Monday, September 11, 2006

Teacher Conference and OLTA


The conference with Z-boy's teacher last Friday was interesting.

He is very, very smart. In fact, at just starting 2nd grade, he's scoring at 3rd grade +8 months levels. There's one test where the children have to read aloud and the goal for th end of 2nd grade is 100 words in a minute. Z-boy read 108 on his first go. His teacher is very impressed with his ability.

What doesn't impress her is his distractability. His desk is a mess; he can't sit still; he talks to the other kids and keeps them from doing their work; he draws all over his own work when he finishes it. He's sitting at the front of the class alone (which doesn't seem to bother him), and he's had his scissors taken away because he was making confetti on a daily basis out of handed back papers. He also wasn't bringing his homework home (because he forgets, he says).

ADD? Don't think so. We went through this in kindergarden and I'm recognizing the signs. Z-boy is suffering from "Irish Setter Syndrome."

Irish setters are very, very smart dogs. But they have a reputation for being the canine equivalent of dumb-blondes. Very distracted, can't seem to focus on anything and jittery. But they aren't like that if they get enough exercise. Run them hard and they are quiet, smart, obedient animals.

Now that PE has been reduced to half an hour once a week, the kids get virtually no exercise other than a 15 minute run-around after lunch. This school does have an organized exercise program called Champions for 45 minutes before and/or after school, but Z-boy's not eligible until next year (it's 3rd grade and up). No wonder the kids have the fidgets and can't concentrate. 7-year old energy is tough to keep down (heck, I wish I could bottle the stuff!).

So my solution is this. The school is one mile away from home. Every morning, we will get up and walk to school. We will do this early enough that Z-boy will also have about 20 minutes of playground time before school starts too. After about a week of this regemine, his teacher should start to see a real difference. When he was in kindergarden, I made him run laps around the front yard. The difference was amazing.


Not much to report. Didn't gain anything, didn't lose anything. Haven't been feeling so good - in fact, roiling belly kept me home today. I am finally holding down tea and toast and am hopeful that dinner will stay down too. We obviously didn't start the walking to school today because I was feeling so bad. But once we get that started... I'm expecting some benefits too! It's mostly down hill on the way to school, but the return trip is all uphill - a big hill. You're going to be able to bounce quarters off my butt!

Yes. I had birthday cake. Yes. I had BBQ (but it wasn't as good as last week's!). In some ways, I was a naughty girl and in others I was exemplary. This week, I intend to be exemplary 99% of the time... right after I get well.


quinn said...

feel better soon ...dont worry about lose that ass ...just keep trying and that is what counts..
I had a good week in that regard I plan to do my update tomorrow on my blog.
running out the door now to get my son to karate.

Alice in Wonderbread said...

I doubt it's ADD. Sounds like Z boy just needs some focus, which will come given the right motivation, and yup- consistent regular exercise.

I remember my second grade teacher being so frustrated with my chattyness that she took me out into the hallway and told me I was a rotten apple- not just the apple, but a rotten apple core at the bottom of a trash can. ouch.

She also told my mother one day I would make an excellent secretary for some guy.

Screw her.

Sayre said...

I have heard that ADD people just don't stop, no matter what. Z-boy doesn't have that problem. Run him around and get him good and pink and he'll sit still and do one thing for hours!

It seems to be worse at the beginning of the school year when he's been active all summer and then made to sit still for hours on end.

Shame on your teacher!!!! Thank goodness you didn't accept her assessment of you. It's sad, but some kids do and I think they really lose out.

Janet said...

It's so refreshing to see a parent be a part of the brainstorming process. Not only are you part of the process, you are part of the solution. Teachers and parents really need to work together on these things.

If I can defend teachers for one teensy minute I will say that it is VERY hard to find the time to allow these kids to be active. There is just too much to fit in and not enough time to do it. Exercise and such often falls by the wayside first:(

But you're probably right. Smart or not, all children need some time to be just that- children.:)

Anonymous said...

Schools are so caught up in test scores and national ranking that the kids suffer and are not allowed to be kids.

Your solution to the problem sounds great for the both of you. More quality time with Z to see things through his eyes that you might not have noticed in your neighborhood.

Great job Mom!


nikki said...

excellent solution babe! you'd think teachers would be able to figure out the problems after working with kids so long. i could bitch slap her for you.

Sayre said...

It's not the teachers... it's the system.

Everyone is so freaked out about all the testing requirements that they PUSH those kids as hard as they can. The fact that my son LOVES school is an added bonus. I think he likes to be challenged intellectually. But those scores are tied to the "grades" the schools get, and the grades determine funding levels.

It's kind of screwy to my way of thinking. The schools that score higher get more money. Shouldn't they be putting more money into the less effective schools so that they can become better schools????