This morning I walked by her room while she was making up her bed and heard her saying the Scriptures that are taped to her wall. When I was doing her hair later, I mentioned to her that I had heard her saying them. She said something like, "Yeah, sometimes I just say them without even thinking about them." I explained that that is the point, that she will know them so well that they will be so in her brain that they'll also be in her heart and she'll just know them. Her Wednesday Bible Class teacher told them a story the other day that I just thought was great! She was explaining why it's important for them to know the memory verses they get in class. She told them about a lady she knew who had been very sick. I guess she must have been in a coma because she said she couldn't talk or hear, but she could think. She said that all the memory verses she'd learned were in her heart so she could think about them. I thought that was a neat way to get the idea across to these 6, 7, & 8 year olds why it's important to put God's Word in your heart. I think it made an impression on Gracie.
She had her 3rd violin lesson last night. Her teacher said she is doing well and learns fast! I was glad to hear that. I think she only has 4 more lessons until her December recital so I'm a bit nervous about what she'll really know to play. We didn't start her lessons when everyone else did in August, so she's getting a late start. At this point, I think we'll continue with the lessons next semester which I guess start in January. We went up to the next size violin, but it's still pretty tiny!
She is still enjoying school. I was there yesterday, and she really amazes me. I know I'm her mother, and this may be braggy, but "this is my blog, and I'll brag if I want to!" Right?!?? She is very well behaved and is making good grades. She is learning soooooo much this year and just soaks it up like a sponge. She is enjoying math so much more now and is doing better with it. She's done fine in the past and always had A's on her report cards, but she just didn't enjoy it at all, and it seemed laborsome to her. This year she will still make some mistakes due to not paying attention and has to ask me for help from time to time, but it definitely seems to have "clicked," and I'm very thankful. I really credit Mrs. Z for that and the methods she has used in class to teach it. She is still reading all the time and is taking AR tests a bunch! She made her AR goal for the 9 weeks (well over her goal) so she got to pick a FREE, brand new book from the library as her reward. Last year they would have popsicle parties or popcorn parties, etc. I like giving them a book much better! That's another thing I really like about this year. Last year (no offense to Mrs. S-it was just a 1st grade thing I think) they pretty much helped them get to their goal-which to good readers was way too easy-and then she wasn't encouraged to take more tests. This year, Mrs. Z lets them read & read and test & test. It's such a good incentive for some kids. She is also encouraging those who are doing really well to test on chapter books. We checked the AR list last night to find some of the books we have at home so she can start testing on those. She is learning a lot of science & social studies and seems to really enjoy it. They've been talking about animals & mammals. She said yesterday they wrote about mice and how they're mammals. I think Mrs. Z had die cut large mice for them to do their writing on. That's the kind of thing I really like. She is incorporating the science learning with a writing activity and having them do it on a large die cut mouse. That may not sound like a big deal, but I love it! It's way more interesting than writing it on a piece of paper or doing a worksheet on mammals. I also love the way she is so supportive of me coming in to help. She doesn't just give me busy work; she gives me things to do that really matter-I like that.
The thing that amazes me is how Gracie is able to "tune out" things that are hard for me to tune out. For instance, I'm there during their specials time which happens to be Library the day I'm there. I'll be honest-I'm picky & critical of teachers. Don't get me wrong-I'm not critical to them. I'm very supportive & appreciative and willing to pitch in & help, etc. However, I watch & observe things and-being a former teacher-I think I notice things that others might not. It is truly a hard transition going from being "teacher" to being "parent." Anyway, the library aide was doing their library time yesterday and I had to bite me tongue not to say something to the lady. If you've read my blog much, you'll notice that I don't typically say negative things about the school or teachers because I don't think there's much good to come of that. I like to look for the good, HOWEVER, this lady didn't want to work with these kids, sooooo she didn't work with them a whole lot! I was in & out during the class and she just kind of left them on their own for much of the time. She had read them a book then given them an independent assignment-which is fine-and then they could check out books when they were finished. Again, all fine in theory. Sweet Gracie, and some others, were working diligently on their assignment. There were 3 or 4 boys-at least-who need a thumb on them 85% of the time in my opinion who were completely off task just about the WHOLE time. I don't know that they did any of the assignment OR checked out books. I don't think the lady even noticed. She would say, "2nd grade, you're getting too loud" a few times as she sat on her boo-hine at the computer or put books back on the shelves. I asked Gracie, "Does it not bother you that some of the kids are talking & stuff?" She kind of laughed and said, "No." I said, "Why not?" She said, "It just doesn't." She can just tune it out and does what she's supposed to do and doesn't appear to be negatively affected by some of the misbehavior hardly at all. Me on the other hand......it was driving me crazy!!!!!!! I was really dumbfounded that the lady seemed to care so little. Again, this was the library aide, not Mrs. Z. Sure, Mrs. Z gets frustrated with some of the students sometimes (I know I did when I was teaching-if I hear the name J-o-s-h S-c-h-l-e-p-r to this day, I kind of groan. That kid needed love, but oh how he pushed me! He came back almost every day the next year to say hi which amazed me because I was so tough on him. I do wonder about him and hope he's doing well!) but I've never seen her just go sit down and work on administrative tasks while a group of students is completely off task for such a long period of time. Miss Stack & Mrs. Stauffer would never have done that either. Anyway......I'm guess I'm due a little venting from time to time, right?!!?
Speaking of Miss Stack, I get to observe her (well, really mostly listen) to her working with groups of kids while I'm doing my tutoring because we're in the same room. She is now a reading teacher rather than a K teacher. She works with small groups of kids for 15-20 minutes at a time. I am continually amazed at what an awesome teacher she is! Her teaching style is incredible and she is so loved by each & every student. She truly makes each student feel like her favorite and she is so effective at getting them to listen to her without raising her voice or acting frustrated. I listened to her one day and felt like a little kid in rapt attention. She was whispering something to them and I found myself being really quiet so I could hear what she was saying. It was such an effective way to get the kids to listen to her rather than snapping at them. She is just one of those teachers who was born to teach-she's just so good!
I was able to talk to a couple of the other mothers from Gracie's class yesterday. I'm trying to get together things for "Fall goodie bags." I talked to 3 of them and they were all very nice and eager to help. I'm hoping to hear back from a few more today.My sweet Katie Boo is doing fine. These pictures sum her up really well. Laughing & being silly! She loves to put on "High School Musical" music and dance & dance-it is hilarious! One of her best friends is moving this week-across the country-so we're a bit sad around here. His parents are some of our good friends too. I know Katie doesn't really have a clue what's going on although we've told her that Dillon is moving, but she's going to realize it next week when he's really not here anymore. *sniff sniff*