Friday, November 02, 2007

Dear Noah...the morning line-up...

seems to be a difficult place for you in the mornings prior to entering the school. All the kids are assigned a homeroom line on the blacktopped playground to stand on in the mornings after the first bell where they wait before entering the school every morning. The teacher or a teacher is supposed to be monitoring this time outside and then each line takes turns going into the school. Your line is the last one that enters the school each morning. The time spent standing there has been difficult for you. You want to hug the other kids or try kissing them or just horse around with them. Keeping your hands and body to yourself is at best very challenging and something always seems to happen. This is where you told that one little boy you loved him and he said he hated you. Back and forth the banter went until some pushing and shoving started. Of course when you were pushed and shoved you thought it was all a big game and the other little boy was playing with you. You did not realize he was trying to hurt you.

I always drop you off and make sure you get inside the gate in the mornings and then I drive around to park and "observe" you standing in line. I see a lot of darting in and out of the line on your part as well as some physical contact with other kids. Most of the time it does appear you are just playing around and they are playing around with you. Yesterday you and another little boy were playing around because he even admitted you both were.....but you apparently accidentally banged into another little boy who apparently did not like that so he tripped you on purpose. I saw this part happen as I sat in the car waiting for you to enter the building. I wondered what you were going to do as I watched you lie there on the blacktop for what seemed like an eternity. You waited and waited....and that's when I realized you were probably boiling mad. You soon jumped up and ran over to the kid and really let him have it. I saw your arms flailing around wildly at him and he was definitely backing down.

Was there any teacher around? No. Any monitor? No. Somewhere along the way the paraprofessional who should be out there monitoring you or others who might need redirection or help from time to time no longer is there in the mornings. I found out she is not your personal para but a BUILDING-WIDE para. She now has other duties to attend to inside the school in the mornings. The number of teachers outside in the mornings has also decreased to about three. Considering there are many 3rd grade and 4th grade classes outside in the mornings...meaning ALL of them.....I do not believe three monitors can adequately monitor what is happening on the playground in the morning.

At the same time I understand kids will be kids and you have to experience some of these things to learn....but therein lies the problem....because while most kids would learn the rules of these social dilemmas, you need special instruction and prompts and guidance. If these things occurred any time I took you to the park for example, I would be there to let you know firsthand what you should or should not do and the reasons why and then ask you if you understood what I said. Just exposing you to the social elements as a free-for-all is not going to teach you much of anything. This concerns me. A lot.

I have already started to drop you off AFTER the first bell rings in the morning to reduce the amount of time you even need to be standing in line-up in the mornings. I suppose I could bring you even later....and just allow you to walk in at the last minute with the tail end of your line.....or....bring you on time but have you sit in the car with me until the other kids are all in the building and then allow you to get out and walk directly into the building. I think that is the best bet for at least avoiding these situations that seem to cause problems. BUT again you are not going to be learning anything.

The teacher suggested using PEER BUDDIES.....where basically a couple of smart, good-natured students would be assigned to you as a peer buddy, with their job being to keep track of you and others around you....and guide you all to what you should or should not be doing. Um.....excuse me but I have a slight problem with giving your peers adult authority on what is happening on the playground though the concept and intentions are pure enough. Basically if they see you do anything inappropriate they are not to touch you but merely tell you that you need to stop because that is against the rules for the school. Same goes if they see other kids trying to set you up (which some are now purposefully trying to do). They are also to remind them to stop as that is against the school's rules. I don't have great feelings about this so I will probably take you the normal time but then pull forward in the drop-off line far enough ahead and park so you can sit and wait till most of the students have already entered the building in the morning. Then you can get out and run up in line.

Otherwise the teacher told me yesterday all the kids now refer to you as "the smart kid" which makes you feel really good and always brings a smile to your face. Without giving myself too much credit for your being smart I do hope and pray the school can keep up with you academically at the same pace I did when I homeschooled you. I also plan on continuing to homeschool you here part-time. I don't want you to fall behind and I want to give you some things academically that I know they are not at school. I believe you are learning things at school. You are doing very well. BUT I also want to make sure you continue to learn specific things I want you to learn and know and not fall behind. I mean you are reading at least 6 years ahead of your grade (which was verified on their assessment)...which impresses the teachers...and I do hope they are not holding you back if you can be ahead of the rest of the class. In other words, I want to continue to challenge you to do the best you can do and not just settle for passing.

Today will be a shortened day. You have an early release so you get out of school 2 hours early. AND then the weekend begins.

Oh....the man who moved in next door where the little girls lives has two little yappy dogs....who appear they would likely nip or bite at me or you if we got near them. SO, this means you and probably even myself will not really be able to go outside anymore and enjoy the yard and outdoor activities because every time we go outside here come those two dogs up to the fence line barking and barking and jumping at the fence....not acting very friendly. And I mean EVERY TIME WE GO OUTSIDE. I could not trust you to go out by yourself and not go up to the fence to get them barking and avoid getting bit. In fact, you do not even have to be near the fence for them to bark and carry on. It is relentless and I cannot believe the owner does not HEAR them outside yapping away!

Anyway.......I love you. Very much!



Mom/Grandma said...

It's always something isn't it? You had a nice peaceful backyard, now those yapping dogs. You might try throwing them a milk bone now and then. That's what we started to do with these two next door. We asked the neighbor first if he cared, so now when we pull into the drive way, they come running up to the end of their fence (if they are outside) and they bark once at us, to get our attention, then we tell them, just a minute and get them each a treat, they usually sit there and wait patiently.

But no, the way Noah likes animals and can't seem to understand not all are friendly, I wouldn't trust him outside alone. Also if the barking keeps up, I would think some neighbor close by might call the police and complain. That's what Colwells did to this neighbor that has the dogs.

I think I would get Noah to school so he doesn't have to wait in line so long. I've never heard of this, it use to be the kids went right to their classrooms once they got to school. What is there plan when the weather is zero outside?

Love you both

kristi said...

Gosh, it is hard isn't it?? I watched a little boy at daycare walk by TC and punch him on the arm. TC just looked at him and walked on. But, oh how I wanted to snatch that kid up..he was NT and much, much bigger than TC.

kristi said...

Also, I was wondering the same thing. They have them outside on cold mornings??? TC always goes into the cafeteria and sits with his class. Sometimes he eats breakfast, depending on his mood.

Melinda said...

I do take Noah now right after the bell rings for line-up so he does not have to wait around long. ALSO I have noticed on colder days they move them in pretty quickly. If the weather is bad or raining we just drop the kids off and they go directly to class. I can do that too even if the weather is nice outside....but would have to wait for all the other kids to get inside first and then he could be late.

Today I got out of the truck and stood by the fence in VIEW of all the kids in his line. Things went much better and when Noah tried to act out a bit......a little girl reminded him of the rules and he stopped. PLUS I am pretty sure they all knew I was there watching.

Melissa said...

I have never heard of letting the kids play beforehand either. It doesn't sound like they have nearly enough people out there to monitor what is going on. It sounds like standing there helped out some.