Christian's school doesn't use a traditional report card method, rather a work sampling system. It looks at over 7 different areas of the child's development and tracks their progress within each area. Parents receive a Narrative Summary that gives us a great picture of what our child is doing in the classroom.
We had Christian's Winter Teacher Conference this morning, and we were SO pleased with his progress. He is meeting and exceeding his IEP goals (which we will be meeting at the end of this month for an IEP review). His teachers are incredibly and so committed to his progress. I'll share some of the comments that were given to us in a 6 page Narrative Summary Report (hello, I LOVE LOVE LOVE this school!).
1. Personal and Social Development
"Christian demonstrates quite a personality in the classroom. He is bright, funny, friendly and displays a love for learning and playing with peers. As Christian continues to develop as a member of the class, he has shown ability to share toys with peers using appropriate social phrases with some teacher support. He understands and uses the "two minutes" sharing policy. He will ask friends "Can I have a turn?" with some modeling needed"
"Christian enjoys engaging peers in play. He will often start a "Fireman" battle cry and march around with a long wooden block for a fire house. One morning Christina told his friend, "(Peer) you want to play with me?" Christian gets along well with his friends and is generally in the thick of an activity or dramatic play with his classmates. During dance parties, he and his friends often hold hands to dance. On the playground, Christian laughs with peers as they ride the double seated bike together or play chase".
2. Language and Literacy
Christian has shown improvements in his listening capabilities. During morning listening checks he usually has no problems taking his cochlear implant magnet on and off. For his listening check, Christian listens at a six-foot distance from Ms. Wilson in a quiet room. He generally only requires a repetition of the /s/ sound when he is listening with only his hearing aid. Occasional prompts and re-directions to the listening tasks are given and Christian appears to benefit from any pre-teaching that is given regarding vocabulary or academic skills related to his developmental level and classroom theme. For example, the first morning of the post office theme, Christian and Ms. Wilson talked about the mail truck, what its purpose was, who drove it, and a few other concepts. When he returned to the classroom, he was comfortable in playing in the truck with peers and was overheard telling a friend, “I’m the mailman! I put my mail in the truck!” Christian does well listening to identify words that minimal pairs similarities (e.g., can/cat), and then pointing to the word he has heard. He is generally able to follow one-step directions, and is showing emerging skills at following two-step multi-element directions that include more complex vocabulary and concept use. During a Mouth time activity, Christian was able to follow the direction, “find the /k/ sound and put it in envelope ‘C’.“ Christian demonstrates an age-appropriate ability to attend in group settings. He sometimes needs redirections after seeing a peer do something they are not supposed to or if he begins to fidget and turn away from the group. He does participate in group turn-taking with occasional reminders to wait for his turn.
Christian’s spoken language skills continue to develop appropriately. Christian speaks in phrases and sentences and is able to engage in multi-turn conversations with teachers and peers with variable support. When asked about his upcoming birthday one morning, Christian answered his teacher saying, “My birthday is at the fire station.” When his teacher asked, “Who is coming to your party?” he replied, “My friends and Mommy, Daddy, and Lilliana Grace.” He and his teacher continued the conversation with some support by his teacher to go into what he thinks he will see, eat, and do at the fire station during his party. Christian’s use of grammar is age-appropriate, but errors are noted with correct models/examples given by his teachers. Christian uses the following grammatical elements in his everyday speech: personal pronouns (e.g., “I’m playing basketball”), possessive pronouns (e.g., “I’m done. You’re turn”), contractible copulas (e.g., “Where’s the farmer going?”), present progressive verbs (e.g., “I’m make a bridge and someone can go over it”), past tense verbs (e.g., “I’m finished Ms. Wilson“), prepositional phrases (“There’s shark in the water”), negatives (e.g., “Don’t play it in a major key”), possessives (e.g., “I’m on the bear’s bed”), and plural /s/ (e.g., “You’re standing on your shoes”). Occasional prompts for using irregular past tense verbs (drive/drove), including an article (a/an/the), and models for general grammatical sentence structure are given. Christian makes comments (e.g., “I had a fire truck at [peers’] birthday party“), protests (e.g., “No, you can’t“), requests (e.g., “I want French Fries“), and asks and answers questions (e.g., “What are those in that basket?”). One morning when he was talking about calling his mother on the phone, Christian appropriately asked, “Why did you call my mom?” In terms of Christian’s articulation of speech sounds, some substitutions of the /f/ sound (“bire” for fire), as well as /b/ for /v/ (“bibrate” for vibrate) impact his level of intelligibility.
