is completing his giftedness and OT assessments this morning, coincidentally. These were requested last winter, back when he was still homeschooling, and have been expedited by the school due to his issues with written output, but he's thriving using his laptop and isn't the slightest bit self-conscious about it so the assessment turns out to be just a bit of necessary hoop-jumping to get him permission to use a laptop during standardized exams. 


Dd12 is doing well in her first year of school too. She's doing 8th grade with 9th grade science and 10th grade math and seems to be doing just fine. It's hard to know exactly how they're performing, as the teachers for all three of my older children are in the midst of a protracted labour dispute and no grades are being issued, and none of the standard parent-teacher conferences or curriculum nights are being held. I'm not at all grade oriented, so I don't find it particularly troublesome not to have this information, but it is a little odd to have two of your kids start school at advanced levels for the first time ever, never having had any experience with assignments or tests or grade-levelled structured academics, and to get absolutely no direct feedback about their performance. I trust when they say they're doing well and learning lots and finding the work to be easily mastered ... 


Dd8 is off on a non-academic jag, after spending the first month of her siblings' schooling lapping up plenty of bookwork. She has kept up a bit of math work and is within a month or so of finishing Singapore Math 6B, which covers stuff at the pre-algebra level. Every once in a while I harbour little doubts that maybe she's just memorizing mathematical procedures without the level of understanding Singapore Math purports to teach but then she manages to quickly solve a new style of problem, like this, without using algebra, just her own mental math and deduction skills:

"Sumin buys 27 comics and 12 magazines for a total of $126. Three comics cost as much as two magazines. How much does each comic cost?"


And then I shake my head in wonder and accept that it's okay, she understands what she's learned, since she can apply it all, logically and creatively, in new ways. We'll spend the rest of the year doing a program of math enrichment for gifted middle schoolers rather than rushing to move into a high school program. Her real passion these days is for science: populations biology and chemistry especially.


She's off visiting her big sister in Montreal for three days (her dad, attending a conference nearby, is able to deliver her there and pick her up). She's thrilled with the idea of living for a short time without any grownups in a big city, taking the metro, shopping, cooking, phoning home to chat, saying "bonjour" and "merci" in shops ... 



post #5 of 32

After being bombarded by DS forever with questions like "what's 1/2 of 1/2? and whats 1/2 of 1/4? What's 1/2 of 1/8... " and what's 2 times 2? 4 times 4? 16 times 16? 256 times 256?" DH finally broke down this morning and let him have his scientific calculator. DS spent almost the whole day, absorbed. He even noted down each result in order to proceed with the next operation. Then he designed a complex algorithm 1-1x2+2 and went all the way u to 99-99x100+100, first yelling out the results, later running to us to have us read them to him. It took him hours! He had several meltdowns on the way but wouldn't give up until he had made it to 100 as had been his goal. i did not want to interrupt him in order to have him get dressed - I remember it was almost 11.30 h when I managed to get him out of his pyjamas (we're all on vacation and sick, so housebound.)

He then got more paper and started doing multiplication with base 10 numbers, getting it right up to billions. I had to count the zeros to check and he got them right every time. Then he told his dad that "6 + 4 is 10, and you know how I got that? 2 times 3 is 6, and 2 times 2 is 4, but you can add 2 and 3 and get 5 and 2 times 5 is 10, too!"

I remember being worried that he was going to be reading before school, and going to lose his mind in a classroom without differentiation. He's still not reading - may be something left to learn if we manage to enter him early. Looks like it's the math we will have to watch out for.

Well, and his socio-emotional maturity, of course. He then spent the rest of the day typing nonsense adn crowing "it doesn't understand me!" when getting the error signal. For hours, too.

DD fed herself her pureed veggies with a spoon and then proceeded to build towers with big lego blocks, five and six blocks high. Her fine motor skills blow us away. Or is that totally normal for just after one, and have we forgotten DS did that too or was he still delayed at that age?? (DS was mildly premature and had somewhat delayed motor skills during his first year). 

post #6 of 32

I have no official identification but thought I'd share anyway--even though my kids are not nearly as advanced as some here:


DD1 (5):  Figured out 2 digit subtraction (no regrouping) with a two sentence explanation and proceeded to crank out 16 problems correctly. Lately she has figured out the concepts of multiplication and division though she can only complete simple, simple problems. I'm surprised by her math skills since she always has demonstrated advanced verbal skils first. She is still struggling with reading fluency and stamina. Last summer at not yet 4, she started acing the early Bob books and sight word flashcards and then stalled for a while--nearly a year. She's made a lot of progress in the last few weeks though. I think she just needs something to push her over the edge, and it just might be her vision maturing?  We also are dealing with a ton of tantrums of late, most rooted in frustration. She is showing signs of perfectionism along with a low tolerance for frustration, and the combination is making her nearly impossible when things don't measure up to what's in her head.  Her anger is epic and i am at a loss. We're a little annoyed with the lack of differentiation in her Young 5s program thus far. They're doing letter identification and counting and lots of tracing of words and sentences; this week, DD made me a card that said, "I love you but sumtimes I git frusitraded". A bit of a gap, no? We have our PT conference next week, so we hope to  get a little more information then.


