Before Hannah's IEP meeting, the resource room teacher performed some assessments on her to determine her level of academic functioning in reading. The classroom teacher also performed the kindergarten benchmark tests that all students take at the beginning of the year. While we weren't exactly surprised with the results of the assessments, it's something altogether different to see the numbers right there on paper in front of you. Hannah is indeed reading at a beginning of 3rd grade level. She even comprehends at that level as far as answering factual questions. Her weakness lies in making predictions, relating what she reads to her experiences appropriately, and most of all in retelling. It appears that it doesn't matter how difficult the text is (first, second, or third grade level) she has the same problems with retelling the story in her own words. I wasn't surprised at all to hear that. I've noticed that myself when reading with Hannah. I'm not sure if it's truly a problem of comprehension, a lack of interest in the task, or not paying attention to what she's reading. After her IEP meeting I read with her at bedtime that night and I had her do some retelling of two easy readers and two chapters out of different chapter books and I noticed a very clear pattern. In the books where the topic or story was of interest to her she could recall the story perfectly and gave plenty of details to create a complete retelling. In the other two books where she had either little interest or little personal experience with the topic she was unable to tell much at all in her retelling. I wonder if this comprehension problem is simply a matter of age, immaturity, or lack of varied life experiences due to her young age. Time will tell on that I guess.
In both reading and math Hannah exceeded all but one of the end of the year kindergarten benchmarks during the first week of the school year! Once again not surprising, but it was definitely an eye opener for her teachers to see that they truly had a kid that they were going to have to think out of the box to academically challenge. On one benchmark, instead of exceeding the required score she met it exactly. Not bad if I do say so myself for the first week of kindergarten!
Yesterday Hannah brought home a coloring page that had the standard Name____________ Date__________ heading at the top. On the line next to Name she of course wrote Hannah. On the line next to date however she had written Jadin with a backwards J (should be spelled Jayden, but I would say she did a fantastic job of sounding out a word she'd never seen written before). When I questioned her as to why she had put Jayden's name on the Date line she informed me that she wrote Jayden because that's who she likes to go on dates with! I about died. It was all I could do to keep from busting out laughing. Jayden is the son of one of our friends from Indiana who recently just moved into town as well (small world huh?) and whom Hannah has a HUGE crush on. Why oh why I wonder is it always the older boys? Jayden is 7 and in second grade (although Hannah is exactly the same height as he is!).
In other, non Hannah related news, we are settling in well here in Nebraska and beginning to make friends and develop a good support system. We've found 2 (actually 3 now that our friends from Indiana have moved to town since they also have a teenage daughter) teenage girls to babysit and both have done a good job with Hannah. One of them actually happens to be the daughter of Hannah's kindergarten teacher! I'm not sure if that's a good thing or not, but Hannah loves her so I guess we'll ride that wave as long as we can! We've completed our foster care training classes and most of our paperwork. Now we're in the waiting phase until more paperwork is sent to us so that we can be finger printed and get health checks and such. We are slowly getting the spare bedroom set up for foster children and have even bought a really cool crib. Now that drop sided cribs are banned I worried what on earth I was going to do with a stationary sided crib. My arms are too short to reach down to the mattress on those cribs on even the highest settings. Well, I found this crib on craigslist that wasn't part of any of the recalls that has a fold down gate of sorts instead. It's called a safety gate and they are really high end cribs only made by one company called Baby's Dream. Click on the link to see the crib we got. The picture is of the same model, but a different finish. I'm IN LOVE with this crib and now this company. You should really check out their site. Their furniture is so thoughtfully designed. It's hard to believe that no one else has bothered to make baby furniture this safe or well made. Oh, and by the way, no I was not paid at all to gush about the company. We simply stumbled onto them via craigslist.
We've also been busy hosting guests and installing an invisible fence for Sally the Wonder Dog. Sally isn't sure what she thinks about the fence yet (it's only been operational for 4 days so far), but I'm fairly confident it will make her life happier and our lives easier.
Photo Notes: The pictures are of Hannah and my mom celebrating their belated birthdays together when my mom and stepdad visited in the middle of August. Hannah was THRILLED to have an excuse to make and eat cupcakes!