I finally did get a chance to sit down with mom and dad right before break. They agreed that something seemed to be off — they saw the same change in behavior at home. Felipe was having an especially hard time getting ready in the morning, which of course affected the rest of his school day. As a mini-team, we decided to simply give Felipe a break, slow things down a little bit, and see what happened after the New Year.
The Monday after break, Felipe walked into school the happiest little clam I had ever met. He was so excited to be back! Dad told me that during vacation, Felipe woke up every morning asking if he could go to school again and if vacation was finally over. While I was surprised Felipe craved being at school so much, I could understand his desire for the structured school day and the learning opportunities school offers him.
Felipe's back-to-school high, however, was short-lived. Tuesday went okay, and Wednesday was a short day. On Thursday, Felipe was line leader, but then we hit Friday and we hit disaster.
Every morning after we take attendance, feed the fish, and do calendar, we write. I generally introduce a new sight word and students are expected to do a certain amount of writing depending on their abilities. When he wants to, Felipe is a kid who can write a 1.5-page paper in less than 20 minutes complete with developed characters and a creative story line.
Felipe was determined to get a sticker (for writing 3 sentences or more) Friday morning, but then the light switched off or something happened and Felipe shut down. Over and over again, he would freak himself out (for lack of a better term) because a word he needed wasn't on the word wall, but it was most certainly a word he knew how to spell. In the end, it took Felipe 45 minutes to write three sentences.
I was baffled and out of ideas, so after he finished, Felipe and I took a little walk to calm down. We went over to the office and looked at a Cake Pop book they happened to have. After that, Felipe was fine; in fact, he started laughing during the Cake Pop book because some of the pictures were just so funny.
I continue to be baffled by Felipe's behavior. The school psychologist tried talking to him, but couldn't get anything out of him. We know that there haven't been any more changes in Felipe's world. I almost wonder if the fact that as the week winds down and the fact that he can't come to school during the weekend is affecting him in a negative way (especially considering what dad said about Felipe's behavior during vacation). What do you think? What would you do if you were me? Have you had students whose behavior has so drastically changed for no apparent reason?