We never know quite what to expect when we have our first conference with Kaitlyn’s teacher. We never expect to hear anything major, just an update of Kaitlyn’s progress so far, and we leave with a plan in place for the rest of the year.
Today, we had our first parent/teacher conference with Kaitlyn’s 1st grade teacher. It was a good opportunity for Amber and I to really dive in to the classwork she has been bringing home, and ask questions that we have come up with, such as “are we supposed to set Accelerated Reader goals for her?” (Not to spoil the rest of this post, but the answer to that is no.)
Amber and I showed up early, of course, and had to wait in the office until after school was out and then a little longer before our scheduled time. When it was finally time for our meeting, we walked with Kaitlyn’s teacher to the classroom. I really enjoy when we go to her classroom, because it gives me a chance to sit in a chair designed for a 6-year-old, and those are not exactly comfortable for someone who is 6’3″.
Her teacher cut straight to the chase. Kaitlyn is doing really well. Other than having to put her clip on yellow this past Monday (more on this later), her behavior has been excellent all year. Not surprising to us, and I guess Amber and I are doing a pretty decent job instilling manners and disciplined behavior in her.
On her reading tests, she is at a 96% average so far, which is really good. Her teacher told us several times how good of a reader she is. She also mentioned that she would like to see Kaitlyn read more for context instead of just to finish reading. Kaitlyn nailed all of the 1st grade “sight words” already. On her first timed reading test this year, she read at 111 words per minute; her most recent one had her reading at 150 words per minute. I think I can safely say she is a good reader (not as quick as Dr. Reid on Criminal Minds, but she is on her way). Reading is what caused her to be on yellow this past Monday.
Kaitlyn was reading a book before instruction time started Monday, and when it was time to start, her teacher asked her to put the book away. As is her custom from time-to-time, she ignored her and kept right on reading. She was asked a second time. Nothing. On the third request, her teacher had to close the book for her, and it was time for yellow. Which, of course, led to a meltdown. Kaitlyn prides herself on being on green or higher, and having to be on yellow, it crushed her and she became emotional. I don’t know how the other kids react, but I am proud that she got so upset because it means that behavior is important to her (momentary pause as I pat myself on the back…I am sure Amber did right here, too). Even her teacher agreed with our assessment of the situation. While we do not want to discourage her from reading, she still has to follow instructions. Needless to say, her time on yellow did not lead to any additional remedies at home.
On math, Kaitlyn has scored an average of 90% on her tests so far. It would have been higher, but her insistence on rushing to be the first one done made her miss a few questions, according to her teacher.
Because our conference was so close to the end of the first nine weeks, we have a really good idea how Kaitlyn’s report card will look in two weeks. Amber and I are happy and proud of how much she loves school, and how much she dedicates herself to her work. We agree that she needs to slow down on her work, and have told her that we would rather she get all the questions right instead of being the first finished (although I know she is confident she can be both first and get all the questions right).
I know I said we never know what to expect, but usually leave with a plan for the rest of the year. Today was a little different. We still have our plan, of course, but the plan includes flexibility for something that was both a surprise and not a surprise. Kaitlyn’s teacher asked us, and we agreed to, having her tested for the gifted program. Her teacher made it clear that she sees plenty of signs in Kaitlyn that made her want to recommend the screening to us. We could not agree fast enough. Besides, what is another screening for her? I have almost lost count of the times she has been tested or screened in the last 20 months or so (check the archives for this blog for May 2011 through August 2011 for numerous entries on her various screenings). To be honest, Amber and I are not really surprised by her recommendation. We know our daughter better than anybody, and we have done enough research to know that people with Asperger’s often are placed in gifted programs; the one at her school is for 30 minutes each morning, and she would be back to class before instruction time started.