Friday, April 9, 2010

Good Luck With That

Whenever Zoe brings home the elementary school's monthly newsletter I always make sure to read it because even though I try to avoid the Volunteer Coordinator and I'm not the President of PTO, I like to be informed of what's going on. As usual, April's newsletter wasn't very interesting and didn't include any gossip, but I did manage to learn a few things:
  • There is a theme for volunteering this year: Volunteers Shape the Future. They don't specify whether the shape is a triangle, rectangle, circle or dodecahedron.
  • Like it or not, standardized testing in the form of MCA-II's will be in a couple weeks, so please don't feed your kid Fruit Loops, a Pop Tart and Mountain Dew for breakfast that day.
  • Physical fitness testing is taking place in phy-ed. This will prove, once again, that there are some kids that eat too many fries with their serving of ketchup.
  • The position of Vice President is available on the PTO Board. This is tempting, and I think I'll consider it. Okay...the answer is no.
  • Our school district is incorporating Efficacious Learners Framework (ELF) into their curriculum. Yeah, I said "ELF. What the fuck is that?" too.
Apparently, the school district has realized that even though there are a lot of kids that can simplify polynomials, label the countries of Africa and ace a spelling test, these kids kind of suck at things like being able to independently find a solution to an everyday problem using common sense and logic. Kind of like my kids.

ELF includes "five traits that have been labeled as important for life-long learning and success." After reading about the five traits, I think that school officials should have taken the time to become acquainted with my kids before they declared themselves truly "committed to enhancing these traits in your children."
  1. Problem Solvers...identify problems, evaluate multiple solutions, reflect and revise, persist. Five words: dog shit. On the floor.
  2. Resourceful Learners...inquisitive, innovative, critical thinkers. Charlie gets a small amount of credit here because he seems to have finally learned that if he sees that the garbage is full, it should be taken out. Imagine my shock when I saw him yank the bag out of the can without me asking! He lost points, though, by not tying the top of the bag shut. (Remember, I'm anal.) When I pointed out this fact, he glared at me, instantly lost the use of all fine motor skills, his hands morphed into inflexible hunks of flesh and after fumbling with the red plastic drawstring for fifteen seconds he said "I don't think this bag is supposed to tie." Maybe he's right. Maybe those drawstrings on the top of the bag are actually there so you can strangle your child when he's a smart ass.
  3. Self-directed Learners...flexible, goal directed, optimistic, persistent. As much as I'd like to forget the disastrous day at the grocery store involving two boys and their search for Capri Suns, I don't think I'll ever be able to.
  4. Responsible Leaders...honest, reflective, accountable to self and others, willing to lead. I'm patiently waiting for the day when a kid steps forward and admits fault, sincerely apologizes to the person they wronged, accepts an appropriate punishment and doesn't try to blame their blunder on someone else. And note to satan for when that day arrives: The North Face makes really warm coats.
  5. Skilled Communicators...effective listeners, able to clearly articulate ideas, visually literate. Mom, I need these papers stapled together. Okay, go get the stapler. Where is the stapler? Over there. Over where? Over there, in that cabinet where it's been for the last ten years. I don't see it, just tell me where it is. How can you not see it, it's ten-inches in front of your face. Where? RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU! All I see is tape, and I don't need the tape, I need the stapler. Yes, I know, the stapler is next to the tape. No that's paper. (stomp stomp stomp - grab stapler - manage to not staple kid's lips shut) Here. Is. The. Stapler. Oh, why didn't you say it was by the tape?
So, as the elementary school staff works hard to incorporate these traits into their curriculum in an attempt to encourage self-efficacy in my kids, I just have one bit of advice for them: The Kirkland-brand tequila sold at Costco is surprisingly drinkable.

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