My first really viscerally vivid academic memories come from second grade. Before that, I mostly remember which boys I had crushes on (Travis Beasley ... what a hunk!), stuff I got in trouble for (who knew that jumping over lunch boxes was wrong?), and times when I got hurt (fell off the monkey bars in my Brownie uniform, and thought I was gonna die!). Almost entirely playground memories, rather than academic ones.
I remember that my first-grade class had three Kims, and so we were Kim C., Kim Q., and Kim F. I remember that a boy named Ralph tried to kiss me, so I bit his thumb, 'cause I didn't like him. I remember that I liked playing jacks. I remember a movie we watched when it was raining and we couldn't go out for recess, and it was all about safety, with Jiminy Cricket singing, "I'm no fool, no sirree! I'm gonna live to be a hundred and three! I play safe for you and me, 'cause I'm no fool!"
I remember having to make a choice of whether I would go with my class on a field trip, or go to my weekly MGM class ... and I chose MGM. (Yeah, I was an uber-nerd.) I remember watching my class walk away on the field trip, but I don't remember where they were going. I remember making kites in MGM, and nursing butterfly chrysalises until they hatched, and growing a lima bean in a petri dish with a wet paper towel in the bottom until the root had sprouted and then planting it in a dixie cup that I kept on the window sill in my bedroom.
But my first truly academic memories are from second grade, and both were traumatic.
I got sent to a different class -- Mr. Griffin's third grade class -- for part of each day. (Oddly enough, I can't remember my main teacher's name, but I remember Mr. Griffin very well. Weird.) Initially, they sent me to Mr. Griffin's class for both English and math, but the first day I was there for math, we were supposed to do a bunch of math problems he'd written on the board. Some of the math problems had this weird symbol I'd never seen before: a line with a dot above and a dot below. I had absolutely no idea what this meant, what the teacher wanted me to do. After a while, I just began crying, because I'd never been so lost before. I was used to being smart! Mr. Griffin came over and talked to me ... and I went back to the second grade class for math for the rest of the year.
My other academic memory from second grade was a spelling bee. The third grade class was having a spelling bee competition against the fourth grade class, for some unknown reason. The spelling bee lasted a really long time, and I was the last person remaining on my team (even though I was a second-grader and the rest of my team were third-graders). There were still quite a few fourth-graders remaining, so they just kept cycling through on their team, but I just kept answering for my own team. Finally, after a really long time, I was defeated by the word "downstairs" ... because they said I'd spelled it with a "u" instead of a "w". I was mortified! How could I have misspoken? I *knew* how to spell "downstairs"! It was so unfair! I was humiliated! I'd said "u" instead of "w"! I would never live it down! I'm sure no one else remembers this spelling bee at all, but it still rankles me 25 years later.