Report cards will be sent home in the near future for many school aged children. That envelope with the enclosed report card represents about 17 hours of collective teacher work– especially if you receive personal comments on your progress report. My son receives comments from 9 separate teachers. Some of the comments are only one sentence long, but if you know how to read between the lines, they say much more than you might think at first glance.
Match your report card comments with the key words and phrases listed below to determine if your kid is an Intelligent Follower or a Friendly Underachiever. Suzy will be playing the part of your daughter; Johnny will be playing the part of your son.
Hard Worker, Reliable, Independent, Intelligent
Suzy is organized.
Johnny exceeds expectations on assignments.
Suzy is an eager participant
Johnny is a conscientious student.
Suzy often contributes ideas that show an understanding that go beyond the surface meaning.
Kind, Thoughtful, Friendly
Johnny arrives at school with a smile every morning.
Suzy makes an effort to show consideration to others.
Johnny is a leader both as a friend and as a student.
Suzy is cooperative.
Johnny is respectful.
Suzy does not like to work independently.
Johnny has not embraced the effort required to be a successful “X” grader.
Suzy does not take ownership of her work.
Johnny needs to demonstrate more personal responsibility.
Suzy is struggling with the amount of time and effort required to complete assignments well.
Johnny needs to make his own decisions and not follow the crowd.
Suzy should consider what she believes is right and not make choices based on her classmates’ decisions.
Johnny’s peers have a strong influence on his behavior.
Disruptive, Hyper, Chatty
I need to re-direct Suzy’s attention often.
I would like Johnny to settle into class more quickly.
Suzy’s self control is improving, and I appreciate her effort.
Johnny seeks attention that delays instruction.
I sense that Suzy is looking for loopholes, so she can create her own set of rules for completing assignments.
I want Johnny to focus on classroom procedures.
Suzy is enthusiastic in class, but she should give classmates a turn as well.
Johnny needs to make sure he is chatting at appropriate times.
Suzy needs focus on the teacher, not classmates, during class instruction.
Know-it-All, Bossy, Bully
Johnny is a leader in the class but does not influence the group in a positive way.
Suzy struggles with peer relations.
We are working together to make sure Johnny is setting positive examples.
I would like to remind Suzy to consider her classmate’s feelings.
Johnny is still working to improve social skills.
Suzy does not need to monitor the activities of classmates.
I do have to remind Johnny not to worry about his classmates’ choices.
Underachiever, Careless, Disorganized
Suzy does not always show what she knows on assessments.
Johnny needs to carefully read directions.
If Suzy will review work before giving it to the teacher, it will reduce errors.
Johnny has great ideas even though it might take him some time to organize his thoughts.
Suzy has made great efforts to improve her organization and focus in class.
I would like Johnny to stretch his abilities.
Suzy’s final project was not as polished as I had hoped.
I am encouraging Johnny not to rush to finish first.
What kinds of comments do you receive on your children’s report cards? What comments worked well, which ones were confusing, and which ones were so generic they did not give you any insight into your child’s progress at school? Please share.
Anyone need a really good sandwich recipe for a Memorial Day picnic? By Memorial Day weekend, it will be two days away from my last day of school, so chances are I will be almost comatose on my sofa and not going anywhere. However, if we do attend any events that weekend, I will be preparing pork tenderloin sandwiches with a champagne mustard sauce. I have brought these to the Derby races, Mardi Gras parade parties, potluck events, Super Bowl parties, and tailgates. They can be served at room temperature and can be made several hours ahead (but I prefer not to refrigerate them overnight because the arugula gets soggy).
1/4 c. soy sauce
1/4 c. bourbon
2 T. brown sugar
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 pork tenderloins
Champagne Mustard Sauce
1/3 c. sour cream
1/3 c. mayonnaise
1 T. champagne mustard
1 T. finely chopped green onion
1 1/2 t. garlic vinegar
crusty French baguette
To prepare marinade, combine soy sauce, bourbon, brown sugar, and garlic. Place pork in a large Ziploc bag. Pour marinade over and seal the bag. Marinate at room temperature for 3 hours turning occasionally. You can also marinate overnight in the refrigerator.
Remove pork from marinade and prepare grill. Grill pork until center is a little pink. Remove pork from the grill and tent the meat with foil. Let rest until room temperature. The pork can be cooked a day ahead. Do not slice the pork until you are ready to assemble the sandwiches.
While pork is resting, prepare sauce. Combine sour cream, mayonnaise, mustard, green onion, and vinegar in small bowl. Mix well and set aside.
When pork is cooled, slice thinly on the diagonal.
To assemble sandwiches, halve the baguette horizontally separating the top of the loaf from the bottom. Spread sauce on the bottom and top of the bread. Place slices of pork along the bottom half of the bread. Top with arugula then put the “bread lid” on the sandwich. Slice into wedges.
