Childhood Memories Friday: First Grade Memories

childhoodmemoriessummerIt’s back-to-school time, and today I have a few first grade memories,  around 1970 at Jackson Elementary.  My teacher was Miss Wilson.  She was a fairly new teacher, and I remember a few years later excitedly clipping out her engagement and wedding photos from the local paper.

I remember liking a boy, Keith, in class.  I was a very shy child overall, but apparently I had my moments.  I clearly remember whispering to Keith several times (he sat either in front of or behind me), “How about a little kiss?” to which he would scowl and make a fist.  Ah, so much for first love.

I also remember our class playing “Seven Up” whenever we had a few free moments.  We would all put our heads down, and the teacher would choose seven kids to go hide inside the coat closet (really it was just a recessed part of the wall that had a long vinyl pull-out “door”).  After they had hidden, the remaining kids would have to see if we could name all seven kids who had disappeared.  If we make a correct guess, I think we got to go to the front and choose someone to disappear for the next round.

We had ability-based reading groups, and as the type-A firstborn that I was, I was in the “Sunflowers” (the best group).  In my memory (and in contrast to today), I went to first grade totally unable to read (my mom didn’t want to try teaching me for fear she would do it wrong).  I remember asking her, how would the teacher ever have time to teach us to read every word there was?  Also, would we ever be asked something really hard, like 100+ 100?  I couldn’t comprehend such a vast number.  My mom said the teacher would not ask that until she thought I was ready – which was a bit scary, as it connoted that a time would come when I was ready for such a task.

After we had been put into reading groups, I remember our first day with books.  We got to learn the words on the first two pages:  “Janet” and “Mark!”  I was so excited when the next day we learned to read “Janet and Mark.”

Miss Wilson noticed that I always seemed to finish my work pretty quickly.  She asked if I would like to help kids in the lowly Blue Violets reading group.  Being apprehensive, I said no.

But when I got home, I re-thought this and decided it would be fun.  What to do?  I had already told her no!  My mom suggested I pick a little flower bouquet to bring Miss Wilson the next day, and tell her I did want to help.  I did, and I remember enjoying helping those Blue Violets all the rest of the year.

We could never have loved the earth so well if we had had no childhood in it. ~George Eliot, The Mill on the Floss

What do you remember about first grade?  Do you remember the name of your reading group?

4 thoughts on “Childhood Memories Friday: First Grade Memories

  1. I think of you three girls as I return to the old building again. Today I looked at the remains of an old old swing set near the ditch and wonder if it was the one you enjoyed.

  2. Hi thanks for checking out my blog Puppy Lover! My dad doesn’t work at the school but he is a board member at my school.
    Thanks Again,

  3. I was in first grade in 1967/68. What I remember about first grade was having a crush on a boy named Greg. He had a buzz cut and I invited him to my birthday party. He was the only boy I invited and he came! I remember I had little ballerina dolls on my cake and a ballerina on the invitation. I also remember writing my ABC’s. I tried really hard and I thought I wanted to get an A. Instead I got another grade and I got angry. Then I cried. After that I decided that I did not like Mrs. Leffler (my 1st grade teacher).

  4. I don’t remember the name of my reading group. I just remember the bee that got in a girl’s sweater during reading circle. I remember my mean teacher. And my broken arm. And the really nice substitute.

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