November Goals/Progress Check

I realized with a bit of a start that it was already the first of November and I hadn’t looked at the Learning Goals in a while.

Life has been rather…consuming…lately. Despite my preoccupation with a 120-year-old Victorian house in the city, I was happy to go through the list and still see progress.

Here are some of the breakdowns…

First of all, the legend:

Legend: X=knows it, N=Nearly Mastered, L=Learning it, D=Doesn’t Know, U=Unknown

Okay, now let’s look at the individual areas…

Phonics, Decoding and Word Recognition 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Kids should know the sounds of all the consonants and both long and short vowel sounds. They should also know the common digraphs – double-letter combinations that represent single sounds, such as th, ch, sh, qu, and why – and common consonant blends,such as bl and br, sp, st, and sw, and dr and tr. They should be familiar with these to substitute initial consonant sounds to create rhyming “word families,” such as dog, fog, log, hog, bog. L L
Expand on ability to decode 1-syllable words. Kids should be able to “sound out” 1-syllable words, converting individual letters to phonemes and blending these into recognizable words. L X
Be able to identify root words and to identify common inflectional endings: s, es, ed, er, est, and ing. Kids should be able to read not only the word look, for example, but looks, looked, and looking. L N
Know age appropriate sight words (a, an, could, from, has, her, of, once, thank, the, then, walk, and were) L N
Understand syllabication (single syllable, double, triple) – reinforce by one clap, two claps, et cetera. D ??


Emily reading abilities are increasing, slowly but surely. And I’m taking it slow, because the last thing I want is for to feel under pressure here. I want her to LOVE reading, with every bone in her body. If I don’t push it, if I open the door and hint at the worlds of wonder and discovery that are waiting for her, she will eventually follow.


Reading Comprehension 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Be able to read and understand grade-level-appropriate material. By the end of 1st grade, kids should be able to read aloud reasonably fluently, in a manner that approximates natural speech. D N
Be able to answer who, what, when, where, and why questions – the “five Ws” – about material they have read. Give accurate oral accounts of fiction and nonfiction works that they have read themselves or heard read aloud. N X
Know the literary terms plot, setting, characters, hero and heroine, and be able to identify all in their readings. L L
Enjoy a wide range of literature read aloud, including fiction and nonfiction books, multicultural folktales and legends, fairy tales, fables and poems X X
Be able to define and use a books table of contents. L X


She’s enjoying the details of things like the Table of Contents because of how I present it. As something interesting, as a tool she can use, and the learning has followed…


Writing 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Print all upper and lower case letters legibly, using proper spacing. L L
Write words and sentences, using proper spacing, capitalization and punctuation. L L
Be able to identify nouns, verbs, and adjectives. D D
Be able to spell simple 3-4 letter words from dictation using phonics skills. Know spelling of first grade-level sight words. D N
Be able to identify synonyms, antonyms, and homonyms. D D


When it comes to writing, there hasn’t been as much progress. Except that she has shown an interest in writing notes and sending them to her friend. Unfortunately I have not expanded on this as much as I should. That has been due in no small part to my house obsession and I’ve been feeling a fair amount of guilt over it. She’s kept on though, and just yesterday wanted to dictate but ended up starting a note to her friend Eleanor herself. We need to finish it today and send it off.

She also asked if we could make a “story book” yesterday. “Do you mean think up a story and put it in a book?” I asked. She nodded excitedly, so I’m going to try and make that a priority for this weekend.


Listening and Speaking Skills 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Listen to, restate, and follow two-step directions X X
Be able to retell a story in proper sequence N X
Participate in short dramatizations: charades, pantomimes, plays L L
Memorize and recite short poems and rhymes N X


Her listening and speaking skills are definitely within goal – although that’s never been a question for us. Dave was joking yesterday with some new friends that the only time we shut up is when we are eating. He wasn’t too far off!

Emily is showing a growing interest in telling her own stories, but she also prides herself in remembering lines, lyrics, and sayings. Like this poster we have in the kitchen…



Study Skills 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Know the uses of a dictionary, encyclopedia, and card catalog L L
Be able to put words in alphabetical order according to first letter U L


Not much to update on Study Skills other than we are working on it.


