Wednesday, January 9, 2013

First Grade in Our Home: Exams, Round 2!

After a couple short days of schoolwork last week to finish up Term 2, we're now wrapping up Exam Week here at our house!  I planned for us to take the whole week to finish, but it ended up only taking a couple days.  This is a rather long rehash of the last couple days, but hopefully someone will find it useful!

With a full house, we don't exactly have a pristine testing environment. ;)  But luckily, our exams are very low-pressure (really, no-pressure!), so we fit it in when and where we can: narrations upstairs while I clean the bathrooms, illustrations while I feed the babies lunch in the other room, songs and poetry over dinner, and so on.  I did save their more lengthy narrations (from history and literature readings) for the littles' naptime so that my test-takers wouldn't be interrupted and could have my full attention.

Once again, the process was a surprising success: the children were very enthusiastic.  The special teatime snack to celebrate didn't hurt, of course, and there's the added bonus of "showing off" to Daddy. ;)  And I got some useful feedback on what is working and what isn't.  For example, I'm very pleased with their comprehension and retention of the books they're reading on their own (right now, Burgess Bird BookPaddle to the SeaAesopFifty Famous Stories, and some of our religion readings), which is something I was wondering about.  It is encouraging to see how far they have come in their narrations as well.  I was pleased with the narrations they did from our first term's exams, but these were even more detailed.  Vincent takes the prize this time around for a 13-minute narration of Aladdin--he is a chatty boy indeed!  Part of that, I think, is just the natural development of their memory and conversational abilities, but most of it, I think, is the CM learning process at work.

On the other end of the spectrum, the children did well on the Italian songs portion but were very slow in answering the Q&A section.  So I'll be incorporating more of the latter into our days, and I think I'm going to slow down our working through the Pimsleur program to give us more time on each unit so we can practice talking beyond the CDs.  I also want to incorporate more vocabulary from other sources so we can have more varied conversations.  They also gave pretty scanty narrations of Herriot, the only assigned reading they have been listening to on audiobook and not narrating to me formally...I'm guessing there's a connection there. ;)

We also took time to discuss what they're liking most and least: Gianna isn't a big fan of Paddle to the Sea, and her favorite is "everything else." :)  Vincent's favorites are Paddle to the Sea (naturally--my two oldest are just about as different as they come!) and Burgess Bird Book (also not a surprise--he is my bird-lover), and the only one he doesn't enjoy is Aesop.

Okay, on to the test!  I hope other AO-users will find the following helpful: below are the questions we used and some of their responses.  The vast majority of their answers were oral narrations into the voice recorder, but I transcribed a few to share and for my own records.  Like last time, there are a few illustration-narrations as well.  I'd love to hear on how we can improve our Charlotte Mason-style exams, so please feel free to give suggestions!

Answer these Italian questions in complete sentences:
 - A che ora pranza ieri?
 - Come sta?
 - Che vorebbe bere?
 - Com'e oggi?
Ask me where the plaza is.
Ask me if I would like to have dinner at your house tomorrow evening.
Say the months of the year in Italian.
Sing a song from this term in Italian.

Recite one of the poems you memorized by A.A. Milne.
Besides the ones you memorized, what was your favorite poem by Milne that we read this term?  What was it about?

Physical Education
Bounce this ball five times.
Throw the ball into the basket five times.
Do five push-ups correctly.

Complete the review pages for this section.

Free Reading
Describe a favorite scene/chapter from Peter Pan or Pinocchio.
What was your favorite book read during free time this term?  What did you like best about it?

Sing "Alma Redemptoris Mater."
Sing "Now Thank We All Our God."

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

Write all letters of the alphabet in uppercase and lowercase in your best hand.

Tell me your favorite Aesop's fable from this term, including the moral.
What was your favorite fairy tale we have read this term?  Tell me the story.
Tell me what you remember about As You Like It or The Winter's Tale.  You can look at our character chart as you explain the story.
Choose one of the animals from Just So Stories and tell me Kipling's story of how it came to look as it does.

