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Entering 1st Grade 2017

  1. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24100 posts

    @MamaG: oh man. Our school has some close knit groups. I know many people are very close with staff.

  2. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    Friends? As in I text them or call them? No.

  3. chopsuey

    hostess / wonderful honeydew / 32460 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: M really loved Fancy Nancy. We got her the fancy Nancy (Nancy Clancey) chapter books over the summer and she keeps bugging me for more.

  4. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    So DD loves writing. They have to write a paragraph twice a week for homework. The first time she messed around so long, I sent her to her room and she couldn't come out until she finished. I'm supposed to correct it with her and send it back to school two days later but I learned quickly she likes to just sit with her writing without corrections, just enjoying her creativity for a day. Then on the second day, she is ready to hear corrections. It made this week's writing so much better. She literally took two hours still but it was an enjoyable, playful, break filled time where she wrote a sentence, went back to it when she felt like it and then finished in her good time without hurrying. She even ate dinner in between but wrote twice as much as the first time she had homework. I share this as encouragement to parents who are helping their first grader through writing pains. My temptation was to rush her to finish so we can have 'free time' but decided I'm not going to pressure her to fit in a pre-determined time block for this creative process ...and just let her enjoy her experience of becoming a young author in the making. To me, it's more than homework to submit, it is building the love of learning and creating, day by day.

  5. Mrs. High Heels

    blogger / eggplant / 11544 posts

    N's 1st day of first grade was today. We have three 1st grade classes, and N and her two closest friends from Kinder each got a different teacher. I know they assign kids based on input from their Kindergarten teacher, so I wonder if this was strategic. N did great though and hardly even looked back as the teacher walked them into class, and she was that kid who cried the first day of Kindergarten.

  6. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24100 posts

    @Mrs. High Heels: I hope she had a great day!

    @chopsuey: Thanks. We have LOTS of Fancy Nancy. They are pretty long though and have a good amount of challenging words that she seems to still struggle with. However after looking it up I do see that its a level 2.2 which I guess is similar to a 2nd grade book. So that makes sense she would still struggle with it.

    DD has totally switched gears on what she wants to wear. Last year was still lots of dresses and this year she's all into her running shorts/sports clothes. She is letting me put her hair up into a "sports" braid every day which is nice because its staying out of her face. Maybe its because she knows how to tie her shoes now? Anyways, I guess I need to look for more athletic wear for her but that stuff isn't cheap!

  7. Mamaof2

    squash / 13085 posts

    @Mrs. High Heels: hope she has a great day!

  8. Mrs. High Heels

    blogger / eggplant / 11544 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: @Mamaof2: Thanks, she said she loved 1st grade!

    How soon after school started did you all start getting homework assigned? We're not getting any homework until after Labor Day

  9. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24100 posts

    @Mrs. High Heels: We just finished our second week and had some light stuff start this week. She has her first spelling/sight word test today. I think this is all mostly just practice and letting the teacher get a baseline on each student. I think the real work will start after labor day as well.

  10. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    Today was the first day. My son was extremely anxious, as he typically is in new situations. I think going forward, the key is finding out who is in class beforehand so he's more comfortable. Everyone I knew is together in a different class, so to say I was nervous was an understatement.

    Lo and behold, I get a call from the principal that my kid is assigned to the wrong class and they moved him. Now, tomorrow, I have to go and walk him in again, which is fine, but I left a huge bag of supplies for the teacher....do I get another bag and just leave that stuff with the first teacher? Never a dull moment, lol!

  11. gingerbebe

    cantaloupe / 6131 posts

    @DisneyBee: old navy makes slim uniform pants and French toast uniforms makes Velcro belts.

  12. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24100 posts

    @looch: Oye! When DD moved in K, we did not need to bring in additional supplies (thank goodness because I had already sent in a double set!). They said the teachers would handle distributing the supplies.

  13. lamariniere

    pineapple / 12344 posts

    We made it to Bangkok and went to the new family orientation session yesterday (less than 24 hours after landing!). There were two parent volunteers that took us on a tour of the campus and they had many positive things to say about their experience at the school. We saw all of the classrooms and facilities and feel really confident about the school year. We got the bus schedule and my kids (my DD is also going to the preschool) have to be on the bus at 7:05! Yikes! That's around the same time they were waking up when we lived in Vienna! But they have to pick them up early in order to contend with traffic, and they are the last ones to be picked up on their route. The school day also ends early, at 2:10. We will have to get used to very early mornings and earlier bedtime, which is made even more complicated by the jet lag. School starts Monday.