DD2 (3y10m): I have no idea what she actually knows and can do!  But she definitely is doing first grade math (simple addition and subtraction), and she is starting to read. Sometimes she will pipe up with a word before DD1 when we are reading together, and others she cannot for the life of her put the sounds together. The other day, she amazed me with patterns--without "reading" the pattern, she instinctively knew which would go next. It was freaky. She's in a Montessori style classroom this year, and is next to youngest. It's an awesome fit, and I think her teacher has her figured out. She is working on some basic reading skills with some in the class, which is great since DD has known her letter sounds for over a year and a half now. She also is finally able to print her name--she would not even try it until she could write all 7 letters--and is starting to try phonetic writing. She also schooled most of the other kids in her soccer league and was disappointed when she *only* had an assist during a game! We struggle with some ADHD-type behaviors which I think are a combination of some mild SPD and some OEs. We shall see.


DS (13m): 'Cause we can't leave him out! He is speaking in two word phrases and has been since around his first birthday. I LOVE the language acquisition phase :)  He also is showing a sense of humor--the other day, I went to take him out of his carseat, and he looked at me, put his finger to his lips, and said, "Shhhh! Sleeping." There was no one else in the car. Silly boy. 



Anyway, I wanted to share because I often feel like I am bragging about my kids elsewhere, and here I feel like they are even below the range of "normal" which is a good feeling for once ;)

post #7 of 32
Originally Posted by PinkBunch View Post

I have no official identification but thought I'd share anyway

I'm pretty sure there's no gatekeeper in this forum demanding to see our kids' Gifted Designation Cards at the door. wink1.gif




post #8 of 32
Originally Posted by moominmamma View Post

I'm pretty sure there's no gatekeeper in this forum demanding to see our kids' Gifted Designation Cards at the door. wink1.gif




Miranda, I just love your sense of humor :)  Your posts are always so welcoming and helpful. So thanks!


post #9 of 32

DS (2.5) has learned 5 knock knock jokes, and I have heard them all a million and one times orngbiggrin.gif  He is also soooo intense and exhausting me!  I got the first question I couldn't answer the other day - "What makes it foggy?"  Me "ummmm, something about the ground being cold and air warm?  I don't know.  Let's look it up!"  And the alphabet obsession continues - it started around 20 months and has evolved, but continues just as strongly 11 months later.  It's great but sometimes it worries me.  I can't wait till he moves on to a new passion, like maybe space or dinasours or something - anything but letters!!

post #10 of 32

DD(2.5) has begun experimenting with rhyming words and identifying which letters/sounds words start with.  She has become interested in very basic subtraction.  "If I have 3 vitamins and take away one then I have 2..."  She also is learning how to tie basic knots.  She has become very interested in Winnie the Pooh stories - requesting that her daddy read her one every night before bed and acting them out during the day.  It's amusing to hear her repeating parts of the stories when she plays.  We are both most excited about the impending birth of her baby sister though - any day now!!!

post #11 of 32
Originally Posted by pranava View Post

DS (2.5) has learned 5 knock knock jokes, and I have heard them all a million and one times orngbiggrin.gif





Wait till he starts making up his own!  Because that is a super fun phase--DD2's weren't ever very funny, but she thought they were HILARIOUS.

Edited by Monkey Keeper - 11/6/11 at 10:43am
post #12 of 32

My 5 yr. old is working his way through the Narnia books. First grade is going great for him. He's not doing any extracurriculars since soccer ended, which is restful.

post #13 of 32
Our kindergartener is getting wonderful support at our local public school. He is finally confident enough to read chapter books, and is at about a fourth grade level. This morning, I downloaded an iPad app called math bingo, thinking that the hard multiplication and division would keep him challenged for awhile. He can do basic division in story problems, but we've never given him anything too complicated, and had never shown him th symbols for multiplication or division. This afternoon, he was playing in th dressing room while I tried on jeans.

He asked me what it meant when there was a line with dots on either side, and I told him it meant to put the first number into the number of groups of the second number. With that explanation, he promptly finished the bingo game, doing problems that involved dividing by both 6 and 7. I was shocked.

We have parent conferences tomorrow. The gifted specialist asked to meet with us when we are done with the other teachers. She is consulting with them, though he is not yet identified.
post #14 of 32

DS(11) dammed our brook complete with an overflow system (kind of a one way valve) for diverting excess water and a drainage system.  It's for a pond for his ducks.  He's also doing experiments on leavening action when baking depending on the acidity of different liquids and the leavener formula used.  He's 2E (with Asperger's) and he really got a push from the school to volunteer.  Right now he's helping run the intramural program.  There have been lots of little glitches, but he's doing it!


