Wednesday, February 24, 2010
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Zahra entered kindergarten with some very basic skills that she had acquired in preschool. She knew a select few letters from her alphabet, barely knew how to write her name, and was nowhere near literate.
Now Zahra can read short words and complete sentences! The school sends home little readers for kids to practice and when your child reads the text well, it's sent back to school and another one comes home. Recently one of her favorites had a few sentences underneath pictures on 4 pages. The sentences read like this: "Go, Nan! Nan ran, ran ran. / Go, Pat. Pat ran, ran, ran. / Go, Van. Van ran, ran, ran. / Go, Cat! Cat sat, sat, sat." On the last page, the cat was sitting idly, having no intention to run in the race like the other characters. Every time Zahra would read it and get to the last page, she would tell me, "The cat doesn't listen. He doesn't want to run. He just sits there!" (I thought it was so cute how she wanted to explain what was going on every time.)
I think, thanks in large part to the Houghton Mifflin program called Alpha Friends and Mrs. Conton's repetition, Zahra quickly learned every letter and the sound that it makes. (Each letter has a corresponding character and picture, complete with a description of sound. Like "Keely Kangaroo says k..k..k.., Larry Lion says l..l..l.., Mimi Mouse says m..m..m..") She knows them in any order you point to them and her handwriting is continuing to improve.
Zahra can clearly write her first name now (instead of a Z-scribble-scribble) and is working on writing her last name (no easy task since it has 10 letters!). She has a little reminder card in class to help her spell it correctly.
She can also clearly identify and expand upon patterns. For example, if you put a red block, then two blue blocks, and another red block in a row, she can easily add to the pattern by putting more blue blocks down. For homework, she sometimes has to create her own patterns and they have been somewhat complex (not just two repeating colors or shapes, but multiples and singles mixed together).
I was also surprised to read in her report card from last term that she knew the day and month of her birthday. It wasn't anything we had worked on at home and I was just kind of surprised when I read that. I almost didn't believe it so I quizzed her. "Zahra, when's your birthday?" to which she quickly replied, "February twelfth." Wow. Cool.
I'm sure there are tons of other things that Zahra has learned and I will definitely know more after her next report card comes home. These are just some of the concrete things that I have seen myself, both inside the classroom and at home.
I'm so proud of my kindergartener! I hope she continues to love school and wants to continue learning new things for the rest of her life.
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
This is a short video clip of Zahra driving, including on the wrong side of the road... but really, does she even know what the right side of the road is? And at the end, she gets too close to the curb and her car gets wedged in. One of the employees had to run over and rescue her by pulling the car out a little bit. Shortly after that, all the cars shut down and the ride/drive was over.
From left to right: (in the back row) Rachel and her son Jordan, Willie jr., then in the front are Teshauna and Alysha, Max and his mom, Bessie, Leland, Denise, William, and Willie sr. -- But where is the birthday girl?
Since Valentine's Day was on Sunday, the kids had their celebrations at school on Friday, which also happened to be Zahra's birthday. The kids aren't allowed to pass out candy or sweets, so they just exchanged little Valentine's Day cards. As it was good practice for the kids to work on their handwriting, the kindergarten teachers requested that all the Valentines be addressed by the students themselves. Since I knew this would be quite a bit of work, we began the project on Superbowl Sunday and got a good majority of them done. She worked on them some more during the week and turned them in on Wednesday, when they were due. So not only did the kids have Valentine's Day stuff, Zahra got a special birthday crown to wear all day. We also donated a book to the classroom ("Are You My Mother?" by P.D. Eastman), one of Zahra's favorites. It's one that we own, so she's asked me over and over again to read it to her. I found a little board book version for $5 at Barnes and Noble, so that's the one we gave to her class. (The school requests no sweets, so they suggest giving out pencils to the class or donating a book that the teacher reads first thing in the morning.)
Monday, February 8, 2010
Something about his conviction makes his speech so funny to me. I just wish that somehow I could understand what he's trying to convey. Nonetheless, it's still entertaining (to me) just to watch him babble.
About a week before Christmas, I sat down with Zahra to try and help her write a letter to Santa. While she was quite excited about this task, it was definitely a task that definitely tried my patience several times. I waited until Max was sound asleep in a deep nap before I even attempted to try and help Zahra write the "long" letter to Santa. Maybe she was too excited, maybe she's just a kid, but she was being rather silly and having her actually write the letters correctly and with enough room to fit in the allotted space was quite challenging.
Above, we have the proud author of her very first handwritten letter to Santa. Just before we put it into an envelope, Zahra asked, "What about Max's letter?" to which I replied, "That's one of the fun things about writing, you're able to write your own letter to Santa Claus. When Max gets older and he can write, then he'll write one too. Until then, Santa just has to guess about what Max would like for Christmas."
Caught in the act and now playfully defensive...