  14. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    @T.H.O.U.: So the supplies moved with my kid, lol. The teacher took the ziplock bags, the bandaids, the wipes, tissues, etc but sent back the extra boxes of crayons and markers. My intention was for her to keep them and distribute them if a kid came with nothing, but apparently that didn't happen.

    @lamariniere: good luck!

  15. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    @looch: I just don't understand how that happened. I'm surprised they moved him. Are the classes leveled by ability?

  16. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    @808love: He was supposed to be in another class and the teachers moved him without the principal approving it and they moved him back. The admin is extremely flexible. It wasn't because I didn't like the teacher or anything like that.

    The classes are mixed ability.

  17. Mrs. High Heels

    blogger / eggplant / 11544 posts

    @looch: Yikes, I don't understand why the teachers didn't communicate the potential move to the principal first if that's supposed to be the procedure. Hope he is adjusting well now that he's in the correct class.

    @lamariniere: What is the time difference between Vienna and Bangkok? Hope it all goes smoothly and that you all adjust well to your new schedules.

  18. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    @Mrs. High Heels: I have no idea, but he was in the wrong class for about 1.5 hours. I think the teacher was the most stunned, because you have the principal and vice principal showing up at the very start of the first day, with no advance warning. I can only think how I would have reacted.

    I talked to her this morning and let her know that just because my son isn't in her class anymore doesn't mean our partnership is over!

  19. Mrs. High Heels

    blogger / eggplant / 11544 posts

    We had back to school night last night, and they told us what to expect for homework starting next week. It will be a minimum of 30 minutes a day. 20 minutes of it is reading though, which we do anyway. Then 5 minutes of math and 5 minutes of spelling.

    The kids are also given a new poem every other week that they're required to memorize, then stand up and recite to the class every other Friday. They have practice spelling tests Mon - Thur, and a real spelling test every Friday. They have P.E. MWF, and music on Fridays. It's definitely a lot more than I ever remember doing in 1st grade.

    The teacher will also be using an app called Class Dojo (do any of your classrooms/schools use this?) to reinforce positive behavior. The app also allows the teacher to upload pictures of their day and such (kind of like Instagram where you can like and comment on pictures too).

  20. Mrs. High Heels

    blogger / eggplant / 11544 posts

    @looch: I would be startled too! That's nice of you to let her know that - I'm sure she appreciated it!

  21. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    The school has gone homework free! A note was sent home by the principal and it outlines that they want homework to be purposeful and related to the learning that they are doing during the day, so there will still be occasional items sent home, but no weekly packages that need to be completed during the already busy week.

    There will be a reading log, which my son is going to hate and I am going to have to work to make sure we have a steady stream of appropriate material in the house, but I am overall happy about the decision.

  22. Mamaof2

    squash / 13085 posts

    @looch: That's amazing!!! Homework is so stressful for my DS and it breaks my heart

  23. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    We have the Remind app not Class Dojo but it is similar. I like the poem memorization idea but I can't imagine doing it that often though! Let us know how it goes. I think it might be helpful for speeches in the future.

    Our homework is still writing twice a week. DD finishes in 15 minutes now and she writes a full composition page, skipping lines. I think half that amount is acceptable but she loves to write. It is like a journal as she picks her own topic. Definitely a keepsake. She also has a page of math everyday that she finishes within minutes and a leveled reading assignment once or twice a week. She has a Student of the Week project coming up so I have to work on that because it is a daily all week presentation. That is a once a year thing

  24. lamariniere

    pineapple / 12344 posts

    My son finished his first week. He didn't really have homework this week, but I think it starts next week. I haven't met the teacher yet since he takes the bus to school, but there's a parent teacher night in 2 weeks, so I'm looking forward to that. Our main question right now is whether we keep him in the normal section or put him in the "international" section. The normal one is mainly French with some English as a foreign language class (and one hour of Thai). The international section has twice as much English per week. But what is unclear is how they deal with kids who already speak English. I don't know if the international section is regular classes in English (like reading, science, math) or if it is more like intensive English for non-native speakers or kids with basic skills. The teacher is actually a sub, but for the whole year since the usual teacher is out on mat leave and then just gave notice that she's going to leave. So at least there will be continuity, but it almost sounds like she's also just getting her feet wet at this school so isn't familiar with the international section. She's going to put us in touch with the English teacher for further advice. I don't want him to be in 6-7 hours of English if it's beginner level comprehension. But if he learns to read and write (which he hasn't done yet in English), that would be great.

