Wednesday, January 24, 2007

TAG'd!

Today was the day.

The day of test results.

Noooo! Not the Pee On a Stick kind (The things you can find on the internet!)! The Caitlin Testing kind!

So we had the sit down with the principal, the special testing teacher and Caitlin's teacher. Oh, fun times, indeed! Not knowing what to expect, I felt I needed to prepare for a battle. As I applied makeup I thought: War Paint. I checked in with Kate. We armed ourselves with pencil and pad of paper for note taking. Eric suggested that I not start off in an adversarial manner. What?! Me? After our fabulous start down this road?

Never!

Well...OK. Maybe. Just a wee bit.

Then they took the wind right out of my sails by saying the things I actually expected to hear: she tested very well on the non-verbal Naglieri and Raven tests, but when it got to the CogAT, she was easily distracted and didn't want to work. They felt that she would have done better if she could have focused more on the work, but that they are certain if she were to test on it again in a year that her scores on that part will be much higher.

Apparently you have to make the 95% in order to be considered Talented and Gifted in Colorado. Caitlin is brilliant for a kindergartener.

Oh, but wait! She would have been considered TAG if she'd taken that test as a 2nd grader. Ooooh!

"Well, DUH! I'm soooo surprised!" you say sarcastically to the computer monitor. Patience, Grasshopper! We had to wait for the school to sign off on it officially.

Now what?

Now we come up with goals as a family and with her teacher. We have a look over the district website for cool things we can do to stretch her mind and we walk that fine line between pushing and slacking and advocating for our child.

For the fretful among you, think about this: if she were talented physically (gymnastics, swimming, etc.) or musically (piano, singing, etc.) would you want us to bench her until her peers caught up with her or would you want her to put those talents to use and to keep her learning new things? Because that's the way that I translate the fretting I get from people when we start talking about TAG stuff. Everyone is concerned that parents of TAG kids are pushing them too hard and that they won't give the kid a chance to just "be a kid". That we won't pay attention to her socialization. That there is a dread fear that we're flash carding her personality out of existence.

Trust me. Trust us as parents. Trust in Caitlin.

Besides, flash cards? That's work!

She's a small sponge and we're working to fill her with knowledge that she wants. Being smart is something to be proud of, not fearful of. This is not a competition. No one has to worry that someone else in the world loses out because Caitlin has been labeled TAG.

We want to keep her happy and not bored and disruptive in class. We want her to enjoy school. She's going to be in it for the next 16 years, at least! This assumes she doesn't skip grades, either. As for skipping grades? Who knows! We'll find out when we get there. We're not planning on over scheduling her but we will sign her up for fun classes - we're thinking music lessons, voice lessons and/or sports. She's got a lot of talent and needs some extra-curriculars to direct that talent.

The school doesn't have a "pull out" program: where they take the TAG to special classes. They don't have a dedicated TAG teacher. They have Individual Learning Plans for each child - a compromise between the lack of funding the schools receive and the need to teach everyone a little differently. So we're going to have to be right in there, slinging learning opportunities around.

And so we will.

Wish us luck!

3 comments:

Dawn said...

Okay, so she's not TAG because she isn't in the 2nd grade and getting the same scores. OR She is TAG because she got the scores a second grader would have needed to be considered TAG. I'm a little slow here growing up where "nothing ever happened" I don't think we got to have fun taking any of these tests, just the ones to decide which high school to go to.

Anywho I vote voice lessons:
a)she still has to learn to read music;
b) Mommy will also have to learn to read music and do piano lessons to help her practice at home;
c) no instrument to buy or break in case of a tantrum;
d) chances are if she comes to value her voice and breathing she just might be able to resist the peer pressure of "come on it's just one puff";
oh, and
e) she's at just the right age that when the instructor tells her to make really weird sounds with her voice she won't be too worried about who's listening or how she looks with the "boca de pesce" (fish mouth) my choir leader wants and expects of yours truly.

Woman with a Hatchet said...

She is TAG. That's what the title is supposed to imply (guess that didn't work out, huh?). She would STILL be TAG, even if she was in 2nd grade, based on her test scores.

As in, she rocked that test so hard as a kindergartener that her scores would have been gifted even for someone 2 grades higher than she is.

Whee!

No, we never took any of the tests, ourselves. I did/was supposed to but freaked out with painful shyness so they didn't bother. The took a number of kids out of our elementary school that had passed, though. I remember. Darn my shyness! And horrible test anxiety. I would have miserably failed the math part anyway, while cleaning up on the verbal/written.

I like your voice lesson idea. Besides, she sings like mad in front of the mirror EVERY STINKING MORNING! When she's supposed to be brushing her teeth, of course.

Scylla said...

Congrats! And TAG away I say. I was a G&T girl myself, as I suspect Marlena will be in time. (They do not do it here until later grades...oddly.)

You are absolutely right though. Marlena is hugely gifted physically. She can jump rope like a 5th or 6th grader and hula hoop like no one else I have ever seen. The other day she hula'd for several minutes with three hoops of different sizes.

I am certainly not going to bench her and tell her she can't engage in activities she enjoys until her same age classmates can. I am going to let this girl take as many sports/dance/hula/whatever classes she wants, and enjoy her growing jock talents.

I fully support you doing the same for Caitlin. There is no reason to hold your children back because you are afraid to hurt them. Failing to challenge intelligent children is the behavior most likely to bring them to harm. Bored children are unhappy children.

Besides, you two are intuitive intelligent adults, you will do what is best for your child, regardless of the thoughts of others.

So to Caitlin and TAG!! Yay!! May your brain continue to form unique and interesting neural pathways.

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