Tuesday, June 14, 2016

5th Grade Recap and Graduation

The 5th grade finale was a whirlwind time…so much going on, I was pretty exhausted and didn't have energy to write.

Elena had a few goals for herself for fifth grade; they were all academic. She mastered her times tables (she really wanted to do that) and we managed a pretty good routine related to schoolwork, being active, and getting rest.

I didn't visit 5th grade very often (I volunteered in Vivian's class quite a bit). Mostly I didn't b/c the kids were all pretty busy and needed less parent intervention; I decided it was important for me to be as "hands off" as possible with Elena in school. I think she appreciated that.

She was more independent in general; this was the only year she did not have an aide. Sure, there were people who helped E in the lunchroom (if needed) and on/off the bus, and at field trips--but Elena was mainly on her own, and did well. If I was concerned about her being included (or excluded), or feeling upset about how she was doing physically…any time I checked in on E at school I was pleasantly surprised. Every time. She would be working in a group, or running around in PE trying to tag someone, or sitting at lunch with friends, or playing four-square with one crutch at recess with the rest of the kids, taking turns just like them. I can't say enough how thankful I am for this school, these teachers, these students.

Elena took her SOL tests (state mandated Standard of Learning; for the non-Americans reading, these tests are a hotly contested topic) on paper this year instead of online (last year it was a mix). Her teacher recommended paper-pencil accommodation; both Elena and I agreed this was a good idea. She had extra time (really didn't take it) and mandated breaks. Elena hated the tests, but seemed to have a decent attitude and was relatively calm about taking them (that's a win!). I still don't know if she passed them (scoring takes longer with this accommodation, but I'm still not sure how to get the results).

Elena's favorite academic subjects are science and history. She does not like math, and this is our hardest subject right now (but we have a good homework ritual). We had a tutor last year but lost him with scheduling conflicts. Elena is also a slow reader (especially with books she does not like). She has worked very hard, and her grades showed it throughout the year, ending with straight As. We are so very proud.

Elena's big IEP goals were related to keeping up physically with her peers (getting to/from classes, being swift and safe on the few stairs that are in the building, sitting properly to best use her hands, carrying a lunch tray, interacting in PE). I took a great video of E carrying her lunch tray (with her lunch on it) (no crutches) in a crowded lunchroom and navigating perfectly.

She stood and sang with her peers during her (long, hot) 5th grade choral concert. She took a seat in a chair (the only one) while she played the recorder part of the concert, and then afterwards went right back up with her peers (it was perfect). She helped wash cars with one crutch during the staff car wash and got sprayed with water with everyone else; the only difference begin she wore her shoes and I helped her dry off and change out of her wet clothes (and soaked socks). She joined the drama club again this year, and for the first time had a few costume changes. I stayed away from backstage this year and just enjoyed the show.

Cropped from an ensemble Jungle Book song/dance number

On graduation day, she walked (and kept up) with her paired classmate during the ceremony. Vivian was part of the ceremony too, a lovely addition to a beautiful occasion. Elena navigated the steps and seats, and when it was her turn to get her diploma, walked down/over and shook hands and held her certificate.

Our graduate

Just like everyone else.

What a great year.


Anonymous said...

Glad Elena had such good grades! I will check back later to see your updates but I know Elena sometimes has trouble with math so I wanted to tell you I have had trouble with math since 3rd grade, I just finished my 2nd year of college and I got my first "A" in my entire life in math and I think this is totally possible for Elena if she works on testing anxiety and practices a lot like I did. I have the exact same type of CP as Elena.

Adelaide Dupont said...

Congratulations Anonymous!

I have been reading the "High Achievers" in various subjects and they give the same advice.

Testing anxiety need not prevent you from opportunities, Elena. I hope you find understanding and accomodating inviligators.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Adelaide Dupont!

Anonymous said...

Just checked back to see your update and loved it. I love the same school subjects! In my experience when I was left to my own devices socially I had much better luck so I'm not surprised she did well. At her core Elena is a little girl just like all of her classmates.