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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I have a few questions for any teaches out there...
I have a daughter who is in first grade andam curious as to opinions on a couple of things.

First...at your class/school are parents required to have an appointment in advance to visit the class on is saying you would like to stop by one day this week acceptable?

Second...is it typical for first graders to need to memorize addition and subtraction facts?

Third...how do I reinforce discipline at home for examply my daughters school has a color system where she has to move her magnet to different colors depending on how many warnings she has. It does not seem to have to do with what the offense is. For example if you talk without permission youmove your magnet, then if you hit someone you move your magnet again and so on, witheach color change there is a consequence, lose half of recess, lose all of recess, time out, office etc. My daughter is almost always on "yellow" or "orange" meaning one or two warnings and almost always these are for talking out of turn and talking in the hallway, sometimes talking too much at lunch. My question is do I punish her again when she gets home? It is further complicated by the fact that the teacher recently began a chart with specific goals such as not talking out, not crying about things, staying on task etc specifically for my daughter some days she does well on that chart but is still on yellow or orange or vice versa. Last year her behavior was worse she would have tantrums at school so part of me feels like talking is not such a big deal considering. Any ideas would be appreciated.
 

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1. yes, most schools I've worked in don't really like parents coming in unannounced. It's disruptive to the flow in the classroom.

2. fairly typical yes. Personally I don't believe in any memorization, but it's pretty standard. 1st or 2nd grade. Multiplication facts in 2nd or 3rd.

3. typical classroom management system. As to how you deal at home, your call. Personally I'd just ask her about it and talk about it.

No real advice, sorry. I hate this type of environment so I will be homeschooling my kids.

-Angela
 

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hi!
i'm new to this board and was actually going to post a very similar question. my twin daughters are in 1st grade. this is their first public school experience. they are very sensitive little girls & the entire discipline thing in their classroom scares them! they have never been placed in any of the warning colors but they've come home crying a few times about kids who have been placed in warning.
it is just a very new experience for them to see this type of discipline and they're also adjusting to being away for 8 hours everyday so i understand that they may be overemotional right now during their adjustment period.
anyway, i was originally going to post a question on whether or not this type of discipline is normal in schools and i guess it is. it just goes against the way i've raised them so far. it seems like a sort of public humiliation. shouldn't the teacher privately confront the children who misbehave instead of making a spectacle of changing their color on the warning board?
i wish i had the option to homeschool them but unfortunately i don't.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hopeland
First...at your class/school are parents required to have an appointment in advance to visit the class on is saying you would like to stop by one day this week acceptable?
I have worked in public and private school and have never seen this as a rule but it is considered polite. Think of it the same way that you most likely prefer people to call before they just come by. Gives you a chance to tidy up and look your best.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hopeland
Second...is it typical for first graders to need to memorize addition and subtraction facts?
It is not typical. When I taught first grade, though, there were some kids who were ready for that. Ask the teacher about the standards for mathematics instruction in the school district and how they are applied in the classroom. Ask her why this is required. She should be able to explain it to you in terms of the children's development and mathematics readiness.

Quote:

Originally Posted by hopeland
Third...how do I reinforce discipline at home

It sounds like you are not feeling happy with what is going on in school. School should be a happy experience for children, just like work should be for us adults. Sometimes it is not and we have to buck up and deal with it. But children should not have to do that in school, I believe. Having a bad year or two in school may not scar your child for life but I can tell you that my two horrible years in middle school still haunt me. I firmly believe that parents need to advocate for their children when they are in situations that are not working well.

Do not feel like you need to reinforce discipline at home. What happens at school stays there and what happens at home stays there. They only cross when the teacher may need some help with the child or the parent wants the teacher to know about something going on the child's life that may affect school. For the most part, children behave very differently in both settings. Do at home what you feel is right for your daughter and let the teacher do what works for her.

