21 November 2008

friday photos: first grade update edition

Last week we had James' parent-teacher conference. We suspected that the conference, like all previous conferences with James' teachers, would be fine, because he is bright and, with the occasional exception of talking too much, generally well-behaved.

Also, I had heard a funny story from our neighbor a week or two earlier after his conference with his daughter's teacher. Neighbor Girl and James are in different classes this year, but still play together every day after school. NG's teacher was asking NG's dad about what NG does outside of school, and NG's dad mentioned that NG plays with her neighbor James a lot. NG's teacher said, "Oh, you mean Smart James from the other class?"

So, knowing that other teachers in the school know our son as "Smart James" had us feeling pretty relaxed going into this conference.

We love James' teacher this year. Mrs. M. is friendly, enthusiastic and experienced, and best of all, she loves James to pieces and couldn't say enough about how well he is doing in school. The only issue that came up at the conference was when we told Mrs. M. that James thinks school is too easy and he would love to have more challenging work (something he's told us on a regular basis since school began this year). Luckily Mrs. M. realizes how bright James is, and that he could benefit from more challenging work, but unfortunately it seems she has little flexibility to provide him with more challenges. Because of the requirements and structure of the first-grade routine, Mrs. M. doesn't have time to work individually with James on advanced material. And it certainly wouldn't be fair to ask her to put in extra work for a kid who's already excelling when she probably has her hands full trying to keep some of the other kids up to speed with regular class work.

So we're trying to spend some extra time working with James at home. Last weekend I bought him a 320-page workbook of second grade skills, which he is currently flying through with little trouble. He is perfectly content to sit down and fill out worksheet after worksheet of spelling and math problems. Good practice for his handwriting, too. And we're currently reading Beverly Cleary's Ramona books, which James is enjoying just as much as I did at his age.

I never realized when James started school that it would be so much more work for us, but the older he gets, the more fun we are all having.

Oh, and a word on Evan: I discovered yesterday that he can recognize the numbers 1-9, when I thought he didn't know any of them. Smart kids!


Anonymous said...

First of all, happy birthday, Heidi! A little belated, but I did think of you on Wednesday morning (and then I forgot to send you a message when I got to my computer).

Secondly, that may be the greatest school picture I've ever seen. James looks so mischievous! I love it. I'm glad to hear he loves learning so much too. And the Ramona books, yay! A young child's life doesn't seem quite complete without Beverly Cleary, does it? ;)

Much love,

Julie said...

How exciting! (but not surprising!) that you have such smart kids! I loved his pic too!

Jessica said...

Wow! It must be a relief to have such great teacher conferences -- our have always been stressful, for everyone involved.

I always knew James was a smartie! And I LOVE the picture!!

kim said...

What a hilarious picture - with that expression on his face, he looks like he could grow up to be the Unabomber or something (the Unabomber was quite the mad genius too, wasn't he?).


Anonymous said...

quite a little genius :)
big hugs,