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"Science Test Tomorrow" - am I missing some strategy others have?


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This is how it's done in my kids' 1st grade. Each Monday they get their "weekly notes" sheet with info such as the week's spelling words and memory verses, birthdays, field trips, and whether there is a test this week. This is the only communication to parents that a test in science, social studies, or health is coming up. (There's no notice at all for other tests except the weekly spelling tests). The kids only bring home their textbooks on the night before the tests. ... Today I learned that there is a science test tomorrow (Tuesday). I learned this as I picked my kids up from "late room" and rushed to take them to the chiropractor and then to dance. Today is a family friend's birthday, and we had arranged to go to dinner after dance. My kid and I did extra math and LA practice on the weekend because we knew we wouldn't have time on Monday. I also had my kid read a few books about the current science topics last week, to try to spread out the studying. However, my eldest really needs to study the textbook before a test. And it would be nice if she could do this without losing sleep etc. ... I can't be the only person who has this issue. How do you guys absorb an unexpected "big task" that gets dropped on you during busy times? Do you have some sort of policy to deal with the inevitable scheduling conflicts?

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We save it for the morning before school. It has always been me not having my act together here, not the teacher springing something on us. Late at night doesn't work for anyone in this household. We are all useless at night.

 

And thank you for reminding me that we forgot to do something this weekend and will be up early tomorrow....... :willy_nilly:

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And thank you for reminding me that we forgot to do something this weekend and will be up early tomorrow....... :willy_nilly:

I did that a couple weeks ago, LOL. I am just not a morning person, and neither is my kid. We can barely get to school on time as it is. Reviewing an entire science unit before 8am? In my dreams.

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We ended up studying in the car during our various commutes yesterday. Hopefully it was enough. This kid is very inconsistent and can get an A one day and a D the next on these types of tests, even in "ideal" conditions. Sometimes I am tempted to do an experiment and see if she does better without studying - but I'm not that brave. ;) Of course my other kid will whiz through the chapter in 5 minutes and ace the test (jinxing her here?). It ain't fair.

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I think what you are missing is the special needs portion...here in public school a child that couldn't learn the material from the in-class presentation would go over the material in a small group or individually with an aide. That aide would have a summary of the key points which would be called a 'study sheet'. You could do the same at home if you had the text and lesson plans and helped her make her own study sheet each evening, which would then be reviewed as often as needed until the test.

Perhaps. The teacher is whizzing through the text lately; this is the 3rd science test in the past month (the 8th of the school year). I think they only do science once a week, maybe twice. The teacher relies on lecture for most teaching, which doesn't work well for my kid, and they don't have any written exercises, reading assignments, etc. for science. I have very little notice of what they are studying, unless I photocopy the text on the rare days they bring it home (which isn't happening because we are busy cramming). Bah. Every time, I think I'm going to get a head start on the next one, but with the tests being so unpredictable, I'm struggling. I must add this to my list of things to talk to the 2nd grade teacher about early next fall.

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This is one of the things I absolutely *hate* about school. We just suck it up here, but it is incredibly annoying. Generally, I don't schedule anything on weeknights ever because of it. Perhaps if the teacher next year communicates in this same way, you could ask if perhaps he or she could hand out the list on Friday instead of Monday.

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Now I am very curious: what are your kids learning in 1st grade in science that will be tested and can be studied?

I don't recall mine learning anything in 1st grade "science" they did not know already. Many 1st graders were not fluent readers yet - so a "textbook" would have been pointless.

So, what on earth IS on these tests, and how can they come up with enough stuff to give 3 tests in a month???

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Now I am very curious: what are your kids learning in 1st grade in science that will be tested and can be studied?

I don't recall mine learning anything in 1st grade "science" they did not know already. Many 1st graders were not fluent readers yet - so a "textbook" would have been pointless.

So, what on earth IS on these tests, and how can they come up with enough stuff to give 3 tests in a month???

