Sunday, February 28, 2016

Pangs of Retention in Kindergarten

There are twenty-five little bodies packed into my all-day Kindergarten classroom.  I have seen five years of typical 5-year-old growth, have much experience with ELLs, and feel confident that my low performing students receive ample interventions and support throughout the day.  That’s why, as I sit across from Miguel’s apprehensive mother, I feel strongly about recommending retention for her baby.

It’s only Kindergarten.
He’s still young.
He won’t even notice if he’s held back.
It’s March, and he can only recognize a handful of letters and numbers.
He struggles at every activity, and I can safely predict that he will continue to struggle
drastically in first grade.

I know full-well that communicating about retention to a Latino parent can be different than a Caucasian parent because traditionally, teachers are very respected in Latino culture.  Many Latino parents simply trust that the teacher knows what is best for their child, much like a doctor is trusted to know the correct prescription for an illness.  I take this very seriously and only make these recommendations when I am certain that retention is what is best for the child.

Mom listens, agrees, and we move forward to make a meeting with the Guidance Team, which consists of our school counselor, school psychologist, reading specialist, ELL specialist, math specialist, Special Education teacher, and principal.   
When we meet, I present my assessments and observations.  I describe all the interventions the child has received in September.  All the teachers who work with the child speak on his abilities at this time.  I agree with it all, ready to wrap things up, and then someone speaks out on the negative effects of retention.

And then we don’t retain.

This infuriates me.  I group together with other teachers and grumble about it.  I shake my head about how we are failing this child.  I glumly imagine how much harder this kid’s life is going to be because he has not mastered kindergarten skills. I have kids leaving my class reading books and this one tells me 12/26 letters on a good day.  

Then I go home, and I start to read the research.

Stay tuned for my post on CORElaborate March 20th to follow up on this topic.

How I Feel After Trimester 2 Assessments

I know this is an older video, but I have seen it a million times and it still cracks me up.  It's for real my life right now.
And that's ok.
Happy Sunday!

Friday, February 19, 2016

Lazy Mid-Winter Break

I am sitting here, barely awake, at 11:11 AM on a FRIDAY.  Where the heck did my week GO?! I never sleep in this much, and I certainly don't feel like it should be the end of the week.  I was given this amazing gift of one week away from children so I could get my thoughts together, catch up on teacher blogging, read some inspirational literature...

...instead I watched reruns of Modern Family, snuggled with my dog, and blogged about some pictures my friends and I took.  I mean, really. (But if you feel like enabling my lack of professionalism, you can check out my new personal blog here.)

With TWO major upcoming weddings (mine and my best friend's), this is really the last week I had to catch up on gifts, swim suit purchases, and any maid of honor duties.  Plus also, the key to not getting sick on the Big Day is rest and I'm going to go ahead and give myself a pass for being lazy this break.

HOWEVER, I write only to tell you to please check in this upcoming month! As we near our zoo field trip, I will be posting some cool zoo-themed lessons (which is great, since my classroom is a Jungle theme). most favorite of all favorite lessons is coming.......


Please stay tuned for some FABULOUS kindergarten fun!