After snack time, Christian is usually one of the first Frog’s to get a book for quiet time when friends are finishing up their snack. Christian generally attends well to books. He sometimes gets distracted by others but generally can be re-directed. Christian labels pictures, asks questions, and answers questions his teachers ask regarding content. During the “Three Snow Bears” theme, Christian answered several questions regarding the sequence and objects in the Three Snow Bears book (e.g., “Who had the fancy boots?”, “Who lived in the igloo?”). Christian attempts to sing along to the ABC song and does well with some assistance. He was able to recognize his name in print while doing a mailbox activity and glued cotton balls on the letter “C” for the first letter of his name.
3. Mathematical Thinking
Christian is exposed to numbers and counting with different materials and in several activities each day. He is developing his ability to count with a one-to-one correspondence and rote counts to 11 with minimal assistance. During the “Let It Snow” theme, Christian participated in several counting experiences. These included counting ‘how many’ penguins tall he was, counting bells he put on a string, as well as other concrete objects, including number peg boards during choice time. During the grocery store theme, Christian was asked to sort items in their respective areas (e.g., fruits, vegetables, meat and bakery). He was able to do this with only a few prompts.
Christian continues to develop his understanding and functional use of quantitative concepts (e.g., big/small, heavy/light). During the “Friendship Post Office” theme, he accurately identified which package was heavy and also labeled what number package it was (number 1). He accurately used the size concept of “big,” when he told his teacher, “No, you’re too big,” when she asked if she could ride on the sled.
The daily schedule and weekly color calendar have been integrated into the Frogs routine as it introduces the concepts of what will be “next,” what will happen “after,” and a general sense of time (days/week). Christian demonstrates understanding of the color calendar as it relates to what day is “today”. Prompts are needed to consistently answer questions involving “tomorrow” and “yesterday.” When asked, he is able to answer what color day it is. When looking at the daily schedule, Christian also answers questions such as, “Where are going after Science?”
4. Scientific Thinking
An important aspect of scientific thinking is combining one’s senses to gather information about an object’s texture, smell, sounds, and more. Making observations is important to learning what concepts (e.g., size, texture) apply to different objects. During the post office theme, Christian was exposed to painting on bumpy bubble wrap and pushing paper on it to stamp on different colors. He put ice on his lips during Mouth Time to help feel and identify how cold, wet, slippery and smooth an ice cube is. The Frogs gathered snow outside on the playground one morning and brought it inside to make predictions about what would happen to it. After making observations as the day went on, he was able to answer the question, “What did the snow do?”, “Melt!” Observing similarities and differences between objects is an important skill in making scientific comparisons. During a cooking activity, Christian was asked to hypothesize what would happen to chocolate chips after they were put in the microwave. He learned how the heat from the microwave would make the chocolate chips melt. With some teacher prompting he was able to identify when it was a “solid” and when it had melted into more of a “liquid.” During an apple taste test, Christian sampled different consistencies of apple (e.g., slices, sauce, juice) and observed the differences in consistency that all come from the same fruit. In Science class, the Frogs went on a rock hunt and found different rock types around the school. With some prompting Christian used his rock to match his to Mrs. Tiller’s rock selection by matching it by colors, shine, and texture. In the classroom, he has begun exploring other materials, such as magnets. During Choice Time, he has played with magnetic toys and participated in a group exercise labeling what materials in a magnet board were “magnetic” and “not magnetic.”
5. Social Studies
Christian has been exposed to different cultures (e.g., China) and occupational roles (e.g., postal worker). With some prompting, he participated in singing songs related to different holiday celebrations (e.g., Kwanzaa, Hanukkah, and Christmas). In Library he read books about spinning the dreidel and would imitate dancing and spinning around like a dreidel. In Mouth Time he practiced blending sounds by putting candles on the Menorah. In learning about different groups and cultures, Christian and the Frogs were able to join the preschool classes in the school and celebrate the Olympics. Not only did the Frogs have the sense of group in their class, but participating with the other classes gave them a larger sense of the school group. They portrayed a country (China) along with other countries (classes) in different Olympic activities (e.g., opening / closing ceremonies). In addition to learning about the different activities and events when participating in the preschool “Olympics,” Christian also learned about Chinese culture and traditions as they celebrated the Chinese New Year and ate authentic Chinese food. Christian has had the opportunity to take on a variety of roles in the classroom. He enjoyed filling a grocery cart and purchasing food as a grocery shopper/customer, being a novice cashier who gave and collected money to put in the register, “beeping” when simulating the grocery store scanner, and stamping and delivering mail as a postal worker. As Christian and the Frogs take on a variety of roles, he continues to learn what duties are required for each of these positions.
