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What does public school 1st grade look like?

706 Views 2 Replies 3 Participants Last post by  Ellien C
I've been trying to figure something out and I need to know what goes on in public 1st grade classes, so I have questions:

What kind of math did they start the year doing?
What kind of math problems are they doing now half way through the year?
What are they reading?
How much are they expected to write?
What do they do in other subjects, science social studies, history?
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This is going to vary SO much by state, district and school that I don't think you'll be able to get the answers you're looking for. DS is in first grade, and they just started bringing home spelling words a couple of weeks ago - 5 per week. They have to usually write the words in different ways a couple times, then write a sentence per word for a couple nights. Each day at school I know that they spend time journaling, but honestly it doesn't seem like much to me. For example they may draw a picture and write a sentence to describe it and then copy words on a worksheet. They also do some exercises with correcting sentences, like capitolizing the right word, inserting the right word from a list, etc.

As for math I don't know what they're doing and it drives me insane. The first quarter of last year they did what I call "pre-addition", breaking down numbers into number combinations. For example the number 4 has the following hidden partners: 1 &3, 2&2, 3&1. It drove DS bonkers that they didn't include 0&4! Then they switched to subtraction. Shortly after we and apparently other parents complained about the "partner" style of math, they stopped sending worksheets and such home about the math stuff, and that's on my list this week actually to discuss with the teacher (she's been out 3 weeks with back surgery and I've been down 6 weeks with bronchitis).

For reading they use a Harcourt series and twice a week have a story to read from that. They've covered contractions some time back.

Now with all that you need to realize that the school my kids attend is actually a lot better than in our old state, but is also a Promise School of Recognition (meaning they're educating the kids but have a high number of students below the poverty line) and another mom told me last week that our school is around the 50% mark for student who have English as a second language - which no doubt has a huge impact on the curriculum per grade.
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It does vary state to state. Does your school have a curriculum night? We do at least once a year and they go over things.

My 1st grader is now doing double digit addition and subtraction. I'm not sure if they are routinely "carrying the tens digit" but mine knows how to do it. She explained it to me recently (Very proud of herself). I think one of the older girls in her aftercare showed her and the teacher reinfored it.

She also does a lot of word problems, money problems and lots of estimating.
How many ____ across is this item? (Feet, hands, fingers, pennies etc). Or if a large bag costs X and a small bag costs Y, how much does a medium bag cost?

As for reading - Pierre (who doesn't care) and Amelia Bedelia were in her recent reading logs.

They do a lot of science investigation - there was something about "counterweights" and clothespins in her recent work, but I wasn't totally clear on what they were doing. It was practical and hands on and she had to record her results (which are entirely written in 1st grade spelling with very little correction, hence my puzzlement).

Her social studies curriculum seems to consist of a lot of "High 5" expectations (courteous, etc), that feels endless.

There has been a lot of study of black history month in Feb. Ruby Bridges is a favorite. Read the story, answer questions, compare Ruby's school to yours. Describe how Ruby felt. And a little story called "White socks only" about a girl who took off her black shoes to use a water fountain and when she was called on it, all of the onlookers rallied around her and removed their shoes and drank from the fountain. And of course, MLK. There will be a school-wide presentation later this month that some grades will take part in.

She has a spelling test once a week, which concerns me. It seems so young. They take a 6-word pre-test on Monday and if they get 5 or more correct they will be given 10 new words to study for the Friday test, otherwise it's those 6. My kid is not really picking up on spelling, and she feels bad that she gets so many wrong. But she's 6! DH and I are both good spellers, but I can't say we were in 1st grade.

She also has these problems where the sentence is scrambled and you have to put the words in order to make a sentence. I find these a little tricky, but I guess I'm programmed to read gramatically correct sentences. She can almost do them faster than me!
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