Monthly Archives: January 2012

Checking Your Work

First graders are always in a hurry to get their work done.  They are at an age where the finished product means just that, being finished.. no matter what quality of work they do.  First graders do not like to check their work and developmentally speaking, they don’t even understand why they should since they are so certain that there work was perfect to begin with. They have been raised by parents and society to believe that everything that they do is already perfect, so why the need to check yourself? They play in not so good sports games and are rewarded with a trophy, perform in not so good recitals and get flowers and dinners out, play not so nicely with a friend and get rewarded with yet another play date with the same friend. It is a difficult concept to teach young children to check their work when they don’t see the need.  Parents, you can help out by encouraging your child to check his homework before sending it to school, teaching your child to check his spelling test before passing it in, and to ALWAYS give his/her work a second glance before turning it in to the teacher.  Many, many first graders would do much better at school if they only took the time to check ALL of their work that they do at school.  They need to learn that they too make mistakes, and the only person who can fix that mistake is himself/herself.


Filed under First Grade, Parents, Responsibility

What Teachers Really Want to Say to Parents

I have posted this article before but it bears repeating. It is an article written for parents by’s about what we really want you to know. Parents please read this article carefully and if you see yourself then  think about what can be done to change the situation.  Remember, we have your child’s best interest at heart when we talk to you about grades, behavior, social skills etc.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Responsibility, Social Skills

Second Grade Readiness Checklist

This is the time of the year that many parents start to wonder, and then worry about their child’s readiness for the next grade.  Now that my first graders are almost halfway through the year, it might be a good time for parents to get a reality check on how your child is doing towards progressing towards 2nd grade.  Here is a checklist of skills needed for 2nd grade.

Is your child ready for Kindergarten?  Here is a checklist to find out.

Is your child ready for first grade?  Here is a checklist to find out.

If you see weak areas, don’t worry, maybe these skills haven’t even been taught yet in this school year, but keep in mind these lists are only the  minimum list of skills that your child should possess before entering either Kindergarten, First Grade and Second Grade.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Language Arts, Math, Parents, Reading

Problem Solving

First graders should be able to problem solve.  Yet, time and time again throughout the day teachers are confronted with children who just can’t think for themselves.

  • The child who brings you a broken pencil and just holds out in front of you.
  • The child whose jacket is on a different hook and doesn’t even know where to begin to look for it.
  • The child who cannot open his/her snack and just sits there.
  • The child who cannot find his/her papers in his/her backpack because he/she has only checked one zippered compartment.
  • The child who does not have the crayon that he/she needs and doesn’t know what to do.
  • A child who pushes by a teacher blocking the aisle in school without realizing there are several other ways around the teacher.

You get the picture.  6 and 7 year olds have the ability to think through and solve simple problems on their own, however, they have learned (usually form home!) that they are in fact helpless and that an adult will readily come to their aid.  This can be a type of learned helplessness. It occurs when a child has learned to be helpless and not take the time to think through and solve problems.  The children feel that they are not in control of a situation so they just give up.  Watch your child at home.  Is he/she doing this?  Are you stepping in automatically to solve simple problems for your child?  If you recognize yourself, then you need to stop.  You are not helping your child learn the lifelong skill of problem solving.  First grade teachers expect their students to problem solve but more and more children are not coming to school without this skill.  Help your child, your child’s teacher, and yourself by taking the time to stop and help your child to think of ways himself/herself to solve a problem without an adult’s help.  Everyone will benefit.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents, Responsibility, Social Skills


More and more young children are being tested for ADHD.  Many of these children do in fact have ADHD and are treated in accordance with their doctor’s and parent’s guidance. However, maybe some of these children do not have ADHD even if he/she exhibits some of the symptoms.  I came across this short article, Could It Be Faux ADHD by Christine Mattheis in the January 2012 issue of Family Circle magazine.

Could It Be Faux ADHD?

By:  Christine Mattheis

“Forgetfulness, struggling to pay attention in school, aggression – it may sound like textbook attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Turns out those are also the signs of certain sleep problems, according to research from the New England Center for Pediatric Psychology. In a recent study, children who had no set bedtime or sometimes slept in their parents’ bed were eight times more like to exhibit symptoms that mimic those of ADHD. When these behaviors were corrected, the problems went away in two to three week in kids who didn’t actually have the disorder.  If your child has been diagnosed with ADHD and bedtime is a nightly struggle, consider talking to your pediatrician about retesting.”

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Limit Screen Time

I was sitting in a doctor’s office today glancing through magazines and came across an interesting article about children and screen time.  Back in the 1970’s The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) made a statement that watching TV was not beneficial to young children.  Almost 40 years and over 50 different studies later, the AAP is again coming out with the statement that children should be limited to their accessibility of screen time (tv, video games, computers, I-pads, etc.)

The AAP recommends

  • Children under 2 should never watch TV
  • Watching TV can cause irregular sleep habits in young children
  • TV’s should not be used as a babysitter, instead give your child something safe to play with and he/she will figure out how to entertain himself.
  • No TV at night time in order for children to fall asleep easier
  • If your child watches TV in the evening, it should be turned off a few hours before bedtime
  • Kids with TV’s in their rooms tend to watch TV in the evening, or watch violent TV shows and are more likely to have sleep problems.
  • Elementary School children who watch more than 2 hours of TV a day are more likely to have social and emotional problems.
  • Too much TV leaves less time for creative play
  • Too much TV can lead to Obesity, Behavioral problems, Violence and impaired academic performance.

IS TV/I-pad, video games, etc. really worth it?

American Academy of Pediatrics Website


Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents

Returning To School After Winter Break

Now that the New Year has arrived, school vacation is quickly coming to an end.  Children, parents and teachers alike have enjoyed a welcome break from the daily routine.  Now it is time to get back to normal, daily routines will return and school begins for children once again.  I don’t usually repost a blog but this particular topic never grows old.  Two years ago I wrote about the stress that a young child feels when returning to school after spending vacation time with his/her family.  Please read my earlier blog about ways to talk to your child before he/she heads back to school this week and realize that it is not as easy for them as you think.

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Filed under First Grade, Kindergarten, Parents