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#1 of 5 Old 09-24-2011, 04:54 PM - Thread Starter
 
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 My son is in 1st grade and is doing well.  My issue is that the teacher has been giving his class school work and homework that, I feel, is way below his level.  By this I mean doing connect the dots worksheets up to 15 and basic shape work.  My 4 year old in pre-k can complete his brother's  homework.  At least one of the other mother's feels the same way so I know that it's not just me.  His kindergarten class was pretty advanced as a whole and they finished the Kinder work several months ahead of schedule and did 1st grade work the last several months of the last school year.  I'm confused because his teacher is known for being pretty rigorous academically.  I'm not one of those moms that just thinks her kid is brilliant and I don't want to be one of those moms that cause trouble all of the time but I do want my kid to be challanged.  He was tested for the gifted program and didn't make the cut and I'm totally ok with that, but it would be nice if he could learn new things.  His teacher has told me that he is one of the best readers in his class and when I was volunteering in his class I was grading math papers and (yes I peeked at the names to find his) he got the second highest score on the test.

My thoughts:  

1. There are new kids who have come from other areas so maybe there are widely varying levels of abilities in the class.  

2. It's only been a month since school started, maybe she is trying to boost the kids confidence by doing easy stuff before moving on to harder stuff.

My options:

1. Talk to the teacher now and risk being labeled the bothersome parent.  I wouldn't care about what she thought about me but this teacher also has a reputation for playing favorites and taking things out on the kids.

2. Wait 3 weeks until parent-teacher conferences and voice my concerns.  In the meantime work with him on my own to find him more challanging material (Does anyone know of any resources for this?)

Thanks in advance for reading/responding!

 

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#2 of 5 Old 09-24-2011, 06:19 PM
 
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It is normal for the first month of school to be largely review while the teacher assesses students and gets them comfortable with her. Connect the dots to 15 goes a too far back to qualify as "review" in my opinion but maybe she had her reasons. If it's been a solid month (and in out district, it's only been 3 weeks) you can certainly talk to her about it. I wouldn't worry too much about her "reputation." Often these stories are started by parents who have difficult children or are difficult themselves.... not always, but enough to take them with a grain of salt unless you really know the families making such claims.


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#3 of 5 Old 09-24-2011, 07:09 PM
 
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My dd in 2nd grade just started reading groups on Tuesday or Wednesday last week because it took them that long to get the kids assessed, meet as a 2nd grade team (there are 4 classes) and then decide which children go where. Until then, there wasn't a lot of homework. My son's 5th grade teacher has flat out said "this first month we're making sure that everyone has the basics down and we're trying to boost confidence." So, ds has been 'reviewing' his multiplication tables (which he had down pat early in 4th grade).

 

Don't be afraid to talk to the teacher. I asked both of my kids' teachers on Back to School night a week ago, what the plans were for differentiation for my kids (i.e. harder/more in depth assignments because they are (moderately) gifted), since they're working at a higher level. I'm about to follow up with dd's 2nd grade teacher because I don't think she's getting what she needs for part of the day.

 

You can frame it as "My son is getting a little restless because the work seems to be so easy for him. I want to make sure he's engaged and learns to work. What can we do to meet his needs?"

 

I am one of those parents, and I've never had a teacher get upset with me, because I try very hard to frame it as a collaboration. "What can we do to make sure my kids' needs are met." I quite frankly told dd's teachers "When dd gets bored, she starts to mind other people's business, and that's not good for her or the other students. What can we do to make sure her mind is engaged in challenging things?" When she's bored, she's a pain in the butt. For their sake, I want to warn the teachers so they don't have behavioral issues. For ds, when I asked about him getting differentiation, the teacher said that he'll often give optional assignments. I looked at ds in front of the teacher and said "Those aren't optional for you. I want you to do those because you need to learn to work hard." Ds skates by on his homework and doesn't challenge himself. I'm afraid he's learning that he doesn't have to work hard. He's quiet and obedient and often gets overlooked. I need the teachers to know he's capable of more.


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#4 of 5 Old 09-25-2011, 08:05 PM
 
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I think that at the start of school this is pretty normal for teachers to give easier work to "feel the kids out".  That being said, I wouldn't hesitate to bring up your son needing more challenge when you go to the parent teacher meeting.  I have very untypical kids, and I've had to voice their needs adamantly.  Good teachers know that you are just concerned about their education.  Personally, I would wait until the parent teacher meeting as long as my child wasn't upset about going to school, just to see if things change once the school year gets rolling.

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#5 of 5 Old 09-27-2011, 06:06 AM
 
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I would call her or send her an email.  Last year in K, I was frustrated because dd's teacher sent home a ditto every night.  A connect the number dot to dot, or a word search, or find the word in the picture and color it in kind of thing.   DD did fine with the homework, but it wasn't reflective of what they were doing in class, and at the end of the year she was having problems reading up to the level and...we were taken by surprize because her homework was so easy, she seemed like she was doing great.  How is a parent supposed to know if the child is mastering concepts if you don't see what they are doing at home?   I did not bring it up as an issue last year, because I was new and didn't want to rock the boat.  But I started the first day of first grade this year with a proactive email asking for a rough outline of what DD should know by when, so that I step in if she falls behind.  The teacher was very responsive, and didn't seem at all annoyed.  She actually seemed happy about it.

 

Your teacher might be ramping up, she might be trying to help some other kids master basic skills...but it wouldn't hurt to ask and let her know that you think your child has mastered these skills.

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