good at math, stuttering, quite a handful

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Last night I had parent teacher conferences. I met with both boys’ teacher, Andrew’s Speech therapist, Isaac’s counselor (he receives counseling for play and social skills) and I visited the art, music and gym teachers too. Plus I saw some parents I know.

Here’s some things I learned:

1. Both boys are good at math. Honestly, I hear this a lot…and still…every time it surprises me. I don’t know why, but it does. There is a new math curriculum in the school and it’s been HARD…and Andrew does it, but it definitely challenges him. And I found out last night that she’s been giving him “enrichment” assignments. Every math lesson has a basic strand, a strand to provide support to students who need it and an enrichment strand for students that need challenging. So no wonder it’s been so hard!

2. Last year Andrew’s speech therapist and I started talking about his tendency to stutter. It doesn’t happen all the time, just when he’s thinking about something complicated and trying to get the words out. She told me to not bring attention to it, it’s normal, it will likely go away. But now she’s noticing it more. She thinks it might be increasing and she’s creating a plan in case she needs to intervene to help him with it.

3. Isaac is a handful! EVERY teacher I talked to brought it up. He pushes boundaries, tests limits, needs to know the teacher will set and keep the rules. He’s not just going to fall in line because he’s told to. His classroom teacher has him pretty much figured out by now and has lots of systems in place to keep him in line and on task. My favorite system she has is a visual meter that shows him when he’s too wound up (red!) or too low-energy (green…and NEVER happens) and how he wants to be at yellow…the ideal alert and ready-to-work mode. When he’s on red, there is a set of activities he can choose from to help him settle down. He choses three, spends only three minutes on calming down and then gets right back to work. I love this because it’s teaching him to self-regulate AND giving him tools to help him feel more settled. Some of the settling activities? Popping bubble wrap, steady, controlled jumping in the back of the classroom, wall push ups, one minute on the scooter board, writing on the smart board…and then, right back to work. He loves it and it works!

4. Isaac is doing really well with reading. It really seems like he woke up one morning knowing how to read. He has a HUGE vocabulary of sight words that he knows and he can sound out new words with pretty good accuracy…but…he can’t talk about what he read. Reading is only successful when you understand what you read. And we can only know that he understands it if he can talk about it. And that’s really hard for him. Lately I’ve been reading with him after school, excited about his new skill and ready to push it further. But now I feel like I need to slow down and just work with talking with him about books. So…I’m going to do that!

5. Right before I left I talked to the gym teacher who works with both of my boys. Andrew is easy-peesy during gym and Isaac is a handful. “those boys are like night and day!” he told me. Yes! I know! Soooo true! They have the same parents, live in the same home, have the same diagnosis…and yet…they ARE like night and day. I’m glad someone else sees that too. :)

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and…COMPLETELY unrelated…but there are a few things I want to point out about this scrapbook page. The story here is all about Andrew’s love for spies…but the photos providing the supporting evidence crack me up. I LOVE the message he left for me using magnetic letters. I love what it says and I love how inventive he was as he started running out of letters. And, in the top left corner is a photo of Isaac with something on his forehead. What is that, you ask? Andrew wrote “Isaac” on Isaac’s forehead in invisible ink, and then illuminated it with a tiny black light to show me. I LOVE THAT! so funny, these boys!


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About robyn

I stopped teaching Kindergarten in 2005 to become the mom of two crazy boys here in Brooklyn. At first I thought being a stay at home mom meant that I needed to pour all my time and energy directly into my sons, but I realized somewhere along the way that being a rockstar mom meant not only taking good care of my boys, but also taking good care of myself. And taking good care of myself means pursuing something creative...just about everyday. I started Made In Brooklyn to motivate myself in my creative goals as well as share my work with others and perhaps inspire them in their own creative journeys.
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4 Responses to good at math, stuttering, quite a handful

  1. Loralee says:

    I love, love, love reading these kinds of anecdotes about your boys. What an amazing school they have, too. As much as I would love to have you closer, there is absolutely nothing around here that would provide them with what they have there. The note on the fridge??? I LOVE it! :)

    And Happy, Happy Birthday!!! The big 3-6? I hope you have an amazing day, and an equally delicious cake.

  2. Debs says:

    What a great school your boys go to, they know exactly what to do with both of them to make them reach their potential.
    We had a talent show here a few years ago and there was a guy who could not speak a whole sentence without stuttering badly, but when he sang – wow! His way of coping was to breathe in and speak on the out breath and to sing, sing, sing! Check out this website http://www.mcguireprogramme.com/en/uk/news/deal-it-overcoming-stammer. I’m sure it’s a matter of his speech not being able to keep up with all the things he has in his head to say!

  3. Susan says:

    I can’t believe the teachers your boys have. I hope you feel amazing when you think back about how much work you put into getting them to where they are and how much it seems to have been so worth it.

    And Happy Birthday!

  4. Cathy says:

    Happy birthday Robyn!
    Hope you had a great day with your boys!
    I also like this type of post about your amazing boys!

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