Friday, September 17, 2004

The mystery of J

So there's this boy in my class - I'll call him "J." He's new to our school, which means we have pretty much no background information on him. After watching him in my class for the past week, I'm starting to wonder if he's in the right place. I think he should have been retained in kindergarten. He doesn’t know most of his letters or numbers, he writes some of his letters backwards, and he needs to look at his name-tag to spell his name. To top it off, he has a speech problem that makes it extremely difficult to understand anything he says. As a result, I can’t tell if he knows his letter sounds or not. I don’t think he does, though. When I asked him, “Which letter makes the sound mmmmm, like monkey?,” he guessed, “A?”

The other day, I had the kids draw self-portraits to hang on a bulletin board for Back to School night. All of my kids drew themselves with fairly accurate facial features: 2 eyes, a nose, a mouth. The more advanced kids drew earrings, freckles, hair bows, eyelashes, shirt collars. And every single one of them used appropriate colors for hair and eyes and skin. J’s self-portrait was … well, it was nothing like the others. It had no recognizable facial features. There were four circles that looked like eyes and a curved line that might have been a mouth. The whole thing was done with one green crayon.

I’ve already spoken to the remedial math teacher, the remedial reading teacher, the speech teacher and the parent involvement counselor. I also went to the office to see his permanent record. It confirmed that he went to kindergarten, but there was no report card. Our secretary said she'd call the school on Monday and have them send us some information. So we’ll see.

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