Saturday, October 15, 2011


Last week I sat on the floor with C's mom and dad at our local tutoring space in the neighborhood and taught them how to use flash cards with him to work on his letters and sounds and then showed them how they could use the same cards to put the letters of the alphabet in order. His dad listened so attentively, just like he had when we talked about how he could help C practice writing his name. And C has learned to write his name! This dad adores his little boy and he is willing to do whatever it takes. He just needs a little help on knowing what to do. It won't be long before C knows his letters because I know his dad will practice with him every night.

K showed up a the MARC for the first time this week. She hid behind her mother's skirt as her mother half dragged her in. As soon as her mom left K worked on letters and sounds, eagerly writing and taking parts in the games. She had the opportunity to work with a retired Speech Therapist to help with her language needs. I sat with her mom for a few minutes while we waited for K to finish a language game and I asked her about K's diagnosis of ADHD, something I had been told by a previous teacher. Her mom surprised me by saying that the doctor could not actually decide if it was ADHD or language that were causing her inattention. Sure enough, the next day when I hunted down the paperwork her mother was right and I had been told incorrectly. I am so appreciative of that brief conversation with her mom. I also realized that the paperwork was a year old so her mom has now agreed to go back to the doctor to see if we can get a more definitive diagnosis. I don't think this mom would have ever come to school for a conference, but she was so easy and willing to talk with when I sat with her in her own neighborhood.

And then there is D. She is new to our school and so quiet. I have run into her at the MARC several times as I am leaving.  I see her on the playground with her baby sister. Today I was at the MARC with Second Harvest. Second Harvest gathers food from local sources and then makes it available for distribution free of charge to needy families. D came through with her mom and baby sister. She was so helpful to her mom, like a mini-adult. I couldn't help but think of all this little girl is carrying on her shoulders. I think she was surprised... and happy to see me, and... I think it will make a difference in our relationship in class. There just seemed to be such a special connection as she ran up and hugged me and introduced me to her mom.

One of the things that Ron Clark says in his newest book, The End of Molasses Classes, is that you have to get to know your students if you want to connect with them and that you need to form strong bonds with parents. That is the same principle that is a cornerstone of Chets Creek - relationships.  I guess it has just been reinforced to me again this week - just how important those relationships really are!

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