How are we Doing? 3 Progress Reports
I had to get Fiona and Finley's school progress reports as part of our visa renewal (actually, NZ forces you to complete a new application, one for each family member, but that's another story...). Parents don't normally get these reports until the second school term, which starts in May. That means I have an "inside scoop" on my children's academic and social progress. It's a kind of Month-Two temperature check on life in New Zealand. I'll give you a sneak peak:
Reading at Level 5 [editor Mum's note: Fi's still behind some of her peers] and developing decoding strategies. Reading is not yet fluent, but Fiona is enjoying success by being able to complete reading tasks with a degree of independence.
Fiona can write a complete sentence by using basic word sources and hearing and recording sounds in words. She is planning the structure of sentences in her head before writing.
Fiona has basic knowledge of numerals and shapes. She is using this knowledge to work out addition facts from 1-20.
Fiona has made a great start. She is growing in confidence and has started to make some genuine friendships. She is a bright and happy child who loves to learn and is eager to complete tasks. She is respected by her peers and has a great attitude to her work.
[signed, her teacher....]
Finley Stanelun (I opened his report with one eye closed):
Finley is currently reading at level 2. He knows 20 basic sight words. Finley can name and say the sound for most of the letters of the alphabet. Finley is able to point to each word as he reads and will use the pictures to help with tricky words.
Finley is able to write a sentence with teacher assistance. He is beginning to hear the sounds within words. Finley is able to draw a picture to match his story and he can read his writing back to the teacher.
Finley can read and order numbers to 10. He can count backwards from 10. Finley is able to solve basic addition problems by counting all of the objects. He is learning his numbers to 20.
Finley is a lovely class member who has settled into school routines. He is making friends and plays happily during break times. Finley participates in all class activities. [editor Mum's note: mercifully, no mention of the playground mooning incident]
I wondered, if I had a progress report, what it would say? Who would write it? Maybe "Joe Overseer" would say this:
Dawn's reading material consists mostly of children's books which she reads to Fiona and Finley at bedtime. Grown-up reading happens mostly with the Bay of Plenty Times (local newspaper), which doesn't publish a Sunday edition. I am disappointed Dawn has a library card and has not read her library books, which include a book of wisdom by Thich Nhat Hanh (the book is much more readable than the author's name) and several New Zealand guidebooks, which Dawn has barely cracked. She would read more if she weren't watching "The Real Housewives of Atlanta" on her iPod before bedtime.
Dawn's writing, until about a week ago, consisted mostly of Facebook posts and scribbled journal entries. I understand, however, she's writing one blog entry per day during Lent, which has substantially upped her writing quotient. I reserve comment at this time about the quality of her writing. The quantity, however, is improving. Dawn tells me she has registered for a writing workshop and will join a writer's group.
Dawn can add and subtract numbers in her head to 10. She knows multiplication tables, although on occasion, I've caught her counting fingers and toes. Thankfully, New Zealand's sales tax is included in the price of goods and tipping is not widespread. I understand Dawn struggles to compute percentages.
Dawn is mostly proficient at left-side driving, although often lacks confidence about when to turn right, without stopping, into oncoming traffic, which is New Zealand law. I've also witnessed her driving too slowly while searching for an address and pulling into private driveways to turn around.. Dawn tells me her GPS has been sent to the shop for repairs. Retrieval of this device should improve her confidence and way-finding.
Dawn is running 5 or 6 times a week. She completes hill work on most runs, although claims she's no faster than when she started plodding up mountains. I suggest she refrain from consuming sweets and alcohol to improve her fitness level. She suggested I take a long walk off a short pier. I admonished her not to talk with her mouth full.
Dawn is open to meeting new people and has started to form friendships. I do notice she rarely associates with males. I suggest she practice dialoguing with people of the opposite sex. She suggested I take a long walk off a short pier, then asked if I wanted to join her for a walk, a drink and dessert.