Thursday, October 04, 2007


I posted about our Tuesday night...the nonstop flurry of homework and PT and reading between 5:30 and 8:30. Today, I got this note from the Monkey's teacher.

I also wanted to tell you about some of the observations I have been noticing lately:
- He's having a really hard time placing things in his backpack for dismissal and is usually in need of assistance. With the lunch box taking up most of the space as well as daily folder, then paper, the other folders.. it's hard for him to place things inside and then zip everything up. I've had to help him almost everyday. I'll tell him to use both of his hands, but most of the time he'll use his right hand for everything while his left hand is against his chest.
- During lunch he'll need help opening his milk carton and plasticware (that's in a plastic bag). Today he couldn't open his sandwich bag. So, I helped show him how to open it by placing his left finger on top of one sleeve of the sandwich bag on the table and the right fingers would pull the other sleeve that would eventually open it up.
Also, I've noticed during my whole group instructions during reading and math he won't always look at me. I know that some people have a true talent by listening even though they seem to look like they are spacing out. But when we go back to our tables to do the follow-up activity, he won't understand what to do. He'll usually ask me what he's suppose to do. And he's still usually one of the last ones to finish. I have him sitting next to someone that is really great at helping, but I think I might place him in between two great helpers that will push and motivate him, just as much as I do.
With that said, he's a great reader and I feel like he could do so much more if he was able to be more attentive. He doesn't normally raises his hand to participate unless I call on him. I know he'll know the answers because he'll remember the activities we did the prior day. For example, I said today: "When Ms. XXX read this story, what did were we learning?" and he gave me one of the answers "characters, setting, beginning, middle and end," which were the answers I was looking for.
I know that you both are doing the best you can and I appreciate it a lot. I'm just seeing that he may be giving up a little on his left hand this week. Is the playdoh helping? It can be used a massager for his left muscles as well as cutting. We haven't done any cutting this week, but tomorrow we are cutting letters to sort which letters are in our names and which are not. I'll send home a sheet and a baggy so you can cut these at home with him and that way he won't be behind cutting one letter when everyone is finished. That way he can start gluing when we start.

I get notes like this every other week. "The Monkey doesn't cut as fast as the rest of the class. He's not using his left hand all the time. I have to help him zip his backpack and open his milk. He dropped his pizza once."

I have no idea how to idea how to fit MORE effort into our lives. I've already cut out computer and TV at my house (hoping this will increase his attention span)...but I can't control what happens at Monkeydad's house. No one would like his hand to heal instantly more than me, but I have no idea how to make that happen.

Our nights end in tears...for both of us...and it just absolutely sucks.

Ideas (and large boxes of tissues) welcome.


Spice said...

Here's a virtual Kleenex(tm)...

You might want to ask the teacher if she's offering task instructions in more than one way. It sounds like The Monkey (like me) might not be so strong at focusing on aural information but would be fine if there was a poster at the front of the room or a card at his desk/table with drawings showing the steps for the task, if he's a visual learner. Or if he's more kinesthetic, she could go through instructions orally, but have them all hold up their 'one' finger and repeat the instructions for the first step, etc.

In any case, it sounds like the teacher isn't doing a great job at figuring out what the problem is - I mean, the Monkey is obviously smart (as she notes, he has great recall, and what you've written indicates the same), so there's probably something that's not quite working for him in terms of the classroom environment.

And seriously, it sounds like you're doing plenty on your end - I'd say just keep on keeping on and assume that this is just a little setback that will even out once the wrist issue is out of the way and - in the long term - as he grows out of the incredibly variable early elementary years!

I Blog, You Blog said...

Thanks, Spice! Those are good ideas... I also called my Mom (a 20 year veteran preschool teacher) for help and support. We're going to practice his daily routines at home and see if that helps with the bookbag issue.

You make some great points about the classroom environment and his method of learning. I may find out if she can explore some alternate means of giving instructions and see if that makes a difference... I know I've used written signs at home to remind him of things...maybe she'd be willing to write out the instructions for the activities and see if that helps...

I can't tell you how much I appreciate the support/encouragement! THANK YOU!!

towwas said...

Aw, my friends helping my other friends. IBYB, want to come see U2 3D with me and Spice? ;)

Spice said...

Glad to be of help - it's always nice to have a chance to use my past life as an education person!

I'm actually surprised people don't pay more attention to learning styles - it really frustrates me when people dis Powerpoint, because as a super-visual learner, I'm often kind of lost if someone just gives a talk without any sort of slides or overheads and yet doing talks sans Powerpoint is often viewed as "better." I also can't listen to talk radio or NPR or audiobooks - I just zone out unless I'm highly interested.

If you've already found that signs work well at home, my guess is The Monkey is feeling the same way! It'll be less of an issue as he gets older and classrooms shift toward more of a balance between aural and visual.

Your Friday evening sounds so nice! And yes, you should try to come to U2 3D - I think it'll be amazing both aurally and visually! :)