Christian understands the rules and routines of the classroom and what is expected of him in different weekly job and classroom duties (e.g., helping daily during clean-up time). At clean-up time, some teacher prompts are needed to stop what he is playing and help clean up. Every red day (Monday), Christian checks what “job” he is assigned. Christian has taken pride in accomplishing his jobs as table setter, schedule helper, and light helper.
6. The Arts
in his art projects, Christian uses a variety of different textures and materials. He has glued on paper to decorate a mailbox, strung beads to make friendship bracelets, sprinkled glitter and glued sequins on paper to make “fancy” boots, and stamped with sponges and letter stamps. The Frogs are encouraged to participate in new and creative experiences outside of the classroom in the specials classes of Art, Library, Music and Drama. Christian enjoys going to specials classes and participates in the different activities, including: pushing the valve keys of the tuba while Mr. Oakley is blowing, ice-skating on paper plates and dancing with peers during drama, as well as acting out the baby part in a and a story read during Library. While learning about brass instruments in Music, Christian would remind Mr. Oakley to “vibrate your lips!” He is starting to identify how you play the different instruments in different families (e.g., [Do you play the percussion/drums with your lips?], “No!”). In his specials classes, Christian is exposed to new vocabulary. Some of the words he is beginning to generalize include: “vibrate,” “furious,” and “tutti.” When playing the bells along to the Jingle Bells song, Christian knows when it’s time to shake the bells when Mr. Oakley says “tutti” (meaning everyone plays together). In drama class, Mr. Boza discusses different feelings and emotions by giving the Frogs “clues” about how a person feels (e.g., frown) and uses different pictures of eyes and mouths as the feelings change. Christian continues to develop his understanding of emotions and is starting to speculate as to why someone could feel the way they do by associating it with an event. For example, one day in drama he commented on the “mad” eyes Mr. Boza put on the face. When asked, “what you do when you’re angry?” Christian appropriately answered, “Cross your arms and say, “Stop that now!”
7. Physical Development
Christian demonstrates age-appropriate gross motor skills. During the “Three Snow Bears” theme, he participated in an arctic obstacle course set up in the classroom. He jumped off an eight to ten inch “sled” and needed prompts to lift both feet when hopping from glacier to glacier. With some support, he balanced on an iceberg on one leg for a few short seconds, tip-toed several feet to not wake up the snow monster, galloped through the snow, and crawled like a polar bear through a snow tunnel. Another time when pretending to be polar bears, Christian was able to execute a twenty-one-inch jump from a standing position. In the gym, Christian enjoys riding bikes and scooters, he twists his arms to make a roller racer move, plays air hockey, and throws balls and bean bags overhand into the openings of a stand up tent and onto Velcro targets. On the playground, he also rides bikes and maneuvers around obstacles. Christian enjoys acting out play scenarios with peers on the playground. Some of these scenarios include: “firemen” and “Super Hero.”
Christian uses his fine motor skills frequently in different activities around the classroom. He uses a pincer grasp to: pick up pieces of snack, pick up and transfer small marshmallows with tongs into different cups, pop bubble wrap bubbles, stack blocks, push stamps on letters, and string beads. Some assistance is needed to lace mitten patterns. Christian’s digit manipulation skills are improving. He points to objects and is starting to reference a number with the corresponding number of fingers (e.g., putting up two fingers to represent how many snowflakes there are). During the post office theme, Christian “wrote” letters to family. He demonstrates a fist grasp when drawing pictures or “writing” notes to then stuff in an envelope. He also favors his left hand when drawing. Christian’s use of scissors to accurately cut on a straight line has improved. With occasional reminders to keep his “thumb up to the sky” and some re-positioning on the line, he was able to cut paper to make art projects (e.g., strips of blue paper to decorate a mailbox and a Chinese lantern).