Champagne mustard is hard to find. I have located Stonewall Kitchen’s Maine Maple Champagne Mustard at Whole Foods. If I don’t have a champagne Mustard, I use Dijon.
Garlic vinegar is also hard to locate. I replace with white wine vinegar. I think I could probably steep garlic in my white wine vinegar to make my own garlic vinegar, but I never think about it ahead of time.
Squishy rolls like Portuguese rolls work well too instead of the French bread.
If taking to a tailgate, the sandwiches can be bagged individually and stored in a cooler.
In honor of National Teacher Appreciation Week, I am sharing some insider information about the teacher world. Teachers have limited access to water or other beverages during the day. There are water fountains, faucets, and other drink sources at the school, but teachers just can’t get to them. Here is what happens. During the school day, teachers can’t leave the students unattended. Ever. One year, I taught in the 10th row of trailers at a growing high school and needed a 15 minute window to make it into the building and back for access to water.
With that in mind, I picked up some double insulated cups with lids and straws I happened to see at the Dollar Store. I filled the cup with ingredients for a fruit iced tea mix and a $5 Starbucks gift card then tied Citrus Tea Labels to the cup with the recipe for the iced tea. The tea contents will probably be tossed, but the Starbucks card and insulated cup will be enjoyed. Every teacher I know needs/wants/uses a water bottle of some kind. The double insulated Tervis tumbler style are the best because they don’t sweat all over the papers on the teacher’s desk and keep drinks colder longer.
If you are working on an end of year teacher gift or a teacher appreciation gift of some kind, the cup is low cost and teacher approved. If you happen to know that your child’s teacher is addicted to Diet Coke or Dunkin Donuts coffee, those are good appreciation beverage gifts too.
I know you might be tempted by cutesy notes attached to 2-liter bottles of A&W Root Beer or Mountain Dew that you may have seen on Pinterest but do not give in to the dark side. A 2-liter bottle is impractical and goes flat before a teacher could drink it. And besides, A&W root beer or Mountain Dew?? Who drinks that? Unless you have heard straight from the source that these are soft drinks of choice, DO NOT purchase.
Aaaah. The end of the school year. It’s the time of year when I start thinking of some little sirsee for my children’s teachers that will 1) remind the teacher of my child’s class in the years to come and 2) be something the teacher might enjoy using.
A few years ago, we created a class cookbook with photos from the school year. My son has aged out of this teacher gift, and my daughter is on the cusp, but if you have nursery school or kindergarten aged children, this is a fun end of year gift.
The year we gave this particular gift, the children were on a snack rotation (a little like Miss Priss’ snack schedule this year). The students had a letter of the week, and families started sending snacks that related to the letter of the week. By the end of the year, the kids had eaten a snack for each letter of the alphabet.
Parents sent me photos from events during the school year and any recipes they had; I compiled the photos and recipes into a Shutterfly photo book. We ordered copies for the teachers, and many of the families ordered copies as well.
I love this little book. I still use it when I need kid snack ideas (like the Worms in dirt or the Veggie dip). The nursery school teachers continue to use it as a resource for their classroom. The book has the class name on the front cover, a picture of the class and class year on the inside cover page, and a student list on the last page.
Here is what the children had for snack that year:
I don’t know if all the snacks fall into the “healthy snack” category, but it is a great kid cookbook. I will mention that we did attach AmEx gift cards for the teachers to the cookbook, but I think they would have appreciated the little memory book anyway!
Several months ago I submitted my name to guest post on the teaching blog, All Things Upper Elementary. Today’s the day that my post goes live! In my guest post, I share one of my favorite teaching projects of the year. My students always create an end of year writing portfolio to showcase their writing (and growth in writing) from the school year.
Whether you are a parent or a teacher (or a writer) being able to look back through a year’s worth of work is always a thrill. In the case of my students, there are obvious changes in handwriting, sentence structure, word choice, and style. Since I am with my students every day, I am not always aware of how much they improve over the course of nine months. As soon as my students complete their portfolios, and I can compare writing from August to the writing from April, it is immediately obvious how much a child’s writing can progress in a school year.
My students use a 3-ring binder and select favorite writing from the year based on a checklist I give them. They organize the writing with a table of contents. Since we complete this project at the beginning of May, these portfolios often end up as Mother’s Day presents (hint, hint).
With my own children, I keep *significant* project and writing samples that come home. I deposit these special items in a big pile on a shelf in my closet (and secretly throw away school work that does not make the cut when THEY are not looking). At some point during the summer, I sort the stack and organize the work into a storage box with Miss Priss and Mr. Star Wars’ name/year on the front. Then, I am ready to start over again in the fall.