Need help for a first grader

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Joined: Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:21 pm

Need help for a first grader

Postby mshelez » Thu Feb 03, 2011 5:38 pm

Hi there. My daughter is in the first grade and she is having an extremely difficult time with math. She is in a public school but right now, I'm not overly thrilled with the school itself. I know that homeschooling parents know what they are talking about and know where to find things to help their children and that is why I'm turning to you for help. I'm afraid that if she doesn't grasp this now, she is going to be in a lot of trouble with whatever is coming up next.

My daughter is having the worst time grasping that there are different ways to count numbers - by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s. She can count from 1 to 100 by 1s, 2s, 5s and 10s with ease. But getting her to figure out word problems is proving to be a difficult task. I will tell you that the way that they word the problems in these books is actually confusing me as well.

I'll give you an example. The problem will contain 3 rows of 10 blocks. How many blocks are there? She will say 3. She will look at the rows, not the blocks. When I ask her how many blocks are in a row, she says 10. When I say how many blocks altogether, that's when she gets that it is 30.

If the problem shows three rows of 10 blocks and 4 single blocks, she will say that there are 3 tens and 4 ones but then 3 tens plus 4 ones will equal 7.

She is also not doing well in comprehension testing which could be playing a part in this as well. She doesn't comprehend the questions which could be tricking her up as well.

Last year there were 4 kids that were left back in 1st grade. I really don't want my daughter to be one of this year.

Anything you can tell me, if anyone has kids who have had this kind of mental block, any books you can turn me to - anything is greatly appreciated.



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Joined: Wed Feb 10, 2010 12:30 pm

Postby hscoach » Fri Feb 04, 2011 5:47 pm

I am thinking it might help your daughter to do a hands-on activity. You can give her some base 10 blocks and show her how to make numbers with them. Here is an example: ... html?cat=4

Sometimes when children see a picture on a page, it's hard for them to grasp the concept -- but when they can hold objects in their hands, it makes it easier to understand.

If you don't want to spend a lot of money buying new base ten blocks, you could use some simple items from around your house. I did a quick search on e-bay and found this set. (fairly affordable) ... 255f4f81aa

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Joined: Tue Mar 15, 2011 11:09 pm

Poorly designed curriculum

Postby susanrm » Wed Mar 16, 2011 8:39 am

It sounds like the curriculum is poorly designed. They should be starting with a concrete approach - manipulatives - then moving to pictures when the children understand that, then showing how that connects with numbers on the page. This is how the Singapore Math curriculum is designed. You could get some materials from them to help you, but make sure you get a guide so you understand how to teach it. You could also speak to your child's school to get a trainer in to help them teach math better.

If you're interested, I offer resources, information and training at my website,

Best of luck to you!

Dr. Moti Levi
Posts: 3
Joined: Sat May 21, 2011 1:30 am

Two types of problems

Postby Dr. Moti Levi » Sat May 21, 2011 1:49 am


What you say indicates she has two different, unrelated, problems going on. The first is not understanding numbers and how they are structured. Indeed, in school they do not really teach it well. They expect students to naturally and intuitively make the jump from counting units to generalizations of such and to understand how numbers work. She shows she does not understand how numbers work - she can count, but she she doesn't understand the place value idea - that you have units of 10, etc.

To solve it you can use the book I wrote "Place Value", which as its name suggests explains the place value system we use. By the end of the book she'll be able to name or write numbers with over 20 digits - easily so.

Another sub problem there is the way she understand the question about rows and blocks. It seems the concept of row vs. block is not separated for her. In general, the above book should help, but you might, for this type of specific exercise, explain to her again (or differently? I'm not sure how you do explain it) the terms and what your questions mean.

The second problem you mention is about Word Problems. I agree with you completely - they do not explain well how to solve word problems! That is why I wrote a whole book "Word Problems" on how to approach those - and the approach is COMPLETELY different than how it is taught everywhere. Of course, how it is taught everywhere seems not to work as most students have a problem with word problems. The book will teach you how to teach her word problems so she never have a problem with such again. It's a method that makes word problems easy to solve.

The books are downloadable and I guarantee money back if they don't help you. It's really about two things for her - 1. solid understanding of underlying concepts. 2. a way to approach word problems differently.
The only math books that guarantee success.

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