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Thursday, September 16, 2010

First Grade, Tongginator Style

Thanks so much y'all for sharing your opinions yesterday. I loved hearing everyone's points of views, especially since it helped me get to know y'all a bit better. I've been thinking a lot about public education this past month because, to be honest, the Tongginator did not have an easy transition into first grade.

There are 28 students in her class.

I know that sounds average or even small to some of y'all, but around here it is a VERY large class. Last year, in kindergarten, Ms. Confetti taught just 19 children, including my Tongginator. And the Tongginator's first grade teacher, hereafter referred to as The Pirate Queen, has never before taught more than 25 children, and typically her classes range from 22 to 23 students. It's been a HUGE adjustment for everyone.

(As for her teacher's nickname... what can I say except that she loves pirates?)

The Tongginator's first two weeks of school were... rough. I don't want to go into too much detail, but we survived a hard, hard couple of weeks. Thankfully, it's slowly getting better, and the Tongginator is learning to cope with all of the changes. One of the funny ways she now copes is by writing herself short stories in class when she doesn't have anything else to do. You know, so that she doesn't get in trouble for talking. Or for distracting other students. Or for misbehaving.


Her short stories and books are cracking us up. (And by us I mean me, the Husband and the Pirate Queen herself.) The Tongginator's books sometimes take days to complete, so it's definitely no small feat. Sometimes her books detail memories from long ago. Sometimes they are fiction, and sometimes they are non-fiction. The variety astounds us.

there is your basic number book

a home decorating book, complete with
drawings of our kitchen, family room and
the Tongginator's bedroom

the Tongginator dubbed this one
her - and I quote - silly book because all
of the animals depicted said "woof" ...

the first half of the first chapter of an unfinished manuscript

and of course life wouldn't be complete without a memoir

No matter the topic, the Tongginator's books accomplish what she needs them to accomplish - they keep her little mind occupied and her little self out of trouble at school.



Claudia said...

AWESOME books! Especially love the silly book :)

Buckeroomama said...

These are definitely keepers! I'm glad she has a variety of topics that she writes about. These days, J is all about Star Wars. *sigh*

윤선 said...

I think the idea of her writing books is great! What a great way not to "distract other kids"!! :-) I used to do the same, as a kid. Not 'cause I was talkative, but 'cause I was introverted and just liked to write stuff. LOL.

And 28 is a large class. Especially for grade one! Sheesh! I can't imagine my parents having been very happy with a class that large when I was only six. I would have freaked out, too!

April said...

I'm so sorry to hear that your little one is having a rough start. Change can be so CHALLENGING!!
Maybe she can have a doodle book that she keeps at her desk, just for these fun stories. That way they stay in one place and she can bring it home at the end of the day or week and after a while you'll have a full book of wonderful Tonnginator stories!!

Megan said...

LOVE it!!!! First grade is boring Sadie to tears, too, so there is lots of time for short story writing in our house too. Gotta love first grade!

Elizabeth@Romans8:15 said...

She is so creative. I especially love "Are House". She can come watch HGTV with me anytime!

LucisMomma said...

That is just amazing. You have one smart little girl. I especially like the House book and the book with all the animals saying Woof.

And kudos to the Pirate Queen for loving them, too. (I was wondering what name the teacher would have bestowed on her)

Wendy said...

Oh, Gosh...does your daughter sound like my Lily (also a 1st grader). Our downstairs (aka the playroom/familyroom) is literally littered with Lily's literary renderings. Like Miss T, Lily spends ages on her novellas (she's been working on a birthday book for me since the 2nd week of August--my birthday was 8/26--and it's still not done). She spends every free moment in school creating some new piece of writing whether it be a letter to her best friend, a piece of fiction, or a small moment from her life. Sounds like we both have some self motivated little authors on our hands. And that can only be a good thing. Glad her teacher appreciates Miss T's ingenuity.

PS: 28 kids is a boatload of kids. I had 25 first graders last year and, trust me, that was plenty!

prechrswife said...

28 is a lot of first graders. I kind of dread seeing what the class sizes are when MJ goes to public school next year, since she's been in a private school for preschool where they have a class size cap of 10-12. There are 10 in her pre-K, and 8 in K's 3 year old class.

