How Is My First Grader Doing in School?

Excerpted from "How Is My First Grader Doing in School?" by Jennifer Richard Jacobson

From "Math Exercises"

  • Empty your junk drawer and take turns making simple patterns from what's available. When you've played this game several times, vary it by making an error when it's your turn. Challenge your child to catch your mistake. 
  • Give your child a pile of small objects. Say, "Show me two more than five. Show me one more than eight."
  • Talk about numbers. At the dinner table, ask everyone to tell you about the number six:
    "I'm six," your first grader shouts.
    "There were six candles on your cake."
    "My birthday is in the sixth month."
    "There are six cans in a six-pack of soda."
    "Look, I have six features on my face." Child points to two eyes, one nose, one mouth, and two ears.
    "Half of six is three."

    Take turns choosing numbers to discuss, but don't forget zero. You'll find that it's a favorite to think about.

  • Hang a calendar over your child's bed. You'll be surprised at how often he studies the pages. Before long, he will have counted the numbers in sequence. He'll have recognized patterns in the teens and twenties. He may even begin to construct problems for himself: How many days until the weekend? How many days until the month is over? How many days until my birthday? Little, Brown sells a reasonably priced "Make Your Own Calendar" for children. Children color their own pictures for each month and are provided with stickers to mark important dates. These calendars can become keepsakes of your child's art each year.
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