Tuesday, December 2, 2008

The Parent Teacher Conference

Yesterday was my parent teacher conference with Riley's 3rd grade teacher. Her grades were, frankly, better than I expected. Academically, she's scoring well on her tests, and in the classroom, she's contributing regularly and thoughtfully. Sometimes, she doesn't focus, but both the teacher and I were mostly relieved that it's not just either of us!

She did get some "Needs Improvement" scores, based mainly on her not finishing her homework. We talked a lot about that. Thankfully, her teacher is open to Riley trying other things as homework, so long as they focus on the skills at hand. So we bounced around a few ideas on different ways of getting it accomplished so we can all stop tearing our hair out.

Riley had the day off from school, so we discussed the report card with my parents last night. It did help me to have some reinforcement, and she took it all well. In fact, we had most of the conversation before I even showed them the actual report card, and then Riley wanted to make sure they saw it.

One of the main things we stressed was that her teacher said she was this close to making the Honor Roll, but she can't have any "Needs Improvement" in order to qualify for that. She's SO close, she doesn't seem to have problems taking tests, all she needs to do is just, well, do it. I think she understands that part now.

So when it came to do the homework, she was stalling in every way possible when it came to filling out her Science workbook answers. I went online to find the publisher's site, where there were vocabulary quiz games and crosswords. Well, that did it! Once it was interactive like that, I could not tear her away from it! The same with reading. They use the tickettoread site which incorporates both fiction and non-fiction. Riley spent a good hour on that over the weekend. So she'll be doing that a few times a week instead.

It's not ideal, I realize, but it gets her going in the right direction.

The biggest problem, however, is PE. Now, Riley is a girl who runs races. She's active, active, active. She loves sports, she loves pretty much all physical activity. And right now, she's basically failing PE. This is the part of the conference where I teared up a bit. It does not compute for me.

PE is taught by someone other than her regular teacher, so I'm trying to schedule a conference with her actual PE teacher to find out what's going on. Riley isn't giving me a lot to go on, but from what I gather, he sounds more like a drill instructor than someone who cheers the kids on. Riley HATES PE. Hates it. She was thrilled that Monday was a PE day that she was missing from school. How normal does that sound for an 8-year-old?

So we shall see how things go from here. She is a smart, thoughtful, creative, outgoing, ACTIVE girl that just needs a little bit more of...something...to shine her brightest.


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Anonymous said...

"Ideal" does not always equal what works for individual children and I'm so glad you found something that works for her. Who cares if it isn't "ideal"?

That is interesting that she doesn't like PE, I would have guessed that was one of her favorite things ;) I agree, you should have an individual conference with her teacher and if you don't like him, express your concerns to the principal.

With so many kids droning out on video games rather than physical activity these days, we need physical motivators that are actually going to MOTIVATE instead of making the experience unpleasant.

Not that Riley needs any physical motivation right now, but one unpleasant experience can really have an effect on a kid. Mr. Broccoli turned me off of math (a subject I was actually pretty good at) FOREVER.

Sorry about the ramble. Got up way too early. Hope it makes sense.

Suzie said...

I hated my pe teacher. He was a drill sargent in the army and treated us like little recruits. It was scary

Tara R. said...

My son has the same problem with his PE teacher... who has on occasion swore at the kids. Luckily this is only a semester class and he'll be out of that class in Jan.

Good for Riley being so close making Honor Roll... congrats. Maybe the interactive option is what it will take to help motivate her. Good job!

Jen said...

It sounds like that teacher was more flexible than you expected. If the conference with the PE teacher doesn't go well, see the principal. There's no way an 8-year-old should be "failing" PE. That's just absurd.

Riley sounds like a normal, happy, bright 8-year-old who doesn't like to be bored. And who does?

The discipline thing will come. C was SO like Riley and still is in some respects, but he's finally got it that you get out what you put in. And, like Riley, he WANTS to do well, he just doesn't always want to complete all the steps to get there. ;-)

Anonymous said...

I agree with the commenter who said it's absurd for a child to "fail" PE. Ridiculous. I hope the talk goes well with that teacher, and I'm glad you are making progress on the homework.

I echo what Liz says about having your parents there as such as solid support/backup. That's awesome!

Karen MEG said...

Failing PE?!!! How discouraging and not right. PE was always my lowest mark and I thought for the longest time that I was such a "loser"... I really don't think they should give PE marks, if they want to encourage kids to remain physically active and all. Some PE teachers are pretty awful too, as far as I can recall. I remember having a really big woman teaching me in Gr. 7 and she was always singling me out for being so skinny/scrawny and not great at the team sports (nice, eh?!). I was into dance and gymnastics, not the ball sports. I remember dropping PE like a hot potato the first moment I could.

It's ironic, though, my boy's highest marks have always been PE - his teacher is also his PE teacher and says he's a gifted athlete!!!! So there LOL!

I didn't realize Riley is in Gr. 3, just like my boy! They've been doing student led conferencing since Grade 1, which I found in Grade 1 to be not nearly as productive or successful as in Grade 3.

Keep up the good work Riley!

Anonymous said...

I would definitely find out what the deal is with the PE teacher. We tend to think that our kid is the only one suffering, but the whole class could be suffering but no one knows what's happening with other kids. On the flip side, I always think it's something about me when a kid is failing, and then I find out that the kid is failing most of his classes.

Good for her, finding the way to learn that suits her.

Shiona said...

I had that same issue with my PE teacher. Took the fun right out of it for me. Hopefully that can be fixed. It's also cool that her teacher was open to alternative ways to do homework. Whatever is in the best interest of Riley. Sounds very productive.

Jessica Gottlieb said...

Oh gosh. My son got an "N" in music class during kindergarten, I asked him why and he said he hated it.

I said, "but you still have to be good at it."

He shrugged, "Oh, I didn't know that." After that all was well.

I hope it's that simple for you, though I fear it's not.

Julia@SometimesLucid said...

What is "tickettoread"? I went on their website but stillam unsure. Does the school have to participate?

hugabug1 said...

"Ideal" is relative. Seems to me like if it's engaging her attention that much then for her it's ideal.

OHmommy said...

If she HATES it, that means something is going on. I hope you get to meet w/that drill instructor.

Meg said...

I'm wondering if your daughter has had a female PE teacher in the past. Sometimes it's gender. Sometimes just chemistry. Sometimes it's a total lack of teaching skills or kindness.

I'm also wondering if she's becoming more aware of her body image and how she interacts with the other girls in gym.

Anyway, you're doing the right thing by meeting with the teacher. Good luck.

jenn said...

I love that you're working with her to figure out how she learns best. I think all kids have the ability, some parents just don't take the time.

I already commented above about how I hated PE. The thing is, I was an active child too. But PE teachers always seem mean, and I wasn't very good at organized sports. Hope things work out. Maybe it's the teacher.

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