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Anyone else have DC starting 1st grade? Wondering what to expect...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 

Our 5yr old DDs are starting 1st in a few weeks! (they turn 6 in Oct)

 

We are excited and sort of wondering what to expect. They will not have done Kindergarten due to moving, cut-off dates, etc.

 

Our public school will be using Foss Science, Everyday Math, Guided Reading, and Writers Workshop.

 

My girls will be thrilled about the Science and individual Reading programs.

 

Both are 2E so that complicated it and we have a few meetings lined up in the next few weeks to get IEP (for spec.needs not GT)lined up, but I hope they have a good time! 

 

Anyone else getting ready for 1st?

 

post #2 of 17

DS2 is starting first. I'm excited because we're switching schools, and the new school is now differentiating and ability grouping for math, starting in first. It's DS2's favorite subject.

post #3 of 17

My 5 year old is starting 1st on Monday. He went to the same school last year for K and is really excited to go back. I have really high hopes for this school year-- his class is small, I've heard good things about his teacher, and another gifted kid is in his class. Last year they were in different classes and got pulled out together a couple times.

They were supposed to read 20 books over the summer and he's read about 60. I'm a little embarrassed to send in the summer reading pages because I don't want the teacher to get the wrong idea about me, but he's been proudly recording every book he finishes. 

post #4 of 17

My DD was in first last year, so I thought I'd share my two cents on what to expect...

 

After the first month, she told people who asked that the difference between kindergarten and first is this: "In first, we don't learn anything new."  That was very frustrating for her, and her frustration grew throughout the year.  Since kindergarten is not mandatory here, I suppose first has to cover some basic ground that most, if not all, have seen before.  If your kids didn't do kindergarten, maybe it can be all fresh and new for them. :) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post

Last year they were in different classes and got pulled out together a couple times.

 

 

A few pull-outs happened with DD in first too.  The other gifted child was her best friend in kindergarten and they got split up in first, but they got reunited for a mini advanced-reader group.  It was a nice occasional thing, but not anywhere near frequent enough or adequate for the differentiation she could have handled. 

 

That friend just moved out of state, so I am a little apprehensive about the upcoming year, but in June I met with the principal and DD's likely teacher about how they can differentiate more in second grade.  Prior to that, I left it up to her teachers, and only gave minor feed-back at the regularly scheduled conferences and marking periods, assuming they would find ways to keep DD engaged and making progress, and that didn't really work out well as I would have liked.

 

If we could do first over, I would have been much more involved in asking for specific goals and adjustments from the first meeting.  I plan to meet with her teacher again in between each of the regular meetings (fall, winter, and spring), so a total of 5 parent-teacher conferences, rather than 3.  Since DD learns everything at least 50% faster than her peers, I think more frequent reviews are appropriate.

 

Right now I am trying to help DD focus on how to "show her work" explicitly on paper so that she can demonstrate clearly that she can move ahead.  Early on in first grade, when she was asked to show how she got her answer to an addition problem, she drew a picture of herself sitting at her desk with a thought bubble over her head, and she wrote the answer in the thought bubble.  For her, that was showing how she got the answer: It appeared to her in her head when the question was asked. Since she knows her multiples up through 12x12 without really thinking, its hard to convince her she needs to spend time writing up different ways to "solve" problems like 5+8 or 15-6, over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month.

 

I don't mean to come across as too negative - just want to encourage you all to speak up as needed.  Good luck in the new year!


Edited by boston_slackermom - 8/18/11 at 6:37am
post #5 of 17

Just a thought on the guided reading program - DD started the first grade testing at the highest level normally stocked by her teacher, and the teacher did bring in some higher level books for her sometimes, but not nearly enough to keep up with the classroom's book-a-day goal, and DD was reading the same books over and over again. I ended up writing a note on a weekly home reading log that we would supplement from the public library if that was ok, and the teacher wrote back that we could if we wanted to.  Since DD was meeting the standard, from the teacher's perspective, there wasn't really a problem to address.  So you may want to ask about how the guided reading program works at the upper end of the spectrum.

post #6 of 17
Everyday Math was a flop for my first-grader. I actually think it's a nice program, but it moved way too slowly and in her case the whole class was in lockstep, always. They differentiated for reading nicely but the math was all together, always.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post

They were supposed to read 20 books over the summer and he's read about 60. I'm a little embarrassed to send in the summer reading pages because I don't want the teacher to get the wrong idea about me, but he's been proudly recording every book he finishes. 



Haha! We had the same problem with the local bookstore reading logs....both girls had over 2,000 minutes for June/July and that was a conservative (we only recorded after lunch rest time reading they did themselves vs us reading to them. The guy looked at us wonky when we turned it in.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by boston_slackermom View Post

My DD was in first last year, so I thought I'd share my two cents on what to expect...

 

After the first month, she told people who asked that the difference between kindergarten and first is this: "In first, we don't learn anything new."  That was very frustrating for her, and her frustration grew throughout the year.  Since kindergarten is not mandatory here, I suppose first has to cover some basic ground that most, if not all, have seen before.  If your kids didn't do kindergarten, maybe it can be all fresh and new for them. :) 

 

 

A few pull-outs happened with DD in first too.  The other gifted child was her best friend in kindergarten and they got split up in first, but they got reunited for a mini advanced-reader group.  It was a nice occasional thing, but not anywhere near frequent enough or adequate for the differentiation she could have handled. 

 

That friend just moved out of state, so I am a little apprehensive about the upcoming year, but in June I met with the principal and DD's likely teacher about how they can differentiate more in second grade.  Prior to that, I left it up to her teachers, and only gave minor feed-back at the regularly scheduled conferences and marking periods, assuming they would find ways to keep DD engaged and making progress, and that didn't really work out well as I would have liked.

 

If we could do first over, I would have been much more involved in asking for specific goals and adjustments from the first meeting.  I plan to meet with her teacher again in between each of the regular meetings (fall, winter, and spring), so a total of 5 parent-teacher conferences, rather than 3.  Since DD learns everything at least 50% faster than her peers, I think more frequent reviews are appropriate.

 

Right now I am trying to help DD focus on how to "show her work" explicitly on paper so that she can demonstrate clearly that she can move ahead.  Early on in first grade, when she was asked to show how she got her answer to an addition problem, she drew a picture of herself sitting at her desk with a thought bubble over her head, and she wrote the answer in the thought bubble.  For her, that was showing how she got the answer: It appeared to her in her head when the question was asked. Since she knows her multiples up through 12x12 without really thinking, its hard to convince her she needs to spend time writing up different ways to "solve" problems like 5+8 or 15-6, over and over again, day after day, week after week, month after month.

 

I don't mean to come across as too negative - just want to encourage you all to speak up as needed.  Good luck in the new year!



Thank you that is helpful.

 

Both my girls are advanced readers so at least they will have each other. They will also be one of the youngest, so I cant imagine that a few more 1st graders will not be at a similar level. Where we moved from they would have done K and I think it would have been way more apparent of a reading gap. 1st will have 5-7.5 yr olds so it should provide a good spread of abilities.

 

One of my DD did the same thought bubble thing! She drew it for how she knew the capital of Iowa (she drew herself thinking an outline of Iowa with the capital starred and labeled). Her PreK teacher was kind of in shock. Other DD has said she knew that  41 plus 11 is 52 since she added the 40+ 10 and then added the 2+1...she explained it outloud, I can not picture her writing that all down!

 

I already have been talking to the principal, not just about GT levels. But both DDs are 2E so we are in the process of doing some evals and writing 504s. She knows I will be actively involved and am a fairly squeaky wheel! LOL.



Quote:
Originally Posted by boston_slackermom View Post

Just a thought on the guided reading program - DD started the first grade testing at the highest level normally stocked by her teacher, and the teacher did bring in some higher level books for her sometimes, but not nearly enough to keep up with the classroom's book-a-day goal, and DD was reading the same books over and over again. I ended up writing a note on a weekly home reading log that we would supplement from the public library if that was ok, and the teacher wrote back that we could if we wanted to.  Since DD was meeting the standard, from the teacher's perspective, there wasn't really a problem to address.  So you may want to ask about how the guided reading program works at the upper end of the spectrum.



I have a well stocked home library and will provide stuff if needed. I am kind of worried that since they will have reached the 'goal' of 1st for reading that they may be left to their own devices to explore books while explicit instruction happens, we will see and I will step in if I see that happening.  From what I was told the 3 sections of 1st all switch around for groupings for reading. So out of 60 kiddos (with two being my girls) I imagine that a few will be at a similar level to help form a group.  We moved into an area that is fairly academically aggressive from what I have heard.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

Everyday Math was a flop for my first-grader. I actually think it's a nice program, but it moved way too slowly and in her case the whole class was in lockstep, always. They differentiated for reading nicely but the math was all together, always.


I liked it when I was teaching for my math strong students and it does a lot of 'thinking' type problem vs rote memorization/drill & kill, but we will see. Math will be fairly new to my girls so hopefully it will provide some interest in math. Neither are terribly interested in in other than pattern seeking (one DD loves patterns), and being able to divide/add/multiply so they each get a fair share. LOL. It does have 'challenge' problems and hopefully they said they will break the groups into two or three levels for speed. We will see how that goes.

 

 

Thanks ladies. The girls are excited, as am I. I am just apprehensive that is so odd to 'not do K' but they would not fit in the K program AT ALL.

 

post #8 of 17
I didn't know Everyday Math had challenge problems...we never saw any, but maybe DD got some. Honestly, I just came back to this thread to specifically tell you to keep an eye on the math. DD tested MG, and she is not a math prodigy, but boy, that program was just making her nuts. They completed the grade 1 book by year's end, so they were going at the prescribed pace (but the whole class did math together). If your kids can do 41 plus 11, they are not going to get a lot out of the program for 1st, IMO. (They were not there at year's end. The two things DD did learn from the program were telling time and counting money. The rest she knew.)
post #9 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

I didn't know Everyday Math had challenge problems...we never saw any, but maybe DD got some. Honestly, I just came back to this thread to specifically tell you to keep an eye on the math. DD tested MG, and she is not a math prodigy, but boy, that program was just making her nuts. They completed the grade 1 book by year's end, so they were going at the prescribed pace (but the whole class did math together). If your kids can do 41 plus 11, they are not going to get a lot out of the program for 1st, IMO. (They were not there at year's end. The two things DD did learn from the program were telling time and counting money. The rest she knew.)


Yes, it has challenge problems and/or extension problems in the teachers manual, they were often taking the main topic/lesson and expanding it a bit or adding some more thinking....your teacher may have chosen not to use them!angry.gif (GRRRR- that is what they are there for!!)

 

She can do 41+11---in her head. She would not know how to do it on paper-- though that would take a nanosecond to teach.

 

Both DD can tell time to the nearest five minute interval.....money varies (they know how to count dimes, pennies, and dollars for amounts less than 1.00--- haha they just keep counting by 10s, ones, etc if it is over a dollar, pretty funny to listen to). I know they can not 'carry/regroup' on paper at all, but mentally can do some.

 

 

Did your DD start the multiplication section on Everyday Math-- it is a very *unique* way of doing it.

 

Thanks-- I was kind of excited to see the EM program since I had experience in it (at the upper levels like 3rd to 5th) and liked the challenge/extension activities they gave to keep math strong kiddos thinking. They were not counted on grading, but allowed for more 'thinking/application' type questions that kids can ponder. It was nice since it was not right/wrong on total grade if they did not figure out the answer. Our teacher used them as 'bonus points' sometimes. You could earn extra points, but again, not mandatory.

