Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Other Side of the Door - First Grade Curriculum Meeting

Hallelujah, the Huns (aka the parents) were finally let into the classroom last week. Seems dramatic but I do feel like the administration treats parents like we are stampeding barbarians trying to overthrow them and take possession of their land.

And the reason for letting the moat down, the annual curriculum meeting. Finally, not only will be able to see inside the classroom and I will find out what my child will be learning in the next 9 months. School has been in session for 3 weeks and I have briefly, and I mean briefly I seen the the inside of my daughter’s classroom and that was the first day of school. Maybe, if I were Sean Spencer from Psych, I could tell you exactly what I saw but all I can remember is seeing wooden, little chairs and desks and the blackboard.What do you expect for 15 second glance.

As anyone with elementary age children knows, finding out what happens in class is like pulling teeth to get information. Every day, after school, it's twenty questions. How's was school? What happened in circle time? What did you do in circle time. I am lucky if I get 1 or two word response back.

And since there is literally been no interaction with the Hammer (aka Mrs. F.), I haven't the vaguest idea what is going on. So I was super anxious to find out if my daughter would get getting educating this year. I arrived early for the meeting because I am sure the Hammer would send me to the principal’s office for a late pass. Just kidding, not.

Before I get to the curriculum, it has to be said that Mrs. F is not warm and fuzzy. I had been warned by other parents but I, seriously, thought she would a tad bit more personable once all the parents were in the classroom and all was calm. No chance, she did not even crack a smile during the meeting, she was all business. I know, I have got to go over this coldness. I guess after warm and fuzzy pre-school and happiness and light (my nicknames for my daughter’s kindergarten teachers,) I have got to let this one go. At the end of the day, what is more important? My child’s education or being friends with her teacher. You know the answer.

Here is the curriculum.

Morning Routine: Basically, this time is devoted to putting their bags away, completing their jobs (everyone is assigned a job), morning meeting (review days of the week, # of days in school, the survey) which integrates math related concepts.

Reader’s Workshop: Reading strategies are taught/reviewed – chunking words, understanding a story, etc.

Independent Reading /Writer’s Workshop - practicing handwriting, being able to relate stories that they read.

Math – NY public uses TERC math which is pretty controversial. Basically, it uses manipulatives (i.e. objects, fingers to learn math) and the why behind math concepts. This one concerns because since everyone I talk to is positive the children will be left alone in Math. The kids either get it or don’t and even if they do get it, there not up to speed when they hit middle school. Get the check book out, tutors, here we come.

Social Studies - focuses on the needs of people in the city, specifically, restaurant s and parks. Why we need parks, restaurants, similarities between parks and restaurants (huh???.)

Science – Science is only being taught 2x a week. This disturbs me. I don’t think its enough. Shouldn't it be taught everyday.

So overall, Reading/Writing subjects, I am fine with but I am most concerned that history is not being introduced, math is questionable and science is only taught twice a week. Is this why the US is behind Asia and China????

Last thing, which somewhat disturbed me was that we were handed the word list that the class is studying in September/October.

Word List A: the, I, to, a, is, my, go, me, like, on, in, so, we, it, and, up, at, see, he, do, you, an, can, no, am

Word List B: went, are, this, look, for, get, come, got, play, was, had, they, will, too, all, be as, ball, by , day, did, has, her, him, fun

Scary huh. My daughter knows all those words.

Also part of the curriculum, my daughter will also have chess and Circus Arts (artists come into the school to teach art and dance.) And lest you think Department of Education funds these activities, you would be incorrect. The PTA (meaning me) funds those activities.

All in all, I feel much better about Mrs. F, and the curriculum.

Would love to hear about your child’s curriculum.


Anonymous said...

Be very thankful that you aren't fighting Los Angeles to explain why the Open Court system doesn't work for your child who has learning disabilities. We are moving to NYC, and it's partly for the better education!

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