Saturday, 27 July 2013

Other successes

Grade 1 tenor horn passed with merit, spring term 2013.

Transfer from one swim school to another, currently in stage 5.

Still at cubs, playing in the band and street dancing.

End of year 3

Good grief! A whole year has passed and I have not blogged about how awful it has been! Perhaps that's a good thing.

On the bright side, huge progress academically.

Reading 4c (equivalent to the end of year 5)
Maths 4c (as above)
Writing 3b (equivalent to the end of year 4)

The challenge for year 3 was to read longer books, which he achieved.  He has read the whole set of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and the whole set of Mr Gum, the first two Harry Potter books (about half a dozen times each!) and a couple of Michael Morpurgo books, plus other odd bits and pieces.

Next year's reading challenge is to read more widely rather than rereading favourites all of the time.

He knows most of his tables, although this needs some revision before we start year 4.

Current obsessions are Harry Potter,  Star Wars, car manufacturers, warhammer and dominion.

We are trying out lots of different pens to find one he can write neatly and quickly with.

His report was very accurate academically, very inaccurate for his general comments.

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Report and SAT's results

Well, I'm not sure whether to be thrilled with the results, annoyed with the Small Boy or cross with school!

SAT's results

Speaking and Listening - Level 2
Reading 3 (comment in report said "strong level 3")
Writing 2A (comment in report said "with significant elements of level 3")

Mathematics - Level 3 (comment in report said "strong level 3")

Science - all elements - Level 3


Generally good, but lots of it very general to all children, Lit, Num, Hist, Geog, Art, Tech and Music all written by the supply teacher before she left at Easter. ICT, PE, RE, PSCHE all written by a Higher Level Teaching Assistant, Dance/Gym written by the company who deliver PPA cover, and Science and General Comment by his current class teacher.

General comment praises Small Boy for his academic success, but refers abruptly to his refusal to write anything in Literacy and Letters and Sounds lessons, his innate stubbornness and his ability to quickly and ably complete tasks when faced with missing break or lunch time.

Annoyed that the Small Boy has behaved like that - and cross that the school has let it get to that stage and not told us!

Small Boy has been offered a summer of diary writing to improve speed, reluctance and stubbornness, which he is seriously not impressed with. Watch this space!

Saturday, 14 April 2012

More SAT's practice

We had another 2 agonising sessions of questions on the Level 3 reading SAT before it was done (the story part). The non fiction part was a different kettle of fish altogether, and he did it in one go without any fuss. I think he now knows there are 3 different types of question to answer - one where they give you the answer, and you either tick a box or write numbers, one where you find it in the text and copy it, or one where you actually give your own opinion. The biggest problem is the amount of writing required to answer a question - anything more than one or two words is viewed as too long and will take him too long to do, so instead he'll have a temper tamtrum and hope that gets him out of it (it doesn't!). He is also a master of excuses before he starts - too hot, too cold, thirsty, finger hurts, too tired, can't read it (he can) etc. etc. etc.

We will be requesting more of the fiction comprehension and less of the maths homework I think after this holiday!

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

SAT's revision

For Easter Holidays Small Boy has had a Level 3 Maths paper and a Level 3 reading paper for revision and practice.

The maths was no problem - he wanted to do it and enjoyed doing it. It took 15 minutes and the only issue was with subtracting when he needed to carry a ten. I have taught him to subtract with numbers in columns, carrying a ten (up to 4 digit numbers) - not a problem.

The reading on the other hand has proved to be somewhat trickier. He spent 30 minutes answering just 5 of the 21 questions. Two of these were incorrect. He had no idea how to tackle a comprehension exercise like this, and said he'd only ever done one at school, where the TA read the questions out to them and they wrote the answer down on a bit of paper. He got incredibly upset that he had got them wrong, and said it was because he didn't understand what he had to do.

I got incredibly cross that the school have sent this home for homework and not done anything with him first at school.

We already have some KS1 SAT's booklets, and will be looking at the reading parts of those to help.

He has been a "free reader" for about 12 months now, and reads regularly  - but not books from the free reading box at school as he will only bring home Roald Dahl (which we already have a full set of) as the other books are too long or don't look interesting. We spent some time yesterday in the local library, stocking up on a more interesting selection of books. Current favourites are Geronimo Stilton and Oliver Moon. We're also trying Terry Deary's historical stories this month.

And as for the writing, the thing he does find really difficult - what homework did we get for that?


Sunday, 4 March 2012

Music success

Small Boy has now had about 9 lessons on the tenor horn. He had been playing for about 6 months in a band situation, with me helping him to practice and teaching new notes as we went along. He could already read music from a year of fife lessons at school.

Just those few lessons have made an enormous difference. We can all see huge progress, and he's more enthusiastic to practice which is good! He even managed a small recital at Christmas to grandparents.

This week his music teacher asked me to buy some harder music, so I was very pleased! 

Wednesday, 15 February 2012


It was Parents' Evening last week. That was partly a success (brilliant at maths, science and topic with a good general knowledge) and partly not (won't write - not even enough to assess at a level!).

So, I've been on a mission this week. I bought some KS1 SAT's books (despite a life long teacher's hatred - you can not teach 3 years worth of education in 1 book!) - however, with my assistance they have been ideal to discover what Jonathan can do and can't do. And I discovered he can (as I thought) do the technical things without any problem.

The crises have arisen when he's had to write more than an odd word. Even 3 sentences has caused horrendous screaming temper tantrums. He's done it, but it's appeared to be a complete OTT reaction to something he appears to be able to do easily.

Then today we had a half hour journey in the car. I love long car journeys - no escaping from important conversations! We talked over his feelings about writing, and as we were talking and I was chewing it all over in my head, some things suddenly started to stick together. Then I asked, if, when writing, he thought he had to know every single thing he was going to write before he started. "Yes." And if he thought famous writers like Roald Dahl (current favourite) who wrote long books knew every single word they were going to write when they started a book. "Yes."

Well! No wonder he won't write anything of any length! There's no way he can think it all through, retain it and then write it down in a short space of time. This explains why he always says "but I was still thinking" as an excuse to not writing.

He was equally surprised to discover that no-one else does that, and that they make a rough plan before deciding on their writing one sentence at a time, writing it down, reading it back and then deciding on the next sentence! So despite teaching him to think it-say it-like it?-write it-read it back, I'd obviously not made it clear that that was for once sentence at a time, not the whole piece.

So, hopefully now I've worked that out, we can work on things together and get over this terrible fear of writing more than one sentence in one go!

In other news, he's done loads of horn practise this week (and is sounding fantastic), and has read a lot of books (including one walking back to the car from the library, finishing it before we actually got home!) so he's had a really positive week so far.

Super stuff!