Originally Posted by whatsnextmom
1st grade holds a very diverse range of abilities. It's not unusual for there to be some kids just learning to read along with kids who are reading chapter books. Math as well... very diverse range of abilities. I'd prepare your child for the diversity of abilities he will find in the class.
My DDs (a year older than your DS- Oct '05 Bdays) just finished 1st. They went from PreK to 1st.
There is a wide wide range of abilities. I will say DDs were reading 3rd-ish reading level when they started and there were two or three other kiddos there along with them. Math was eh- most of it they knew, but they did learn some creative ways to 'think' and played lots of math games so that was a plus. Most of it was very pro and they had a good teacher. Both DDs writing/spelling sky-rocketed and I was impressed at the growth from Sept-June. Science was a big disappointment (not much done until 2nd semester and it was all very familiar), but it is what it is for 1st : it did involve a lot of open-ended thinking and journaling, so that was good. It was just fairly basic plant parts, living things need X, Y, Z.
My chief complaints were the stalling of reading levels once they hit a certain level- they simply stopped testing at that level. Plus, the higher reading groups did not met with the teacher nearly as often (they met once or twice a week) with the teacher compared to the lower levels (daily). Which, I understand why but do not agree with at all.
The big yippeee was that they organized math enrichment (once a week) and Reading/spelling groups across the three 1st grade classrooms so it was a bit more differentiated- which was nice. The exposure to Art, Gym, Music, and Fun Friday (a center based 'free choice' time on Fri) was excellent. They also interacted with kids from other grades for a diorama project, reading to peers, and for Art.
Get in touch with your school librarian. Ours was great and allowed my DDs to check out from anywhere (often the K/1s are limited to 'green' books of an easier level). She also suggested titles and allowed them to come to the library after school. She was one of the girls greatest allies.
I would do some 'play -acting' with him to help acclimate if you can. What do you do if..... (you are done with your work, the person next to you is working on letters, have a question, you want to know more, you finish your work early....) .This kind of concrete practice helped my DDs with handling some simple classroom skills and also to practice not blurting out all the answers, that there can be multiple answers for questions,and to realize that everyone has different skills/talents/abilities.
Keep in mind too, the first few weeks of school will be really really really easy. They are busy acclimating the kids to school so the work is typically easy for every single child as they learn the rules, the teachers can evaluate them for ability, and to give them some self-confidence with success right away. DDs stated it was 'simple' for a good 6 weeks, even after some of it was not challenging- but the split into reading/writing/spelling/math helped a lot.
I hope you have a great year!
Edited by KCMichigan - 8/18/12 at 11:09am