DD's 3rd grade didnt finish the math or science books

talley_sue_nycJune 11, 2003

In science, they did 4 of the 14 chapters in the textbook.

In math, they got to page 104 of a 164-page book; they didn't get to division.

I wrote a letter to the teacher AND principal saying this was what I'd realized/discovered, and that it alarmed me. I said I had several questions--were they perhaps not supposed to cover that material? if they should have, what will the school do next? And I asked to meet with them to find out the answers to these questions.

(if it had been earlier in the year, I would have written to just the teacher first, but I'm a teeny bit steamed, and i feel like the principal messed up by letting the teacher get this far behind, if indeed they're behind)

I had my DH drop it off when he dropped off DD this morning. neither one of them has called yet.

I'm kind of nervous. I was supposed to be the PTA president, and I sort of "checked out" this spring--several things I thought I'd do, I didn't, so I sort of feel a bit like *I* was slacking. And I'm not good at confrontations.

And I'm also kinda p.o.'d--I mean, c'mon, 4 chapters of science in an entire year? And no division? And not just my kid but the whole class--so next year's teacher is going to have her hands full. And it's too late to switch classes, and she wouldn't test well at another school anyway because they didn't cover all the material--and she's really smart, she'd be acing that stuff if they'd just cover it. (she never misses a question on her math tests and homework unless she literally misses the entire question--doesn't realize she didn't fill in the blank.)

Plus a few years ago, the 8th grade class didn't cover a set of math concepts, and none of the really bright kids did well on the state Regents exam because of it, and they all missed out on getting admitted to really good high schools. So it's not like this principal hasn't seen this sort of problem before.

I don't know what sort of advice I'm asking for; perhaps just a heads up to other parents.

The frustrating thing is that even checking over her homework wouldn't tell me what they're NOT covering! I'd have to examine the entire textbook, which she didn't bring home very often--which I thought was because she did it all in class.

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It sounds like you are asking the right questions. You need first to understand the year's curriculum--and your state's standards for that grade. Do not assume the whole textbook must be covered. Publishers try to print a book that all 50 states can use, so there are often sections that your state might not use because the students will get it next year. It never hurts to question, but I have learned to be sure to do so without making accusations. I would suggest that next year, your PTA invite the school's principal or specialists to come to your PTA meetings with an assigned topic of the curriculum. One month reading, the next math, the next writing skills, GATE, science, etc. I would also suggest that the principal be given the suggestion that at Back to School Night the parents in each classroom would like an outline of the curricucum for that grade so that they can partner with the teacher in helping their children learn. Good luck

    Bookmark   June 13, 2003 at 10:46PM
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Talley Sue, if I recall, you are sending your kids to private school, right? If that's right, you have even more reason to be mad because the teacher is WASTING YOUR MONEY along with not educating your children!

When DS#1 was in private school & I wasn't happy with the teacher, I took the "consumer" track with the principal. She was shocked - I guess no one ever put it in the terms that "you're wasting my money" before. Not that it helped!

My kids are in public school now (you know DHs lack of work situation) and honestly, I'm a lot happier. The district holds the teachers so accountable - they have to teach certain things in certain periods of time, and give district quarterly tests to make sure the kids are mastering what they're supposed to be learning. There is so much more accountability than there was in private school.

But, since that's not an option in your case because of where you live, I'd say you did the right thing. I don't think it should matter if you're the PTA president or the most uninvolved parent, the kids should be covering their entire cirriculum in the school year or they will be behind the next!
Good luck!

    Bookmark   July 10, 2003 at 11:31PM
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Do let us know what the end result of this was and how you handled it and what the teacher and principal have said.

As a former teacher I can provide some thought to this-

Science in particular, I, as a teacher, was not fond of the book. I found that it was too wordy, didn't teach concepts and worked on vocabulary instead of 'science'. So I followed the idea behind the book but did my own thing. For example, the book might be saying now it's time to study plants and so we studied plants. We planted plants, dissected plants, and so on. Rather than teaching vocab. like many science books do, I taught about plants. The book was a resource.

I am just going to say that the teacher may be doing something similar and this may be the answer you get from both teacher and principal. My only thought is that if this is the case, the teacher will be able to back up this method with lesson plans, reasoning and theory behind her actions, and student work that shows she taught them science without the book. Just be open to this but don't hesitate to make the teacher and principal back them up with words.

The same may be true with math. I also think that very few teachers who do math make it all the way through the book. That is my experience in almost every grade. But I would certainly expect that the teacher would be able to show that although she didn't give a lot of homework or work out of the book, the kids learned what they were supposed to learn. (She may have provided worksheets or board practice or other types of practice from other sources).

What I am saying is look for the quality of education and look for what your child has learned vs. looking for so many chapters in a book to be covered. A couple of resources you might consider buying and keeping on hand for future years that will give you an idea of what your children (through almost all grades) should be learning: William Bennet's book The Educated Child (I think that is what it is called). It takes every subject and discusses age ability, grade expectations, what a good teacher is doing in different grades and subjects and so on. It's a great resource. Also the books in the series "Everything your (grade level) child needs to know" are great.


    Bookmark   July 14, 2003 at 3:32PM
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