How to succeed in the first half of elementary school
Crucial to personal, educational, and social development, the early years of elementary school should lay and solidify the foundation for the future achievement and success of the student as a whole.
During these early years, a student is expected to understand the basic premises of scientific and mathematical reasoning, reading and writing, and creative free-play. Throughout this process, it is necessary for students to develop a love of learning and a mindset that they can achieve academically.
During these early elementary grades, there is a great emphasis placed on story-telling due to its function in the cultural transmission of social norms, expectations, and values.
During this period, students develop mastery of addition, subtraction, multiplication, and basic geometry.
Understanding cause and effect and discovering and identifying patterns in nature are key components of science education during this time.
From the very beginning, problem solving should be encouraged, and further academic progress will follow from an openness to learning.
Beyond academic skill building, students at these grades level should begin to show autonomy, confidence, and the attention appropriate for the development of study skills.
Developing an ability to be patient during these problem solving processes is a key attribute for students.
Students also pursue the beginnings of creative writing and illustration by utilizing proper grammar and drawing pictures to accompany the text. Penmanship is foundational here, as each letter needs to be clearly written by hand, leading the way from block to cursive.
It is important for high-performing students in the early elementary grades to be encouraged to foster a love of learning and a curiosity both inside of and outside of the classroom.
If these students do not find classroom content challenging, a growth mindset can be developed by presenting these students with reading and math problems above their current grade level. Exposing students to supplemental content will allow students to explore interests and passions by reading about subjects in which they may not be previously familiar.
In early elementary school students can also begin to develop study skills and time management abilities. Students who know how to stay organized and increase the quality of their study time will find the transition to later grades easier.
Students who have mostly B’s at this point will have to make sure to fill in the gaps and remediate, as there are likely several areas to strengthen to achieve A grade level performance.
They may need to develop a mindset which increases their confidence inside and outside of the classroom. One way to increase a student’s belief in his or her academic abilities is to focus on more basic concepts in the areas of math, reading, and language arts.
This is also the time to begin building the study and time management skills that students can carry with them through the later elementary grades and beyond. Students will need to learn the self-discipline and diligence needed to perform academically and the subject matter increases in rigor.
C or Below Students
Students who mostly receive C or below grades during the Kindergarten-2nd grade years will need to watch out for the domino effect, where gaps in basic skills begin to significantly affect performance in later years.
A student performing at this level may need to have their motivation assessed, as confidence could be low. Encouragement is key, and success is won by a back to basics approach. Starting with what the student can do and tracing backwards, a unique and differentiated approach must be taken to find a solution to prevalent concerns and weaker areas. There may need to be a dismantling of academic foundations and a reconstruction in order to make sure this student does not fall behind to a nearly irreparable state.
Many students at this level still struggle with basic reading comprehension and basic math skills. A source of encouragement for early education students is that students academically grow most quickly during these grade levels, so if academic skill weaknesses are addressed during this time, there can be a significant impact on a student’s academic potential during later grades.
Students who have difficulty in school often start to lose motivation at this age, and disengage from school. It is important to encourage these students to develop a mindset which motivates them to work hard, build their confidence, and find ways to connect academic work to their interests.
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Erin M, Academic Advisor