How different is 1st grade than K? — The Bump
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How different is 1st grade than K?

My kids will be completing K in a couple of weeks!  They are in a typical K classroom at a public school.  Is 1st grade quite a bit different from K?  If so, how?  Also, what can I do to keep their skills sharp over the summer?  TIA
Wendy Twins 1/27/06. DS and DD

Re: How different is 1st grade than K?

  • I am an elementary teacher.  I taught 2nd before being furloughed.  I have no experience teaching K but did my student teaching in 1st.  1st isnt that much different than K.  In the beginning half of the year they will hit on skills they learned in K and then move on to newer, harder material.  I think the biggest difference in 1st is that they are expected to do more independent work.  Other than that they're very close to one another. 

     As for things to do over the summer... READ!  Keep your kids reading to you, with you, listening to you read.  Do some fun activities with letters- make them out friut, spaghetti, shaving cream.  Have them name the letter and what the sound it makes.  You could also do with with numbers and have them identify the number.

     Have fun!  I'm sure they will transition just fine!  

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  • ppantsppants member
    Thanks for the info. They still listen to me read stories before bed. They are bringing home Saxon books that they read to me nightly. What books would you recommend for them to read? I did email their teachers for suggestions also.
    Wendy Twins 1/27/06. DS and DD
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  • My son is about to finish 1st, and he had the same teacher in K as in 1st.  I'd say that 1st is a logical next step from K.  

    Kids do more extensive writing; they are expected to work somewhat more independently and for longer periods of time, they may be asked to move to another teacher for reading or math group when groups are established, there may be more long term projects.

    In my school district, kindergarten math is done exclusively in whole group lessons.  Math groups with distinct levels are established in first grade.  This may be particular to my kids' school, but I felt that math really sat on the back burner in kindergarten.  Kindergarten is really the year when kids are taught how to read.  By first grade, most of the kids are reading, and more time is devoted to math.  

    High School English teacher and mom of 2 kids:

    DD, born 9/06/00 -- 12th grade
    DS, born 8/25/04 -- 7th grade
  • In our district, it's a pretty big step up.  Kids leave KG as emergent readers, knowing the basics of writing and just starting addition.  Pretty quickly in 1st, their work becomes far more involved with multiple steps to each activity. They have much less time to move around the classroom and their classroom downtime seems to be more thinking downtime than doing downtime (fun worksheets vs. playing/games in centers around the room).  Reading alone is a huge step, they leave KG reading at level 4 for grade level and leave 1st reading at level 24 now. 

    I think the best thing we did last summer was to get most of the books off of the summer reading list from the library and read those at home.  DS gained one level in reading over them summer just from reading those at home with me.  If you can get your DC a journal to write about summer activities in, that would probably be really helpful too.  

    DS1 age 7, DD age 5 and DS2 born 4/3/12
  • ppantsppants member

    Thanks for the replies.  I hope we do get a summer reading list or some suggestions. 

    Shouldbworkin, journaling is a great idea!

    Wendy Twins 1/27/06. DS and DD
  • Ditto Neverblushed and Shouldbeworkin'

    DD also had the same teacher for K and 1st (she moved up).   It has been a lot more academic than K.  We have weekly sight words, spelling words and sentences.  The spelling words start off easy but get progressively harder.  Because was on DD's last spelling test.   We spend at least 15-20 every night studying words.   She also has a weekly book that she has to read nightly and they go in the order of AR ratings (fontus & pinnell scale).  

    The # of crafts have declined signtificanly.  Also, DD had to do a science project and presentation this year.

    All grades are on the 0-100 scale: ABCDF. 


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  • I teach first and second grade. We use Readers and Writers workshop curriculum k-5. So in my school most incoming first graders will know how to write (how workshop works) small moment stories, how-to books, and all about books. They also come in knowing how to read and most are above D level readers and can read indpendently read  for about 30 minute and know how reading workshop works.  We are not a worksheet based district. First grade does not mean "fun" worksheets and less center work at all. I loathe worksheets!  

    We use Words Their Way a developmental spelling program. So I may have a small group who is learning short vowel sound words "hot", "sock" etc and one small group that is learning syllables and affixes: "ashore", "corncob" etc.

    We also use Every Day Math which I really like. Students come into first grade have a solid foundation for math and are ready for new concepts like using the number grid and number line to solve story problems, fractions, place value etc.

  • I agree with auntie.  Everyday Math is a horrible math program.  Years ago, when I was teaching in NYC, they adopted the curriculum and it was a horror.  What's sad, is that they actually had sent representatives to another state that had used the program as a trial program for a number of years.  The other state (I believe it was Wisconsin) told them to RUN, to not use the program and that after the years long study, their students were actually further behind in math than they were before!  But, NYC, being NYC, had all sorts of kick-backs and profit involved so they got the program.  They are still using it today, so there is effectively an entire generation of children that have lost out due to this program. The minute they hit middle school, the program doesn't exist anymore and all the cockamamie ways they learned to do math (lattice multiplication?  Need I say more?  Most of you are saying "what?". Go look it up!) are useless.  Then they waste an entire year trying to reteach the children the more traditional math methods that they will use in middle and high school.  It is so, so sad.   Anyway, rant over.  Good luck with First Grade next year.  If they have Everyday Math, get ready to supplement.  :)
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