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lily74 lily74 is offline
 
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hard being a teacher and a parent!
Old 10-17-2013, 05:24 PM
 
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My daughter just started Kindergarten this year, but I feel like she is repeating preschool for the 3rd year in a row.
She is very bright, knew 50+ sight words when she left preschool last year, can do simple addition and subtraction, is reading at a DRA level 4 (the end of K goal in my state), and yet she comes home and tells me she is 'learning' the letter A this week!!!!

We have spoken to the teacher about doing more challenging work with her, with no change.
So, I spoke to the principal and am awaiting her reply about getting her more differentiated work.

It is just frustrating for me as I know she should be doing more, and improving on her reading/math skills. Not just repeating letters and sounds that she already knows. I don't want her to miss out on the 'fun' kindergarten activities, but I don't want her abilities to go to waste either!

Thanks for listening!!


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I understand..
Old 10-17-2013, 05:41 PM
 
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I'm in the same boat. My daughter is reading on a C level, has a large sight word vocabulary, and writes sentences very well. It can be frustrating to feel like your child isn't being challenged. I've chosen to continue to challenge her at home by keeping her reading and working on words that she's coming across in the books she's reading. We discuss a lot about events and things she's learning in science and social studies. We also integrate math into our day. I am pleased with her teacher because as a teacher myself, I realize I can challenge students (which I do) but I must also ensure I teach the grade level standards. If her teacher isn't familiar with differentiation hopefully the principal will be able to give her some suggestions. But, do know, you'll probably be challenging her from home for years to come. Remember, children grow and develop at their pace and sometimes that pace is faster than CCSS or regular state standards. Would your school offer letting her attend a guided reading group with a first grade class or even participating in a literature circle?

I'm happy that my daughter is learning about socialization, cooperation, and helping others but I'm also aware that there's only so much that can be done in a kindergarten class to challenge children that may be on a first or second grade level all day long. Hopefully you'll hear from your principal soon. Best wishes!
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:07 PM
 
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Are you really worried about "challenging" a five year old? Over half of Kindergarten is socialization. If your dd has a leg up on the K CCSS curriculum then let her be. If she wants to do more, than work with her at home on first grade materials. The kids that are ahead in reading and math very early on tend to level out with the rest of the class by third grade.
I've seen so many micromanaging helicopter parents try to push their very young K and 1st grade kids forward into "challenging" curriculum. Most of the time, the child just wants to be a kid and do the things their peers are doing, and actively resists all attempts to make them do work that separates them from peers.

I had to chuckle at the comment:
".....but I don't want her abilities to go to waste either."
She is FIVE/SIX. What abilities are you worried about wasting away? This sounds like a classic helicopter parent post, made worse by the fact that the helicopter parent is a teacher. You are a parent here, not dd's teacher.
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Old 10-17-2013, 06:16 PM
 
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It never bothered me that my two children were not challenged in kindergarten. Both of my children were happy and their classrooms were great little places to hang out.
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A thought...
Old 10-17-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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Just because her class is learning the letter A this week does not mean she isn't being challenged. That sounds to me to be kindergarten curriculum and something required to cover whole group. I would expect her to be challenged in reading and maybe math groups, but other than that, the kinder teacher can only do so much. Kindergarten is a year of complete mixes of abilities, and you really can only differentiate in so many areas while still sticking to curriculum.


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I just don't understand
Old 10-17-2013, 06:56 PM
 
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I know it's hard as a parent who wants the best for your child, but please try to put it in perspective. I never really understood the parent argument that they don't want their child's abilities "to go to waste" when they're this young. It's kindergarten. She still has 12 years to grow and develop before she potentially goes to college. Reviewing the letter A won't set her back years. Please also remember that social/emotional growth is equally important in creating well rounded and happy students. She is playing and learning to interact with her peers in the kindergarten classroom. If she's not complaining of boredom and disliking school what is the issue? As a first grade teacher I believe that the best thing children can develop in kindergarten is some early self-confidence and a love for school, along with a good foundation of literacy/math skills. I have many children who begin the year reading above grade level, but if they haven't developed the interpersonal skills or work habits required to perform in my higher level reading group, their fluency doesn't mean much. Your daughter may be "learning the letter A", but so much more is happening in her education as she learns to work in groups, navigate her classroom, make choices, and use the materials. She's building a strong foundation as a learner.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:43 PM
 
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I've been there with 2 out of 3 of my kids. And being a kindergarten teacher made biting my tongue even harder! But I must say that all of my kids were happy and made friends and loved school, which to me is much more important than academics at that age. Yes, they could have been doing more. No, they weren't often challenged academically. But my oldest is now in 6th and has had a great elementary experience overall, with lots of academic challenges.