If your child is having such problems at school like you describe, it may be time for a behavior modification plan. This is not as archaic as it sounds. It just means a plan to help the child's behavior in class be more positive and productive. It is created by the child's teacher and the school specialists, like the school psychologist, counselor, etc, and also involves the parents. It may include suggestions for what can be done at home to help reinforce what is happening at school. Keep in mind that there are many, many ways of doing classroom management and all may not work for your child. Trying to make a child fit into a system that is not right for them is like trying to fit a part into a car that is not meant for it. It just won't fit. Having a very serious discussion with the teacher and perhaps the other specialists in the school, all with the goal in mind of helping your child to have a positive experience in school, may be necessary. Call and make an appointment. Act as a partner to the teacher and ask how you can work together to improve the situation.
 

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I taught first grade a few years ago so some things may have changed...

1. Yes, do tell the teacher when you want to come by. Disrupting the class during learning times is very difficult. If you do come unannounced make sure it is during lunch, when you can dine with your child or right at dismissal.

2. Memorization of basic math facts in first grade was not part of our expectations at that time. Things have changed since. Some kids naturally start memorizing facts early some don't. Same with reading. What I was looking for was a solid understanding of the concepts of basic operations. Could the child apply the same concept to different numbers or amounts of beans, etc.

Most schools systems these days (although thanx to NCLBA it seems it is going back to rote memorization) are teaching conceptual math rather than rote.

As for behavior systems... NEVER USED THEM NEVER WILL! My students were dealt with behavior on an individual basis, nothing public, no public ridicule... I think some of these intricate behavior systems just prepare them for jail, not for learning how to behave in general society!!!
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I think it is too early to memorize before they have a grasp of why 2 # 2 equals 4 for example.

I understand coming unannounced may be disruptive my thinking is if I say "one day this week" that is some warning. Why do they need to "tidy up" before I come?

The discipline seems to be very negative...sad faces, removal of privaelges etc....I think they could use positive reinforcement with better results.
 

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my ds is in 1st too & they use a similar system only it is + not -

Each kid can get little privileges for doing nicely, and the class as a whole can "earn" some fun.

I would think (tho I am no expert) that your discipline at home could be positive, like that, instead of negative like the school's system.
 

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I'm not a teacher but my son is in first grade. The teacher has used the red light-yellow light-green light system in past years but this year the class is pretty easy so she is using more positive approaches (like coloring in squares of a picture when the class behaves as she wishes; when the picture is all colored they have a little party). Generally she doesn't seem to single out kids publicly to discipline them. I don't think recess should be taken away as punishment- kids this age need to move! I certainly wouldn't extend the discipline system to your home, especially if more positive approaches work better for your child. You could just talk about the teacher's expectations and role play situations that might come up.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Last Friday I was reprimanded for stopping by the classroom right after school. The teacher said I had to schedule a conference. I wanted to ask her what "touching someone inappropriately" meant (comment in her agenda). Turns out she patted another girl on the behind after the other girl did it first they both got in trouble. I also asked her why my daughter got in trouble in the bathroom another day...teacher didnt remember so I said that my daughter said that she was holding a stall door closed for another child because it had no lock and the teacher told her to move her magnet to yellow for that. The teacher said well there are other stalls they can use and she has told them not to do that. I said so basically she isnt spose to help someone in the bathroom.
 

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Quote:

Originally Posted by hopeland
I also asked her why my daughter got in trouble in the bathroom another day...teacher didnt remember so I said that my daughter said that she was holding a stall door closed for another child because it had no lock and the teacher told her to move her magnet to yellow for that. The teacher said well there are other stalls they can use and she has told them not to do that. I said so basically she isnt spose to help someone in the bathroom.
I have two children who went K thru 12 in a school system filled with this kind of de-socialization conditioning.

