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How long does your 1st/2nd grader spend on math before they need a break?


nature girl
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A little background, my DD has ADHD. We have recently started her on meds, in preparation for her entering ps for the first time this fall (1st grade, although she's now on Singapore 2A.) She's reasonably good at math, understands things quickly, but she still can't stick with it for more than 15 minutes without acting silly, rolling around, just not able to pay attention and do any work until we take a sizeable break.

 

I don't know what expectations will be like in 1st grade, just know they spend a lot of time on worksheets (which she's always hated.) So I'm wondering what's typical for a 1st grader? The meds don't seem to have increased her ability to focus on non-preferred activities at all.

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Mine could keep their focus for 30 minutes at that age if I was involved the whole time. If I leave them (alone) with a worksheet after being engaged brain-wise, their attention degrades rapidly - even if they haven't been working for 30 minutes yet.

 

You might have a kid who doesn't need a whole lot of repetition (an AOPs/Beast Academy kid) - where worksheets of problems they already know how to do are booorrrrring.

 

I'm sure her (future) teachers will have plenty of strategies for dealing with the short attention spans. I got a lot better after my eldest fell off her chair ten times in fifteen minutes.

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Mine spends about an hour, but 45 minutes of that is playing with manipulatives, oral math, puzzles....and then a few minutes on a worksheet.  The worksheet sections are thrown in between the rest of it so it's never doing one thing straight for more than 5-10 minutes.

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We used to just sit on the couch and do it together for 10-20 minutes. Often I scribed and my child said the answer, or they worked the problem with manipulatives to show the answer (no reason a first grader needs to be tied to a workbook). As they got older and were more able, we took turns writing and gradually worked into having them do the writing. But doing math together in those early years certainly helped here. Have fun with it!

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I try to always leave my six year old wanting more (or at the very least, attentive and focused enough to be able to do more), so this means we seldom go over 15 minutes at a time with a single thing. (However, if I shake it up and intersperse games with hands-on work with a workbook page or mental math drills, we can go for longer, and this is a strategy classroom teachers use, too.)

 

I've talked to my sister, who teaches this age group, and according to her a child who is falling out of chairs, climbing half on the table, spontaneously dancing, making funny faces, or suddenly unable to solve even the easiest and most effortless problem sensibly (say, scrawling "60 cents" on a worksheet to a simple question about, say, the combined value of a $1 bill and a $10 bill) would not be out of place in a first grade classroom. Hopefully your daughter will get a seasoned teacher who can keep all the kids engaged, even those like your daughter who are working ahead.

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OP here...Thank you so much, it's good to hear we're not far from the norm! DD will be 7 at the end of September (and in our district should actually be in 2nd grade) but we're keeping her back in 1st for a number of reasons, continued worry about attention span being one. I loved math at that age, and probably could have spent an hour or more on it, so I guess my expectations were too high!

 

Switching things up during a lesson is a great idea, she can play math games (we have RS card games) for quite awhile, and I wonder if it would be more fun for her if I gave her base ten cubes, our Al-abacus or C-rods to fiddle with along with her workbook pages...

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OP here...Thank you so much, it's good to hear we're not far from the norm! DD will be 7 at the end of September (and in our district should actually be in 2nd grade) but we're keeping her back in 1st for a number of reasons, continued worry about attention span being one. I loved math at that age, and probably could have spent an hour or more on it, so I guess my expectations were too high!

 

Ah, yes, most little ones are not going to want to do math worksheets for an hour! 

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Ah, yes, most little ones are not going to want to do math worksheets for an hour! 

 

Oh I know, haha. I wasn't expecting an hour, but I was hoping for a half hour...I think, if I'm remembering right, that was the expectation for RS B and RS C, which we were using before SM...and she was just never there.

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OP here...Thank you so much, it's good to hear we're not far from the norm! DD will be 7 at the end of September (and in our district should actually be in 2nd grade) but we're keeping her back in 1st for a number of reasons, continued worry about attention span being one. I loved math at that age, and probably could have spent an hour or more on it, so I guess my expectations were too high!

 

Switching things up during a lesson is a great idea, she can play math games (we have RS card games) for quite awhile, and I wonder if it would be more fun for her if I gave her base ten cubes, our Al-abacus or C-rods to fiddle with along with her workbook pages...

LOL! My oldest could easily sit and do math for an hour or more in 1st (writing...um, no). I had to make a huge expectation adjustment when my 2nd started school. He was more in the 15-25 minute zone and I had to stay close or I'd lose him. The hardest thing about those years was not comparing him to his brother and having unreasonable goals.

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A little background, my DD has ADHD. We have recently started her on meds, in preparation for her entering ps for the first time this fall (1st grade, although she's now on Singapore 2A.) She's reasonably good at math, understands things quickly, but she still can't stick with it for more than 15 minutes without acting silly, rolling around, just not able to pay attention and do any work until we take a sizeable break.

 

I don't know what expectations will be like in 1st grade, just know they spend a lot of time on worksheets (which she's always hated.) So I'm wondering what's typical for a 1st grader? The meds don't seem to have increased her ability to focus on non-preferred activities at all.

 

Alone, completing seatwork (worksheets)? I would not expect a little 6- or 7yo person to be able to do that for more than about 15 minutes. Add 10 minutes or so of direct teaching/interaction with a parent, so no more than half an hour, maximum.

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Alone, completing seatwork (worksheets)? I would not expect a little 6- or 7yo person to be able to do that for more than about 15 minutes. Add 10 minutes or so of direct teaching/interaction with a parent, so no more than half an hour, maximum.

 

No, this is with me sitting right there with her. If I gave her a worksheet and walked away, she'd last approximately a minute and 30 seconds. ;) Typically I'll go over the SM textbook examples with her, sometimes using manipulatives, for 10 minutes or less, then sit with her to do the corresponding worksheets. After a few minutes with the worksheets, regardless of whether she has manipulatives to fool around with at the same time, she'll only be able to do a page (around 5 minutes) before she stops being able to focus.

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