Lovin' our Big Boy!

Lovin' our Big Boy!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

The Gift

Jack's teacher wrote a letter to me sharing her perspective on Jack's kindergarten year in her classroom. A wonderful teacher, I had the pleasure of being the Room Mom in her classroom. As the year was coming to an end, I asked her not to purchase anything for me as a thank you but, instead, to write me a letter as my "gift". And what a gift it is! I'm so thrilled to hear how well Jack is doing as the year comes to a close. I hope that you can share in our joy. Our little boy has come so far!!!

Dear Karen (and family),
What a joy it has been to spend this year with Jack! At times challenging, at other times humorous, at ALL times an adventure – this year has been unique (I know, they all are, but Jack had a lot to do with the “feel” of our class personality this year).
As I look back to the beginning of the year, I remember thinking that Jack was adapting remarkably to kindergarten. A full day with many transitions, eighteen other children, a new schedule to learn, a sensory onslaught in and outside of my room – WOW –he negotiated all of it in his own way.
But as I see him now, in May, I realize how anxious he must have been in September. Jack was scripting nonstop, he would get under the tables on some occasions (usually during afternoon centers), he was playing and socializing in a very parallel way, and would stay by himself during recess. He needed his Ed. Assistant most of the day to scaffold and modify our tasks (especially Writing Workshop) as well as assist with the bathroom. Often he was fearful during PE and I remember that I tracked the daily schedule chart every day because it seemed to comfort Jack.
Fast forward to May – what a metamorphosis (it’s a change, a great BIG change!) Jack is working independently with an occasional prompt or two (no need for timers or lists). His writing is phenomenal – he can get HIS OWN IDEAS on paper (quite the higher order thinking skill). He happily chooses different centers in the afternoon (he was fixated on Tubs at the beginning of the year). Jack is the center of the social universe in our class. He has many friends, plays with others during center time and outdoors, hugs them, and carries on back and forth conversations with friends and teachers. Jack shares his happy news about playing chess and having sleepovers with his grandparents, Wall-E adventures, and fun with Tyler. On our class favorites writing task, almost everyone mentioned Jack as one of their favorite friends. I love the picture of Jack with his classroom family of friends around him during his birthday party!
Classic Jack moments in Kindergarten:
That Jack voice is classic in itself!!!
Walking in the hall – he has his own pace, but he’s coming (I can hear him ☺ - zero zone shmero zone).
He predicted in November when the 100th day would fall – he was right, of course.
When I sing “Ten more minutes” (the warning that clean up time is coming in 10 minutes), he sings in the same tune “No, no, no!”
Jack comes in the door and pronounces the events of the day – “It’s a great day – it’s music day!” or “today is the 163rd day of school!”
Once I say something, Jack never forgets. I said we could change special places when all children were present. As soon as we had 100% attendance, Jack reminded me it was time to change special places.
One winter dismissal, I had a particularly frantic time getting everyone zipped, and gloves and hats on before we made our way down the hall. Halfway down the hall, Jack announced he had forgotten his backpack. We stopped so he could go get it. Then another child yelled that Jack did not have his lunch box. So he went back to get it. Then Jack said he was not zipped – so I made sure he was zipped with hood up and fastened. All you could see were his eyes. We got to the front porch and he yelled, “Mrs. Ward, we have a problem! I can’t breathe!!”
During most of the year, Jack (and many others) were fearful of our loud flushing toilet. The children had it worked out that whoever used the bathroom after Jack would just flush it for him. Just recently, Jack flushed the toilet all by himself and announced it loudly and proudly (and with some sense of surprise and shock). He has continued to flush ever since (and wants to add toilets to each day of our calendar to show his mastery!)
It has been my pleasure to walk beside Jack this year! We are all teachers; we are all learners – I have learned so much from Jack. I look forward to hearing all about his summer and his adventures in first grade. Thank you SO much for all you have given to me and to this class – you have made it a much richer experience for us all.
Much love and respect xoxoxoxo,
Mrs. W.

Here is Jack with his teacher during their class "Celebration" on Monday. Mrs. W. is sharing with the class some kind words about Jack to the class and parents, as she did with each child. He was proud to stand there with her!!

No comments: