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# 1ST Grader failing math! - Page 2

Well lo and behold she got a 100% on her last test.Â  I think things just clicked for her.Â  I felt they would in due time but I also felt this pressure for her to master these skills at the same rate as her classmates.

Her teacher agreed it just might be a maturity/developmental issue(she's a young 1st grader).Â  We will continue to work on the basics.Â  Her teacher gave me some suggestions also.Â  Thanks you all for your suggestions!

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Great news! Good for her! Thanks for the update.Â

I was thinking something else that might help. Â When adding something like 2+3, my DD's kindy teacher used to say, "Hold the bigger number in your head and then add the smaller number." Â My DD Â would count, "1,2,3,4,5". Â It's easier to say "3.....4,5" or 8+3 as "8.....9, 10, 11" Â That may not be the issue, but as a parent it used to drive me crazy inside to hear my kids say, "1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8.....9,10,11". Â They also go to a Montessori school that uses tons of manipulatives at ages 3-6. Â DD is in 2nd grade now and they still have beautiful beads to use and it has made all the difference in helping them to really GET math concepts. Â Like PP's have said....use anything....beans, legos, poker chips, etc. Â Good luck!

I feel for you -- first grade math is scary! Â What seems to have worked for us is working a little bit each night on more basic concepts like counting with one-to-one correspondence and pattern creation. Â I think my son is much less intimidated working with me at home and once he realizes he can do something, it boosts his confidence at school the next day. Â I had heard a lot of success with early math skills is due to confidence or a lack of confidence -- when children think they can't do it, they get nervous and then (of course!) they struggle. Â I like the kindergarten math worksheets on a website called schoolsparks.com. Â My son loves the pictures which are really colorful so it makes learning even more fun.

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Good luck -- I hope things get better soon!

You can teach a three year old to count and do basic math.Â  So, get some pennies and make them work on it for a couple hours a day until they get it down.Â  One of the biggest mistakes is thinking it's the school's job.Â  There are way too many children for one teacher.Â  Most kids have not been made to buckle down and do the work.Â  You should, by now, be able to get your child to sit still and work for a couple of hours.Â  If you use pennies and teach them, they can easily learn add, subract, multiply, and divide.Â

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Quote:
Originally Posted by misskittyÂ  You should, by now, be able to get your child to sit still and work for a couple of hours.

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We don't keep that much duct tape in my house.Â

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The OP doesn't sound like a parent who has failed to parent.Â  Kids learn these things at different rates.Â  And it is a rare child who will sit and count pennies for a few hours, and few 3 year olds have the sufficient understanding of 1-1 correspondence and abstraction to do what's called for here.Â  (Even if what you meant as the spread it out over many days in age appropriate chunks of time.)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by misskittyÂ

You can teach a three year old to count and do basic math.Â  So, get some pennies and make them work on it for a couple hours a day until they get it down.Â  One of the biggest mistakes is thinking it's the school's job.Â  There are way too many children for one teacher.Â  Most kids have not been made to buckle down and do the work.Â  You should, by now, be able to get your child to sit still and work for a couple of hours.Â  If you use pennies and teach them, they can easily learn add, subract, multiply, and divide.

Quote:

Originally Posted by GeofizzÂ

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We don't keep that much duct tape in my house.Â

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The OP doesn't sound like a parent who has failed to parent.Â  Kids learn these things at different rates.Â  And it is a rare child who will sit and count pennies for a few hours, and few 3 year olds have the sufficient understanding of 1-1 correspondence and abstraction to do what's called for here.Â  (Even if what you meant as the spread it out over many days in age appropriate chunks of time.)

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Quote:
Originally Posted by misskittyÂ

Most kids have not been made to buckle down and do the work.Â  You should, by now, be able to get your child to sit still and work for a couple of hours.Â  If you use pennies and teach them, they can easily learn add, subract, multiply, and divide.Â

Yikes! I have a just-turned-9-year-old with exceptional focus, who is working at an upper-middle school or early high school level ... and I would never expect her to sit still and work for a couple of hours. Kids are meant to move, to learn socially, to learn in large part through life and conversation and experience. And they are ready for academic skills at entirely different ages and paces. This kind of categorical pronouncement about what "should" be happening does children and their parents a major disservice, IMO.

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Miranda

The duct tape comment made me LOL, DS is in first and is pretty amazing at math, but sitting in one place for even 20 minutes? Not on your life.

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I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact a first grader is taking "tests" with percentages attached to them. Is this typical? I don't think DS's school has tests in first grade, and his "report card" was not grades or percents, it was whether skills were "emergent" or "developmental" or some other categories.

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Originally Posted by QestiaÂ

The duct tape comment made me LOL, DS is in first and is pretty amazing at math, but sitting in one place for even 20 minutes? Not on your life.

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I'm trying to wrap my head around the fact a first grader is taking "tests" with percentages attached to them. Is this typical? I don't think DS's school has tests in first grade, and his "report card" was not grades or percents, it was whether skills were "emergent" or "developmental" or some other categories.

Our 1st graders ( 6 yrs and 3 months) Â are expected to sit for 20-40 minutes now that the year is 1/2 over (for auditory instruction/circle time/writers workshop/silent or paired reading, etc) but at the start it was closer to 10-15. Still work(seated) is always followed by something to get the wiggles out though! They are some of the youngest (if not the youngest) in the class.

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They both regularly have 20-30 minutes of homework, which is often reading/seated math or writing.Â

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My DDs have an excellent teacher and explains the why/how to the kid and the expectations.

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Our report card is also developmentally based with a space for comments. I cant see giving 'grades' in 1st! Though they do spelling tests and math assessments that do come back with Â 10/10 or 4/5 etc...but no grade and no letter assignment to the grade, more of a how many the students got correct to easily see. Report cards do not show the same thing, but I am sure teachers use the 'results' of such assignments as guides to where students are...though a 4/5 for 'advanced' work will be seen as different than a 4/5 for average 1st grade work (spelling , reading , and some math are differentiated) so that would be taken into consideration as well.

I love duct tape.Â  First, it is good for talking back.Â  Second, you can make it so they can't get out of the chair or hit you.Â  In some cases, you can simply duct tape the pencil to their mouth and let 'em do it the hard way.Â  JUST KIDDING.Â Â LaugingÂ Aside.Â

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My grandmother taught first grade her entire life.Â  On the side, she would Â tutor the children that were doing poorly in school.Â  Parents would come to here very frustrated and she would get them to do well again in school.Â  What was her talent?Â  She was good at discipline.Â  Many of these kids just needed to know that opting out wasn't a possibility.Â  She was very succesful at helping a lot of kids.

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My parents didn't teach me the alphabet or anything about numbers.Â  So, about first grade, with almost 0 knowledge, I went to my Grandmas for the summer and learned the entire first grade, was able to read, and then some.Â  All it boiled down to was we worked diligently every day.Â  I cried every day for the first month.Â  I had never been made to work hard or sit still.Â  It seemed so difficult.Â  But , soon I learned I could do it and started to enjoy it; especially after I started doing well.Â  It helped my entire life in school because I had learned what was expected and the work effort required.Â  Some of my brothers didn't get this and struggled all the way through school.Â

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So, in my mind, the kindest thing to do is to teach your child how to work hard, focus, and overcome problems.Â  Once they get this down, they develop self-esteem and learn to love school.Â  Sure, it's hard at first as all children cry and scream to get their way, but real discipline only takes a month or two to get down and it gets quite fun after that.

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There is a pre-school here that has most of the students reading and doing math before before kindergarten.Â  It's one person with one assistant.Â  How do they do it?Â  Instead of playing the entire time, they work for a few hours a day.Â  The teacher expects the children to stay on task.

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It's great to have fun in life and be carefree, but it's more fun to do things that are interesting and challenging.Â  A child that learns discpline and hard work will be able to have more opportunities for such things.Â Â

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If you think this is strict, go read about the Tiger mothers (AsianÂ Parenting).Â Working a couple hours a day is actuallyÂ pretty mild.Â  Asians, by the way, are much more likely to succeed in our America culture (statistically).Â

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Um, yeah.

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There's "teaching"math and numbers by forcing crying preschoolers to sit in one place for an hour at a time, and there's teaching by taking advantage of all the little opportunities throughout the day to talk about those things. As I said my wiggly 6 yo boy is a whiz at math, not because I made him sit in a chair and drilled him with flash cards, but because I took advantage of his innate curiousity to talk about things as they came up during the day, like if he wanted something in a store, we could talk about how much it cost, and how much we had, and how much we would need to get there. In the car on the way to pick up his sister yesterday I was talking about how much \$\$ we'd spent on a day out, taught him some tricks for adding 9+ any number, resulting in him getting the right answer to "what is 36+39." I think lessons are going to be a lot more meaningful if they're applied to every day situations, not forcibly drilled into kids.

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And the Tiger Mother thing--how do you define "success"? I certainly don't define it as getting to Carnegie hall or thinking it's okay to call people losers, as Amy Chua does. I define it as being a contributing member of society--holding a job, maintaining loving relationships, and giving to those less fortunate. None of that came up in her book.

Quote:
Originally Posted by KCMichiganÂ

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Our report card is also developmentally based with a space for comments. I cant see giving 'grades' in 1st! Though they do spelling tests and math assessments that do come back with Â 10/10 or 4/5 etc...but no grade and no letter assignment to the grade, more of a how many the students got correct to easily see.

I saw the OP's words as a bit of hyperbole to make a point.Â  The child wasn't grasping the concepts, and the expectations were above the child's abilities, requiring building on skills the parent was pretty sure the child didn't have.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by QestiaÂ

There's "teaching"math and numbers by forcing crying preschoolers to sit in one place for an hour at a time, and there's teaching by taking advantage of all the little opportunities throughout the day to talk about those things. As I said my wiggly 6 yo boy is a whiz at math, not because I made him sit in a chair and drilled him with flash cards, but because I took advantage of his innate curiousity to talk about things as they came up during the day, like if he wanted something in a store, we could talk about how much it cost, and how much we had, and how much we would need to get there. In the car on the way to pick up his sister yesterday I was talking about how much \$\$ we'd spent on a day out, taught him some tricks for adding 9+ any number, resulting in him getting the right answer to "what is 36+39." I think lessons are going to be a lot more meaningful if they're applied to every day situations, not forcibly drilled into kids.

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Some kids seem to come out of the womb ready for this kind of thing, and others develop it very slowly through repeated and patient and compassionate exposure.Â  DS' kindergarten class is still working on counting.Â  Counting by 1s, 5s and 10s.Â  DS is bored batty seeing as he's been doing this naturally for about 5 years already.Â  However, watching the class, it is very obvious that this is what many of the children need.Â  Mind you, we live in a school district with rampant tiger momming.Â  All kids are very high achieving, and parents expect success from their kids.Â  Kids who start to fail are tutored, sent to camp, sent for evaluations, etc.Â Â  For many kids, it's straight up developmental, and the poor kids need a chance to grow up and develop.

Have a look at JUMP Math. It breaks every concept down into tiny little steps, and I think is a fabulous program. The story behind it is interesting too - developed by someone who struggled with math as a kid, went on to do a PhD in math, and became a novelist & playwright as well. Here is his story:Â http://jumpmath1.org/john_mighton

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The program philosophy is here:Â http://jumpmath1.org/philosophy

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You can order the workbooks from Amazon, etc.Â http://www.amazon.com/JUMP-Home-Grade-Worksheets-Program/dp/0887849709/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1328025457&sr=1-1

Quote:
Originally Posted by GeofizzÂ

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See adding doubles plus one or adding on to a sum are BOTH great ways to solve the problem. Â Neither is a bad option, depending on how you think. Our school shows students different ways to get to the answer and then allows them to use what works best.

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The struggling part would concern me. Our 1st graders(ages 6-7) are working on adding three single numbers much like your neighborhood boy, it is an expected skill to master (for sum of less than 10) in 1st. In 2nd midyear they are adding two digit with carrying and adding 10 to two digits mentally (10 plus 59 or 20 + 21). This is a public school in a an affluent area, but younger kiddos (not common to redshirt) and lots of diversity and non-English speakers.

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Â  Counting by 1s, 5s and 10s.Â  DS is bored batty seeing as he's been doing this naturally for about 5 years already.Â  However, watching the class, it is very obvious that this is what many of the children need.Â  Mind you, we live in a school district with rampant tiger momming.Â  All kids are very high achieving, and parents expect success from their kids.Â  Kids who start to fail are tutored, sent to camp, sent for evaluations, etc.Â Â  For many kids, it's straight up developmental, and the poor kids need a chance to grow up and develop.

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It may be a rampant tiger mom area, but counting by 1,5,10s is not a common skill that kids walk in if they are not the kind of kid that likes to 'play' with numbers or enjoys patterns. A few kids will see the pattern right away or already know it-- both others it is an essential skill for K kiddos. I bet some kids that are still learning 1,5,10s counting can do simple math and or estimates/metal math or have a handle on other good math skills (fractions, simple division, etc)

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My own 2 kids could not count by 5s (could by 1,10s) simply due to lack of exposure, and one is a number girl. She could add mentally all sorts of good stuff and do simple multiplication, read time, etc but since she never expressed an interest in counting by patterns we did not touch on. She picked up on it quickly, as did a few other kids.

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Development is not always even either. Teachers have to make sure some skills are in place (phonics, one to one counting, etc) and can not move one until 80% or more of the class is there (the remaining 20 are likely to get remediation or evaluation).

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Reading age ranges from 4-7 developmentally-- but most school start looking at at 5.5/6 if a kiddo is struggling in reading/math in order to see if it is developmental or a learning disability of some sort. No matter what remediation is often more helpful than anything else-for both developmental issues and true disabilities. Earlier it intervention is placed the better- that said it can be a fun manner and no one should ever have 4-6 yr olds doing drill math facts for hours on end or sitting and sitting.Â

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