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Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

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Melbernai
I am a lucky Momma!

Member since 7/05

15652 total posts

Name:
Melissa

Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

I was a teacher for 8 years, but haven't worked in 4 school years now. However, a lot of those teacher instincts do kick in. And to boot I was in a school in Brooklyn where there was a lot of push to move the kids through reading levels.

Emily went into 1st grade reading a level G. Both her teacher and I agreed with this and we discussed it at great length in October during our conference. The standard in her school is G by the end of 1st grade, so in September she was already meeting that goal. The teacher said that she could expect her to be on a level K by the end of 1st grade, and I thought it was a very reasonable goal.

It is now January. 4 months have passed since I have sat down with her teacher. 4 months have passed since they initially assessed her and put her on level G, and she is still ON level G.

At home she has consistently been progressing. We read nightly when I tuck her in. At home she is reading the Henry and Mudge Series, Annie and Snowball Series, and we recently started Nate the Great. These three series are level J/K. I read higher levels to her, such as The Magic Tree House books, which are level K/M, and we get a lot of comprehension work out of them when I read to her.

She really enjoys reading and enjoys our time reading together. And she is naturally progressing at home as I see it.

So I don't understand why she is still on Level G in school! Or why aren't they providing her with higher-level books in school?

Weekly she brings home a leveled book and she has to write a reading response to it in her notebook. I would have expected to see her levels progress by now.

So...maybe I am just being a "teacher mom" and questioning too much.

Or maybe I have a valid thing to be concerned about here.

Is she being held back because of a specific skill that we can be working on at home such as vocabulary, comprehension, etc?

Is she being held back because she is more shy with her teacher then she is with me?

Is she having too many errors or miscues?

Should I call/write the teacher or just let it go?

I feel like if she were struggling and she needed the extra help, she'd be getting it. Now just because she's already meeting the standard, she should still be getting as much attention as if she were struggling, just attention to keep moving her forward so that she doesn't stagnate!

Message edited 1/11/2012 9:32:15 PM.

Posted 1/11/12 9:29 PM
 

nferrandi
too excited for words

Member since 10/05

18538 total posts

Name:
Nicole

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

I would certainly contact her teacher and inquire as to why she hasn't moved up a level yet. Ask the questions you just presented. I think you have every right as a parent to question this.

Posted 1/11/12 10:09 PM
 

my3bugs
Mom of 2 Boys

Member since 5/05

4381 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

Esp since you and the teacher set a specific goal for her, I think there is no reason why you can't ask what is going on. I'd send a note and ask.

Posted 1/12/12 6:43 AM
 

Melbernai
I am a lucky Momma!

Member since 7/05

15652 total posts

Name:
Melissa

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

This is the letter that I sent in for the teacher today.

Good Morning Mrs. O.,

I was wondering if you could give me a call in reguards to Emily's reading levels. In October when we met she was on Level G. I haven't seen much movement from that in the work you send home weekly. She has only brought home level G books, except for last week when she brought home a level I book. This week she brought home a level F book.

At home I see her progressing. She is comfortably reading the Henry and Mudge Series at home to me nightly, which is a Level K.

I am concerned if she is not demonstrating the same skills at school, perhaps from shyness. Or are there skills that she is lacking in that are holding her back, that I can address at home?

Please let me know. My phone # is ------------.

Thanks,
Mrs. C.

Posted 1/12/12 9:29 AM
 

MommyTeffi
Yummy!!!

Member since 2/06

1827 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

My son is also in the first grade. I live in CT and the standard is J/K by the end of the year.

My DS started on F. He was reading on G but dropped a level over the summer. Totally my fault since I had DS#3 in June and wasn't as on top of it as should have been.

DS's teacher assesses them about once a month. DS is currently on Level J. I definitely feel your DD is due to be reassessed. The letter you wrote is perfect. I hope you get the resolution you want.

Posted 1/12/12 3:12 PM
 

Erica
LIF Adult

Member since 5/05

11767 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

My guess is that they have not completed another benchmark yet. February is usually the time to do this. It takes a bit of time to test one student in the F&P model (I'm assuming this is Fountas and Pinnel, since the levels you are talking about seem to coincide). I wouldn't worry at all.

Here is a chart for levels:

External Image

Reading under level is never bad, especially at her age. Reading above level is where the danger comes.