Tell me what you remember about Whittington, Dr. Goldsmith, or Picciola.
From Our Island Story, tell me what you remember about how King Arthur became king.
Tell me why and how The Giant's Dance was brought to Britain or about the founding of the Round Table.
Tell me what you remember about Vortigern.  What was his relationship with King Constans and Hengist and Horsa?
Illustrate one scene from the life of George Washington and tell me about it.

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

Religion - Bible Stories
Tell me all you remember about Joseph.
Tell me the origin of Passover.

Religion - Study of the Mass
When do we pray the Our Father during the Mass and why?
When the priest is praying the Mass of the Faithful, at what times does he raise his voice to an audible level?  What does he say and why?
What are the words of consecration?

Religion - Catechism
Answer the following catechism questions.

Show me  on the map where Paddle is at this point.  What is one thing that has happened to him recently?
Tell me about rivers: where do they begin and end, and what happens to them along the way?
Point to one place on the map we have studied this term.  How is it connected to our studies?

Nature Study
Tell me all you can about a bird we have read about this term from the Burgess Bird Book.
Which was your favorite place we visited for a 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 Bonny's Big Day, Blossom Comes Home, or The Market Square Dog.

Complete this warm-up activity as carefully as you can.

Music Study
What is an oratorio?  Who wrote the oratorios we studied this term? 
Handel also wrote some compositions for special government occasions.  Can you name one of them and describe the setting it was played in?
What season is being portrayed in this selection from Vivaldi's Four Seasons?
What song did you like best from The Nutcracker?

Picture Study
Choose one of Pieter Bruegel's paintings and describe it as well as you can or sketch part of it from memory.

“Whittington and the Cat” from Baldwin's Fifty Famous Stories Retold (Vincent)
Once there was a poor lad who had no mother and father because they were dead, and people in the town used to call him Dick.  He heard the stories of London, where the streets were paved with gold and the people were fine gentlemen and ladies, and no one in London had to go to work.  Dick wanted very much to go to London.  And one day a wagon driven by eight horses came past his house with bells on their heads.  Dick thought they were going to the fine country of London.  So when it was coming past his house, he ran outside and asked if he could walk along.  The driver asked him questions.  And when he saw how poor the lad was and that Dick had no father and mother and no money, he said he might do as he liked.

So it was a long walk for the little lad, but Dick went along, and he had to run fast to catch up with the wagon.  Then it was growing dark and it was nighttime, and Dick cried himself to sleep.  When he was awake, he was very hungry, and instead of thinking about London, he wanted to go home to have some food.  Then it happened that the driver, who lived in a house, was coming home, and he said, “I'm afraid you're too lazy a lad that you don't want to do any work.”  But Dick said, “I want very much to do some work if only I can find some.”  And the cook said, “If you don't go away quickly, I'll throw a pan of hot dishwater at you.”  And then the owner came in and he told the cook to make him a good dinner, and after that he found some light work for him to do.

One day, a man asked him to wash his shoes, and he said if Dick washed his shoes for him, he would give him a penny.  So Dick washed his shoes.  It took him a long time to think what he should buy with a penny.  He slept in a room where there were lots of mice and rats, and every night a number of mice and rats bothered Dick so he could not sleep, so he decided that with the penny, he should buy a cat.  The next morning, he met a girl with a cat, and he said, “I'll give you a penny for that cat.”  And she said yes, and she gave him the cat.  And she said to him, “You'll find he's a good mouser too.”  And so Dick went home with the cat, and every day he carried part of his meal up to her.  Soon all of the mice were driven out by the cat, so Dick would sleep soundly every night.

