Thursday, September 27, 2012

First Grade in Our Home: Exams

We just completed our first set of exams, and I found the whole process to be totally worthwhile and, dare I say, fun for us all!  First of all, my kids love taking "quizzes" of all sorts, as long as they are not timed and they're not pitted against each other...which, since we're following Charlotte Mason's principles, doesn't really happen around here anyway!  Charlotte Mason-style term exams are meant to allow the student to show what he or she knows, not to point out what he or she doesn't remember--it's a different kind of exam than what we are used to from traditional school.  The exam process, by means of drawing on all sorts of work from the previous term, serves as a great encouragement to the child in all he or she has learned.  So when I told my two first-graders that we were going to take a break from our regular studies to have an exam week, they were very excited to try something new.  It was a nice wrap-up to our term and I like the feeling of going into the next term fresh from the mini-break instead of just plugging along.

Here are the questions I used, drawing from our AO-influenced Year 1, Term 1 studies.  Some were my own design, and others were pulled from the Ambleside Online site.

Say something you know in Italian, then tell me what it means.
Say the days of the week or the months of the year in Italian.
Sing a song in Italian.

Recite the poem you memorized by Robert Louis Stevenson.  Illustrate it.
Besides that poem, what was your favorite poem by Stevenson that we read this term?

Physical Education:
Do five jumping jacks correctly.
Do five push-ups correctly.

Complete the review pages for this section.  Correct any errors.

Free Reading:
Tell me the favorite book you have read during Quiet Time this term.  What was it about?

Sing "O Salutaris Hostia" or "Tantum Ergo."
Sing "Holy God We Praise Thy Name."

Folk Song:
Sing your favorite folk song that we learned this term.

Write your full name in your best hand.

What kind of stories did Aesop write?  Tell me your favorite Aesop's fable, including the moral.
What was your favorite fairy tale we have read this term?  Tell me the story.
Tell me what you remember about "A Midsummer Night's Dream."  I will write the names on a paper for you and you can refer to it while you explain the story.
Choose one of the animals from Just So Stories that we have read about so far (Rhino, Camel, Whale, Leopard) and tell me Kipling's version of how it came to look as it does.

Tell me what you remember about Horatius, Cornelia, or Androcles. 
In the chapters we have read of Our Island Story so far, who has been trying to conquer Britain?  Was it easy for them to be conquered?  Tell me what you remember about Bodicaea or Caractacus.
Tell me all you remember about George Washington, starting from his childhood and ending with his time as President.  Illustrate one scene from his life.

Religion - Our Island Saints:
Which saint did you most enjoy reading about this term?  Tell me what you remember about him.

Religion - Bible Stories:
Tell me all you remember about Noah's and his ark.
Tell me all you remember about Abraham.

Religion - Study of the Mass:
Can you tell me about the priest's vestments?
Can you tell me about the sacred vessels?
What does the altar look like when it is not time for Mass--what must it have on it, and what are examples of other accessories it sometimes is adorned with?  You can describe it or draw a picture.

Religion - Catechism:
Answer the following catechism questions.

Trace Paddle's journey so far on a map.  What sorts of things has he encountered along his way?
What direction does our house face?  How can you tell?  What if it was night--how could you tell?
What are the streets closest to our home?  Sketch a map of our neighborhood.
Point to one place on the map we have studied this term and tell me how we encountered it in our reading.

Nature Study:
What is your favorite bird we have read about so far from the Burgess Bird Book?  Tell me all you can about that bird.
Which was your favorite nature study outing this term?  Why?
Draw a picture of one thing we saw on a nature study outing and tell me about it.  It can be a bird, wildflower, leaf, or some other discovery.
Tell me the story of Moses the Kitten or Only One Woof.

Art - Drawing with Children:
Draw an example of the following: circle, dot, straight line, curved line, angled line.

Music Study:
Tell me about the instruments that play the various characters in "Peter and the Wolf."
What are the string instruments, in order of sound starting with the highest?
What is one of the percussion instruments?
What is this song from?  (Carnival of the Animals) Can you identify which animal it portrays?  How do you know?

Picture Study:
Choose one of El Greco's paintings and describe it as well as you can, or sketch it.

