Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Braggin Dragon and Tooth News

I think I've mentioned before about some of the challenges Henry has been having in first grade in the public school system.  His teacher has been awesome in working with both Henry and I.  One of the goals that the entire class has is to earn the title of Braggin Dragon for a week.  Ms. M clearly communicated to the children what they needed to do to earn the title.

Henry has wanted it for a while.  Ms. M explained to him very clearly what he needed to do in order to earn this goal.  He was very discouraged because some of the kids were on their second time around and he had yet to earn the title.

Then, we had a very bad week.  Actually, a couple of very bad weeks.  Okay...maybe they weren't so bad.  When we started this whole color coding thing, the infractions were many and they were major.  So now, the infractions aren't as many, and they aren't anything close to major.  But still, when you are looking at a color coded chart for the week that should be a sea of green, and you're seeing splashes of red and yellow all over it, it seems like a bad week.  I guess the reality was that we had made major improvements, and then we got stuck.  And I was tired of being stuck.

So Ms. M and I had a nice little email exchange, she had some conversations with Henry, and then I had some conversations with Henry.  Serious conversations.  Clear expectations.  Threats that he knew I would follow through on.  As a result, I missed going to my super bowl party and ended up watching most of the game by myself after he went to bed.  He was disappointed, but he got the point.  I was irritated that I lost my privilege of going to the party because of his behavior, and he got that point, too.

So before the next week started, he asked me:  "Mom, what would happen if I stayed green the whole week?"  Since that had never happened, I wasn't really thinking it was something that could be a reality.  So I responded:  "We'll have a party like you wouldn't believe!"  He knew that if he could pull it off, he'd also be a shoo-in for Braggin Dragon.

Monday:  All green...happy child, happy mama!
Tuesday:  All green...happy child, happy mama!
Wednesday:  All green...thrilled child, thrilled mama!
Thursday:  All green...proud child, worried mama (how was I going to plan the "Party That You Wouldn't Believe!")
Friday:  All green...Braggin Dragon child, ecstatic mama.  And special thanks to Leslie who found out that the Aeros hockey team was playing at home and offering special pricing for mid-field seating 9 rows behind the penalty box...instant "Party That You Wouldn't Believe!"

We rocked it and pumped it about how special it was to have that kind of week; how proud he should be of the effort he put into his behavior for the week; how much we knew that he had worked hard to achieve this goal.  If it provided positive reinforcement, then it happened.

One of the things about being the Braggin Dragon is that you get to bring in a poster all about you.  Since this wasn't necessarily meant to be an educational experience, I didn't feel guilty doing most of the work on this one myself.  I did let him select which pictures, help with the layout, and dictate the text that went with each photo.  It will hang outside his classroom all week.  Also, classroom time was dedicated to him explaining to his classmates what was on the poster.



Another part of the honors is to actually get to bring Braggin Dragon home for the weekend.  The kids are encouraged to interact with it during this time, and then are requested to provide an entry in the Braggin Dragon's journal about the time that they spent together.




Finally, there are some class room privileges that come with it as well.  Mainly, Braggin Dragon gets to sit on Henry's desk all week, and Henry gets to be the line leader and a few other things.


I was worried that his behavior last week was a flash in the pan.  However, this week is shaping up to go down as another great week.  We had one issue yesterday, but really, it was typical boy stuff and not really the behavior we have been so focused on.  However, one of my threats did include the condition that any further reds and yellows on his behavior chart would incur 5 "extra" chores each.  Since we had a yellow, I felt like it was my duty to consistent parenting and following through on my "threats" to actually assign them.

First, he actually reminded me that he needed to be assigned the 5 extra chores.  Then, as I announced the chores, he actually cheered.  And finally, went about happily singing while he dutifully accomplished all that was assigned.  Makes me wonder how effective that was as a form of discipline, but I'll stick with it for now.

And, our final news from last night, he officially lost one of his top teeth.  It has been loose...really loose, for several weeks now.  But it just wasn't ready.  Then he looked at me last night and moved it totally sideways with his tongue.  I decided it was time.  I reached in, gave it a tug and it was gone.  Henry wasn't too sure about it, but it was over before he had time to think about it and the look of surprise and relief on his face was priceless...wish I could have captured it with my camera.  Instead, here is a picture of his new smile:

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Monday, February 1, 2010

100 Days

Today is the 100th Day of the school year. To celebrate, a weekend project was sent home. The directions were both explicit and generic at the same time. What it boiled down to, was that the child was supposed to affix 100 of "something" to this yellow piece of paper and return it on Monday. Explicitly, the parents were directed to allow this to be the child's project.

So, when this came home on Friday, we started discussing what Henry should do. A little guidance isn't a bad thing, right? I figured it would help him learn how to plan and design a project before he just jumps in and starts gluing things down. We continued the discussions on Saturday, and by the end of the day, we had the rough outline of what he wanted his project to be.

He wanted to have a dinosaur on it, but decided he wasn't that good a drawing dinosaurs. We found a coloring book that had dinosaurs in it. So he picked the one he wanted, picked the colors he wanted to use and set out to color it.

Now, I must admit that I helped him by cutting out the dinosaur once he was done coloring it.

After that, he counted out popcorn piles. He counted out piles of 10, and then counted by 10s to make sure that he had a hundred. (Mommy recounted everything and found a few discrepancies, but I made him recount the piles that were off and fix them on his own.)

Next, he decided where he wanted the various groups of popcorn to be attached to the dinosaur. I applied the glue as I wasn't ready to hand over the glue stick to Henry at the kitchen table. He placed all of the kernels where he wanted them.

After he was done, he remembered that we had some glitter glue and begged to have some glitter glue applied. Again, I wasn't ready to hand over the glitter glue to him at the kitchen table, but he picked the colors and placement, I just did the actual application.

At the bottom, he wrote the label for the piece, and then we accented it with more glitter glue.

In the end, I feel like this was a good representation of what he wanted it to be. I think he was proud of it, but of course he worried how it would stack up against what the other kids did. He also worried about what his teacher would think of it. I reassured him that the important thing for this project was that he followed the directions he was given, and that HE was proud of the work he had done.