Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Elise's turn - 1st grade in review

Where Carson had a rough year, Elise has had a fantastic year in 1st grade! She has come out of her shell in so many ways this year. Where to begin?

Her teacher, Mrs. J, was AMAZING! True proof that the right teacher makes a world of difference. My biggest worry about Elise in school is that she'll get lost in the crowd. She's every teacher's dream student in that she follows the rules, HATES getting in trouble, loves to learn new things and is highly motivated. That said, with her speech issues and shyness, I'm always worried she'll get quickly overlooked in a roomful of other 6-7 year olds demanding attention in their own unique ways.

Mrs. J did not let that happen at all! She has the amazing ability to draw out the best of each child in her class...all 20 of them! She called me in early in the school because she had some specific academic concerns. Because of that early intervention on her behalf (she was noticing things we hadn't noticed when going over homework at home), we were able to work with the school to get Elise some extra support and she's made great progress.

Academically, she's done very well this year. She brought home one U (her school uses the Excellent, Satisfactory and Unsatisfactory grading system) and she was in tears. That was the only U she brought home all year. Her handwriting is beautiful, she has a new confidence in her reading abilities and she loves math. She would consistently get the highest level spelling list each week. She's a "nose to the grindstone" kind of kid who is motivated by earning high grades and will put in the work and effort for those grades.

Socially, she's just blossomed! From being a painfully shy kid at the beginning of the school year, she has BURST out of her shell this year. At the beginning of the school year, she was constantly coming home telling of new groups and activities she wanted to join. We agreed to drama club, soccer and Daisy Scouts. She looks forward to the activities and loves being involved. She's made some good new friends and is becoming quite the social butterfly.

She just loves school and loves learning. It's such a delight to have a child so excited about school. She even had perfect attendance this year! While I consider myself to be fairly organized, she was always reminding me of what she needed on which days and made sure she was all set for the day ahead.

Her speech is still progressing. I remember her excitement a few weeks ago because she'd been able to make the SH sound with her speech therapist! This was a HUGE deal! As she comes out of her shell and wants to be more involved, her speech still frustrates her. She really wants a speaking role in drama club next year. She still complains that friends just can't understand her and will ignore her when that happens. We continue to see progress and think her speech is so much more clearer now than at the beginning of the school year.
We've seen from Day 1 that she really seems to focus her energies on one area at a time. Once she masters that area, she moves onto a new area. We keep expecting that to happen with the speech. She was able to drop PT services this past year and now that she's on target academically, she'll have more energies to focus on her speech. The good news is that she's continually making progress and for that we are grateful.

Elise also played soccer this year and seems to have developed a love for basketball and bike riding. Dad is putting up a basketball net this year and we're looking forward to some long family bike rides now that Elise has her own "big girl" bike and no longer needs the tag-along (although she'll make a strong argument for still using the tag-along bike!).

Elise, we're so proud of the hard work you've put in this year. You've done great work and have learned so much this year! I'll sit down with you anytime to have you read me a book, sweetie!


Super Mommy said...

Awesome write up Mom!! You've got one amazing girl there. She sounds like a pleasure to be around - I'm glad she had such a good year. Hope her summer is relaxing and fun!!

sandra said...

It looks like it was an awesome year for Elise. Where have our babies gone, Gretchen?!?!?!

Vivian M said...

Way to go Elise! Hope you have a great summer vacation!

The Morris Family said...

Hooray Elise! Such great photos too!( especially liked the raspberry one- we LOVE raspberries)
Bring on the summer fun for both Elise and Carson- they have earned it!

Tammie said...

Looks like Elise had a super year! Her teacher sounds like a dream. I can't believe how far our girls have come since The White Swan.