We did a handful of questions each day during our usual school time, and it only took us a few days to get through them all.  Recitations of poetry and songs were done for Daddy after dinner.  I audio-recorded a few of their narrations, and I know I'll enjoy listening to those narrations down the road.  The children were very pleased with what they produced and I was too.  It also gave me a better idea of what readings are "sticking," and, as I guessed would be the case, their best narrations from the exams were on the books they considered favorites.  It was also funny that chapters they thought they didn't remember well ended up being their best narrations once they got going telling the story!  (Gianna's narration of A Midsummer Nights' Dream was a prime example of this!  When I first asked her, she said she didn't think she could remember much, but once I put the little character chart in front of her, she really got on a roll! :))  Anyway, almost all of their work was oral, but here is a sampling of their completed "exams": a few narrations I transcribed and some narrations in the form of illustrations.  

A Midsummer Night's Dream, from Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare (Gianna)
Hermia wanted to marry Lysander, and Lysander wanted to marry Hermia, but Hermia's father wanted her to marry Demetrius. Now there was a Duke of Athens and there was a rule he made that any girl that disobeyed her father's wishes to marry should be killed. So she ran away to where there wasn't that rule, to where her aunt lived. Lysander knew, and she told Helena, and Helena told Demetrius, because she wanted him to marry her. They also went where Hermia was, where her aunt lived.

There were fairies there, and there was a king called Oberon and a queen called Titania. They were the king and queen of the fairies. They were mad because Titania had a little Indian boy and Oberon wanted him, so she called all the fairies to her and said, “Come on, fairies, we're running away from here.” But Puck wanted to stay with Oberon; he was Oberon's friend. So Oberon called him and said, “Get the flower of idleness and love and squeeze some juice onto Lysander's eyes. Puck couldn't tell the difference between Demetrius and Lysander so he put some on Demetrius. And the first thing Demetrius saw was Helena, so he loved her, followed her around, and wanted to marry her. Then, Oberon put it on Lysander, and the first thing he saw was Helena too, so they both wanted to marry Helena. Now the girls went away to quarrel, and the boys went away to fight.

Meanwhile, Oberon went to Titania. He saw that the trick was true, so he squeezed the juice in her eyes. The first person she saw was a foolish clown with a donkey's head. And the first thing she said was, “Oh, come here,” and he came to her and said, “What?” And she said that she loved him. And he said “Go away,” and she said, “Oh, please don't go away. I will give you fairies and they will give you food.” She called Peaceblossom, Moth, Mustardseed, and Cobweb to her. And the foolish clown said, “Where's Peaceblossom?” “Ready,” said Peaceblossom. “Please scratch my head and go to the barbershop. Where's Moth?” “Ready,” said Moth. And he said, “Please kill a bee and bring back the honey. Where's Mustardseed?” “Ready,” said Mustardseed. “Go help Moth.” And the foolish clown said, “Where's Cobweb?” “Ready,” said Cobweb. “Oh, nothing, I just want you to help Peaceblossom scratch my head.” And Titania fell asleep. So Oberon got another flower and squeezed the juice on her eyes. The next time she awoke, she saw the foolish clown and she saw how plain he was.

The boys thought it was just a mid-summer night's dream when he squeezed that flower's juice on their eyes. They did not remember it at all. So Hermia and Lysander decided to be together. The father did not mind any more because Demetrius did not want to marry Hermia. He wanted to marry Helena. And that is the end.

Boadicea, from Our Island Story (Vincent)
After Caractacus died, there was another ruler. He became very sick, so he gave half of his land and half of his money to the Romans and gave Boadicea half of his money. Then he died happily because he knew Boadicea and the Romans would be in peace. But he was wrong. The Romans were greedy and wanted the whole. So they tried to steal some of their money and they stole some and Boadicea wanted them to give it back. So she called her men and said, “Will you follow me?” And then she told them how the Romans were, and they all wanted to fight the Romans and die for their country. One war, many of the Britons were killed. Boadicea didn't want to be a slave so instead she poisoned herself and her daughters and then she died. The Romans came and saw that she was already dead.

Androcles and the Lion, from Fifty Famous Stories (Vincent)
So once Androcles was a slave, and he ran away from his master into a cave in a forest. When he woke up, he found a lion inside the cave, and the lion brought him food. The lion had a thorn in his paw and Androcles pulled it out. There was a rule that any runaway slave should fight a fierce, hungry lion. So they put a lion in a cave with no food and then the lion came out. But when people saw he was friendly, the people said that they could both be free. But the lion went with Androcles back into the forest.

1 comment:

  1. This is WONDERFUL. I love the exams and their responses. So great.