View Full Version : 1st grade math - what should I be asking?

KrisM

03-08-2011, 10:35 PM

DS1 is in 1st grade. He likes math. A lot. Today, I happened to talk with an aquaintence who subbed for his room last week. She asked the kids to tell her a simple equation to get the number 58. They do this daily with different numbers, so the kids are used to it. DS1 said "2 plus 2 plus 1 times 12 minus 2".

In the car last week, he was asking me to quiz him on math, so I did. He knows most of the multiplication tables up to 6 really well. I asked him 'what is 64 divided by 8'. He said 8. I asked how he got the answer. He said "I know 5 times 12 is 60 and that leaves 4 left over. So, I made the 12s into 4s and found 16 4s that I turned into 8s and got 8 of them".

So, he likes math, and is good at it and is logically figuring out answers to things he hasn't learned.

He is bored with adding and subtracting in 1st. He needs the money part, the telling time part, and other parts, but the actual mathematics part is not challenging at all. I want to talk to his teacher about getting him working on more challenging things, but I don't really know what to ask for. I don't want him doing worksheets at home at a higher level. I could use some ideas before talking to her.

Thanks.

ETA: If you think I shouldn't ask for him to be challenged more, please let me know that, too!

lalasmama

03-08-2011, 10:51 PM

Wow. Seriously, I'm proud when La (also in 1st) manages to remember simple addition facts without using manipulatives.

Definately worth talking to the teacher about it, but no idea about ideas for the teacher!

bubbaray

03-08-2011, 10:57 PM

My DD#1 is like this. We encouraged her to do Sudoku puzzles and the odd Costco workbook (not entirely math focused) on the advice of her Kindy teacher from last year. If she was in English school, she would be getting gifted instruction/pull out in math (and other subjects), but b/c she's in French, there is no such pull out. So, in order to keep her in the program, we've chosen to not encourage advanced stuff other than what she figures out on her own.

I'm a teacher--8th grade English, not 1st grade math, but I run into the same problem a few times a year, when a student is legitimately ahead in something we're about to spend a lot of time on.

You don't actually need to show up with suggestions. I've found that parents sometimes sound (I hope accidentally!) condescending when they arrive with what they think I should be teaching instead of what I am teaching. I'm pretty well trained, and I know how to differentiate my curriculum.

I would instead just let the teacher know that your child is expressing some boredom with the material that he seems, to you, to have mastered already. I'd ask the teacher's opinion of the situation and then see if she has anything to offer your child.

If the teacher does ask for your suggestions, you could then wonder if there's a possibility of

- pull out with more advanced students or into a different class

- an independent project that shows higher-level mastery of the material that he can present to the class at the end of the unit (there are all kinds of math resources out there about applying concepts or cool little math things)

- a way for the teacher to throw in some "bonus" questions for your child and give him modified seat work/homework that's on the same concepts but with more challenging questions

I would definitely talk to the teacher about her thoughts on helping your child understand the current unit more deeply versus moving ahead to the next concept. Looking down the road, can he get started on more advanced work, or is every piece of extra work he does now just going to put him back in the same problem next time?

salsah

03-09-2011, 12:45 AM

i realize that i'm not answering your question (i agree with ehf's response), but i have to mention smath (http://www.amazon.com/Pressman-Toy-5200-06-Smath/dp/B00004NKL3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299645809&sr=8-1), just in case you haven't heard of it. i heard about it from someone here and although i haven't checked it out yet, it sounds like something your ds might like. it is like scrabble but with math instead of words.

lmintzer

03-09-2011, 01:00 AM

Typing on my phone, so I'll be brief. My first grader sounds just like yours. We had him tested, and he now receives pull-out gifted services (just an hour per week). But the gifted teacher also advises the classroom

teache and provides some supplemental math work. My son loves math/logic challenges at home. His favorite is Ken Ken (think Sudoku with math

operations). Google it and you can find puzzles to print. Start w/the 4x4 easier puzzles. Also check out the game called "24." There's a primer level but your child may be ready for the later elemetary cards. Other great logic (but not formally math) games include Blokus and Set. Hope that helps.

KrisM

03-09-2011, 06:48 AM

i realize that i'm not answering your question (i agree with ehf's response), but i have to mention smath (http://www.amazon.com/Pressman-Toy-5200-06-Smath/dp/B00004NKL3/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299645809&sr=8-1), just in case you haven't heard of it. i heard about it from someone here and although i haven't checked it out yet, it sounds like something your ds might like. it is like scrabble but with math instead of words.

Good chance that was me! I recommened it in the fall. We love it! But, it makes the school part worse, since he now knows how to do those fancy equations :).