Also, sometimes books get higher levels, not b/c of difficulty of words, but b/c of content, sophistication and just appropriateness. Students may be able to decode, but there is little comprehension



Posted by MommyTeffi

My DS started on F. He was reading on G but dropped a level over the summer. Totally my fault since I had DS#3 in June and wasn't as on top of it as should have been.



Most kids drop a level (or more over the summer) - totally normal, don't blame yourself!

Posted 1/12/12 9:32 PM
 

MrsH
LIF Adolescent

Member since 3/07

765 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

Posted by Erica

My guess is that they have not completed another benchmark yet. February is usually the time to do this. It takes a bit of time to test one student in the F&P model (I'm assuming this is Fountas and Pinnel, since the levels you are talking about seem to coincide). I wouldn't worry at all.

Here is a chart for levels:

IMAGE

Reading under level is never bad, especially at her age. Reading above level is where the danger comes.

Also, sometimes books get higher levels, not b/c of difficulty of words, but b/c of content, sophistication and just appropriateness. Students may be able to decode, but there is little comprehension



Posted by MommyTeffi

My DS started on F. He was reading on G but dropped a level over the summer. Totally my fault since I had DS#3 in June and wasn't as on top of it as should have been.



Most kids drop a level (or more over the summer) - totally normal, don't blame yourself!



I agree with everything this poster has said. I also want to add, that you may see different levels come home b/c different books lend themselves to teaching different skills. It may be that the level F book that came home was a great resource for teaching a particular skill. It sounds like your daughter is a wonderful reader. I see no problem in your questioning the level, but as a teacher you also know the exact level is less important than the skills your daughter is demonstrating and the love of reading that she is obviously developing. Good for you that you do so much at home, it is having a wonderful affect on your child!

Posted 1/13/12 7:37 AM
 

Melbernai
I am a lucky Momma!

Member since 7/05

15652 total posts

Name:
Melissa

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

I wanted to give an update. I am so glad that I wrote the teacher a note. I really do like her so much and it reminded me that I shouldn't be getting upset.

She does agree with me that she would have liked to see more movement on levels by this time. She reassured me that it isn't just EMILY, it seems to be the entire class. On a whole the class is not moving up, and she said that while she will address Emily's level today with a running record or two, she and her co-teacher (it is an inclusion class) need to look at the types of assessments they are using to consider whether or not it is holding the class back.

She said that right now they are using a-zkids and razkids assessments. Both are websites that the school has subscribed to, and after the kids read the stories in a group they answer some comprehension questions that are in a multiple choice/bubble format. Emily's comprehension was only 90% on average in this bubble format and that is what is holding her back. She needs to have a 95% comprehension level and decoding level (her decoding level was 95-100% on different books) in order to move to the next level.

What I suggested to her is that this bubble format isn't testing her true reading comprehension, but instead is being swayed by her test taking skills. I know for a fact that when Emily fills out bubbles she does it as quick as possible. I am always reminding her to slow down and re-read the question and all of the possible answers, stop and think back to the story to decide which answer is best, and THEN fill in the bubble. I am sure that when they are doing this in a small group of 5-6 kids Emily is rushing through bc she wants to be the first one done. So it is showing her problems with test taking skills and not true understanding of the story. If you ask her questions verbally and talk to her about it, she's got some pretty great comprehension skills.

What the teacher is going to do today is sit down with Emily and just do a straight running record instead of using the guided reading group work as her basis for determining her reading level. I do think this needs to be done for ALL of the kids more often. One of the things that I hated about teaching in NYC is that we had to do it monthly and turn in the kids' reading levels, and I felt like we were constantly working on assessment. It was tiring. But it does need to be done every few months at least, because some kids will perform differently in a small group then on a 1:1 basis with the teacher, and Emily definately falls into that category. She can be self-concious and it makes her more shy and she doesn't always speak up and show what she knows. I know I need to keep working with her on her confidence, but the teacher also needs to have a way of assessing her so that she doesn't feel on the spot with 5 other kids listening.

She did say that the level F book was selected last week because it went along well with the inferencing work that they were doing, and they wanted it to be a level below so that the kids could focus on comprehension and not get hung up on decoding.

So overall I am very happy with the conversation that I had with the teacher. She called me this morning and we spoke for a full 30 minutes, so she definately understands where I am coming from. She actually thanked me because she said that she and her co-teacher had been discussing the lack of movement from the kids, but now this is forcing her to get to the bottom of it and she needed the push.

She said she will do a running record or two today and call me in the afternoon to let me know how it went!

Posted 1/13/12 9:43 AM
 

pugmama
April already?