  25. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    @lamariniere: What did you end up
    doing? Thats a tough one but good thing you caught the situation at the beginning of the year.

    I'm so happy LO is done with her daily Student of the Week projects and we did it early because another project is now due same time as her Week projects. The second assignment was just dropped on us with a one week deadline. I'm the type who doesn't do as well under pressure so we knocked that out the first day. It is better for DD too because she gets all hyped up hearing the teacher talk about it and the details are fresh in her mind. I am glad I took a pic before we turned it in because after the fact (or maybe I didn't read carefully) I was informed they have to do a presentation on the poster next week. DD will have 6 presentations next week...yay for speaking skills.

  26. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    Also I feel like a big cheapskate bc her class is going to a play on their first fieldtrip but we just went to the same play on Saturday and I don't want to pay $10+ again. My mom is visiting for a few days so she is having QT and dropping DD off at school after the play is over. I feel like DD is missing out on fun but she totally is fine with it. If it was repeat to the zoo or another active place I would send her.

  27. lamariniere

    pineapple / 12344 posts

    @808love: we haven't decided yet. The teacher got back to us and said the international section focuses a lot on reading and writing, so that sounds good to me. From what I gather, they are language testing all the kids right now (for all languages), and then based on the tests, they can recommend which path the students should take. The kids have to have a proficient level of French in speaking, reading and writing before they are accepted in the international section (this shouldn't be a problem for my son). The focus of the school and the main language of instruction is French, but the school is about 40% French native speakers, 40% Thai natives (but who may be dual nationals) and 20% other. So there is a wide range of language capability in French/Thai/English. All of the international schools are required by law to teach at least 1 hour of Thai per week, and Thai citizens are required to take at least 4 hours of Thai per week in international schools. So it kind of sounds a bit chaotic testing and sorting out all of the kids and getting them in the right program. There's a meet the teacher night next week, so I'm really looking forward to meeting her and the other parents and getting a better idea of how the school year will be. My son had his first Thai class earlier this week and was excited to have already learned a few words.

  28. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    @lamariniere: The idea that it is going to be a sub all year gave me a red flag. If it is a sub the school uses regularly as a long term sub, it might be a better experience.

  29. MamaG

    pomelo / 5264 posts

    We've just started getting readers home and math homework. Yippee. We got a note from our teacher that LO needs to do more math homework because she will still write some of her numbers incorrectly (7 and 9 were noted, but I see it in 5 and 6 too). I thought this was still "normal". We are doing the extra work, but I was a little surprised by the note.

    Does anyone else have thoughts on writing? I suspect that we probably have some letter problems too, but we haven't been writing words at home lately.

    Also, calling @faithfertility: for her opinion since I know she teaches first grade

  30. Boopers

    pear / 1523 posts

    @MamaG: when the teacher says your child is writing their numbers incorrectly, does she mean that your child is reversing them? Totally normal in 1st!! I'd just gently remind your child to fix their backwards letters/numbers if you see they're doing it on their homework and maybe have an ABC list or template somewhere handy to reference so your kiddo can visually see the correct way to write letters and numbers. It's developmentally normal for reversals for some kids even into 2nd grade.

    ETA: I teach 1st grade 😄

  31. T.H.O.U.

    wonderful clementine / 24100 posts

    @MamaG: Yes we still have several letters and numbers that are written backwards.

    I think the first few weeks of school the teacher just noted it, but then on a recent spelling test I think she got a word marked wrong for a backwards letter?

    The biggest thing I worry about is her lower case b and d. When reading she will still get those mixed up and have trouble spelling out a word.

  32. Mamaof2

    squash / 13085 posts

    @MamaG: normal - my DS did this and now DD does it too!

  33. MamaG

    pomelo / 5264 posts

    @Boopers: Yes, on the sheet that came home her 7 and 9 were written backwards. I also catch her doing it with 6 and 5 as well. She used to do it with 3, but seems to have figured it out. I was just surprised the teacher added more homework for it. She asked us to have her write 1-20 every night. I point out the ones that she has wrong and will ask her to do it correctly and talk about the differences.

