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Kindergarten is Hard - for Parents

Discussion in 'Alley of Dangerous Angles' started by Aldeth the Foppish Idiot, Sep 18, 2012.

  1. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Also keep in mind that he's only been in school a couple of weeks, and having never been to pre-school or daycare, a lot of this is new. He's learning how to act in school as much as he's actually learning new information. It's easier for a small child to learn something than to un-learn something. So I'd like to go with the "follow instructions" path as that's going to be right far more often than not. Also, when dealing with a 5-year old, it's easier to keep it simple. We want as few if A, then B; if not A then C choices as possible. It's much easier to teach "follow instructions" early, and then show examples as time goes by when it's OK to not follow instruction, than the teach "sometimes follow instructions" and get into a litany of possibilities of when it's OK and when it's not.
     
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  2. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Which is why my suggestion was to tell the teacher of the problem and ask.

    To be more precise: My suggestion was to let Jack know that he should not have just colored the tie green, he should have told the teacher of the problem obtaining a red crayon and asked if he could just color the tie green instead. The teacher would then either find him a red crayon to use, or indicate using green would be OK under the circumstances.

    Your subordinate should have done the same: If his subordinate was not satisfying the requirement he should have asked you if that was OK or should he push the subordinate to meet it as stated.
     
  3. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Agreed BTA. Whether you're in Kindergarten or in your professional career a requirement is a requirement. Sometimes requirements can be or should be adjusted, but prior agreement is needed on that.
     
  4. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    It reminds me of the Dutch term eenheidsworst. (untranslatable)

    it means that the system is trying to make exact copies of the children, knowing the same, dressing the same, talking and thinking the same......

    It is the way teachers are programmed to do.
     
  5. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Damn It! This is Hard!

    So I'm going through the folder again last night (my wife tutors two evenings a week, so I get folder duty those days), and there's a note in the folder from the teacher that Jack never raises his hand to participate in class. The teacher does state that whenever she calls on Jack, he knows the answer, but that he won't raise his hand. So it seems like she knows that Jack knows what's going on, but also to tell me that Jack isn't collecting many tickets because of his lack of partipation. I'm thinking, "Tickets? WTF?"

    Hey Jack, what's the story with the tickets?

    You get a ticket every time you raise your hand and answer a question.

    What do you do with the tickets?

    You put them in your ticket box. (Like I said, 5-year olds interpret everything literally.)

    OK, what happens to the tickets in the ticket box?

    Every once in a while they let you go to the school store and buy stuff with the tickets.

    The teacher says you don't raise your hand much and you don't have many tickets.

    I NEVER raise my hand.

    Don't you want the tickets?

    No. I don't need their stinking tickets.

    Why not?

    I went to the store once, and the only thing they have there is stuff like pencils, markers, erasers, and stuff like that. And you need a LOT of tickets to get anything. It's such a ripoff! (Jack uses the term "ripoff" for anything he deems to be unfair - it's not a value assessment to him.)

    But don't you want to be able to get the stuff the other kids will be getting?

    I already HAVE all that stuff. And they don't sell crayons. If they had red crayons, I would have bought one of them with my tickets. (At this point I just start laughing.)

    I understand the concept that they are incentivizing the kids to participate with this reward system. And I understand that based on the area the school draws from, there are quite a few lower income children in the class. For them, the system probably works as intended, because their parents don't/can't buy them anything they would like to have for school. I'm not wealthy by any means, but I certainly can afford to drop a couple hundred bucks for Jack to get clothes, shoes, and supplies for school.

    So for Jack the system fails miserably. It's not a reward if they are just giving you stuff you already have, or can easily get. Jack has also told me that he thinks "school is boring". Jack would like to, and I'll quote him directly, "learn how to read more". The problem is the only thing they are doing is learning the alphabet, the sounds the letters make, and numbers 1-10. Based on the worksheets he brings home, I believe him. Jack already knows that stuff, so I can see why he's bored.

    The other thing about Jack is that he's never been a kid that will simply perform on command. If he doesn't feel like doing something, and you are offering an unsatisfactory reward for his performance, he just won't do it. To him, it's not worth his time to participate.