Love the books! I remember writing books like that when I was her age. :-)

Andrea said...

That is a big class and I can understand a bored child getting into trouble. It's happening here at home as well. We have two books in production. The Insect Book and a book about baby being born. I'm still learning to pace our school day even with just one student.

Wanda said...


Grade 1 is a huge transition (and it doesn't have to be - I wish the "system" would wake up to that)but I'm glad your T has gotten through the worst of it. And is keeping busy writing her memoirs. That's cute!

Briana's Mom said...

I'm so sorry to hear the transition was rough for T. Bri is in a class of only 11 kids in her preschool and I worry about next year and how much bigger the class sizes will be and how she will adjust.

I agree that 28 kids is a whole lot of kids.

Aunt LoLo said...

What a smart cookie!!!

I remember in 8th grade, there was one boy whose hands HAD to be busy at all times. ALL times. He sat in the back of the class and kept to himself.

The NEED TO BE OCCUPIED became PAINFULLY apparent one day...our class had spent two weeks in the computer lab, working on reports. I couldn't tell you what they were about...because the teacher's desk was in the back of the room. Near this particular boy. And she taught in the front of the room.

He found the disks and methodically DESTROYED them. Ripped them open and took out the tape.

All 25 of them. I don't even think he knew what he was doing at the time. The next day, she showed up with silly putty and told him to keep it in his hands. Always. Forever.

So..umm...you know. It could be worse? LOL

Mom to 5...Daughter of the King said...

Great idea! We had a rough transition for first grade with one of my first graders. New school and the teacher, although great, isn't the warm, grandmotherly type like the Kindergarten teacher was.

Aus said...

A budding novelist - encourage that - it's a rare ability any more! T just cracks me up....you got to love her! And of course it keeps her out of trouble....;)

hugs - aus and co.

Lisa said...

Crud ~ I have been meaning to follow up on your comment to my blog about the class size (sigh) and time slipped away.

28 is large by any standard for any grade.(and First grade is a BIG year in so many ways) I'm sorry the transition has been so difficult for T and am glad to hear the worst is hopefully behind her!

Is this teacher welcoming parent help? I sure hope so and hope its availible!!! Yikes!

We were so lucky they added another section of Second Grade at Lauren's school or she would now be one of 31. That sends shivers I tell ya! Shivers.....

BUT just wait.....2nd grade is the last year before the big "you know whats"...yup, the standardized testing!! The homework this year has been astounding: every. single. night.(and that's not counting the 30 minutes of reading required for each night) Thank heavens L is a motivated student!! AND we adore her teacher.....best ever I do believe!!

Wishing TG a fabulous year ahead!!

Janet said...

I LOVE the books she makes! Especially the silly one. That is WAAAAY too cute. As for public education, I do not believe it should be taken out of the hands of parents. But you probably already guessed that much....:-)

Kristi said...

28 kids? That should be illegal!

At least your little sharp one has found a way to keep herself entertained.

Annie said...

OK, I am seeing a best seller in her future!! I just cannot wait to see what she is going to be doing a few years from now! By the time she hits 4th grade, she will be smarter than all of us and by 7th grade, I imagine she will be ruling the world!! LOL! 28 kids in 1st grade is way too much!

blackbelt said...

Oh my, thanks for brightening my day! I'm still trying to catch my breath from laffin!

Anonymous said...

LOVE LOVE LOVE the books! She'll be working on her first novel by 12.
I still have one of Ilsa's books from Grade 1 (or poss 2) entitled "The Spie and the Ckid" which started "The spie spied all the time. One day he was spieing and he fell in love." The illustrations are hilarious.
And now, she's 13 and writes poetry about the death of love (???) and how hopeless and dark life is, and it makes me so happy because life is so melodramatic when you're 12 and 13. She's also writing, at last count, 4 novels.
Well I'm going on about my kid, but I think yours is going to be similar. ANd it's a super-fun personality :) And you're never bored!

Half Gaelic, Half Garlic! said...

Sorry it has been a tough transition to first grade, but it looks like she is starting to adjust...... LOL, these are GREAT! I especially like her memoir.

Happy Weekend.... we are celebrating and beginning to look at flights! China here we come!



Patty O. said...

I foresee great things in T's future! Seriously, the girl is amazingly prolific!