Member since 3/06

5286 total posts

Name:
Erica

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

Thanks for posting the chart. When I had DDs parent teacher conference she told me that DD was reading at a level J but did not put the level into context for me and I silly enough didnot ask. So my Kindergartner is reading at a 2nd grade level - why is that a danger?

Posted 1/13/12 2:56 PM
 

zuzuspetals
LIF Adolescent

Member since 1/07

812 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

Posted by pugmama

Thanks for posting the chart. When I had DDs parent teacher conference she told me that DD was reading at a level J but did not put the level into context for me and I silly enough didnot ask. So my Kindergartner is reading at a 2nd grade level - why is that a danger?



It's not bad Chat Icon I think you are referring to the previous poster who said, "reading below is never bad, it's reading above that is a problem." Something like that. What that poster meant... I think ... was reading books that are too easy for you is okay. However, reading books above your reading level is frustrating and problematic. At least that is what I am inferring Chat Icon

Posted 1/13/12 5:50 PM
 

monkeybride
My Everything

Member since 5/05

20541 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

I would definitely contact the teacher. I don't remember where Miranda started. G maybe even F and she is on letter J going into K now.
I'd be furious that this much time has passed and she hasn't progressed to another level! Chat Icon

Posted 1/14/12 9:11 AM
 

monkeybride
My Everything

Member since 5/05

20541 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

Oh and our end of 1st grade goal is for all kids to be at letter I

Posted 1/14/12 9:12 AM
 

Teachergal
We made a snowman!

Member since 1/08

3239 total posts

Name:

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

I'm a mom and a teacher. No, you are not being one of "those moms". I read your update and I would be uncomfortable with that method of assessment for a first grader. I'm glad to see that she said she would be doing some running records with her to get her own sense of how your daughter is doing. My next question (if I was you) would be- why didn't she pick up on this? Isn't she reading with your daughter already to see that she is that far behind is levels? G to J/K is a HUGE difference (as I'm sure you already know) so for her to be receiving instruction at that level for so many months is really inappropriate. It's not an excuse to say that the "next assessment" time hasn't come yet- when you are doing leveled reading, you should be ready to move a child at any point, not at set times during the year. I'm upset for you. Chat Icon I really hope that she changes your daughter's level soon. I'll be honest and say that if she doesn't, I would schedule a face-to-face meeting ASAP so she can show you for herself the assessments she has done that justify her reasoning. Hopefully it doesn't come to that. GOOD LUCK!!

Posted 1/14/12 8:26 PM
 

Debbie
Life is berry good!

Member since 5/05

1229 total posts

Name:
Debbie

Re: Am I just being one of those teacher Moms?

Posted by Teachergal

I'm a mom and a teacher. No, you are not being one of "those moms". I read your update and I would be uncomfortable with that method of assessment for a first grader. I'm glad to see that she said she would be doing some running records with her to get her own sense of how your daughter is doing. My next question (if I was you) would be- why didn't she pick up on this? Isn't she reading with your daughter already to see that she is that far behind is levels? G to J/K is a HUGE difference (as I'm sure you already know) so for her to be receiving instruction at that level for so many months is really inappropriate. It's not an excuse to say that the "next assessment" time hasn't come yet- when you are doing leveled reading, you should be ready to move a child at any point, not at set times during the year. I'm upset for you. Chat Icon I really hope that she changes your daughter's level soon. I'll be honest and say that if she doesn't, I would schedule a face-to-face meeting ASAP so she can show you for herself the assessments she has done that justify her reasoning. Hopefully it doesn't come to that. GOOD LUCK!!




I agree! I teach first grade and I too am a mom. I have been moving students around a lot lately. Students that started on a G in my class are now reading H independent and I instructional. I teach in an inclusion class, we are constantly discussing levels. We have reading a-z and razzkids. We don't use them for assessment. We use F&P (Fontas and Pinnell) for assessment. We are doing benchmark testing right now for the winter. We don't wait for assessment to move them up levels. We do note taking and have charts that describe reading leveled behaviors. Groups change a lot. I do sometimes go down levels depending on the skill being taught. I would ask her how often she sees your daughter in a reading group. I had issues with my daughter in Kindergarten and first grade. She was a G entering first grade and stayed there for awhile too. I was reading all kinds of books at home with her. I too wrote a letter, but never got a phone call. I got a letter and suddenly my daughter's reading level went up. Good luck, and happy to hear you take an active roll in your daughter's education.

Posted 1/14/12 10:12 PM
 
 

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