As expected, her report card was filled with an A in every subject, and she made the honor roll again. It’s probably a good thing we don’t pay her for grades, because I imagine that we would have gone into the poorhouse a long time ago.
My favorite section, as always, is the comments section. This is from her teacher:
“Kaitlyn has been a delight. We enjoy her playful personality and spirit. Kaitlyn is making great progress academically and will continue to do so due to the effort she puts forth in class. She is always up for a challenge and we love her competitive side. She is on her way to a wonderful year in 4th grade. Great job!”
The only thing that I think is wrong in that entire series of comments is that her teacher loves Kaitlyn’s competitive side. Clearly, she has never seen Kaitlyn lose; it is not pretty at all.
We also finally got Kaitlyn’s Florida Standards Assessments (FSA) test results today. Anybody who knows me knows that I am not a huge fan of standardized tests for a lot of reasons, one of which is that they make teachers teach to the test. Also, Kaitlyn tends to struggle on them because she puts a ton of pressure on herself and tends to stress out about them.
Kaitlyn’s scored in the 96th percentile in math. She earned 24 of 26 points in “Operations, Algebraic Thinking, and Numbers in Base Ten,” 8 of 8 points in “Numbers and Operations-Fractions,” and 19 of 19 points in “Measurement, Data, and Geometry.”
In English Language Arts, Kaitlyn scored in the 97th percentile. She earned 10 of 10 points in “Key Ideas and Details,” 15 of 16 in “Craft and Structure,” 10 of 13 in “Integration of Knowledge and Ideas,” and 11 of 13 in “Language and Editing.”
Amber and I are very proud of her results, of course.
“She’s so polite!”
“What a sweetheart!”
“That was so nice of her…”
And the list goes on and on. Think of a superlative, and Amber and I have probably heard it about Kaitlyn. All over stuff that we don’t even give a second thought to.
It really is appreciated each and every time someone complements Kaitlyn on her manners. We have worked really hard with her from almost day one to instill acting at least somewhat proper around people; we’ve had her saying “please” and “thank you” from the time she could talk. And we didn’t just have her blindly saying those things. We taught her what they meant, and the power that those words can have.
Think about it. How many times have you been out somewhere and noticed that using just the slightest hint of manners has opened doors for you that were closed for others? That’s the power of manners, and that is why we have taught Kaitlyn to be respectful and have good manners when we are around other people (we would love for her to do that constantly, but you pick your battles).
Amber and I rarely worry how Kaitlyn will behave when we are out. We know that she will be respectful of all of the adults present, and she will be kind to any kids around. It also never gets old for us to hear her be complimented for having good manners, too.
Of course, we have also extended our expectations to anytime she gets any sort of gift. Without fail, and sometimes with some complaining (she is 8 after all), Kaitlyn will make a “thank you” card or phone call. Because that is important.
Kaitlyn will always have her struggles when it comes to social interactions and situations, and that is an undeniable fact. What Amber and I hope we are doing and have started on, is helping her with a basic skill of being in a social setting. It’s work, and it takes a daily effort, but it is worth it.
Thank you for reading and continuing to do so. I enjoy sharing glimpses into our lives and the good and the not-so-good (mostly good) that comes from raising a child with Asperger’s.
Kaitlyn is absolutely excited to go to school on Wednesdays this nine weeks. Or at least that is what she told me this morning. When I asked her why, he answer was simple: “It’s STEM Wednesday, dad!” Well, ok then.
Kaitlyn has always gravitated toward math and science, and that is something that Amber and I have encouraged her to do and supported her on. There is just something about using her analytic mind and figuring out how to solve problems on a scientific level that has always appealed to her (don’t ask her to do any “common sense” problem solving. She is not wired to excel at those kinds of problems and deems them to be inconsequential to her daily life.).
A few weeks back, Kaitlyn went out back and started collecting rocks, twigs, and grass to take to school in a large freezer bag. She told us that she needed it for her gifted science class. Fine by us, less for to clean up. About a week later, we got an email from the teacher with pictures attached; the class was split into pairs and tasked with building a bird nest out of the materials they all brought in. There was really no “set” way that they were supposed to do it, just work together to build it. Kaitlyn really enjoyed doing that project.
Their second STEM project was to build a cup pyramid using rubber bands (and cups, of course!), and Kaitlyn got a kick out of that, too.
Which all leads to today. Kaitlyn just couldn’t wait to see what today’s STEM project was going to be. She seems to love the challenge of what they are assigned to do, and loves the process of completing the assignment.
It’s great that the school is exposing the kids to STEM activities at such an early age. Challenging them, especially kids like Kaitlyn, is important. It helps to keep them motivated and interested in going to school everyday. From our perspective, emphasizing areas where Kaitlyn already excels only serves to enhance what we are building with her and encouraging her to do.
I can already see that this summer will probably be one where Kaitlyn and I work on several projects that are STEM-related. I can’t wait, either.
Kaitlyn coined a new word over the weekend, and I think it perfectly embodies how she is feeling, and how I suspect a lot of students in her class and grade are feeling today. Her new word is “nervocited,” and it is a combination of “nervous” and “excited,” and she used it to describe how she feels going into this week’s Florida Standards Assessments testing (FSA). As parents, Amber and I use different, more colorful words for these types of tests.
Throughout the entire school year, pretty much every lesson taught, every piece of homework completed, and every test taken has been with this week in mind. And I think it is a little ridiculous. Teachers are hamstrung from really impacting their students more than they do (they are doing the best they can while staying within the guidelines of the testing structure), and students are missing out on tremendous learning experiences (my teachers always seemed to be able to do a fine job in getting us ready for our testing times while making school fun).
As is always the case with Kaitlyn, she is really stressed about the testing. She sets such lofty expectations for herself, and Amber and I know that she gets way too worked up about things like this. We try to impress upon her that the most important thing is that she remain calm, and she will do great.
I don’t know if the new FSA testing will be better or worse for students and teachers than the old FCAT was, but if the buildup is any indication, it will be more unnecessary stress on students and teachers. Since this is the first year of the testing, there is no baseline on which students will be graded, so that will be fun I’m sure (that was the case about a month ago when I last spoke to Kaitlyn’s teacher about the testing).
Amber and I are ready for Kaitlyn to come home from school every night looking like the guy on the right over there, and that will be if the testing went well! No student in third grade should have this level of stress at 8 or 9 years old; all that does is decrease the likelihood that they will continue to enjoy going to school, although I have a feeling that won’t ever be a problem for Kaitlyn.
This is going to be a tough week in our house.