One day, the owner was letting all the people in his house to have their choice because he was sending a ship to a fine state which had many stuff.  The girl said, “You should let Dick have a choice,” and the captain of the boat said, “Why doesn't he give me that cat?  Who knows how much money he'll make out of it.”  And so they were at the king's house, and when they were eating dinner with the king and queen, an army of rats came and took the meal away from the people.  When the king and queen were preparting for another dinner, the captain told them about the cat he had that the little boy gave him.  And the king said, “If you give me that cat, I'll load your ship full of gold.”  And so the captain came with the cat.  When they were eating dinner, the cat pounced on the rats and soon mose of them were laying dead on the floor.  The other ones went into their holes and dared not to come out again.

When the ship came back, the owner called Dick from scrubbing the pans.  Dick said, “Oh please don't play a joke on me.  My clothes are not nice and my shoes are full of hobnails.”  The owner said, “This is not a joke.  The cat has brought you all this gold.”  The owner showed him the golden treasures.  Dick gave the owner and sailors presents and money, and he gave some to the owner's daughter.  And the owner said, “He shall be called Mr. Whittington by his name.”  And the stone that he sat on when he was going to sleep from the wagon is now called, “Whittington's Stone.”

"Armadillo" from Kipling's Just So Stories (Gianna)
Once upon a time there was a jaguar, and he lived with his mother, and she told him that he was supposed to scoop a tortoise out of its shell with his paw and he should throw a hedgehog into the water.  One day he found a tortoise and a hedgehog, and they were friends, and he wanted to eat them, but he did not know which was which.  One was hickley-prickley and was slowdee-doedee.  They confused him so that he did know which animals they were.  He said, “Are you a tortoise, or are you a hedgehog?”  “I don't know which one I am,” said the tortoise.  So he said, “I'm supposed to scoop a tortoise out of its shell and throw a hedgehog into the water.”  And he said, “Okay, throw me into the water, because I'm a hedgehog allright.”  So he threw him into the water.  Then hickley-prickley said, “Am I a hedgehog, or am I a tortoise?”  “A tortoise, I think,” said the jaguar.  “Allright,” he said, “I am a tortoise.”  But when the jaguar put his hand on the hedgehog, it hurt.  So he went to his mother, who said, “Son, son, son” ever so graciously, ever so many times.  She put a bandage around him for a few minutes and let him suck out the things, but his hand still hurt.  Then when he met them again, hey had already figured out each others' tricks so they both rolled around him and confused him again.
** I assume she couldn't remember the correct name of "slow-solid", so she substituted "slowdee-doedee" without missing a beat.  It was hard to keep a straight face, but I just love her dramatic confidence.  :)

"The Winter's Tale" from Nesbit's Beautiful Stories from Shakespeare (Gianna)
One time there were two kings, Leontes, King of Sicily, and Polixenes, King of Bohemia.  They were both happy kings but one of them was cruel to his wife, who had a baby.  He put his wife in prison and sent away the baby, and his wife died of heartbreak that the baby was gone.  Paulina was Hermione's friend, and Hermione was the queen.  Paulina's husband went across the sea on a boat with Hermione's baby to Bohemia, and the king was glad that the baby was now removed.

Prince Florizel went over to a house, and he found the baby, who was now quite grown up, with a husband and wife that had adoped her as a daughter.  They were shepherds.  Prince Florizel fell in love with Perdita at once and he decided to marry her, but they had to flee to Sicily.  They married there and the fathers were pleased.  Prince Florizel and Perdita went to see Leontes, but Perdita did not know that Leontes was her father yet.  But Leontes recognized her.  Now he was glad, for he was very sad that his wife had died. 

And then one day Paulina said that she had made a statue of Hermione, and she suggested that he go over to see the statue.  When he went over, he said, “This looks quite old,” and she said, “It looks as she would be right now.”  And Leontes said, “It does.”  And she said, “I'm going to close the curtain, or you will think it is real.”  And he said, “No, let me look at her a minute longer.”  And then Paulina made the signal, and the statue of Hermione, which was not really a statue, came forward to Leontes, for she knew that he didn't want her to be dead.  And they were happy, as if they had married again.

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