Learning Plan: Grade 1 (2008/09)

Learning Plan 2008/09, Rowan’s Grade 1 Year

Note: this is insecure homeschooler overkill. It does on for PAAAAGES. With hundreds of resources. A recipe for burn out. But man, no one is ever going to ask “are you sure you know what you’re doing?” when you present them with a plan like this…


Key Objective: To continue to foster Cinder’s love of learning and exploration

Evaluation and assessment: Project, Portfolio and Progress-based, Qualitative

Focus: Hands-on experiments and experience in natural and physical science

Note: Our overall approach to Cinder’s education is holistic and integrated. The breakdown below into subjects is for the purposes of the learning plan only.

Expected highlights for 2008/2009

Bodies exhibit at Edmonton Science Centre (Fall 2009)

Calgary Reptile Show (September 2009)

Junior Skywatchers’ Course at the Science Centre (November 2009)

Continued gymnastics classes and regular swimming (Fall/Winter 2008/09)

Clay class at North Mount Pleasant Art Centre (Winter 2009)

Trips to London, England and Warsaw, Poland (June 2009)

Possible participation in a Junior Forest Wardens program (currently in exploratory/planning phase)

Regular visits to the Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology and Reptile World in Drumheller

Regular visits to the Calgary Zoo, Calgary Science Centre and Creative Kids Museum, Glenbow Museum (especially the Discovery Room), etc.

Key resources

Our extensive in-house library of books, games, puzzles and toys

The treasure-trove at the Calgary Public Library

Variety of on-line resources and research databases, as needed

Interesting places, interesting events, interesting people, and other community resources


Objective: To explore and experience the natural world, and to gain through experience an understanding of its underlying laws

This is Cinder’s passion and forte and the entry point into most other areas of inquiry. Over the last 18 months, he has progressed from a fascination with dinosaurs, insects and baking soda and vinegar explosions to a deep interest in oceans and sea creatures, geology (especially if it has to do with volcanoes), and self-designed experiments in physical science. He loves David Macaulay’s The Way Things Work DVD series and experiment kits. We plan to continue to nurture these and other interests as they manifest and to continue to introduce Cinder to relevant books, films, exhibits and other experiences.


The Magic School Bus series (originals, teleplay adaptations and chapter books)

Usborne Books Look Inside Series

Usborne Pocket Scientist: the Blue Book and the Red Book

Usborne Book of Knowledge

Various experiment books

The Amazing Dirt Book

Atlas of the Human Body

The Periodic Table: Elements with Style, Rasher/Adrian Dingle

Birds of Alberta

Bugs of Alberta

Reptiles and Amphibians of Canada


Film Resources

Planet Earth (DVD)

The Blue Planet (DVD)

Walking with Dinosaurs (DVD)

Kratt Brothers’ Be the Creature (DVD)

Acorn the Nature Nut (series)

The Jeff Corwin Experience (series)

Eyewitness Natural World (series)

The Way Things Work (series)

The Magic School Bus

Other nature and science documentaries as identified and needed


The Calgary Zoo

Calgary Science Centre

Rothney Astronomical Observatory

Bodies Exhibit at the Edmonton Science Centre

Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology, Drumheller

Reptile World, Drumheller


Chemistry kits

Assortment of body part models



Objective: To continue to foster love of books and reading

Cinder will continue to be read to from a wide variety of children’s and adult literature, from old favourite board books and picture books through to chapters books and relevant reference books. He spends time intensely studying his favourite books, and we expect that to continue and to increase in frequency. We may spend some focused time on basic phonics instruction, if it looks as if he is interested in it. We will continue to play word games and rhyming games.

We expect a key part of Cinder’s reading education this year will occur as he helps his little sister with her letters and sounds.

On the writing front, Cinder has not been eager to write; his exploration of letters has been predominantly tactile and physical. We plan to encourage activities that strengthen the motor coordination required for legible writing—this includes drawing, tracing, striking matches and playing with Lego—as well as to encourage real writing opportunities as they occur: thank you cards, letters and lists.

A key part of Cinder’s language arts education this year will continue to be conversations and story exchanges with peers, younger children and intelligent, interested adults.

Sample Booklist

Phonics and phonemic awareness books

Jen the Hen series, by Colin and Jacqui Hawkins

Bob Books, by Bobby Lynn Maslen

Hairy McLary books, by Lynley Dodd

Favourite authors

Mem Fox

Robert Munsch

Dr. Seuss

Sandra Boynton

Mo Willems

Lynley Dodd

Linda Bailey

Mary Pope Osborne

Currently being read

Magic Treehouse series

Magic School Bus books

Scooby Doo chapter books

Usborne Search Books

Usborne Puzzle Journeys and Puzzle Adventures

Much non-fiction

Additional resources

Between the Lions DVDs

Moveable alphabet

Montessori traceable letters (not a big hit so far)

Several letter, alphabet and word games



Objective: To foster comfort and familiarity with numbers and number games

Cinder loves to count and is interested in playing with numbers. This year, he will continue to discover the world of numbers and patterns in likely a non-linear way: e.g., he is more interested in multiplication than addition and subtraction, and he’d rather talk about googols and googolplexes than hundreds and thousands. We will continue to ground him in mathematical literacy through a variety of every day activities, which will include baking, shopping, allowance administration and saving, money counting and sorting, measuring things, building models, etc., as well as more contrived but still hands-on activities with manipulatives and geometric shapes.