    She's also been doing her small g backward, which is interesting to me because she has two of them in her last name!

  34. MamaG

    pomelo / 5264 posts

    Also interesting note, we are doing math flash cards for addition using 1. so 1+1, 1+10, etc. Last night when I was doing them with LO, the first time through she did them fine. The second time through she randomly would answer in Spanish. The third time, I specifically asked her to do them in English and she still did about half of them in Spanish. She's using Spanish a fair amount in her play/singing as well.

    I'm just surprised because they told us to not expect our child to be comfortable using Spanish around us this year.

    This second language immersion process is interesting (and a bit nerve wracking) to watch.

  35. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    I noticed my son would make letters backwards when he was forming the letters from the bottom up. Once he began consistently forming the letters top down, the backwards formation stopped.

  36. Mrs. Yoyo

    blogger / pomelo / 5358 posts

    @MamaG: We're still struggling with this too. Particularly with numbers.

  37. 808love

    pomelo / 5743 posts

    The trouble with reversals, grip and handwriting kind of freaked me out when LO began writing in kinder but I would give her suggestions every few months. This year she has those issues under control but her handwriting started to slip and every letter looked inconsistent. Most of the letters collapsed the c shape. I made sure she holds the paper down with her free hand and she practiced the c shape repeatedly a few days. It is used in a, d, p, e and others. Also I had her practice backwards c in columns like in b and q and g. That seemed to help with more consistent formation. I'm just winging it as I don't have professional advice experience with this age group. Good thing, @Boopers can weigh in.

  38. lamariniere

    pineapple / 12344 posts

    @MamaG: last year, something that worked really well with my son when he would write letters or numbers wrong was to ask him to look at it carefully and see if he could spot the mistakes (instead of me pointing them out). It worked really well and now he rarely makes those kinds of mistakes. But I still have him look over spelling words, especially when using accent marks to be sure that they are there and in the right places and the i’s and t’s are dotted and crossed and he generally spots the omissions. Also, that’s great that she’s already retaining and using Spanish!

    We had our meet the teacher night last night. I was pleasantly surprised. Even though she’s subbing for the whole year, she’s definitely a qualified and experienced teacher, not just some rando filling in. She’s new to the school though, so I think she’s still figuring out how it all works. I finally got some answers for the international section and we’ll definitely put my son in it. It will be interesting to see how it works concretely because the class is not by level (but there’s at least one other native English speaker in his class), so I hope they can challenge the native speakers enough in reading and writing in English. She also went over the tentative program for the year with regard to events and “challenges” for the kids and it all sounds really good. They might even do an overnight trip of some sort later in the year!

    As for homework, it has been slow to start but since they have been doing all sorts of assessments and evaluations, she doesn’t want to overload the kids. The teacher explained that the majority of the homework will be reading. There is also a weekly spelling test that we have to prep with them, and then occasionally there will be different kinds of homework like math or activities. That’s pretty on par with last year since the vast majority of homework last year was working on phonics and reading skills.

  39. looch

    wonderful pear / 26014 posts

    Hey moms, I am curious, now that we're in first grade, looking back, what was your opinion about the academic levels expected in kindergarten and now in first grade?

    I am kind of taken aback by some of the comments on the blog post about what I wrote that the teacher said, that it's time to read to learn.

    My view is that, yeah, we could be sad, or we can try to adapt. If we can't adapt, then we have to push for reform. Feeling sad is something I just don't have time to do.

  40. MamaG

    pomelo / 5264 posts

    @looch: We haven't seen a huge shift this year (yet) because we are doing a language immersion program. If anything our "homework" has increased as a result. We have to continue enriching her English learning to keep her on pace. She was in tears last night because she was tired of writing every night. I put some music she likes on and she seemed to settle in. So we are constantly trying to find ways to keep her motivated.

    We try to read every night (20 minutes), do some math activities, and writing letters/numbers to work on items she's making mistakes on.

    We mix in sight words and spelling.

    Generally reading is the easiest, because she truly loves books. Math is the next easiest because it's fun to her to check off activities. She's least thrilled with the writing right now (and it's because it's the area she needs the most work).

    From an environment perspective, they moved to desks this year, but they still do a fair number of activities away from their desks or standing. I think at this age, they still have a pretty good case of the wiggles.

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