Progress Report: Grade 1 (2008/09)

Progress Report for Cinder’s Grade 1, 2008-2009


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 and progress report only.

Expected highlights for 2008/2009

Bodies exhibit at Edmonton Science Centre (Fall 2009)

 Calgary Reptile Show (September 2008, April 2009)

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

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

[June 2009]Trips to London, England, Paris, France and Warsaw, Poland (June 2009)

 Possible participation in a Junior Forest Wardens program (decided not to do)

 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.

Additional highlights for 2008/2009

 Field trip to the Great West Kenworth showroom to learn all about big trucks

 Field trip to Radio Station

 Field trip to Firehall #8 (April 2)

 Several trips to Head-Smashed-In Buffalo Jump

 Calgary Aerospace Museum, Nanton Aerospace Museum, Brandon Air Training Museum

 Two weeks in Mazatlan, Mexico (January 2009)

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

December 22, 2008

As expected, science has played a key role in our lives this fall. Some highlights:

Southern Alberta Reptile and Amphibian Show (September 25).

Body Worlds at the Edmonton Science Centre (September 29). The highlight there, however, was not the bodies—these actually made Cinder somewhat queasy—but the science experiment shows the Centre had going on every hour. He sat through all of them, in the front row, and got to play with the Tesla coil!

Junior Skywatchers Show at the Calgary Science Centre (November 26). Really excellent.

Science crates from the Alberta Science Foundation. We had three: Skywatchers, Gold Rush, and Critters Down Under. All were much enjoyed.

Bill Nye the Science Guy DVDs—we’ve just been burning through these and watching and re-watching them and trying the various experiments.

Dinosaurs loomed large at the beginning of the fall, courtesy of the BBC series Walking with Dinosaurs/Prehistoric Earth/Prehistoric Park, but at this juncture, they’ve faded into the background and been replaced by a more general interest in geology and in particular volcanoes.

Several new science experiment books, including Do Try This at Home and 25 Experiments Your Science Teacher Doesn’t Want You to Know.

May 12, 2009

The second half of the science year was much more theoretical—fewer explosions, more reading, although fairly regular experiments continued. Best loved books included:

Bill Bryson’s A Really Short History of Nearly Everything

Nick Arnold’s The Stunning Science of Everything, as well as other titles in the Horrible Science series

Rasher/Adrian Dingle’s The Periodic Table: Elements with Style

On the DVD side, Bill Nye lost ground to BBC’s Planet EarthBlue Planet, and the Prehistoric Earth series, which came back into the foreground.

We also read book upon book about giant squid and sharks, and spent about a month exploring fungi, molds and slimemolds.

Notable events:

Aggie Days (April 3&4)

Rock Cycle class, Glenbow Museum (April 23)

Southern Alberta Reptile & Amphibian Show (April 25)

Calgary Lapidary Club Rock, Gem & Fossil Show (May 2)


Objective: To continue to foster love of books and reading

December 22, 2008

Three words: Calvin & Hobbes.

May 12, 2009

Cinder has come such a long way in this area; we are absolutely thrilled. We’ve done virtually no formal reading or writing instruction, intentionally delaying it until at least age 7 or 8. However, we have continued reading a wide variety of books, for a minimum of one hours, often more, a day—a mixture of simple readers, story books, science magazines, comic books, everything. He has no trouble with letter identification or sound identification; when he writes out a word or a card—granted, not very often—his letters are well-formed and never reversed. He’s started putting sounds together to decode some words, and there are quite a few long, complicated words he recognizes by sight. He loves to play rhyming games with words, and he’s started memorizing poems and songs—something in which he has had very little interest in the past. We’re very excited to see what happens next.

Some literacy skill resources we’ve found particularly resonant with Cinder (and his little sister, who is effectively reading) this semester have been the Leap Frog Letter Factory and Word Factory, www.starfall.comCalvin & Hobbes, and the Horrible Science and Horrible Histories books, which intersperse short cartoon jokes with sophisticated text.