 

Maybe the lower Elem. is not all that great....hmmmmm. I do know that it can be weak on learning straight math facts, but the school might do Rocket Math or something similar to balance it out. 

 

I taught at a school (private) that did Saxon Math and Everyday Math. It was a good combo. Saxon moved at their own pace (some kiddo were years ahead) and EM was done as a group to help with creative thinking/application (again this was in 4/5th grade).

post #10 of 17
There WERE bonus problems on the homework/seatwork sometimes, but I don't think that's what you mean, or is it? She never had extra whole sheets--it was like oen or two extra things at the borrom (she always did them).

I did think the program looked like it was pretty cool in some ways--nice materials, fun games, not as rote-- but it just didn't work for her. She could easily have done 2 years of the curriculum in 1st, IMO, and again, I don't think she is really intenselt mathy. She was not the only child in the class who found it too slow. Math was probably her main complaint about first grade.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

There WERE bonus problems on the homework/seatwork sometimes, but I don't think that's what you mean, or is it? She never had extra whole sheets--it was like oen or two extra things at the borrom (she always did them).
 


 No-- the extension/challenge were different than the *challenge* few problems found at the end/bottom of some sections of the EM.  What I am talking about was an extra book that the teacher would have that had master copies she/he could have copied/ordered/used for each lesson. It was meant to help extend the teaching for 'advanced' learners.... there was also a book on how to adjust down/review work for kiddos that were still learning  or not understanding a concept.I dont recall the exact title--- Enrichment &  Follow-up maybe?? There were so many supplemental materials that went with it (for ELL, struggling learners, advanced learners, literature tie-ins, additional games, etc), my memory is hazy after 6 yrs since I saw it!

 

Possibly your district did not order those materials??  Maybe they discontinued them?? We used them a  lot (for both advanced and struggling kiddos) in the upper grades.

 

post #12 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichigan View Post

Yes, it has challenge problems and/or extension problems in the teachers manual, they were often taking the main topic/lesson and expanding it a bit or adding some more thinking....your teacher may have chosen not to use them!angry.gif (GRRRR- that is what they are there for!!)

 

She can do 41+11---in her head. She would not know how to do it on paper-- though that would take a nanosecond to teach.

 

Both DD can tell time to the nearest five minute interval.....money varies (they know how to count dimes, pennies, and dollars for amounts less than 1.00--- haha they just keep counting by 10s, ones, etc if it is over a dollar, pretty funny to listen to). I know they can not 'carry/regroup' on paper at all, but mentally can do some.

 

 

Did your DD start the multiplication section on Everyday Math-- it is a very *unique* way of doing it.

 

EM "matrix multiplication" doesn't start until third grade.  Folks can watch the khan academy video explaining it to figure it out.  It's pretty easy, and relatively intuitive, just cumbersome.  Not a bad way IMO, but certainly not what any of us were taught
 

KC, the math you're describing that your kids can do... ----- expect to need to do some advocacy for them.  That's midway through grade 2 EM.  We were still seeing 15 different ways to express addition in December of second grade, which is when I started to raise a fuss.


 

Quote:
Originally Posted by loraxc View Post

I did think the program looked like it was pretty cool in some ways--nice materials, fun games, not as rote-- but it just didn't work for her. She could easily have done 2 years of the curriculum in 1st, IMO, and again, I don't think she is really intenselt mathy. She was not the only child in the class who found it too slow. Math was probably her main complaint about first grade.