 

For example, the current unit is on weather and seasons. Most of the season stuff is obvious to kids, but my kid did need a little practice on remembering which season comes after which. (I realize she may be behind the curve on that.) As for the tools, they were to know rain gauge, wind vane, thermometer. Some other things they studied were clouds - cirrus, cumulus, and "cumulonimbus" and what they are made of (ice vs. water droplets) and what they mean for a weather prediction. Vocabulary was relatively light in this unit, though my dd did misread "temperature" as "temptation," LOL. While many 6/7yos will know a lot of these already, the tests can be confusing (especially to a child who doesn't listen well) and their grading scale is pretty tough. 3 wrong out of 10 is a D. ... Recent science tests included how the earth moves (rotate / revolve), definition of star vs. planet vs. moon, "phases" of the moon (and what causes them), difference between weathering and erosion, difference between reuse/recycle/reduce/conserve, etc. Social studies also has a lot of terminology that is not in the daily vocabulary of an average 6-year-old. Health, somewhat less, but they ask all kinds of open-ended questions as if there is one right answer, e.g., whom should you talk to if you get lost?

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As for the tools, they were to know rain gauge, wind vane, thermometer. Some other things they studied were clouds - cirrus, cumulus, and "cumulonimbus" and what they are made of (ice vs. water droplets) and what they mean for a weather prediction. ...... Recent science tests included how the earth moves (rotate / revolve), definition of star vs. planet vs. moon, "phases" of the moon (and what causes them), difference between weathering and erosion, difference between reuse/recycle/reduce/conserve, etc.

 

That is what my kids were tested on too for science unit tests. My younger is the one that have to revise. His worksheets were sufficient for revising for the tests though for 1st grade science.

I used some of the stuff on the page for enrichment http://www.rockingham.k12.va.us/resources/elementary/1science.htm

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That is what my kids were tested on too for science unit tests. My younger is the one that have to revise. His worksheets were sufficient for revising for the tests though for 1st grade science.

I used some of the stuff on the page for enrichment http://www.rockingha...ry/1science.htm

 

There are worksheets? My kids don't have worksheets. I will look at your link, though.

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There are worksheets? My kids don't have worksheets. I will look at your link, though.

 

His worksheets are from K12 (virtual academy). Some of the links on that page are down :p

I have used these refrigerator cards for Social Studies/History. The links work. http://www.spotsysch...84/Default.aspx

This is for science. It says 4th grade but easy enough for your kids.

farther away from Earth than the planets are in our solar system."

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There are worksheets? My kids don't have worksheets.

 

California's kids are pretty pampered :) Link to Science Textbook, Workbook (Reading and Writing in Science) and Lab book on publisher website (California List of Gratis Instructional Materials) for Grades 1 to 6. Both the textbook and the reading & writing in Science would help your daughter. The lab book would be more of a fun thing.

http://www.mhschool.com/instructional_materials/ca/fwo.html

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For example, the current unit is on weather and seasons. Most of the season stuff is obvious to kids, but my kid did need a little practice on remembering which season comes after which. (I realize she may be behind the curve on that.) As for the tools, they were to know rain gauge, wind vane, thermometer. Some other things they studied were clouds - cirrus, cumulus, and "cumulonimbus" and what they are made of (ice vs. water droplets) and what they mean for a weather prediction. ...

Recent science tests included how the earth moves (rotate / revolve), definition of star vs. planet vs. moon, "phases" of the moon (and what causes them), difference between weathering and erosion, difference between reuse/recycle/reduce/conserve, etc.

 

 

I am all for a rigorous academic education, but this I find ridiculous. Having a first grader memorize terms some of the kids in the class can't even read yet (and most won't be able to write), and testing this stuff is absurd. Who ever decided a 6 y/o needs to know what a "cumulonimbus" cloud is?

I would also be surprised if most 6 y/olds really understood how the moon phases are caused (I know many adults don't).

I am sorry you have to deal with this.