Most importantly, Cinder continues to love books and reading.

Foreign language:

Both children have shown some interest in Spanish and Polish, and we’ve played around a little with them, but not very seriously or consistently.


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

December 22, 2008

This has been all over the place. Some days, we do nothing but play crazy number games—Monopoly with four dice, super big number addition, multiplication etc. etc.—and some days Cinder says he can’t count to 20. He’s got some things—fractions, counting by twos, counting backwards, geometric shapes, the concept of volume etc. nailed down cold—and other things he has zero interest in. I see it as him being in “collect mode”: he’s collecting bits of information he needs, but he hasn’t put it together yet. I’m still searching for the “perfect” resoure—book, dvd, game—that will turn the necessary key.

Some resources that we’ve milked and really enjoyed this fall, however, have been Math Jam K and Math Jam 1, CDs by Judy & David, Leap Frog’s Math Circus, and Usborne’s Fraction and Decimal Puzzles. And, of course, Monopoly.

May 12, 2009

Something clicked in the latter part of the year, and Cinder’s progress in this area has outstripped our expectations. He loves playing with numbers. His grasp of patterns is excellent, he’s confident counting forward and backward to extremely high numbers, he understands the decimal place system, negative and positive integers (courtesy of an obsession with weather predictions), fractions, greater/lesser than concepts. Addition and subtraction to 10 he’s got down cold, ditto single digit addition in the tens (e.g. 20 + 4 = 24), and he’s working independently on the teens (5+6=11 etc.). He loves playing with multiplication and division, sometimes into very high numbers.

We’ve worked on all of these concepts exclusively orally or with incidental manipulatives—Lego and Kapla blocks.

The math resources that have made all the difference in this half of the year have included How do Octopi Eat Pizza Pie: Pizza Math, Sir Cumference and the Round Table, Pizza Counting, and the Usborne Fraction & Decimal Puzzles.


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

December 22, 2008

We’ve continued to swim about twice a week at the Inglewood Pool. Cinder continues to be a fish. We will need to look into formal diving classes soon, because he’s almost a better swimmer than either of this parents at this point.

Gymnastics wrapped up on December 12, and Cinder got his burgundy badge, with very positive notes from the instructor. He’s extremely frustrated by his difficulties with the bridge and hip flexor flexibility, though! He’s been able to do gymnastics three times a week most weeks: his own class on Thursday nights, Czesia’s preschool gymnastics class on Friday mornings, and open gym at Stampede City gymnastics on most Wednesdays.

Sledding and snow fort building has loomed large in our lives since the snow fall as well. (So have slush, snow, water and ice experiments.)

May 12, 2009

Gymnastics and swimming have continued, joined by, in the warm weather, biking and scootering, and forays into rock-climbing—something Cinder has particularly enjoyed and which we plan to spend more time on in the future. This winter, he also made big progress in skating—very exciting for him.

He’s an extremely active, athletic and physically agile person.

Social studies, history and geography

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

December 22, 2008

We’ve inadvertently delved into this are much deeper than we had expected through the discovery of the Canadian Geographic Kids DVD series. We started with The Polar Bear’s Path, progressed to The Calgary Stampede, and are now systematically working through the series, watching and re-watching episodes 1-5, all taking place on Canada’s Atlantic Coast.

As expected, Linda Bailey’s and Bill Slavin’s The Good Times Travel Agency series continued to play a big role in our Fall reading, further anchored by meeting illustrator Bill Slavin at the Calgary Public Library in October 2008.

We also spent much of September and October listening to The story of the world, volume 1: history for the classical child : ancient times, from the earliest Nomads to the last Roman emperor by Susan Wise Bauer. We stopped at Julius Cesar. Everyone enjoyed it, and we plan to return to it in the winter.