Number Theory 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Recognize and write the numbers 0 to 100 L N
Be able to count to 100 by 2s, 5s, and 10s L N
Use tallies for counting D D
Identify ordinal positions from first through twelfth L L
Compare and order numbers 0 to 100 using the terms greater than, lesser than, and equal to L L
Understand place values for 1s, 10s, and 100s D D
Identify halves, thirds, and fourths L L
Make and interpret simple picture and bar graphs L L


Math is another area in which I have seen definite progress. Emily has made the leap conceptually between adding small numbers (4+4=8) to adding bigger numbers (such as 400+400=800). She’s still not able to count by 2s to 100 without help, but she is getting better. And counting by 5s or 10s are completely mastered.

She still has difficulty recognizing bigger numbers (55, for example) but she has halves down and we are nearly there on fourths.


Operations 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Experiment with the addition and subtraction of whole numbers through 20 using manipulatives and number lines L L
Know the definitions of sum and difference and the names and use of the + (plus) and – (minus) signs. N N
Know basic addition facts through 10 + 10 and corresponding basic subtraction facts. L N
Understand the commutative property of addition: that is, numbers can be added in any order. U X
Successfully solve simple equations and word problems horizontally and vertically. (i.e. 6+  =8  and 9-6=  ) U N


She made a huge leap with the commutative property of addition this year. She told me, “Mama, 4+3 is the same as 3+4, they are both 7!” So she definitely gets it. We are still having difficulty adding numbers together past 12. This is something I need to help her focus on more.


Money and Measurement 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Recognize pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters N N
Be able to determine the value of a given set of coins up to 25 cents. L L
Recognize dollar and cent signs; be able to use decimals in writing money amounts. L L
Use calendars to identify days, weeks, and months. L L
Be able to tell time to the hour and half hour on a standard clock. Understand the difference between a.m. and p.m. L N
Be familiar with the uses of common measuring instruments, such as a scale (weight), ruler (length), and thermometer (temperature). L N
Compare and order objects by length, weight, and volume using both standard and non standard measures. L N


Slow and steady progress on all of the above.


Geometry 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Identify and draw common two-dimensional shapes: circle, triangle, rectangle and square. X X
Identify figures that have lines of symmetry U L
Correctly use position words to describe location: right, left, above, below, inside, outside, in front, in back, over, under, and so on. X X


She has pretty much got most of the geometry goals down. I just need to discuss symmetry with her. Soon, soon!


American History: General 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Study and compare family life, past and present L N
Study the lives and accomplishments of famous Americans: George Washington, Ben Franklin, Susan B. Anthony and more L N
Know the people and events associated with famous national holidays. L L
Know the meaning of democracy, the duties of the president of the U.S., and the importance of such national symbols as the flag, the Liberty Bell, the American eagle, and the Statue of Liberty. L L
Be familiar with traditional American folktales, stories, and songs. L L
Know about the many different professions that enable a community to function. L L


I really need to re-focus back on some history – especially the people, the early movers and shakers of our American history. Other than that, I’m holding back on teaching her too much about history until the age of reason, which should occur in another year or two. At that point we can discuss more complex subjects – racism, slavery, women’s rights, and so much more.


American History: Chronological Survey 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
The arrival of the ancestors of the American Indians and the establishment of early civilizations. Kids should study the lifestyles, customs, and legends of representative American Indian tribes L L
The Maya, Aztec, and Inca civilizations of Central and South America D D
The arrival of Columbus in 1492; the Spanish conquistadors and early Spanish settlements. D L
English colonization in the New World, including the stories of the “lost colony” of Roanoke, the settlement of Jamestown, the arrival of African slaves and the establishment of the first southern plantations, and the Pilgrims and Puritans in Massachusetts D D
The American Revolution L L
The early exploration of the American West, including the stories of Daniel Boone and the Lewis and Clark Expedition. D D


