Parent upset my class is too "easy"

Discussion in 'First Grade' started by puff5655, Feb 7, 2018.

  1. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 7, 2018

    Need to vent.

    I had a new student start a few weeks ago and apparently his last school was super academic and he had to practice 20 vocabulary and 20 spelling words a week (at home). All his papers were letter graded (i.e. A+, B, etc.) as were his report cards. Our school is more holistic and progressive and we realize that the low kids shouldn't get report cards with F's all over them just because they aren't developmentally ready. I also don't "grade" classwork because I help all kids to be successful.

    The parents came to a conference today and were very annoyed by this. They want grades on all papers that come home, they want him to be challenged more (he is being challenged, they mean he should get more worksheets), and they want him to have daily homework and spelling words so he won't spend too much time playing with toys at home (face palm). I wasn't going to get into a philosophical argument with them and frankly don't have the time. So I agreed to send more homework home. Which means now I have to come up with daily homework for this one kid. UGH.

    Oh, and they honestly asked, Well, if you don't do grades then how do you decide which students pass first grade and move up to second grade? Hmmmmmm, maybe if they are READY for second grade?? Which believe it or not we don't need letters to tell us.

    :-(
     
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  3. mathmagic

    mathmagic Enthusiast

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    Feb 7, 2018

    IMO, letter grades are harder to look at than standards-based for the primary, and perhaps intermediate elementary level.

    Research shows that pure "homework" is not that effective, and sometimes harmful, at the early elementary levels. Rather, you could suggest that they have him reading more (independent reading correlates strongly with future success across many areas), that they engage in rich mathematical activities (Youcubed.org is a site you can point them too - there are many parent resources), and perhaps that they work on writing some short stories for fun.
     
  4. viola_x_wittrockiana

    viola_x_wittrockiana Companion

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    Do they know their child is still being assessed? Many ed. outsiders don't understand that grades and assessment aren't the same thing.

    To not torture the kid, I'd suggest more open-ended activities or educational toys. I'm not sure if Reader Rabbit and Math Blaster games still exist, but I know that Scrabble Junior does. Even games like Perfection or Operation have value for fine coordination development. My mom used to assign homework like read to your mom while she cooks dinner (70's private school- moms made dinner).
     
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  5. MetalTeacher

    MetalTeacher Companion

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    This is a good idea. And us secondary teachers will be thanking you when they get to us.
     
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  6. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Feb 8, 2018

    So you're expected to send homework home to keep their child busy so they don't have to parent. Nice!!! There are a lot of things parents can do at work with a 1st grader that doesn't involve playing with toys. I swear...if there was a parenting school a good chunk of the parents would FLUNK OUT!!!
     
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  7. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    Or how about have the kid HELP cook dinner? I mean...wouldn't that be teaching him something?
     
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  8. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    An aside because your comment made me think of this. I agree with having the child help with things at home.

    A lot of families don't eat in anymore. I was surprised when I found out how many acquaintances I have that haven't cooked at home for about 10 years.
     
  9. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Feb 8, 2018

    My retired grandmother tells about the time a parent pretty much said that to her, paraphrase of "give us more homework so we don't have to spend time with our kid." Apaprently it was pretty bluntly said.

    This would have been late 80s/early 90s... and first grade.
     
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  10. SpecialPreskoo

    SpecialPreskoo Moderator

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    Feb 8, 2018

    In a nice way say, "Welcome to ___________ Elementary School (or whatever level of school it is). Here is how things are run in my class (hand them a breakdown of such). If you feel the need for more homework, you are welcome to have them do ________________ at home (insert random tasks that might be done at home). The library has an abundance of books that are available for reading. I hope you settle in to your new school and get into the swing of things around here."

    You might add links to research about how useless a ton of homework is. ;)

    Then if all else fails, purchase this from TPT and email them the PDF of it.
    https://www.teacherspayteachers.com...ls-Based-Homework-for-the-Entire-Year-2037414
     
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  11. TeacherNY

    TeacherNY Aficionado

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    I would give the parents the link so they can spend the $15.
     
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  12. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    :yeahthat:
     
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  13. Preschool0929

    Preschool0929 Cohort

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    I had a parent like this last year. I referred her to our GT teacher because I was not about to take the time to create indivudalized homework for 1 student. She ended up sending home a letter that said something to the extent of "The best way you can challenge your student is by letting him play at home".
     
  14. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    I agree with all of the ideas above (telling him to read, write, and play), but it's also easy for me to print out a packet of extra work. I teach older students, but if anyone asks for more work, I'm happy to print out the pages. It's easy enough for me to print some worksheets from a pdf.
     
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  15. Obadiah

    Obadiah Devotee

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    Feb 9, 2018

    I'd recommend, if they really want the child doing extra worksheets, for the parent to purchase workbooks from Ollie's or the various dollar stores. Some of the workbooks are a bit dopey, to be sure, but at a lower elementary level, all of them should be productive. A better activity, if the parents will agree to such, would be to explore the public library. There are tons of books just sitting there waiting to be read. And tons of books with do-at-home activities, such as science "experiments" or crafts or building projects. Especially if the student has some choice in the matter, these books will be much more productive than teacher assigned/graded homework. And as far as play is concerned, kids learn essential skills and knowledge from play that are impossible to gain in a classroom. I remember my college professor giving the example of how much mathematical learning and even language learning occurs just from a kid turning upside-down in play.
     
  16. Zelda~*

    Zelda~* Habitué

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    http://www.theteachersguide.com/mcgrawhillwondersfirstgrade.htm This little gem of a website helped me out a ton when the last school I worked at used Wonders and didn't provide me with most of the materials. Anyway, this would give them spelling words for him, vocabulary for him, etc. It's all free, too. You can either print things off or send the parents there as a resource.
     
  17. puff5655

    puff5655 Cohort

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    Feb 12, 2018

    Thank you all so much for the support! I had already agreed to sending home more homework :persevere: so I ended up just having him tear out the homework pages in his reading & math books each day (that I normally skip).

    But I will DEFINITELY send home an info sheet or two on the best ways to challenge him (many of the things mentioned above) and on the lack of research supporting homework. Another teacher here suggested a list of websites he could use at home as well.

    Thanks again!!
     
  18. txmomteacher2

    txmomteacher2 Connoisseur

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    Feb 12, 2018

    I would go back and tell him you have spoken with admin and they don't feel like homework is a good way to challenge their student. I would NOT do extra things for one kid. We barely have time for the kids we have much less that one special kid.
     
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  19. a2z

    a2z Phenom

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    Feb 12, 2018

    This is a great compromise because it doesn't require you to really do much of anything and the work aligns with what you teach in class.
     
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  20. Backroads

    Backroads Fanatic

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    Feb 12, 2018

    I like the immediate idea of being able to print out a PDF worksheet or two, but in my reality at least that is time and effort and attention that adds up fast. I have found myself in that hole often, wondering why it's really better for me to print off the same things a parent is capable of printing off. I suspect parents like the idea of the teacher selecting it, which I get, but at the same time in elementary school, it's all elementary. Those basic worksheets will probably be a fine review/practice/possibly even challenge for your kid, and if you're looking for a significantly different curriculum you probably need to look further than asking the teacher for more homework. Perhaps parents just need assurance they'll probably be fine when scouring the interweb for more practice?
     
  21. otterpop

    otterpop Aficionado

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    Another option, and something else I've done, is recommending a specific workbook for the family to purchase. Maybe a second grade one?
     
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