    I also found it very funny, that the only thing Jack could think of that he ever needed at school that he didn't have access to was a red crayon to color the gingerbread man's bowtie. And since the store didn't sell crayons, there was absolutely nothing there that he needed.

    Now technically, he's right (again). He doesn't "need their stinking tickets". So this is where I have to be a parent. And to get him to see the incentive of the tickets. (And I accomplished this, but not in an ideal way.) I told him that the teacher wants you to participate more in class, and the only way you're going to get her off your ass is if you do that.

    But I don't need the tickets.

    (And it's at this point where I wished I had paused for a moment without answering.) Without thinking, I said, "Maybe you could get tickets and trade them with kids who want them for something. Like offer them two tickets for one of their cookies at lunch." (NOT my finest moment of parenting. I wished the second I said it that I could un-say it - it was a complete :doh: situation. I immediately tried to backpedal.

    But it was too late. As soon as the words left my lips Jack's eyes lit up. As far as he was concerned, this was pure genius on my part. I said, "Maybe that's not such a great idea."

    No Dad, it's a GREAT idea! The other kids want the tickets, so I can use the tickets I get like money!

    (Oh crap. I'm screwed on this. I don't even want to mention this to my wife. I just planted the seeds of setting up a black market for tickets in the kindergarten class. If Jack gets busted running ticket scams at lunch or in the playground - which is inevitable when dealing with the subtlety of a 5-year old - we're going to get a call from the teacher. And Jack will throw me right under the bus when that happens - it was all Dad's idea! My only hope is that the teacher calls on a day when my wife is tutoring and so I get the phone call. I can't believe I said that. I'm retarded.)
     
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2012
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  6. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    "No. I don't need their stinking tickets." - LMAO

    "I'm retarded" - RLMFAO

    If the wife receives that phone call, you better hope the couch is comfy my friend. :D
     
  7. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    ROTFLMAO!!!!!!

    I have to admit, I'm impressed with his logic. He doesn't care about the tickets, or what you can get with them. I can relate to that, and can't really hold it against him.

    I can just see him in a trench coat at recess peddling tickets now! Yeah, you opened a can of worms there I'd say!! Good luck!!
     
  8. Blackthorne TA

    Blackthorne TA Master in his Own Mind Staff Member ★ SPS Account Holder Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    That's fantastic! I wonder if the teacher would care... I mean the tickets are supposed to be an incentive; if trading tickets with other kids for something Jack wants makes him want the tickets, then what's so bad about that? Jack gets what he wants, other kids get what they want, and teacher gets what he/she wants (more participation from Jack).
     
  9. dmc

    dmc Speak softly and carry a big briefcase Staff Member Distinguished Member ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful Adored Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Ha! That was awesome. You completely screwed the pooch on that. What's great is you knew it the moment you said it but it was too late. Oh, you are so going to get busted on this. You must keep us informed! My face actually hurts from laughing and smiling at this. I will rep you for this -- pure awesome goodness. :lol:
     
  10. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    I just reread this line and completely busted up laughing again. It's like, in his mind red crayons have already been proven to be in short supply, so that's the only thing that he finds any conceivable need for. So amazingly practical of him. And yet, those bastards over at the school store can't even see fit to sell me one of those with those worthless tickets they're trying to pawn off on me. Classic!

    You may have your hands full with this one. He sounds too sharp for his own good! :)
     
  11. Scot

    Scot The Small One Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Actually Aldeth, its not such a bad idea. I run a token economy system in my second grade classroom with Niko Cards, basically tickets. And the kids can buy pencils and the small type of toys that you find in the free box at garage sales, but I also have some cooler things, like "Don't have to do your homework" coupons, and class parties that cost so much that the whole class has to contribute to be able to afford them.

    The kids bring me in their old unwanted toys to trade for Niko Cards, which I then sell for more than I paid for them. Inevitably some of them get the idea to make their own store in another part of the classroom during the weekly reward session, and I don't discourage them.

    I would suggest talking with the teacher though, maybe, even probably, trading food is not allowed for allergy reasons.

