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Old 10-18-2013, 12:30 PM
Clip to ScrapBook #16

Lily, I'm a first grade teacher. I'm not sure what grade you teach or if you're in elementary, so forgive me if this is old information to you.

The beginning of K includes kids who have been in daycare and preschool for half their lives mixed in with kids who have never set foot inside a school. In order for your child's teacher to get to the point where she has one-on-one or small group time to focus on your daughter without policing the behavior of the rest of the class, she has to establish routines and procedures in her own classroom. This can actually take months in K and 1. I would hope that this teacher is in the process of this, which does mean that she has to have the whole class systematically doing things that align with the average performance of the class. Once they have those rhythms and routines down, she can pull your daughter aside.

It's silly, but it's things like, "At the letter table center we take the magnets, build the word, and write it. We do the next one. We work the whole time using a whisper voice." Each kid has to rotate to this center 5+ times to build the habit. If she just explains and sends them, Jimmy will yell the word, Johnny will build different words, Suzie will mix all the letters together when she puts them back, and Sarah will chase the teacher around the room whining that she needs help. While all this is happening, your daughter is sitting patiently at the teacher table while the teacher puts out fires, and then she has no time left to teach your daughter because it's time for math. Insisting on "getting harder work" at this point may turn into your child sitting at a table by herself doing work while everyone else is with the teacher learning these routines/systems (through letter-of-the-week routines)...Not beneficial to your daughter, even if it is a challenging page.

In order for the kids to be independent for spurts of time so that your daughter can get her attention, the not-previously-in-school kids have to be 'trained' in the ways of the classroom. If your daughter's teacher is very skillful, your daughter may not even realize that she's being pushed during whole group instruction by things like higher-order-thinking skill questions during read-alouds or getting called on during math to explain her thinking process to the group on a new or tricky concept. Maybe the teacher is already pulling small groups and your daughter could have just internalized the 'We're doing letter A this week!' announcement during morning meeting and left out the part about when she was in guided reading doing a level D text.

Lastly, your child's teacher probably *could* push her and get her to an end-of-first grade level by March. Does she need to? No. Your child WILL be ready for first grade. In the meantime, push your child for depth of knowledge. Is she an 'expert' at anything? Like dolls? Get her into making them. Like animals? Do some all-about-manatees reading. her *process* is fine, she is very good at learning HOW to read. With a child ahead of her grade, get her content knowledge up and she'll be unstoppable!
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