Tag Archives: school

4th Grade/G.A.T.E.

Em’s day was full of firsts! First day at a new school, first day in a school uniform, first day as an upper-grader and first day of G.A.T.E. (Gifted And Talented Education). And she was excited, for lack of a better word.

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Last night we packed her backpack to the brim with all of the supplies from the list I was given last week. She commented that it was heavy and I told her that it gets worse when she goes to middle school and has one textbook per class. When we arrived at her classroom this morning, many of her classmates had rolling backpacks, so we just might go that route. Especially since there was a gift for each child on their desks. Books, books and MORE books! I’m hoping they only come home occasionally.

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Luckily her school started on a Wednesday, which means session is over at 12:25, so we have time before gymnastics to go shirt shopping. The information the G.A.T.E. parents were given at orientation and the registration packet I received last week never mentioned that the uniform shirts are to be purchased from a specific vendor due to an embroidered school logo. So now we have to return all of the shirts I ordered 5 weeks ago and buy new shirts in Anaheim. Yay communication…

I’m sure Em will have a great time in her new class. I just hope school-to-parent communication improves as the weeks go by.

Constructive Consequences

Consistency is key in parenting. If you make a rule, you have to stick to it. Every time. When your child is in school, you should try to stick to the teacher’s rules and methods, too, if possible. As much as some of us (ok, a lot of us) thought homework to be a punishment, its design and purpose is to teach something new or to reinforce something recently learned so the lesson will hopefully be retained for a long time.

Today, Em forgot to pack the homework her teacher assigned. Em was supposed to study in preparation for a science test tomorrow, so in addition to having double homework tomorrow, she’s also just learned how important homework is for her success in class. For punishment at home, Em will have to mark a negative on her behavior chart for not completing her homework correctly and we will not be going out to watch Oz The Great and Powerful as I’d planned.

After explaining to Em the importance of and reason for homework, I assigned her my own homework – NOT as a punishment, but to keep consistent with her afternoon routine. I asked her to read 3 chapters in a particular book she has on her Kindle and write at least 1 paragraph for each chapter summarizing what happened during each of them. I also explained the purpose of this, to make sure she stays focused on her reading, to make sure she understands and remembers what she read, and to help her work on proper sentence and paragraph structure. For Em, reading is never a punishment, but I made sure to emphasize that this is just in place of what she should have been doing for class.

I’m bummed that Em and I will not be able to go out to see a movie tonight and I’m sad for her that she will not be able to study properly for her test tomorrow, but I am glad to see that she understands the importance of bringing home the assignments from her teacher and is willing to accept my consequences as well.

So NOT Me

I was never a popular child or youth. Well, not in the common use of the word “popular.” I didn’t have girls wishing to be me or be my friend, I didn’t have guys competing over me or lining up to take me out on dates. I was “well known,” but I didn’t know that until after high school. To this day I am still surprised when someone recognizes me from school and I draw a big blank, swearing in my head that I’ve never met that person before. But that’s not the point.

My point is, I wasn’t popular and I knew it. I never ran for any student office, though I was voted into some positions (class secretary because I didn’t mind writing and you could actually read my notes). I never had a huge gaggle of friends who rushed to me during recess or break. And I didn’t care. I was am an introvert. Not shy necessarily. I’m just not a big “people person.” Big groups of people wear me out faster than two back-to-back Zumba classes.

“Em” is an extrovert. She is energized by attention (though she doesn’t always seek it, and can sometimes feel embarrassed by it like her mom does) and big groups of people. In the past 2 years of school she’s had a couple boy-friends, boys who like to give her flowers or little gifts. We’ve had the discussion about relationships and how any physical relationship at her age is completely inappropriate, and she’s embarrassed every time a boy gives her something, but she doesn’t reciprocate either the boys’ feelings or gift-giving.

Em always has a lot of friends of every gender and her upbringing at home, with my parents and in our church has given her a sense of compassion/who-cares when it comes to kids being different. Em knows that I think it’s ok to bend the gender rules (as evidenced by her choosing to be Darth Vader for Halloween last year) and so it came as no surprise to me that she has a really good friend at school who prefers Barbie dolls over monster trucks. She thinks he’s just fun regardless and doesn’t think it’s a big deal, or a “deal” at all.

Em’s personality and charm seem to keep her surrounded by many different types of people, kids and grown-ups alike. So, really, it shouldn’t have come as any surprise to me that today she was elected “Classroom President” in her 2nd grade class.

Every child had their name on the ballot, they made campaign “buttons” for themselves last week and they all voted today. There are 32 children in that classroom. The teacher instructed them to vote for anyone they wanted, even themselves.

Em voted for her friend “Laura.”

23 other children in her classroom voted for Em.

Had it been me that had been elected Classroom President, I know that my cheeks would have been as red as cabernet sauvignon and I likely would have turned it down.

But Em? Em’s beaming!

And while the duties of Classroom President are very light (filling in for the student of the day when absent or just away from the room at the moment), it’s a big, BIG moment for Em.

And I’m left wondering…

Am I going to be up late nights helping Em finish campaign posters in high school? Do I need to buy myself a shotgun to keep the boys away?

Are there any Disciples convents in the United States?

Em’s extroverted life is going to end up shoving ME out of my comfortable, introverted bubble.

Oh goodness.

P.S. WAY TO GO, EM!! WHILE I CAN’T IMAGINE BEING IN YOUR SHOES FOR EVEN A SECOND, I’M SO, SO VERY PROUD OF YOU!