Last year, I wrote an open letter to my twin boys Kindergarden teachers. They were in the same room and I wanted to make sure their teacher knew they were separate and individual units, not two halves of a whole. This year (hallelujah) they have different classrooms for 1st grade. Some twins do very well in a same classroom setting, others not so much. It is a decision for each family to make for themselves. My boys tend to like the same things, so when it came to free choice time in the classroom, they were fighting over the same things. My boys are a study in extremes, they either love each other, or they hate each other: give or take the hour of the day. Even though they are in separate classrooms this year, their classes do a lot of ‘cooperative’ time together in order to group similar abilities in reading and math groups. So, these letters will go to both teachers.
Letter for Archie
Archie is a good boy. I must lead off with that, because sometimes it can be difficult to remember. When he is overly tired, or hungry especially, he can be challenging. His biggest challenge is the way he reacts to a particularly difficult task. His knee jerk reaction is a whiney “I can’t do it” or “It’s too hard”. He will tackle a sentence a few words at a time, or a project broken out into pieces, but anything that seems overwhelming brings out the instant “no”. He fears not doing something perfectly, or not doing something well.
His biggest strengths are his ability to make connections between unrelated objects. He loves to see how subjects interact, like learning about the the water cycle, measuring rainfall and adding and subtracting rain amounts. He gets it. Making those connections keep him engaged and feeling like it isn’t too big of a task because he is building off of something he already knows. He also marches to the beat of his own drum. Much like Tacky the Penguin stories, he is taking a project you have given him and created something new entirely, especially in Art. He is creative, and his art will inevitably look a little like Picasso. He likes feeling free and not so hemmed in my mundane tasks like chores at home (he still has to do them) or routine worksheets and flashcards etc.
I find the biggest way to encourage his participation is two fold. First, I try and find the right motivator. For instance, I told Archie and his brother I would write a letter to Santa, when they started reading books to me, that they could earn a 1/2 hour of Nintendo DS time for every book they read me. We do not have a DS. The understanding is that only with my letter and consent will Santa bring the DS to the house. I know they are quickly becoming too old to believe, but I will use it until they figure it out. Another motivator would be to warn them about a loss of privileges if they do not get their work done quickly. I try and press home the concept of work first, so you can enjoy your play or free time. Left to his own devices, Archie would quickly become the grasshopper in the Aesop fable.
Again, he is a good boy, and a sweet boy. He is sensitive to others feelings and will often give his brother a hug if he has hurt himself. He is also gentle and helpful to his little brother. My sweet boy likes to take the easy road, no doubt. But he will pick you flowers on the way.