Grade 2 adds almost nothing more.  Grade 2 was when we went absolutely batty with EM.  EM was in fact so good at teaching mathematics straight off in kindergarten, that the mechanics of arithmetic were trivial to DD starting midway through that year - operations of arithmetic were simple and intuitive, and using larger numbers was just bigger numbers, nothing new.  She hit nothing new from her point of view until we had her accelerated to 4th/5th compressed math after second.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichigan View Post


 No-- the extension/challenge were different than the *challenge* few problems found at the end/bottom of some sections of the EM.  What I am talking about was an extra book that the teacher would have that had master copies she/he could have copied/ordered/used for each lesson. It was meant to help extend the teaching for 'advanced' learners.... there was also a book on how to adjust down/review work for kiddos that were still learning  or not understanding a concept.I dont recall the exact title--- Enrichment &  Follow-up maybe?? There were so many supplemental materials that went with it (for ELL, struggling learners, advanced learners, literature tie-ins, additional games, etc), my memory is hazy after 6 yrs since I saw it!

 

Possibly your district did not order those materials??  Maybe they discontinued them?? We used them a  lot (for both advanced and struggling kiddos) in the upper grades.

 

Our school did not have them, and did not consider them to be a priority.   This is in a well funded, high performing district.  DD would get replacement homework that was hand written by someone (no one would admit to preparing them), but it quickly became clear that the second grade teacher did not know how to do the problems herself.  Indeed, by the end of second grade, DD had a better understanding of mathematics (using that distinctly from arithmetic) than her teacher.
 

I suspect the resistance to getting the enrichment materials was from the teachers who were struggling with their own limitations in math.

 

post #13 of 17

two things.

 

one unrelated to gifted. its something i wish i knew before it happened so i always tell parents this. the first month is a huge getting used to period. dd was exhausted and at her worst behaviour. she also had high anxiety about what it would be like though she knew her teacher and classroom. yet she was still scared (she has anxiety).

 

- go talk to the teacher about hw. it worked well. she replaced her boring repeatitive sheets with more challenging sheets. wasnt much of a deal since she was doing that for other kids too. 

post #14 of 17

We had orientation on Friday and now I am so excited about 1st grade! My son's new teacher seemed prepared and enthusiastic about the two advanced readers in her class. They're using everyday math but she said she can modify it to make the problems harder. I really like her and I think she is going to be such an awesome teacher for him. Yay! 

Tomorrow is the first day.

post #15 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

two things.

 

one unrelated to gifted. its something i wish i knew before it happened so i always tell parents this. the first month is a huge getting used to period. dd was exhausted and at her worst behaviour. she also had high anxiety about what it would be like though she knew her teacher and classroom. yet she was still scared (she has anxiety).

 

- go talk to the teacher about hw. it worked well. she replaced her boring repeatitive sheets with more challenging sheets. wasnt much of a deal since she was doing that for other kids too. 



Thanks! I really really think the first month is an adjustment---one DD has some social problems and she is already worried. DH and already have scaled back any and all events or activities in Sept/Oct to make sure they have time to adjust.


 

We dont start school until SEpt 6. I will see what comes home and take it from there!

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by MJB View Post

We had orientation on Friday and now I am so excited about 1st grade! My son's new teacher seemed prepared and enthusiastic about the two advanced readers in her class. They're using everyday math but she said she can modify it to make the problems harder. I really like her and I think she is going to be such an awesome teacher for him. Yay! 

Tomorrow is the first day.


 I am SO GLAD to hear this!

 

Yes- if you read my earlier responses EM can be adjusted, though not all teacher will and do so. They should!

 

We start in two weeks....I'll let you all know how it goes!

 

post #16 of 17
We had to pay for all our own textbooks (yup, at a public school--charter, though) so I wonder if they just did not buy the separate enrichment text.
post #17 of 17

DS1 starts 1st grade in a couple weeks.  Our neighbor that we are already friendly with is his teacher.   That can be very good (as she has already talked about keeping him challenged and seems to understand him and his abilities, to a point) or it can strain our neighborly relationship.... if I have to nag too much about providing challenge (I mean, diplomatically advocate, of course). It's been really good to read these experiences with 1st grade, so I have some context going in. 

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