Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Conversation With Sophie

Background: Sophie's class has a Behavior Chart that is in use every day.  Basically, if you behave like a robot and don't utter a word all day, you "clip up" and get a sticker on your clip.  If you remain on green all day, that means you're doing exactly what you're supposed to be doing. A yellow means you've received a warning or two during the day. A red means.....I don't know really but I know it's bad. I am nothing less than outspoken about how much I dislike this system.  You'll have to trust me when I say that this chart is THE FOCUS of the classroom. Sophie can come home each day and tell me how every single one of her classmates "clipped" that day. At the same time, she struggles to tell me what they learned.  My child receives green almost every single day yet feels disappointed because she didn't "clip up". Obviously this is a flawed system. To me it's just another way to label children and focus more attention on those children who are more spirited and struggle to keep it together ALL DAY LONG. Keep in mind that some of these children only turned five a few months ago.  It also detracts from the actual learning. I do feel for a single teacher in charge of 24 kindergartners ~ it's not easy. Still, I can't help but feel that there has to be a better way!

Last night when I was putting Sophie to bed, she was telling me all the usual nonsense about how her friends clipped that day. One of Sophie's close friends "clips up" every single day.  I am always asking Sophie how this friend manages to clip up every day....I mean really!  Sophie says to me, "Autumn (name has been changed) is quiet all the time and I am not."  So I reply, "Yes Soph, that's true and I happen to like that about you. I want to hear your opinions and stories and thoughts. As long as you know when it's appropriate to speak and when it isn't. You have to always be respectful to your teacher."  Then she looks at me with a curious look and she says to me, "That is non friction."  (I am literally pinching myself to keep from giggling.) Non friction?  "Yes Mommy, like not friction." So I probe by saying, "I'm not sure I know what that means."  She then explains to me that something "non-friction" means it's something that is fact, truth or that really happened and that "friction" is something made up.  


I know that her class has been learning the difference between non-fiction and fiction and that she's trying to work out how to use these terms.  But friction?  That is so adorable.  I tell her how proud I am that she knows these words and what they mean but gently tell her how it's really spelled and pronounced. Still, it made my heart swell and I smiled all of the way out of her room.  She just makes me so happy! 

(Photos were all taken at the Musical Petting Zoo that preceeded the Children's Symphony)

1 comment:

  1. Audrey,
    My son will be 23 this month and the system that you are talking about, is very similar to what he had in Kindergarten and First Grade! He had the green/yellow/red lights and they had a long string which had a clothespin on it but this had to do with the whole classroom. If one person misbehaved the pin stayed where it was, if they all OBEYED, then the pin would move up and then they would get a pizza party.
    I told my son if he had any questions that came up that he was not allowed at school to ask then to remember them and I would answer them at the end of the day. This worked for us. You are your child's first teacher!
    My son hopefully will graduate from college next month, and I am hoping WITH HONORS. How wonderful is that? :-)
    Dear sweet, smart Sophie, I hope so much that school will not crush her spirit...make sure it doesn't!!


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