Monday, September 24, 2007

It's all Elementary.

With the new school year, brings a new school! It's 16 miles away - which seems close, but it takes 40 min to get there through city traffic. Even with that, we love the new school, it’s a very small school in the center of a well established community in the South part of the city – most of the homes look to have been there for 20+ years, and the school is very ‘family’ oriented. The man that stands outside and directs carpool traffic LITERALLY knows each kids name. He impressed me with this on the 3rd day of school. Each kid dropped off (I see about 50+ cars daily while I’m there alone) he speaks to, and says their name!

Ezra’s IB class (International Baccalaureate) is learning about Electricity and Magnetism for this part of the quarter. The class is teaching him about how electrically charged particles attract or repel each other, how electrical energy can be converted into ‘power’ heat, light, motion. He’s also learning about magnetism, where he will continue to work in small groups in the IB class to create a compass and other magnet driven items. They’re also focusing on how energy/electricity affects our present lives and comparing to how life was without electricity. I don’t recall ‘changing classes’ in 4th grade, but they do at his school. He leaves his homeroom class for the IB classes – the school is a prospective IB school, so they’re really pushing IB profiles (understanding behavior and character and personality type are part of the profiles) and learning. He’s in a rather large class for this (20+ students) and seems to really love learning about this so far! He tells me all about lightening and how it works!

He is also learning simple algebra this year, along with Spanish. We didn’t have Spanish in 4th grade!! He’s adapting to it quickly and is above grade level on all areas of his academics except for penmanship. We’re going to start some small creative writing exercises at home to bring that to where it needs to be. He just went through some very aggressive testing to see where he stands with his IEP needs, the testing pushes the student to attempt all subjects beginning with lower then grade level problems, and then advancing to upper grade level. Ezra did well, and didn’t become frustrated with the testing.

We also found out this week that with Ezra’s tested reading level, he will be assigned again this year to a community helper job! He will help K5 and 1st graders and their reading. This is something he did last year as well – a few AR students each year who are willing, are assigned to a buddy to help them learn to read. This gives them about 20-30 min of the day to go into either the library or in that students reading group, and sit and tutor them with areas they struggle in. I love this – and it really helps his self-esteem! He enjoys helping others understand and sharing his knowledge. I'll post some more as we move along with school; there's so much going on this year with 4th grade, and so far, we're absolutely impressed with this school !!