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California's kids are pretty pampered :) Link to Science Textbook, Workbook (Reading and Writing in Science) and Lab book on publisher website (California List of Gratis Instructional Materials) for Grades 1 to 6. Both the textbook and the reading & writing in Science would help your daughter. The lab book would be more of a fun thing.

http://www.mhschool....als/ca/fwo.html

 

Hmm, that looks very helpful, but the text is different from the ones my kids use. I will do some research to see if I can find one that goes with their text.

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I am all for a rigorous academic education, but this I find ridiculous. Having a first grader memorize terms some of the kids in the class can't even read yet (and most won't be able to write), and testing this stuff is absurd. Who ever decided a 6 y/o needs to know what a "cumulonimbus" cloud is?

I would also be surprised if most 6 y/olds really understood how the moon phases are caused (I know many adults don't).

I am sorry you have to deal with this.

 

Yes, I was surprised at some of the terminology they had to "master" in several subjects. I could not understand the point of it, when there are many kids who would be better served by spending that time on the basic 3Rs. Much of it will be forgotten and re-taught before it can be of practical use anyway.

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The students in my sons' classes rather enjoyed it; well those who were inclined to pay attention to adults. My boys still remember their first grade teacher's demonstration of how to make condensation occur. And the one that played Pajama Sam PC games (such as Thunder and Lightening is Really Frightening) thought it was really cool that Mrs. X knew all the cloud shape names, just like Pajama Sam. They figured she was related to Mrs. Frizzle of Magic School Bus Fame.

 

My dds also enjoy some of the discussions and one of them remembers everything. If they were just "learning" the material as opposed to being "tested" on it that might make more sense. Then if it goes over the heads of some or gets forgotten after the passage of time, no biggie. Even the teacher told me she thinks the tests are poorly written, but that doesn't stop her from using them.

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I would also be surprised if most 6 y/olds really understood how the moon phases are caused (I know many adults don't).

 

They do the standard basketball, tennis ball/golfball and torchlight/lamp/flashlight demo for moon phase in class :lol:

Yes, I was surprised at some of the terminology they had to "master" in several subjects. I could not understand the point of it, when there are many kids who would be better served by spending that time on the basic 3Rs. Much of it will be forgotten and re-taught before it can be of practical use anyway.

 

Science is spiral from K to 5 here. Most teachers just expect the students to be familiar with the terms so that it is easier when state testing for science comes around for California in 5th grade. My kids have already forgotten the names for most clouds.

 

ETA:

Singapore does not start science until 3rd grade so I was lucky. There were free response tests for science.

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Yes teach them the stuff - a lot of them will enjoy and remember some of it. But don't test and grade them on their ability to regurgitate gobbets of information they may or may not understand. What is the purpose of that?

 

For what it's worth we didn't have science as such until high school (age 12 up) and I don't remember having tests other than times tables and spelling before then either (except annual nationwide tests which were multi choice and we weren't told the results and didn't care much). It just seems so incredibly pointless. As an adult studying I would expect an absolute minimum of a weeks notice of a test and probably more. I can see no reason why a child should have less. One day is not acceptable - I would simply keep her home.

 

 

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If they aren't going to make sure kids have an opportunity to study at home before the test, I wish they would not announce the test or send the textbooks home at all. Then they'd have a real assessment of what kids are learning from the teachers.

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You can't win on that SKL. Assume that the Tiger Moms have their own purchased copies of the textbook at home, along with the tests. Some will spend the summer getting their children ahead academically.

LOL. I don't know if that's true here, but it might be. ;) Why? Who cares if Junior knows how to spell cumulonimbus? ... Funny, when I was a kid I was really good at remembering all that stuff, and the scientists went and changed their minds on half of it. Pluto anyone?

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You can't win on that SKL. Assume that the Tiger Moms have their own purchased copies of the textbook at home, along with the tests. Some will spend the summer getting their children ahead academically.

 

Well, this could be a solution to your problems with this school. Purchase your own copy of the textbook for next year and teach at home so that your child is ahead of the teacher and that your child has enough time to review everything with you!

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Well, this could be a solution to your problems with this school. Purchase your own copy of the textbook for next year and teach at home so that your child is ahead of the teacher and that your child has enough time to review everything with you!

 

Sounds a lot like homeschooling, doesn't it? If only I didn't have to work long hours and occasionally sleep . . . . Teacher and school psych say they don't want me going over the material before they cover it in class, because "we need to make sure she is learning at school." Ummm, that does sound ideal, doesn't it? Except . . . . Ugh, never mind. 2.5 more weeks! Not that anyone's counting.

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Teacher and school psych say they don't want me going over the material before they cover it in class, because "we need to make sure she is learning at school."

 

That is honestly the weirdest thing I have heard. I have never had a teacher mind me teaching my kids before the teacher covers it. In fact they are all too happy about it. My own teachers and my cousins' teachers had never bothered with where we learn our stuff as long as we don't make noise in class.

Sounds like the school psych is a mis-match too and not just the teacher :(

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For example, the current unit is on weather and seasons. Most of the season stuff is obvious to kids, but my kid did need a little practice on remembering which season comes after which. (I realize she may be behind the curve on that.) As for the tools, they were to know rain gauge, wind vane, thermometer. Some other things they studied were clouds - cirrus, cumulus, and "cumulonimbus" and what they are made of (ice vs. water droplets) and what they mean for a weather prediction. Vocabulary was relatively light in this unit, though my dd did misread "temperature" as "temptation," LOL. While many 6/7yos will know a lot of these already, the tests can be confusing (especially to a child who doesn't listen well) and their grading scale is pretty tough. 3 wrong out of 10 is a D. ... Recent science tests included how the earth moves (rotate / revolve), definition of star vs. planet vs. moon, "phases" of the moon (and what causes them), difference between weathering and erosion, difference between reuse/recycle/reduce/conserve, etc. Social studies also has a lot of terminology that is not in the daily vocabulary of an average 6-year-old. Health, somewhat less, but they ask all kinds of open-ended questions as if there is one right answer, e.g., whom should you talk to if you get lost?

 

 

They really trying to make kids hates science' arn't they??

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They don't want to have to offer your child advanced work because you pre-taught what they had to offer..The difficulty they get in to is that some of the bright students aren't able to do the enrichment work, and that leaves them with nothing but reading as a filler all year, once they decide the subject acceleration isn't working out. With the libraries closed or in reduced hours, the teacher then has to supply reading material.

Not like they are doing anything for my advanced daughter (whom I do NOT work with at home). As I've mentioned before, they don't differentiate anything, unless you count independent "AR" reading, which they are not allowed to do during most of the school day anyway. I hope they at least have reading groups in the 2nd grade. ... Anyhoo, they ought to make an exception for a kid like my eldest who has known learning problems. Broken record, I know.

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How did the test go?

 

As a private school, I would think they would be more receptive to parental input. I would find likeminded parents and brew a revolt over excessive testing.

She got an 80%, which is a C. Could be worse!

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They don't want to have to offer your child advanced work because you pre-taught what they had to offer.

I understand that. It is just that here schools differ so much. My nearby schools don't offer advanced work but are okay with kids doing their own bring from home reading.

She got an 80%, which is a C. Could be worse!

That is a little stingy with grades. 80% would have been a B or B-. I would just go over next year's math and science with her over the summer.

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My kid doesn't even have science text book. She's in second grade and they cover all the science in class using hands on and worksheets. They have a test but they do in class review for that. My daughter only brought her social studies book home once this whole year to review for a test. However she tends to be more like your other child and just absorbs what they do at school, what she reads, sees, etc. Generally the extint of our test prep is going over spelling words over the weekend and then agian on the way to school Friday. They practice those everyday at school as well and honestly after going over them the first time she hs them down. Every kid is different though and she's an only child. I also limit her to 1 activity at a time sometimes there are a few weeks where 2 overlap but our family time is too important to me to spend it running here there and everywhere else after I get home from work. There's 2 1/2hrs before bed when I get home and bedtime is strictly inforced and if homework isn't done or needs corected you have to get up early to do it no questions asked it gets done in the morning. My child is not a morning person unless it's a weekend so she makes sure it is done before bed.