I understand that schools and educators are facing large numbers of very challenging students and other extraordinary pressures now, but I think that educators can get sucked into this craziness to the point they're unable to see how crazy-making this is, and how much it *contributes* to the social dysfunction in school systems. The typical school is much more dysfunctional than the typical community. Once my children went out into the so-called "real world", they both remarked often that contrary to what they'd been told all through high school, in the "real world" people are much easier to deal with than in school. For example, in school, my children were constantly told, "in the "real world" nobody's going to be there to help you ***", as in, "nobody's going to help you decipher a bus schedule", and my children were genuinely astonished how it's just the opposite, even in college. "In the real world, you don't have to be afraid to ask a question" or "In the real world, you can always find help how to do something".

My children's teachers took about 10 full days for "teacher inservice" every year. I wished that at least one of those days was given to a "Parent-Teacher Partnerships" workshop. I found it very difficult to discuss anything with many of them (not all) who'd become so rigid, hypersensitive and defensive that such attempts were a complete disaster. It would boggle my mind, though, that these same teachers wouldn't hesitate at all to wallop young students with even sharp-edged criticisms, discipline, and even threats without a second though.

For example, one first grade teacher threatened one of her struggling students that the little girl would have to repeat first grade if she didn't try harder and do better. The six-year-old, predictably, became practically paralyzed with panic, anxiety, humiliation, and all the rest. When I told the teacher her "tactic" backfired badly, omg...............................the carrying on, "I know these children--this tactic works very well--it's the 'truth', the decision is up to the student, work hard and she'll pass, it's probably the parent's fault she's upset--everybody thinks they can do what I do, do-you-know-how-hard-this-is-I-really-really-try-very-hard-and-all-I-hear-is-criticism-do-you-know-how-that-makes-me-feel?"

This grown woman was taking the "truth" worse than the six-year old did, and I think it's because a kind of unhealthy institutional dysfunction often infects the teachers too. In any event, she responded to my concerns about as well as the student did to her own threat--they both became highly upset, acted out, and put up emotional shields.

Too often in schools, it's the 'institution' which defines and shapes the people in them. Schools have to resist this, it should be the other way around, and everyone needs to remember education is about nurturing people, not systems.

Between people, even those we don't know!, it's a good thing to help out one another--even in the bathroom.
 

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We have an appointment rule at our school (middle school) because there are occasional "crazy" parents out there who want to bust in and talk about their student while I am in the middle of 3rd period. Personally, I have no problem with a parent stopping by, but that is the official rule. I wouldn't at all care if parent stopped by after school, but some people believe that we need to act more like professionals (we don't just stop by the doctor/dentist/CPA's office without an appointment).
 

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Quote:
It is further complicated by the fact that the teacher recently began a chart with specific goals such as not talking out, not crying about things, staying on task etc specifically for my daughter some days she does well on that chart but is still on yellow or orange or vice versa.
Do you know if this is a new teacher (2-3 years of experience)? It sounds to me like she is employing a lot of strict classroom management tactics. It's as though she does not really have her management skills down yet (it comes with time
) so she is going a bit tough on the class.

However, she it sounds fishy that she's using both the individual chart for your daughter, as well as the class-wide one (where she is on yellow or orange). I don't think a student on an individual behavior contract should be participating in the class-wide system. An experienced teacher learns to keep the class-wide system in the room, but use it very little. That way, he/she can handle students on an individual basis, as it sounds she's attempting to do with your daughter.

Also, that individual chart should not be posted for all the class to see. And it should be driven by the GOOD choices your child makes. Like stars or happy faces or whatever for FOLLOWING the rules. The language of the behavior contract ought to be phrased in positives. For example, if a child calls out all the time and disrupts the learning of others, then the language should be "I raised my hand" and the teacher gives a star/sticker for EVERY TIME THE CHILD DOES IT. Imagine how great the child will feel to see all those happy faces for what she does right!

Fortunately, we're trending away from the public posting of behavior charts. The public school powers that be are starting to "get" that it's not cool to have your good day/bad day on display. We all have good days and bad days. It can't feel very good to constantly have the whole class see that you are always on yellow, orange, or whatever.
 
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