Wednesday, September 30, 2015

What he's going to learn

I was looking back over the blog posts for September, and I realized that I never followed up on what Biscuit will be learning this year.

Apparently, first grade is a big frappin' deal!

One big curriculum point is TRC (Text reading and comprehension). It's basically reading and reading comprehension. Being able to read something and tell where it took place, what happened, who it happened to, etc.

The questions are like ... "What was the problem?" And in complete sentences, the kids have to write, "The problem was ..."

He's got all new vocabulary words to learn. And he'll be working on handwriting and pencil grip. Biscuit's last daycare teacher stressed pencil grip. She corrected them on pencils, crayons, markers, whatever they were using to write or draw with.

Reading will be a big thing. Their reading levels are based on alphabet letters. In kindergarten, they started at A and were supposed to be at D by the time the year was over. Biscuit was high E / low F when kindergarten was done, so he had a head start on this year.

In first grade, they're supposed to go from E to J. So kindergarten was a span of four levels, and first grade is six levels. We were told that second and third grade are just four levels each, so they really push them in first grade.

They're going to work on big questions that address cause and effect. They'll be asking why a lot, and they're encouraging us to ask lots of questions, too. Stuff like "Why did you make that choice?" or "What do you think will happen if you try that?" It helps improve critical thinking.

They'll be working on when to use capital letters and punctuation. And that will include encouraging him to speak and write more complex sentences.

Up until now, they've encouraged us not to help him at all when he writes words. They wanted him to write words as they sound, trying to improve letter recognition and remember what letters sound like separately and together. This year, they want us to start correcting spelling. Not spell the words for them, but let them know when a word is spelled incorrectly, especially making sure they include vowels.

In kindergarten, the word "soccer" would have been "socr" because those are the sounds you hear. This year, they want us to push the kids to spell it correctly.

This one is kind of funny to me. They want the kids to work on coloring within the lines and using appropriate colors for pictures. I understand it, and I'll encourage Biscuit to do this at school. But when we're coloring at home, I'm going to encourage all kinds of creativity. If he wants Santa to have purple hair, I'm going to tell him to go for it!

They've already started working on math word problems. The questions are like, "Biscuit has 8 pieces of pizza. He eats 3 pieces. How many does he have left?" And from that, he has to figure out that is 8 - 3 = 5. Those types of problems are supposed to help with math AND reading. They must be able to understand what they're reading to be able to figure out the numbers.

For behavior, they'll be stressing "think before you act." Even though they're only 6 years old, they're very much held accountable for their actions. The behavior color chart helps with this one.

They'll also be practicing multi-step instructions. This one made me smile at Jeff because a long time ago, I read somewhere that at certain ages kids can understand and follow one-step instructions, then two, and so on. So I've been doing that with Biscuit for a long time.

It'll be like, "Okay, take your clothes to the hamper, then put your backpack near the door. Brush your teeth, then pick out a bedtime book. And he has to be able to hear the instructions once and follow them to the letter.

Here's Biscuit's daily schedule:

Our day
7:30 a.m.: Morning work
8 a.m.: Specials (media center, art, music, PE or guidance where they learn how to handle touch situations)
8:45 a.m.: Fundations (reading exercises and word building)
9:15 a.m.: Language arts (and they eat snack while they work)
9:50 a.m.: Work stations (reading exercises)
10:10 a.m.: Guided reading
10:55 a.m.: Lunch
11:30 a.m.: Recess
12:05 p.m.: Math
1:15 p.m.: Math stations (math exercises)
1:45 p.m.: Science / social studies
2:20 p.m.: Pack up
Then Biscuit goes to his after-school program.

Jeff and I were exhausted after the curriculum meeting was over. It just seemed like so much information. Good thing Biscuit doesn't know he should be panicking right now!

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