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The whole grading system has changed. There are no letter grades given here, just numerical. Participation and homework completion are now app 10%of the grade, instead of 1/3 each. An 85 is the minimum a student can score and stay in the honors/accel program. It's also the minimum to advance in the math curriculum;less than an 85 puts the student in remedial for the subsequent year. I tell my sons to think of it like this:

 

98-100 this is the top 0.5% of students - the ones that have excellent auditory or photographic memory and are well prepared for the course

95-98 anyone in the honors/accel pgm who is doing their homework and actually reading the lit can score in this range

90-94 you missed a concept or a lot of details

85-89 you missed two major concepts or one major concept and a lot of details

84 or less..forget it. You are behind and will be dropped a level.

 

They abhor 5 question quizzes as one mistake can decimate the quarter grade.

 

Is interesting that on one hand we have grade inflation and on the other hand it appears to be harder to get higher scores.

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So this week's Monday Notes say there's a science test on Wednesday. Nice of her to give us two evenings to work on it (along with regular homework etc.). Things are looking up! After all, there are only 10 units in the science book, and this week will be the 9th test. This one is on matter, properties, bla bla bla. Too bad it took us until nearly 11pm to finish the spelling/writing, math, and reading homework tonight - we could have gotten a head start.

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So this week's Monday Notes say there's a science test on Wednesday. Nice of her to give us two evenings to work on it (along with regular homework etc.). Things are looking up! After all, there are only 10 units in the science book, and this week will be the 9th test. This one is on matter, properties, bla bla bla. Too bad it took us until nearly 11pm to finish the spelling/writing, math, and reading homework tonight - we could have gotten a head start.

 

Ha ha, I just learned that there is also a health test on Friday! Yippee! Know about tobacco, alcohol, and the kinds of caffeine etc. Ha ha. Time to start drilling: "Caffeine is what keeps my mommy from beating us every morning and jumping off the bridge every evening." "Alcohol is what lots of people say my mom ought to drink so she can survive our first grade year." "I don't really care what tobacco is, why are you asking this when we're so behind in math?"

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I bought an extra set of text books to keep at home so that my kids didn't have to lug the heavy beasts to and fro, but IIRC, they also didn't have text books until around third grade. I think I started buying them around fourth. That was about the time their schools started teaching science consistently.

 

If you want to avoid the last-minute cram sessions, maybe next year you could buy the text books and keep them at home. Then ask your daughters to show you where they are in science each week.

 

Good luck. You're almost done with this year. Hope 2nd grade is better.

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I'm not sure textbooks actually exist at my sons school. I certainly haven't met anyone who has seen one. I just mentioned it in another thread but a child that age cannot be expected to stay up to 11 and go to school the next day. She will be too tired to learn. Find another school where the expectations are more reasonable for your child or get really tough with the teachers about how long homework is allowed to take at your house - get a doctors note if you have to.

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I'm not sure textbooks actually exist at my sons school. I certainly haven't met anyone who has seen one. I just mentioned it in another thread but a child that age cannot be expected to stay up to 11 and go to school the next day. She will be too tired to learn. Find another school where the expectations are more reasonable for your child or get really tough with the teachers about how long homework is allowed to take at your house - get a doctors note if you have to.

I can't really say this is a homework problem. The problem is that my kid needs a lot of home support to keep up with the class. Switching to a less rigorous school is an option, but not one I'm inclined to explore at the moment. I'm still holding out hope that the therapies she's in and the work we'll do over the summer will make enough difference.
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I am all for a rigorous academic education, but this I find ridiculous. Having a first grader memorize terms some of the kids in the class can't even read yet (and most won't be able to write), and testing this stuff is absurd. Who ever decided a 6 y/o needs to know what a "cumulonimbus" cloud is?

