First graders are generally more intelligent than they let on. Their minds are more open, and can be influenced by many things. Adults have a multitude of ways to teach their first-graders, in all areas including but not limited to Math, Reading, and Spelling. For example, if a teacher wanted their class to learn to add two plus two, they would say something that would involve the first-graders’ interest, such as saying, “Maggie and Gerald each had two puppies. Gerald gave Maggie his two. Maggie pointed at each and said, ‘One, two, three, four. Four puppies. Two plus two equals four.” If the first-grader understood that, the teacher would then ask them to come up with their own word problem. Then, once the teacher was sure that the child had gotten it, he or she would move on to three plus three, or something along the same lines.
However, if the student failed to catch on, the teacher might pull out, using the same example of two plus two as before, four pieces of candy. He or she would hand the child two pieces, saying, “You have two pieces of candy.” The teacher would then point to both pieces, and say, “One, two.” Then the teacher would hold out his or her own and say, “I also have two pieces. One, two.” Then the teacher would put the four pieces together in front of the child and say, “One, two, three, four. You have four pieces of candy.” If the child understood, the process was a success, and he or she would be rewarded with the candy. NOTE: This is not something the teacher would want to do often. Remember Ivan Pavlov, the psychologist who caused his dogs to drool at a bell? If this process is done too much, the child may come to expect candy as a reward after every one they get right. This may or may not become a problem.
Another way would be to try to teach at recess as well. If the little girl was playing hopscotch, and she threw a stone four places, the teacher could say, “Four places. One, two, three, four.” This is not recommended, however. Students do not want to learn at recess, as their minds require a break for a certain amount of time.
Children are easily molded for the future. It depends on the child, but these ways are most likely to work when it comes to teaching them Math, until they’re ready for something more advanced.