DD(10) is very secretively working on a novel.  Don't know if it will get done, but it's the trying!  She's reading "Never Cry Wolf" right now and I've been getting a full critique of Farley Mowatt's writing style.

post #15 of 32


DS 18 is doing well at uni. He's doing well with the written work despite my worries about his written expression issues. I'm a little amazed at how enthusiastic he's been about writing papers. I suppose it shows how important it is for him to be invested and interested in the subject matter. His last paper was a fascinating exploration of existentialism and race relations.  


He was very busy with 3 part-time jobs in addition to a full courseload. He was working at a farmer's market on the weekend, at a community art gallery/workshop space during the week and teaching bass to a private student. The farmer's market has finished for the year, so he's happy that's over although he'll miss the pay cheque. He's been making stenciled t-shirts with hand-painted band logos for some small bands and getting a cut of the profits. It's pretty time-consuming because he prefers to draw and cut the stencils by hand, and then individually paint each shirt. I've suggested that he screenprint them, but he likes doing it all by hand.  


He has also been involved in our city's Occupy movement, heading to the encampment between classes and on the weekends. As well as participating in some of the meetings and marches, he's been offering support by cooking meals with other volunteers. He continues to play gigs with his band and he's been visiting out-of-town with friends (and his girlfriend) who went away to university. So all in all, a very busy but pretty happy time. 


DD 15 has been busy at school with mid-terms and papers and projects. She's completed some very interesting assignments. She wrote, directed, edited and produced a film for her film class, a funny little short movie. Getting the filming done was a little stressful and she had to work out some software compatibility problems between home and school.


For history, in typical creative child fashion she decided to make a fairly simple assignment - find primary source documents about World War I and write about them - into a much more complicated project. She decided to create a care package from scratch. As well as doing the original research that the teacher wanted, she hand crafted most of the items and wrote about them. She hand stitched a small stuffed toy bear from an old pair of woolen gloves, baked biscuits, made a sepia-tinted family photograph, included soap and tinned goods and other items. Her paper discussed textile shortages, food rationing, financing the war effort, supplies to the overseas soldiers, and the psychological affects of war, among other topics. Overall, it was pretty impressive, if not entirely what the teacher wanted, so we'll see how she's graded on it. 


She's busy with stage productions at school, with some part-time babysitting in the neighbourhood and her social life. Again, pretty busy but happy. 





post #16 of 32
Originally Posted by PinkBunch View Post


Wait till he starts making up his own!  Because that is a super fun phase--DD2's weren't ever very funny, but she thought they were HILARIOUS.

Ah yes, DS 2.5 has just entered this phase. Last week DD 5 told the joke:
What did the mayonnaise say to the fridge?
Close the door, I'm dressing.
Since then DS has been regaling us with endless variations on a theme. Some funnier than others wink1.gif Actually most of them aren't funny but they sure are cute. It's new to me, DD's jokes were always amusing in a quirky way.

DD's new favorite pastime is scrabble. She saw me playing words with friends and wanted to try too. She does need a bit of help but the look of pride on her face when she thinks of a word herself and places it is priceless.
post #17 of 32
Originally Posted by Greenmama2 View Post

DD's new favorite pastime is scrabble. She saw me playing words with friends and wanted to try too. She does need a bit of help but the look of pride on her face when she thinks of a word herself and places it is priceless.

I've never been a Scrabble player, so I forget about it. But DD1 would LOVE it. I need to put that and/or Bananagrams on her Christmas list! Thanks for the reminder.


post #18 of 32

DS (12) just completed another music competition season. He has been working on a very hard concerto very hard... he got first prize and will make his orchestral debut on December 11th performing the entire thing. He also got 2nd place in two other competitions (one had a cash price). I think he has really made another huge stride in his playing. It is so exciting to see him get better!


DD (9) just completed her first math olympiad contest. She is doing a great job with it. She also started playing the flute and is picking it up really quickly.


DS (6) is reading much better! He is in such a cute cuddly stage. If he has the chance, he will spend all day waiting NOVA videos.

post #19 of 32

This is really more a vent. DS1 just started learning the piano and he tried to open up our brand new piano and put his hand in to see how the strings and hammers work. Thrice! Argh. VS or not, this was NOT appreciated!

post #20 of 32
Originally Posted by deminc View Post

This is really more a vent. DS1 just started learning the piano and he tried to open up our brand new piano and put his hand in to see how the strings and hammers work. Thrice! Argh. VS or not, this was NOT appreciated!


He's obviously curious. Why just redirect him? Satisfy his curiosity: show him! It's fascinating stuff, and one of the first things my kids' favorite piano teacher ever did with them. Remind him to wash his hands. Let him reach in and feel the vibrations of the sound board. Depress the damper pedal and let him ping and pluck the strings. Feel the thickness of the strings, see how it changes. Notice that some strings are paired, others are not. Show him how to do pluck or ping gently. Point out that the keys and hammers are precision instruments with wooden hinges, special bits of fabric, the arms thinner than pencils. Marvel at how regular the spacing is between the hammers. I think every music student should have an understanding of the inner workings of their instrument. I keep a dissected violin in my studio for exactly this purpose. (After all, you can't reach inside a violin any other way.)



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