I would also be surprised if most 6 y/olds really understood how the moon phases are caused (I know many adults don't).

I am sorry you have to deal with this.

 

We did K12 science back when my son was in K and 1st grade, which had this sort of thing in it. I can't remember what the level was though, as he was working 1-2 grades ahead in science at that time. I do know that my son loved learning the names of the cloud types and was able to correctly identify them in the sky. I also think that introducing the phases of the moon thing at that age is appropriate, but I wouldn't expect a kid to fully understand it.

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It matters if the teaching is done in a manner that the child can understand, in his developmental zone, and in a way that he can maintain focus during the instruction and the guided practice. I learned that from a 'train the trainer' class where the instructor showed the students how to do an origami with only verbal instructions, then with only visual instructions. Use that if you need to in a meeting; its very effective in getting the point across about the need for multisensory.

You folks always have such interesting ideas, some of which I use and pass along to the teacher/psych/etc. But I always get the feeling that nobody has time, it's always rush-rush-rush. Yesterday I attended the year-end group meeting with the Title 1 math tutor (our only direct communication ever - I was never given contact info). She said "often the kids make mistakes because they don't take the time to think the problem through; they just blurt out an answer." My response was, when the lesson is taught lecture-style and anyone who can't keep up gets left behind, that's conditioning the kids to hurry up and give an answer, any answer, or risk bombing the entire day's math work. As long as math is taught in this way, the only chance for these kids to learn to think about math is pull-out or help at home. But I'm sure that pointing this out will have no impact whatsoever on the way math is handled at school.

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My response was, when the lesson is taught lecture-style and anyone who can't keep up gets left behind, that's conditioning the kids to hurry up and give an answer, any answer, or risk bombing the entire day's math work.

 

 

The Japanese school style of teaching elementary math would have been more suitable, especially with kids of varied ability and needs.

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I also think that introducing the phases of the moon thing at that age is appropriate, but I wouldn't expect a kid to fully understand it.

 

 

See, that's where I have a different philosophy: why teach something I do not expect my student to fully understand? only to then have to reteach it over an over until it sticks, instead of teaching it once at the appropriate time throroughly to understanding and mastery?

 

 

Btw, I do have a specific recall of the science topics I learned in 1st and 2nd grade, which were never revisited. I know this since I can see myself sitting in the classroom of a school I only attended through 2nd grade. We studied things like native flowers, bulbed spring flowers and the life of the field hamster ;-) I could still draw the pictures from those worksheets which back then were created by rubber stamps.

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See, that's where I have a different philosophy: why teach something I do not expect my student to fully understand? only to then have to reteach it over an over until it sticks, instead of teaching it once at the appropriate time throroughly to understanding and mastery?

 

So you never discuss topics your children might not fully understand? I would say that for a 6yo, that would include *most* things.

 

I taught two kids at this age, and I found with both of them that a broad exposure to content knowledge early on only benefited them, both at the time and later on when we studied topics in more depth.

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So you never discuss topics your children might not fully understand? I would say that for a 6yo, that would include *most* things.

 

Of course I discuss topics with my children, at their level. And I make sure they can, and do, fully understand my explanations. (Actually, it is surprising how much a 6 year old can understand, if it is explained well.)

 

But that is entirely different from putting the material into a public school curriculum and testing 6 year olds on material that the adults expect them not to understand. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

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Of course I discuss topics with my children, at their level. And I make sure they can, and do, fully understand my explanations. (Actually, it is surprising how much a 6 year old can understand, if it is explained well.)

 

But that is entirely different from putting the material into a public school curriculum and testing 6 year olds on material that the adults expect them not to understand. This makes absolutely no sense to me.

 

I completely agree about the testing thing. Personally, I think that the goal of K-4 science should be broad exposure without testing.

 

But I never said I expected that a 6yo wouldn't understand the reason behind the phases of the moon at all. I said they might not fully understand. There is a huge difference.

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