Wednesday, August 03, 2011

First Grade So Far

We have started off our school year well here and are now in the third week! We hope to finish the fourth week before taking a little vacation to Tennessee next week.

Here are some of the things we are doing this year... in random order...

Once a week, we are reading one of the fables in our Aesop's Fables book. I read it aloud, and then Caroline narrates, or retells, the story to me while I type it. Then I print it, and she puts it into her fables book and illustrates it.

Here are two she has done so far: The Young Crab and his Mother and The Dog, the Cock, and the Fox. If you click on it to see the larger image, you might be able to read it...

We are also doing the same thing with Old Testament stories. I am reading one per week from a Catholic children's Bible, and Caroline retells it as I write it in her book. Then she works on copywork: a verse from the Bible story that is important or sums up the story well. This is glued into her book and she adds an illustration. So there are three components here: her narration, the Bible verse, and the drawing.

Here is her first page, The Story of Creation.

This is her page on Adam and Eve in Paradise. Again, I think you may be able to read them if you click the pictures to see them larger. Caroline really goes into detail in her Bible story narrations! She has far less detail when retelling an event that happened to her or explaining something we did as a science project or a trip we took. She narrates stories very accurately.

Here is Caroline's science book... we have titled it Rivers, Lakes, and Oceans. We are studying bodies of water and water in general this year. We took a trip to a nearby lake and observed the plants and animals there, and then Caroline made a scrapbook-style page of our visit:

She narrated the trip to me as I typed, and it is pasted into the book at the top. Then she put the photos in and wrote notes about them and what we saw at the lake. We plan to choose one water area to make several trips to over the year so we can observe changes in wildlife and plants as the seasons change.

This is Caroline's Liturgical Year Notebook. I showed it before in the post about our plans for first grade. Under the "saints" tab, we have added some copywork from a story we read about St. Christopher. Caroline also colored a picture of him (from Fenestrae Fidei) and narrated the story to me as I typed (and it is almost a whole page single-spaced, so I didn't take a photo of it)... it is on the front of the page with the story quote. Every week or two, we will read a different story that corresponds with the liturgical year, and we will add copywork and projects to this notebook. This is an ongoing project that will cover a few years, most likely.

For math, we have been using Math U See and so far, Caroline really likes it, and she understands the concepts very well. We made a poster of "decimal street" to practice learning place value and regrouping.

This is our timeline... only one event card up there when I took this photo, but now we have four, including one before this one which shows the universe and earth being created billions of years ago. It is a long piece of yarn across the top of the wall in our schoolroom, and as w read about each event or person, we add the picture to the timeline. It is a very basic introduction to history and gives an overview of where to place certain events in time. We also read a good children's book or three about each event if we have them available through our library. I envision taking the cards down and mixing them up at some points throughout the year and having Caroline re-order them.

And back to the Liturgical Year Notebook... I said this was in random order... Caroline painted a St. Benedict's Cross after we read The Holy Twins in July (which is when his feast day falls). She also copied a quote from the story, and we made these into a page for her notebook.

Here's a look at some Circle Time stuff... Caroline puts the date on the magnetic calendar and any saint magnets for the day, then she writes the date on the whiteboard easel. She also writes the time of the day and counts coins and writes that on the board as well. On this day, she counted two amounts and wrote them both, and then I gave her the directions to circle the amount that was less and draw a box around the greater amount. Under that are a few letters for Cecilia to name. Then there is a word given, and Caroline reads it, decides what the vowel pattern is, and writes as many other words as she can in the same word family. I have also put sentences on the board for very basic editing practice... they are missing beginning capitalization, or capitalization of proper names of people, and they are missing ending punctuation. I have also done some where she circles the correct verb use in a particular sentence. Also in Circle Time, we sing a different hymn each month (August is Hail, Holy Queen) and read a couple of poems daily from A Child's Garden of Verses and The Child on his Knees.

And back to water, and science... we did a puddle experiment this week. We poured water out to make a puddle in the shade and a puddle in direct sunlight. Then Caroline traced around the puddles and we observed them every 5-10 minutes to see what happened. She is going to make a page in her book with pictures and her retelling of what we did and saw.

This is something we will do here and there throughout the year called the Nature Logbook... the page was created by our homeschooling neighbors. We looked up information on mallard ducks since we saw them at the lake, and we filled out a page. Our notebook has sections for insects, mammals, birds, plants, and...

chickens! Yes, technically they should go in the "bird" section, but I figured we'd have many chances to observe them and gather information about them... experiment on them and such (kidding! ;). We are currently tracking their daily egg-laying with a bar graph. That blank day was one where we forgot to record the number of eggs... luckily, we have not had any one-egg or no-egg days! They are not at top-laying capacity right now, but they are still producing pretty well for this heat wave, I think! We finished this graph today and so I need to print out a new one for the next few weeks!

And on to social studies...
In addition to the basic timeline, we are doing something called Family Geography. So far, we have filled out a family tree going back to Caroline's great-grandparents and glued it into her book. Then we plotted where each person was born on a map for her book...

...and we also put stickers on the wall map to show everyone's birthplace. Next, we will look at old family photos showing the areas in which people were born or lived later in life, and we'll learn more about those places... things like climate, land features, location. We'll also try to include some regional recipes and fun stuff like that!

That is basically what we are doing for first grade... we do one Bible story a week, one fable a week, one timeline event a week, one day of family geography, one day of water study (as well as nature study at water environments)... math is daily, and copywork from the Bible verses and liturgical year stories is almost daily. We also do five minutes of the St. Joseph's First Communion catechism daily and will add in seasonal and liturgical year crafts here and there. So far, so good! I am feeling good about getting several weeks knocked out before the baby is born!


Lisa said...

Wow! Erin, your creativity never ceases to amaze me! What incredible lessons you are doing with your daughter. I truly am very impressed!

God bless,

standingoverrunningwater said...

Erin! I stumbled across your blog while trying to find some more ideas to fill in our Alphabet Path plans. I love reading your blog...thanks for sharing! Can you tell me where you got your punch pin that you used with the letters? Love that idea!

Erin said...

For punching out the letters, I just had her use a simple straight pin from my sewing box. We placed the paper with the letter outline on a piece of foam and then she poked the pin through the paper all along the lines. I think this is a Montessori idea, but I don't know exactly how they do it... I just had the foam and thought, hmm, a pin will work, right?