Ditto for above…


World History 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Compare and contrast everyday life in different cultures and times. L N
Study prehistory to the beginnings of civilization. D L
Survey ancient Egypt. D L
Survey ancient Greece. D L
Survey ancient Rome. D L
Survey major world religions. L L


And ditto for above…


Geography 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Know the uses of maps and globes. L X
Know the cardinal directions: north, east, south, and west. Let kids experiment with compasses. L N
Be able to identify the world’s major oceans and continents, the equator, the northern and southern hemispheres, and the North and South Poles. L L
First-graders should know their town or city, state, and country, and be able to locate the United States, Canada, and Mexico on a world map. N X


She’s doing well on Geography. I wish I could find a simple geography game to play with her, I think it would help her learn the states as well as world geography. I think she would find symbols to be fascinating as well when reading maps.


Physical Science 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Understand the basic premise of atomic theory: that is, all things are made of very small particles called atoms. L X
Know the three states of matter: solids, liquids, and gases. L X
Investigate electricity and magnetism. L X


I was rather startled to discover that we have covered all of these topics and she has solid knowledge of them.


Life Science 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Know that different animals have different habitats. X X
Understand the food chain. X X
Know that plants, require soil, water, air, sunlight, and nutrients to grow. X X
Survey animal taxonomy. N X
Define and discuss extinction and endangered species. L X
Understand the dangers of pollution and environmental destruction, and the benefits of conservation and recycling. N X
Know that the human body is made up of several different physiological systems; understand the germ theory of disease. L N


And she is breezing through the goals for Life Science as well.


Earth/Space Science 1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Study basic features of sun, moon, and stars. L X
Know the names and characteristics of the planets. L X
Understand the composition of the earth. L X
Observe and identify weather changes, both daily and seasonal. X X


Done, done and done!


1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Foreign Language Simple words and phrases L N
Greetings and the names of the numbers from one to ten X X
The names of colors and other everyday expressions N N


We are focusing more on ASL (American Sign Language) at this time – but Spanish still finds a way to incorporate itself into the lessons. The other day at breakfast, we were reviewing the signs for colors in ASL and Emily was making the sign for white while saying “blanco, blanco” out loud.

We like to mix it up a bit!


Art Know the primary colors and how these are mixed to produce secondary colors. N X
Be familiar with the elements of line, shape, texture, space, light and shadow. L N
Be able to identify different kinds of pictures: portraits, still lifes, abstract art, and landscapes. D N
Study the works of a selection of well-known artists. L N
Experiment with a range of art techniques. L L


Progress, and more progress. Tomorrow we will go to the Nelson-Atkins with our Campfire group for Dia De Los Muertos – the Day of the Dead exhibition. That will give us a chance to review some Spanish words and appreciate art!


1-Aug-12 1-Nov-12
Music Understand rhythm and melody, pitch (high/low), dynamics (loud/soft), tempo (fast/slow) and timbre (sound quality). L N
Memorize and sing simple songs. X X
Listen and respond to selections by famous composers. N X
Know the four families of instruments in the orchestra: strings, brass, woodwinds, and percussion. L L


Emily loves classical music and has been introduced to it through Beethoven’s Wig and other fun ways. She’s making progress on her learning goals here as well.


Health & P.E. Kids should understand the importance of good nutrition, adequate sleep, cleanliness, tooth care, and regular exercise. X X
First-graders should be able to skip, run (without falling over), and throw and catch beanbags and balls. X X
Participate in athletic indoor and outdoor activities. X X


Health and P.E. issues are completely under control. We continue to reinforce them through the year, but I consider it Mission Accomplished for 1st Grade Goals!

So that’s where I stand. How about you? How are you feeling about your learning goals for the year?

It’s never easy – I always feel like I should be doing more – but then I look at the Learning Goals and am pleasantly surprised by her progress. She’s doing great, and so am I, because it is laidback, fun, and interesting. Each and every day brings new questions and I am reminded of how lucky I am – to have a husband who supports me in this endeavor and a bright enthusiastic child who is so very interested in learning.

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