Slow going in first grade

In Report from the First Grade Trenches, Ken DeRosa of D-Ed Reckoning critiques his son’s first month in first grade. He’s not seeing much academic content and what there is moves very slowly.

One (Everyday Math) assignment asked them to draw pictures of things having numbers, like a clock or calendar. Another asked them to find a picture that told a math story–there are three dogs and two cats in this picture, how many are there all together.

He’s learning about math, instead of learning math.

In reading, phonics instruction is neither explicit nor systematic.

Teaching consists mostly of letting kids pick out books they like and letting them “read” them independently. If the kids can’t read yet, they can look at the pictures. That’s nice.

Again, we see a pedagogy that favors higher performers. Kids who can read already, practice their reading skills. Kids who can’t read, practice their picture viewing skills. Which kids do you suppose will make more progress learning to read this year?

Educated parents can supplement their child’s learning. Assignments put a heavy burden on less-educated parents, he writes.

Overall, the district has high test scores, but low-income and minority students lag behind.

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