May 12, 2009

We continued to watch Canadian Geographic Kids, and returned to the audio Story of the World. We finished Volume 1, and listened to Volume 2, through to the end of the Middle Ages. The big star in this half of the year, however, was the Horrible Histories series, a great build-upon for The Good Times Travel series. We read The Savage Stone Age, The Measly Middle Ages, and The Awesome Egyptians, and plan to continue reading through the series next year.

We had an impromptu trip to Mazatlan, Mexico in January, which involved some geographic and cultural exploration—but was, frankly, mostly about the ocean and the beach.

Our planned trip to London, Paris and Warsaw has involved quite a bit of background research and learning about some of the historical and cultural monuments and museums and just plain fun places we plan to visit in the City.


Objective: Exposure and enjoyment

December 22, 2008

Music: We’ve been listening (over and over and over again) to the Beethoven’s Wig series by Richard Perlmutter, in which funny, catchy lyrics are put to classical music. It’s been much enjoyed. We’ve also watched Beethoven Lives Upstairs, a lovely retelling of a young boy’s experience being Beethoven’s landlord. We have season’s tickets for Sundays at the Symphony for Kids, and attended the September 28 performance of The Mysterious Maestro and the petting zoo at which Cinder and Czesia got to blow on several instruments.

Drama: It’s been a theatre-full fall! We attended:

Snowflake, Y Stage (October 26)

On the Loose with Dr. Seuss, Calgary Young People’s Theatre at the CPL (November 21)

Fairy Tale Fiascoes, Alberta Young People’s Dance Theathre, U of C (November 26)

Like the Five Fingers, Y Stage (November 30)

Adventures of Raggedy Ann & Raggedy Andy, Calgary Young People’s Theatre, Verigo (December 14)

Art: Tis been a season for the Glenbow Museum. We’ve been at least seven times—mostly because of the crafts at the Discovery Room associated with the Marilyn Monroe exhibit (the 50s car collage and the shrine to a 50s star-cum-picture frame have been big hits), but we’ve also really enjoyed both the December Family Fun Sundays we attended. I was surprised at one of them by Cinder’s facility with needle and thread (they made jingly snake door stops out of old ties); something to keep in mind for future.

At home, I’m thrilled to see Cinder start to draw again (he’s been extremely reluctant to for quite some time). The topic of choice has been volcanoes and other natural disasters (tornadoes loom big). Each picture has a narrative, which generally begins with, “Look, a peaceful village. Little does it know…”

Painting and clay sculpting continue as well.

May 12, 2009

Music: His little sister’s music class and obsession have immersed Cinder in more music than he particularly cares for, including attendance at most of her classes. We’ve continued listening to Beethoven’s Wig. Also The Story of Classical Music. And The Beatles. We’ve attended two Sunday Symphonies for Kids this winter, both much enjoyed.


Y Stage: Emperor’s New Clothes (February 1)

Loose Moose: Cinderella (February 15)

Children’s Festival: Circus Incognitus (May 20), O Cano (May 21), Butterfly Installation (May 21), A New World (May 23)


We’ve attended several excellent crafts programmes at the library—notably one based on Where the Wild Things Are, and continued to make much use of the Discovery Room at the Glenbow. The highlight for Cinder was, again, the clay class at the North Mount Pleasant Art Centre, where he has created some very interesting pieces.


Fall 2008

 Gymnastics (trampoline and tumbling), Flip Factory

 One-on-one sessions with music teacher to learn to read music (we still plan to do this, but in the meantime, this need is being fulfilled by Cinder helping Czesia with her music homework)

 Junior Skywatchers’ Course at the Science Centre

Winter 2008

Gymnastics (trampoline or CanGym, tdb), Flip Factory

 Clay class at North Mount Pleasant Art Centre

English: An Allosaurus vanquishes Camptosaurus...
English: An Allosaurus vanquishes Camptosaurus, Royal Tyrrell Museum of Paleontology (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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