KrisM

03-09-2011, 06:53 AM

Ehf, thanks for the advice. I'll see if I can set up a meeting and then get rid of my other kids :). Hopefully, the teacher will be able to let me know what we can do.

He does play Soduku, and I'll look into Ken Ken, too.

Jen841

03-09-2011, 08:59 AM

Our two have Workbooks for school when they have free time. My one son is obsessed with numbers and loves Mindware Extreme Dot to Dots. Those rock!

Mindware has great math workbooks he could work on when not challenged at school.

KrisM

03-09-2011, 09:07 AM

Our two have Workbooks for school when they have free time. My one son is obsessed with numbers and loves Mindware Extreme Dot to Dots. Those rock!

Mindware has great math workbooks he could work on when not challenged at school.

He has this dot-to-dot: http://www.amazon.com/Greatest-Dot---Dot-Book-World/dp/0970043708/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1299676001&sr=8-1. Big hit!

I'll have to check the Mindware books. He likes the logical games, like Rush Hour, Solitaire Chess, etc.

justlearning

03-09-2011, 10:51 AM

I think your DS sounds VERY good in math! I think it'd be entirely appropriate to talk with the teacher. I did that last year when DS was in 1st grade and his teacher did start giving him 2nd grade worksheets to do at home. That's all she could do at his school because they don't have any gifted groups or any other groups that get pulled out of the classroom. But perhaps your school does provide those. My friend's DS gets pulled out for an advanced math group 3 times a week at his school.

By the way, if your son loves math and wants to work on math at his own pace at home, there's a math website that I recently paid to join--it's www.ixl.com. Both my 5 and 7-year-old boys have been enjoying working on math there. (It has levels pre-K to 8th grade.) You can try around 20 sample problems a day for free.

KrisM

04-06-2011, 03:14 PM

I forgot to update this. I did talk with his teacher and she had already been giving him some extras. I didn't realize this since they came home with everything else. But, now he has a folder with extras in it to do when he finishes the regular work. They don't have any program for pull-out until 3rd grade, which is in another school.

His teacher was at a different elem. last year and said they had Math Pentathlon, so I'm looking into that for us.

Thanks for the advice and ideas.

larig

04-06-2011, 07:52 PM

DS1 is in 1st grade. He likes math. A lot. Today, I happened to talk with an aquaintence who subbed for his room last week. She asked the kids to tell her a simple equation to get the number 58. They do this daily with different numbers, so the kids are used to it. DS1 said "2 plus 2 plus 1 times 12 minus 2".

In the car last week, he was asking me to quiz him on math, so I did. He knows most of the multiplication tables up to 6 really well. I asked him 'what is 64 divided by 8'. He said 8. I asked how he got the answer. He said "I know 5 times 12 is 60 and that leaves 4 left over. So, I made the 12s into 4s and found 16 4s that I turned into 8s and got 8 of them".

So, he likes math, and is good at it and is logically figuring out answers to things he hasn't learned.

He is bored with adding and subtracting in 1st. He needs the money part, the telling time part, and other parts, but the actual mathematics part is not challenging at all. I want to talk to his teacher about getting him working on more challenging things, but I don't really know what to ask for. I don't want him doing worksheets at home at a higher level. I could use some ideas before talking to her.

Thanks.

ETA: If you think I shouldn't ask for him to be challenged more, please let me know that, too!

I'm a former h.s. math teacher, so I can't speak to specific materials that are available at that age, but can speak generally about what I'd be doing at home. (BTW, I assume that you're not remembering his explanation of how he got 64 exactly, right? If so, he's taking some lucky steps to get to 64, not necessarily all of which are mathematically correct steps, but that's not what you asked). ETA2: actually he's right, just the wording threw me for a minute. D'OH!!

Anyway, it sounds like he enjoys it, and that's what you want to encourage. Why not explore other branches of mathematics with him, like geometry?

My father (who was a h.s. math teacher) bought me tangrams

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tangram

Make a hexaflexagon.

http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-make-a-hexaflexagon/

make some tessallations (like Escher).

collect some data--like get a bag of m&ms and count the different colors and construct a pie chart or other graphs that show how many of each color you have.

ETA: like your son, I found the arithmetic-heavy elementary years painfully boring. I think my dad noticed this about me, like you have. Good work, mom!

nicolexx

05-31-2011, 11:33 PM

Have a try with beestar. It offers free online math programs for elementary kids. The worksheets include all parts you need, full of real life world problems, challenging stuff to help kids thinking. DD has been using it.:bouncy:

Nicole

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