Learning at School > 1ST Grader failing math!

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

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

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

So, in my mind, the kindest thing to do is to teach your child how to work hard, focus, and overcome problems. Once they get this down, they develop self-esteem and learn to love school. 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.

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

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

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

Um, yeah.

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.

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 **KCMichigan**

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 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. 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.

Quote:

Originally Posted by **Qestia**

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.

And some 6 year old first graders still just aren't ready for that much. They're still working on adding 3 and 3, so moving into the adding 9 tricks are getting ahead of ourselves. We were walking to school this morning with a neighbor boy who is in second grade. He knew there were 3 hours of school before lunch, 3 hours after, and that lunch was an hour long. He knew that to figure out how long the school day he needed to add them up. This task wasn't simple or straight forward for him as he was trying to add 3 and 1, then 3 to the sum. After we sent the boy to his classroom, my son asked me why it was so hard -- just double the 3, and add 1. For the boy, he struggled with rearranging the numbers to make it easier to total. For my son, it was obvious that you could rearrange and get the same value.

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. DS' kindergarten class is still working on counting. Counting by 1s, 5s and 10s. DS is bored batty seeing as he's been doing this naturally for about 5 years already. However, watching the class, it is very obvious that this is what many of the children need. Mind you, we live in a school district with rampant tiger momming. All kids are very high achieving, and parents expect success from their kids. Kids who start to fail are tutored, sent to camp, sent for evaluations, etc. 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: http://jumpmath1.org/john_mighton

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

You can order the workbooks from Amazon, etc. 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 **Geofizz**

And some 6 year old first graders still just aren't ready for that much. They're still working on adding 3 and 3, so moving into the adding 9 tricks are getting ahead of ourselves. We were walking to school this morning with a neighbor boy who is in second grade. He knew there were 3 hours of school before lunch, 3 hours after, and that lunch was an hour long. He knew that to figure out how long the school day he needed to add them up. This task wasn't simple or straight forward for him as he was trying to add 3 and 1, then 3 to the sum. After we sent the boy to his classroom, my son asked me why it was so hard -- just double the 3, and add 1. For the boy, he struggled with rearranging the numbers to make it easier to total. For my son, it was obvious that you could rearrange and get the same value.

See adding doubles plus one or adding on to a sum are BOTH great ways to solve the problem. 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.

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.

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

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)

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.

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).

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.