    One thing you might suggest to the teacher and to Jack, is that Jack uses the cards he earns in school to buy something that he wants from you.

    It would work like this, and I have done this in my class successfully, sometimes with the students' knowledge, sometimes secretly.

    Jack wants something more than a red crayon, say the new red Lego Bionicle or Ninjago, or whatever it is that he might want, but say it costs $20 - $40, so usually he would have to wait til his birthday or XMas/Hannukah/Kwanzaa if you do those things.

    You negotiate with him and the teacher, that when he earns X number of tickets for participating in school, teacher tells you, and because most five-year-olds like the concreteness of it, Jack brings you the envelope or bag with X number of tickets, which you can just give back to teacher, then Jack and mom and dad go and get the negotiated desired item.

    On a different note, that of Jack wanting to learn to read more, I am very sympathetic to you, Jack, as well as the teacher.

    Last year, my kindergarten colleague told me on the first day, "I don't know what I'm going to do with this boy (character name). He told me we should have a class party and get the goodies at the Little Grocery across the street." Across the street is a corner store named, you guessed it, "The Little Grocery."

    Turns out this kid came into kindergarten reading at an at least first grade level. My colleague truly had no idea what to do with him, as most of kindergarten is, as you are seeing, about letters and sounds and the kids' names.

    In first grade and second grade, we are, I hope, a little more equipped to deal with it. We make sure the kids knows the story we want everyone to be talking about, but after they quick readers blow through it in five minutes, we are usually fine with them doing some independent reading at their level.

    Again, discussion with the teacher could be useful. The school or your local library should have plenty of leveled readers on a variety of topics that relate to the teacher's lesson and maybe even Jack's interests. If she can see that letting Jack do some independent work actually gives her more time to work with kids who are still learning their letters, she should be okay with it, and even hopefully find a five or ten minute slot where she can read with Jack and have him show her what he is working on, for example a picture of the favorite part of his book.

    If she can't jump that bar then it is up to you and your wife to take advantage of Jack's early reading skills. Read those books to and with him. Get him hooked on reading. Does he share your like of fantasy? The Hobbit, Harry Potter, etc are great read alouds, and there are so many youth targeted fantasy series now that you can't possibly know about all of them. At some point he will realize that he can read them on his own, whenever he wants to, and doesn't have to wait for an adult to read the story to him.

    Then you will be yelling at him to put his book down when he comes to the dinner table.
    For me it was Robert Louis Stevenson's "Treasure Island." It was not in kindergarten, so I don't know for sure how exactly this will work with a kindergartner, but don't let his skill atrophy and go to waste.

    I've been following your interesting discussion for a while now, and finally felt I had something worthwhile to add.

    My two copper pieces for you and Jack.
     
  12. Aldeth the Foppish Idiot

    Aldeth the Foppish Idiot Armed with My Mallet O' Thinking Veteran

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    Oh yeah - I knew it as soon as I said it I was taking it right up the ass with that comment. So I've been thinking a bit about this, and I feel I have a 40% chance of having this work out favorably. Teachers tend to call parents right before they leave for the day, after the children have already gone home. So, since my wife tutors in the evening two nights a week, and I have Jack those two nights, I have a 2 in 5 chance of being the one that gets the phone call. Not great odds, but far from no chance as well. And teachers probably are like everyone else and want to get the hell out of school on Friday afternoons, and so maybe my chance is as high as 50%.

    That to me, was the funniest part of the entire conversation, for exactly the reason you just stated. They apparently showed all the kids the store the first week of school to show them the stuff they could get, and during that visit, Jack looked around and concluded that there was nothing there he needed that he didn't already have. Then, the following week there was the issue with the red crayon, but they don't sell crayons, so they aren't even good for that.

    You don't know the half of it. Just this week alone I have been asked:

    A. Why do we need both "c" and "k" in the alphabet if they both make the same sound?

    B. If babies come from inside their mother's belly, where did the first person come from because that person couldn't have had a mother?

    C. (After watching a show on the discovery channel on the planets) How come some planets have lots of moons, but earth only has one, and some don't have any?

