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Q&A #129


1st grade math curriculum

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From: Vasha (for Teacher2Teacher Service)
Date: May 21, 1998 at 22:24:07
Subject: Re: 1st grade math curriculum

Some people seem to think that if we hurry and teach children many things, they 
will be smarter. Ever notice how much of a math text repeats what the children 
"learned" the year before?!

You are on the right track when you understand that it takes time for children 
to be comfortable with mathematical ideas and able to apply them in new 
situations. Of course, that doesn't mean repeating exercises in computation 
until everyone makes 100! Computation figures into measurement, probability, 
data collecting, geometry, etc.

Susan made a great suggestion about collecting data to show administrators.  
I would recommend a book edited by Constance Kamii, titled "Achievement Testing 
In the Early Grades: The Games Grownups Play" (1990, NAEYC). Chapter 13 details 
a method for assessment in mathematics which provides data to convince 
teachers, parents and administrators. Data are gathered 3 times a year on the 
same problems and student growth is quite evident.  

It will take time to prove your point, but the mission is worthy! Don't give 
up!

- Vasha

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