One other thing to think about, and this is something I tell my parents. Yes, our curriculum right now is a letter of the week. Most of my kids know all of their letters. We just use the letter of the week as a jumping off point for all of our other activities - phonics, phonemic awareness, rhyming, writing, penmanship, etc. Just because one worksheet might come home that is "easy", it doesn't mean that we didn't have a hands-on activity or game or discussion that was at a much higher level. And the only student I have ever had that I found difficult to challenge in class was reading at a 5th grade level and writing like a 2nd or 3rd grader (of course, she needed socialization skills like any other 5 year old!). The normal high student - there is always something that can be done!
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I can't imagine
Old 10-17-2013, 07:45 PM
 
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I can't imagine what it's like to be a kindergarten teacher. You have no idea what's coming into your classroom... no teacher to tell you inside info on each kid... kids coming in who may not have ever held a pencil, much less learned how to write their name.

I understand where you're coming from... I was frustrated when my daughter entered school. I had done all the things the parenting mags told me to do. She was already reading, knew her numbers & how to add/subtract. She was writing stories, etc. She really wasn't challenged in kindergarten.

But once they are in first grade, teachers have a better idea what's going on with students and are able to differentiate with literature groups, etc.

Hang in there and keep supplementing at home. And be patient with that kindergarten teacher... it takes a special kind of person to take that job on!
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:53 PM
 
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20 years from now, it won't matter.

Looking back, I wish I'd followed that tidbit a lot more when I was raising my kids. I worried SO much about the little things...none of which mattered, in the end.

Her happiness and acceptance of self is most important.

Challenge her at home and let her blossom in other ways at school this year.
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Old 10-17-2013, 07:56 PM
 
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What? What? I can hardly hear you over the drone of the helicopter blades! Relax, mom.

How does your daughter like school? Does she have fun? Does she look forward to it?

School, especially kindergarten, does not need to be a constant "challenge". Let the child just enjoy being there! So much of growth in that age group has absolutely nothing to do with academics. She's learning how to interact with others, how to negotiate peer conflict, how to work in a structured environment, how to complete work nicely, how to listen and follow directions, how to enjoy school.

And no- trust me- she did not already learn all that in preschool. It takes a lot of time for kids to really mature into "school beings". If you want to push your child academically, work with her a little bit each night at home. The review at school certainly will not hurt her.


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Hard to be a teacher of a teacher's kid....
Old 10-17-2013, 08:40 PM
 
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Teeny Tiny!!!! You are so right on.

Worrying about dd's abilities "going to waste" at the tender age of five is a bit excessive. Kindergarten is very much about socialization, no matter what is stuffed into the CCSS. Why are we, as a society, pushing young children to be "challenged"? Please let your dd's K teacher do her job. Pushing dd ahead in curriculum will not result in long term learning gains anyway. Allow her to be five and explore the world with her classmates.

Last edited by Faith1170; 10-18-2013 at 09:06 AM..
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Been there
Old 10-18-2013, 02:56 AM
 
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To the OP....I've been there. And the responses you received here do not surprise me at all. I've heard them over and over again. Everybody wants to jump on the socialization parade. I don't know about your daughter, but mine had been in daycare since she was an infant. She knew all about sharing and cooperating and even helping her peers. By the time she reached kindergarten, her social skills were very well developed. She could hold a conversation with an adult just as well as with a peer. So I don't buy the socialization speech.
In preschool, the teachers complained incessantly that she didn't like to color. Ummm....hello.....she was beyond those pumpkin-that-takes-up-the-whole-page coloring sheets. She was already coloring detailed pictures at home. Moreover, she was an amazing draw-er and would much rather be drawing her OWN picture of a beautiful autumn scene. If the teachers could've just seen past their plans far enough to give her a blank piece of paper, she would've happily colored as long as they wanted her to. And I wouldn't have had to hear the constant complaints that she didn't want to participate.
She remained grossly unchallenged for years, despite a gifted identification and thorough achievement testing that proved she was functioning well above grade level....and despite my constant reminders that she was not being adequately challenged.
Fast forward to now. She transferred to a new school for eighth grade....a school with a much higher academic expectation. She is finally experiencing the challenge she should've received years ago. Problem is after so many years of just coasting through, she doesn't know how to accept the challenge. She'll get a 94 on a test and is devastated that she failed. That's what happens when you get to eighth grade and have never experienced anything that wasn't easy for you. I'd like to go back and shake some sense into a few teachers at this point. She is suffering now for their laziness.
So to the OP.....don't let it happen to your daughter. Don't accept mediocrity. She deserves better than reviewing the letter A when she is ready to read chapter books.....
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Old 10-18-2013, 04:40 AM
 
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I just wanted to say that just because you ask a question doesn't make you a helicopter parent. However, we have all had those parents who can't back off and let their children live a little.