    These questions are not easily answerable on a level a 5-year old can comprehend, even one as articulate as Jack. I don't want to confuse his early efforts at reading by telling him there are two different sounds for a "c". And I certainly can't have a discussion with him concerning evolution or planet/moon formation.

    Well I don't think Jack sees this as a way of giving away food, he'll be taking the food. AFAIK, he doesn't have any food allergies - certainly nothing severe like a peanut allergy - he requests that mom pack him a peanut butter and jelly sandwich for lunch practically every day. But I do like your suggestion that we get him something upon reaching a certain threshold with tickets, since there's nothing he wants at the school store.

    I don't have any idea what reading level Jack is on. It can't be too far past his present age, as he is only capable of sounding out and reading simple words. Anything that is more than four or five letters is, as he puts it, "too hard". I think the issue with him is he doesn't understand the concept of syllables yet. He wants all the words he reads to be one syllable. He can read things like "red", "toy", "ball", etc. But as soon as you get to a second syllable, he can no longer sound out the word. He only knows what those words are if we have read the book before, I have told him what the word is, and he remembers from last time we read it. But he doesn't sound it out.

    We do read a lot of books. Not only does he get a new book each week from the school library, but we have a Kindle Fire, and there are a huge number of children's books, complete with pictures, that you can get for free. Between the library and the Kindle, we have access to far more books than we could ever conceivably read.

    Thanks a lot for your input Scot. It's helpful. Even though my wife is an elementary school teacher, she has never taught children as young as Jack, as she taught 5th grade. So even though having a parent who is a teacher is helpful, she has no direct experience teaching children anywhere around Jack's age. She has never, for example, taught a child how to read. IMO, I think it would actually be harder to teach children the younger they are. Given that the attention span of a typical 5-year old is only a few minutes, it would seem like you'd have to constantly be switching to a new thing. Even with Jack, if you don't get his attention with something in the first couple minutes, he's checking out.
     
  13. Splunge

    Splunge Bhaal’s financial advisor Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I think Scot's point is that other kids will see Jack doing this, and they'll think it's a good idea too, but they might have allergies. And then you've got a problem.
     
  14. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Well, Jack is going to need to protect his turf. Either he gets a cut of the profits or he'll have to run the competitors out of business. I'm sure Jack will agree that such an approach is only practical. How else will he ensure that it's worth the effort: maximum profit margin. Mom and dad may not even have to buy groceries once the operation is in full swing!
     
  15. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Hell, Jack should bring a couple of 3rd graders in for muscle...
     
  16. Harbourboy

    Harbourboy Take thy form from off my door! Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    I don't see any problems with this, unless the lower income kids are going to be trading away what little lunch they have in order to get a pencil. But otherwise, it seems fine to me. Why on earth do you think you'll get into trouble for it?
     
  17. Gaear

    Gaear ★ SPS Account Holder Resourceful

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    Because they don't like organized crime in grade school? ;)
     
  18. Marceror

    Marceror Chaos Shall Be Sown In Their Footsteps Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) Torment: Tides of Numenera SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!) BoM XenForo Migration Contributor [2015] (for helping support the migration to new forum software!)

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    Well, parents want to make sure that their children are eating properly. When they catch wind that little Billy is giving away his lunch for tickets, there's going to be hell to pay.

    Maybe it doesn't work that way in NZ, but us Americans love to get worked up over this stuff!
     
  19. Blades of Vanatar

    Blades of Vanatar Vanatar will rise again Adored Veteran Pillars of Eternity SP Immortalizer (for helping immortalize Sorcerer's Place in the game!)

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    Aldeth,

    I have a few friends in the "book-making" business back in South Philly. Just have Jack PM me, I can hook him up with some connections... :D
     
  20. Merlanni

    Merlanni ★ SPS Account Holder Veteran New Server Contributor [2012] (for helping Sorcerer's Place lease a new, more powerful server!)

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    Why not take initiative and tip the teacher? Tell her, you were tired and he cornered you. Use her indirectly.

    On a side note it might be possible to make a sort of pool for the school supplies for the poor kids. It sounds a bit socialistic.(un-american)
     
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