Thursday, July 2, 2015
Inside Our Form I Binder
My rising first grader has been eagerly awaiting a Year 1 rite of passage in this house: receiving her very own binder! She squealed with excitement when I brought it out of the office and placed it on her school shelf in preparation for Monday's start. (I should add: this girl is amazingly easy to please, if that's not obvious. ;)) The funny thing is that it's really nothing special! Just a handy housing place for her written/drawn assignments and reference materials for AO's Form I work.
Care to peek inside?
Copywork. Cate is working on letter formation and loves writing. So I printed a mix of alphabet practice and simple sentences to start her off. Later in the year, I'll have her work on the poems she is memorizing, favorite bits from her school readings, and prayers. I usually keep just a couple pages in her binder and the rest in my own folder, waiting to replenish hers when she has finished.
An alphabet card. These are just little reference cards for my eager early writers to use in their free time. I printed them using Startwrite, just like I did the copywork pages.
Maps for mapwork and for reference. Last year, I printed blank maps of Europe and America for my older kids to note relevant places we encountered in our readings--beyond the scheduled mapwork we did alongside our designated geography readings. I did the same thing for my first grader's binder this year. So when we read that Velazquez painted in Spain, Handel was born in Germany but composed for the King of England, or Leif the Lucky landed on this coast or that, we can make a quick note on these casual maps instead of just referencing our wall map (which, although convenient, wasn't making the impact I was hoping for).
I also have our formal maps for this year printed on cardstock--Year 1 has Paddle to the Sea scheduled, so we'll be covering the Great Lakes region in a bit more depth as we chart Paddle's journey. Next year we'll do the same with Tree in the Trail, and the year after with Marco Polo.
And we refer to these handy laminated maps all the time, so they're in there too.
Binder timeline. I've described our binder timeline before. Cate's is blank now but it won't be by the end of the year! My older kids have kept the same binder timeline through all of Form I.
Bird coloring sheets. This is something I did as a supplemental project with my older two when they went through The Burgess Bird Book in Year 1, and I'm certain Cate is going to enjoy it as well. I used the Peterson field guide coloring book to make copies of the relevant birds, and she can color them based on the field guide's key. At the end of the year, we can add them to her nature journal. This is not a required element of studying Burgess' book, and for some kids it would be overkill. For my kids, who happen to love coloring and nature, it's a fun addition. (One might do the same thing for The Burgess Animal Book in Year 2, but we didn't.)
Memory work. Each child has in her binder a copy of the selections we're working on: a hymn, a folk song, a poem, a passage from Shakespeare, and a passage from the Bible.
Once she learns this memory work, I remove all but her poem, which she illustrates and then gives to me to add to our family poetry folder. We have four years worth of poetry in there from two children so far, and there will be more added as the years go on. It's a lovely pile of drawings and poems even at this early stage!
Math drill sheets. We use RightStart math in the early years, and starting in Level B, they provide math drill pages for regular use. I put these in page protectors and they do one a day with a wet-erase marker. Later on, I'll often print extra practice on specific topics from Math Aids and tuck them in the pocket for daily use.
Drawing drill sheets. These free printables from Donna Young's site are another of those wonderful extras for kids that love to draw. I schedule these for five minutes a couple times a week. They coordinate with the exercises in Mona Brooks' Drawing with Children, which I have used on and off with my kids for the past few years.
And not shown, but -- Paper for drawn narrations. I pop some blank paper in the back pocket for easy access. My 1st grader's are just blank pages, but in second and third grade, I printed a variety of lined papers with a blank space at top, bottom, or side for sentence-long written narrations or copywork accompanied by a drawing.
Not all our Form I Keeping is held here; we keep nature journals separately in a hardcover spiral bound notebook, do math on looseleaf sheets or in math workbooks, house our family Calendar of Firsts in a shared binder, etc. But this binder makes it easy for her to keep her personal work together and organized. I can also assign "binder work" first thing in the morning, and that includes copywork, map drill (when she's a bit older), drawing drill, memory work, and more--and all she needs to bring to the table for that learning block is this binder and her pencil box.
This binder stays pretty much as-is (with year-specific additions and refreshing) through Form I (Years 1-3), but I'm pulling together my Year 4 students' binders now and I'll have to chat about those once they're up and running--added responsibility, more written assignments, and a couple on-going projects means theirs are a bit fuller.