There might be a balance between most of these posts and snicklesnacks response. I am not sure that a child reading at a level 4 is gifted by any means. I am sure that her teacher is very happy that she is reading. But, like others have said, you really don't know what is happening inside the classroom. Have you asked what your dd does with her day? My experience in k is that many of the students who have some good reading and math skills also have skills they are lacking, like handwriting. Learning to make letters correctly is a big deal. Much happens during read aloud. Your dd is probably being entertained and challenged during those times. K classes I have been involved in have reading groups at different levels (which would challenge your dd), writing journals for students who are already able to string letters together into sounds, and stations where differentiation is happening - which may or may not have papers going home on.

I would continue to do what you do at home. Read, ask and answer questions, and listen to her read. Encourage her curiosity. Then, when you meet with the teacher, ask her what happens in the classroom that your dd is challenged by (kindly). Good luck this year. Both of my kids went into k reading and writing. They had great years, progressed significantly, and made wonderful friends.
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In all honesty
Old 10-18-2013, 07:22 AM
 
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The low kids have to be teachers main concern. I challenge my high kids of course, but if I have an extra 5 min I'm working one on one with the low students.

Do you absolutely know she's not being challenged? I send home differentiated leveled readers and provide more challenging instruction during small group. Could that be what the teacher is doing?

Does the teacher have prep time to gather these materials? I mean, I would hope so...

Talk to the teacher again. Find out exactly what she's doing because whole group instruction has to be the K curriculum...
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Old 10-18-2013, 09:28 AM
 
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Just because a child is a bit ahead of her peers in the earliest years of school does not mean that she's gifted or should be placed in a gifted class. It's not just about having strong reading skills or being "bored" in class. There is so much more to it. Just something to keep in mind.
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Old 10-18-2013, 12:30 PM
 
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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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Old 10-18-2013, 04:27 PM
 
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My daughter was offered a chance to move to fIrst. I decided not to with the help of PT. My kid is reading 3.5 level books and is writing well. She is doing what everyone else is doing in class for now with no extra for the trains stated above: training needs gelling before the individuals get time. Plus my daughter needs lots of Sutton. She loves school. I am doing what Good Luck suggested. We are reading and writing about dinosaurs at home . I got the think big science game and we learned some history songs for home. She writes in a little journal all the time. She is happy happy happy. I am so glad I left her in K. I am glad her first year is singing, reinforcement, making friends, being happy and not stressing. She is a perfectionist that hates not getting things perfect. She actually colored outside the lines on accident tonight while coloring, looked at me and said " My teacher said it's okay to get outside the lines sometimes because no one is perfect and we all make mistakes. " MY baby who would have lamented on how beautiful it WOULD have been if only blah blah blah and run off crying just three months ago said THAT.

I am so thankful for kindergarten teachers. And since my daughter's teacher is a goddess in her eyes, her input and can guidance is shaping my daughter and her self image. I don't know how many times I told her she didn't need to be perfect, but her teacher told her so it really must be true.
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thanks
Old 10-19-2013, 09:12 AM
 
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I appreciate all the responses here. And despite what the majority of people have said, I am by no means a 'helicopter parent'. As a teacher myself (in 3rd grade currently, but have taught from preschool to 5th), I just know that she could be doing more.

We do a lot with her at home, but I feel that it's unfair after being at school all day that she comes home and I am giving her more to do...although she loves doing it most of the time.

I have spoken to K teachers in my building as well as friends in other districts, and they all say there should be guided, differentiated groups, and leveled readers or differentiated word lists coming home...this is NOT happening in DD's class. That is my concern.

And yes, she has been in daycare and then preschool since she was only a few months old, plus she is in a dance class and other activities with other children her age, so I feel she is able to socialize well...that is not my primary focus for her in Kindergarten.

Snicklesnack, thanks for your response. I can relate most to what you said about your child. I want my DD to not just coast through for years, because of exactly what you described.

I know you have to be a special person to teach Kindergarten, as you do for every grade level. I just know that if I was only focusing on the lower students in my class and not providing a 'challenge' to the higher students as well, MY principal would have something to say about it. There should be differentiation to some extent at ALL grades, not just 1st and higher!!!
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