All of these activities will be done either orally or tactilely—Cinder will talk about them and find solutions in conversations, or Cinder will handle the objects, play with them, and discover their properties experientially. We do not plan to do any written mathematical instruction or problem solving, unless Cinder requests it.


Montessori-style manipulatives (beads, 3-D geometric shapes, etc.)



The very countable, pattern-filled world around us

Marilyn Burns books

What’s a Million, by Stephen Kellogg

On Beyond a Million, by David Schwartz

Monopoly and other board games

Objective: To provide Cinder with as much physical activity as he needs to be a healthy and happy child

Our recognition that Cinder needs an immense amount of exercise and physical activity is one of the critical reasons behind our decision to homeschool. Cinder will continue to participate in a weekly gymnastics class and we will continue our twice weekly family swims. Additionally, we will continue to ensure that he is outside running, biking, playing on playgrounds, chasing butterflies, throwing snowballs etc. as much as he needs to be. (Most days, the minimum amount of intense physical activity seems to be four hours.)

Additionally, we are participating in the setting up of Junior Forest Wardens programme for multi-aged homeschoolers in which we hope to participate throughout the year. Cinder has also expressed interest in starting a martial art, and we are looking into that, although cautiously.


The Great Outdoors

Gymnastics rings and overall set-up of children’s room

City of Calgary swimming pools and leisure centres

Skating rings

Parks and playgrounds

Gymnastics class


Objective: To expose Cinder to the diversity and complexity of the social and cultural world of the present and the past

Cinder has a good grasp on animal-related geography, and is intermittently interested in maps; we plan to continue to foster that interest whenever it arises, and to help him be comfortable reading maps. To date, he has not shown a great deal of interest in history except as story, although a recently discovered passion for airplanes has been leading to some reading and talking about the world’s wars, and leading elsewhere from there. He enjoys the Magic Treehouse books and loves the Binkertons/Good Times Travel series, and we plan to continue reading and re-reading these throughout the year. We also have trips to London and Poland on the agenda for the year, and we plan to attend some of Calgary’s multicultural festivals and events throughout the year. Beyond that, this area of study is not expected to be a focus for Cinder for this year


Maps, atlas and globe


Puzzle maps

Good Times Travel Agency series, by Linda Bailey and Bill Slavin

Magic Treehouse chapter book series, by Mary Pope Osborne

What I Believe: a young person’s guide to the religions of the world, by Alan Brown and Andrew Langley

Children from Australia to Zimbabwe, by Maya Ajmera

Geography from A to Z: a picture glossary, by Jack Knowlton


Heritage Park

Fort Calgary

Fort Edmonton

The Glenbow Museum

The Military Museums

The Aerospace Museum in Calgary (and most towns we happen to visit)

The Royal Alberta Museum, Edmonton

The Royal Saskatchewan Museum, Regina

Warsaw, Poland

London, England

Objective: Exposure and enjoyment

We plan to continue attending a variety of plays, shows, concerts and festivals to allow Cinder to experience and enjoy the arts in a variety of forms. On the practical side, Cinder is free to draw, paint, construct or model with clay whenever he wishes; he likes clay work and model construction (last year, he constructed two models of the Titanic, one more than three feet long), but tends to draw or paint only when he has something specific to communicate or put to paper. He will likely take another clay class in the winter.

We have tried music class last year, and it was not a success. Cinder has asked to learn how to read music this year, and he will do that in one-on-one sessions with a music teacher.

We plan to continue to explore drama, both as appreciative audiences of Loose Moose, Children’s Festival and other appropriate plays, and as participants in self-created play.


Arts, crafts and modeling projects at home

The Discovery Room at the Glenbow

The Creative Kids Museum

Community arts festivals

Loose Moose Theatre for Young People

The Y Stage

Calgary Children’s Festival performances and events


How to Draw Dinosaurs

1-2-3 Draw Ocean Creatures

Usborne Book of Art

Other books as appropriate


Fall 2008

Gymnastics (trampoline and tumbling), Flip Factory

One-on-one sessions with music teacher to learn to read music

Junior Skywatchers’ Course at the Science Centre

Winter 2008

Gymnastics, Flip Factory

Clay class at North Mount Pleasant Art Centre

A dinausaur in Royal Tyrrell Museum 加拿大皇家蒂勒尔博物...

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