Last night, as I was leaving Noah’s room after a bedtime snuggle, he said, “It’s scary to start a new grade.”
Sitting on the edge of the bed in his darkened room, I asked what was scary about it.
He said it was hard to remember where two rooms were instead of one. In first grade, the Spanish immersion program switches to a half-day format. So he has two teachers, Ms. C in the morning and Señorita M in the afternoon. I waited, but he didn’t have anything else to say about what was scary about it.
Goodness knows we’ve all been on eggshells all week. Noah’s been crying more easily and longer over small things. In the evenings, we quiz him about his day in falsely casual tones, and after he’s gone to bed, Beth and I try to read the tealeaves. On the whole, there have been more good signs than bad. He seems to be settling back into the routine. The first day of school he couldn’t figure out whom to play with at recess and played alone on the climbing equipment and with the digging machine. By Tuesday, however, he and Ruby had restarted their castle role-playing game from last year and played it the rest of the week, with some side trips to Vampire Mountain and Fairy Land. Just that afternoon, as we were talking about Back to School Night next week, Noah told me he wanted to come along (it’s unclear whether this is actually allowed) because “I like both my teachers.” And when we sent Noah’s occupational therapy report to school with our letter to Ms. C she responded the very next day, saying she’d read the thick, technically worded report and would try to implement its suggestions for Noah’s teachers. She also said she believes being active benefits adults and children and that she has the children moving around a lot during the day. Her classroom is called Tiger Town and they earn Tiger Tokens redeemable at the Tiger Store for good behavior. It’s the kind of imagination-engaging theme Noah loves. She has had the kids playing a lot of getting-to-know-you games this week and assigned them to bring home “Me in a Bag” one night for homework. Noah chose a photo of himself in his Halloween costume last year (he was the sun) to show he likes weather and imagining things, a kazoo to stand for his love of music and a print-out of a recipe for mango lassi from the Maya and Miguel (http://pbskids.org/mayaandmiguel/flash.html) website to show he loves mangos and watching PBS cartoons.
There were a few worrisome incidents, however, in Señorita M’s class. Noah reported that when another student misbehaved, everyone had to put their heads down on their desks, which does not strike Beth or me as effective discipline. Noah also mentioned getting in trouble for tangling up the Scotch tape, which seemed innocent enough to me. When I asked if he was supposed to be using the tape at the time, he admitted that he wasn’t. His paper kept sliding around on his desk, so he decided to tape it down without asking permission to use the tape and then he got tangled up in it. He thought this meant he would get bad marks for behavior that day, but when his weekly report came home, it was all smiley-faces. We have a meeting scheduled with both teachers next week.
There was almost no homework this week, so Noah used his normal homework time to work on summer reading assignments and has completed seventeen activities with only four left to do by the end of next week. Tonight we are celebrating a good first week of school by going out for Chinese and to Barnes and Noble to redeem Noah’s Reading Road Trip gift certificate. One week down. Thirty-five to go.