Sabrina has been doing AWESOME at school. I love it when staff members and other parents tell me how much growth they’ve seen in Sabrina, especially those who’ve known Sabrina throughout this journey. There’s no one else better to hear this from than her teacher!
I recently received an email from Sabrina’s teacher that started with: “If I could tell the whole world about Sabrina’s growth, learning, successes, and influences, I would take out an advertisement on the moon for everyone to see.”
I told her that I couldn’t take out an advertisement on the moon, but I COULD post it here.
The email is posted below with permission from her teacher. I have removed a few lines that are not relevant (casual chit-chat), and have added a couple of comments in parenthesis.
If I could tell the whole world about Sabrina’s growth, learning, successes, and influences, I would take out an advertisement on the moon for everyone to see. As it is, I can’t do that, but I sure walk around campus and brag just about every chance I get.
Last week was a new benchmark for Sabrina. There were more moments than not of Sabrina being engaged, listening, learning, following directions, etc. So many I can’t even begin to recount them. What really impressed me was when Nicole was absent. So, we had Lisa P. and then a substitute aid to give Lisa her break. I say I was most impressed, because the structure and routine that Nicole and I have put in place allowed for that day to continue just like the rest.
So a typical day last week…. Sabrina brings her backpack to her desk. She then wants to go directly to the rocking chair, but her friends help her unstack chairs and push them to a desk. Then we all sit to talk about the story we’re about to read. Then I have the kids read with partners for about 5 minutes. Sometimes Nicole and Sabrina will read together or Sabrina will sit with a couple kids to listen. Then we come back to a circle (Sabrina loves the bench seat next to the rocking chair.) to read the story. Sabrina listens to the story. Sometimes she’ll get up, but with just a quick reminder, she’ll sit back down. Then it’s time for everyone to work. This is when Nicole will work on zoophonics, flash cards, writing or reading.
Somewhere in the morning Nicole takes her to the Learning Center. Then they come back and deliver the lunch count. Nicole is teaching Sabrina to get the lunch count clipboard on her own and then to bring it to me. Sabrina and I trace the number and practice saying it. When they get back Sabrina is learning to put it back where it belongs.
Each day is different depending on library, PE, speech, etc. After the mid morning trip to the learning center I’m usually finishing up with math. So, I may be sitting at the big table. One of my wishes for Sabrina was to work in different areas of the room. We’ve starting a “math station” there for Sabrina. Sabrina comes right over to the table and sits next to me. Then we’ll either count pom poms (big soft ones!) while putting them in a container or she’ll put stuffing in the sock. I’m most happy that Sabrina is moving around the room with purpose. The environment has meaning for her. She knows what to do when she is in certain areas.
Sabrina’s “dance card” is always full. The kids love the opportunity to read with Sabrina. Sometimes I’m a bit jealous that she listens to them read better than with me one on one. Kind of funny. We’re moving beyond just having the kids read. They’ve been taught how to count and use flash cards with Sabrina. When we go places as a class, Sabrina is often with one of the kids instead of me or Nicole. Today Nicole was in the front of the line taking the class to the assembly, Sabrina and her friends were in the middle, and I was at the end. She was completely happy and independent of an adult.
We’ve told you about how Sabrina is learning “first, then…” We usually have her do two jobs and then will sing. Sometimes it’s whole class singing, but often I’ll give the class their assignment and allow those that want to sing to come over. It’s worked out nicely. Our day continues to move smoothly, Sabrina earns her reward, kids get to choose. It’s all good.
I’m sure there were more exact moments I wanted to share. I may be getting off track. Like I said, last week felt like a new benchmark. And, today at the assembly just literally put me up on the moon ready to carve my message. I walked right over to Gail Phinney (school psychologist) and pointed out where Sabrina and Talon were sitting. She almost cried. I had to stop myself from interrupting Linda on stage. Sabrina has been watching the class sit quietly and listen. She may not listen to the parent reading the story on Fridays, but she is watching what the kids are doing. You know this… she loves to watch the kids. During the assembly today she kept her eye on Talon and the kids around her. We reaped our reward today. Today is why you worked so hard for Sabrina to attend Oak Chan.
(note from me: When Sabrina started there, she wouldn’t sit for an assembly. Too overwhelming. During the assembly that her teacher referenced above, Sabrina sat with a friend and without her aide for the entire assembly, not getting up once. That’s huge for her.)
The funny part about today is this though…. Nicole and I were talking about last week and how much Sabrina has grown. And I said something like, “This is her new typical day. So, pretty soon, we won’t be saying ‘Sabrina listened to the story today’ we’ll be saying ‘gee, Sabrina was off today and didn’t listen.” Our expectations are growing and changing as Sabrina progresses. Then we had the amazing half hour of perfect assembly behavior. Nicole and I were grinning from ear to ear. Then Elizabeth came in while I was reading to the class. I swear children have a sixth sense….. Sabrina was getting up, she was whiteboard markers, she walked behind my rocking chair, grabbed books off the shelf… so funny in a way…. it was like she had a sense that Nicole and I wanted to show off to Elizabeth. She did eventually sit for most of the story. But, it was kind of a funny moment. The point still being… our expectations for Sabrina will always continue to grow. And, she is meeting them.
Your daughter is a beautiful child. She makes me smile. She is a good friend to her classmates. Sabrina makes the kids feel good about themselves. They love to see her learn. They love to be a part of that. Talon looked over at me several times during today’s assembly to share a thumbs up and a wave. Truly a priceless moment.
I’m sending without proofreading. At least I can sleep now that I have some of that off my brain. I’ve been wanting to write for several days.
I’ll talk to you later!!!