On March 5th, I wrote a slice of life story about my son’s writing homework when he was in 1st grade. I don’t want to repeat myself but just add facts I didn’t have when I wrote the story by memory in Spain. Also I want to bring justice to Vincent’s teacher. It’s so true that to raise a child it takes a village.
I am in Oregon right now. Sitting on a terrace chair in front of my computer writing in the only house we can called ours. The view from the dining room is amazing and brings me back so many and intense stories. I grew up surrounded by mountains. I miss them when they are not close to me. I love this house, I love this area. We left it almost ten years ago and now we want to conquer it back. If only I can get a job…
When we left to Spain, we had two containers full of boxes and books. One contained boxes labeled To storage in the USA, the other To Spain. The former with all the things we couldn’t bring across the ocean in the other container.
Last weekend, my son visited me from Montana. He was as in awe as I was. He was 11 when we left. Looking at the place and the area with adult eyes got him. We decided to enter in the To storage in the USA container that sits in one corner of our property. Entering in it was like entering in a time capsule. By the way we stored things it looked like we had left in a hurry and started putting together in the same box whatever we had at hand. One of the things that we found was my son’s school planner of 2004, when he was in 1st grade. It was a really neat idea of having kids practice their handwriting at the same time of a way of communicating with parents. On the left side of the planner Vincent wrote everyday a sentence that summarized or highlighted something that the class did that day. We needed to initial it every time. My husband and I remember starting great conversations with our son thanks to just that sentence. It was such a handy way of knowing what happen in school instead of receiving a dull “good” as an answer when we asked how was school today?
On the right side of the planner, Vincent had to write the words of the week, and it was space for us to write a message to the teacher and communicate with her.
When we started looking at the planner, Vincent was first of all amazed of all the writing and communication that was on it. When he flipped the pages, and read messages that either me or his dad wrote
Vincent will ride the bus today… Vincent will leave early today because he has a doctor’s appointment…, Vincent will stay in the after school program today…Vincent misplaced his reading log and is very worried…
he asked me: Did the teacher has to do this, check and write back in all children’s planners every day?
Yes! I know. It’s a lot of work — I answered. But so worth it. At least in our case.
And here it was. The explanation of the Tuesday News writing assignment and how we solved with Vincent the fact he needed to write every Tuesday and Thursday. I knew Ms. Coleman’s words were sacred for Vincent. Not so much mine.
Written in pencil:
Dear Ms. Coleman, We received the homework packet. What’s not clear to Vincent or myself is what does he has to do when says as an assignment “Good news writing…(Tue & Thurs). I would really appreciate it if you could clarify that to Vincent (and maybe myself?) 🙂 Thanks, Pia (Vincent’s mom)
And then in green marker
Sure. I told the kids on Monday that we would practice it on Tuesday. It should be clear to him now. It is basically a journal (about anything he wants to write about…soccer, his family, etc.. He could also write a story, or poems, or a play. On Friday he will choose one of his journal entries to share with the class. Hope this helps!
I knew that it was something that I needed to keep. I couldn’t throw away all the stories that Vincent’s first grade planner contained, and all the good and hard work that all of us did.
Ms. Coleman, wherever you are, thank you for your time, sense of humor, patience, and help in raising such an amazing human being as Vincent.