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What to Expect from Each Grade Level

Last updated Wednesday, June 5, 2002

Every child is unique and may be more or less developed than the norm. Be flexible! Here are two general points:
    Children do not often answer questions right away. Usually they simply stare back without any hint of comprehension. Be patient, and wait for them to answer--usually they are just thinking. This can take up to several minutes!
    These are the ages where girls can be shier than boys, and they may take some prodding to be a part of the discussion--prod all the children, and don't be discouraged if it takes some of them a while. Teach them the value of all opinions.

Grade Levels:     Kindergarten   |   1st   |   2nd   |   3rd   |   4th   |   5th

Grade Educational Level Art Ability Emotional Level

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   Most will know alphabet by Jan., numbers to 30 by June.
   Can best grasp simple stories with simple logical sequence
   Little concept of city, state, or country
   Best with simple instructions, one at a time
   Difficulty with scissors except with simple shapes
   Coloring not always inside the lines
   Can not trace patterns
   Gluesticks or paste ok--trouble with liquid glue
   Will interrupt a lot!
   Very fidgety, with little concept of personal space
   10-15 minute attention span

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   Understand characters, setting, and sequence when obvious, and later, even with just clues
   Can start to write simple sentences
   Working on adding adjectives to describe nouns
   Have better understanding of cities--if told they live in CA they may reply, "No, I live in L.A."
   Can handle complex one-step instructions or two simple sets of instructions
   Can handle simple comprehension questions: who, what, when, where, why, and how?
   Somewhat increasing dexterity, but more notable in second grade
   Understand mixing colors will make new colors
   Hand-eye better for tracing simple patterns
   Gluesticks or paste still preferred
   Will still interrupt!
   Still fidgety
   20 minute attention span

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   Can discuss characters, setting, plot, and author's purpose
   Increased comprehension--can and answer some questions
   Can also understand prediction--have them predict what will happen next, and teach cause and effect with this
   Can grasp main ideas and details that support that idea
   Can trace difficult patterns unless too intricate
   Can fold, tear, cut to make a picture, but when asking to fold many times, do so slowly and one step at a time
   Have begun to know and explore complex colors
   Less fidgety, with better concept of personal space
   20-25 minute attention span

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   Can write complete thoughts in paragraphs
   Understand more complex thoughts, and can determine the underlying theme in a story
   Understand the world is made up of continents, countries, states, and so forth
   Can really begin breaking apart stories to create ideas of their own. They can generate alternative endings to plots, and understand why
   Creativity increasing--have them create 3-D models of the setting, paint the backdrop for a play they read, rewrite the ending of a story, create a story with the same characters but different plot
   Can trace, cut and color well
   May show a need to have the project be "perfect"--will want to start over a lot
   Should behave and be much easier to manage
   20-25 minute attention span

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   Begin to analyze things critically
   Much increased vocabulary, with ability to determine meaning of word from context
   Can evaluate new information and hypotheses by testing them against known information and ideas
   Can recognize figurative language (simile, metaphor, etc.) in text
   Pretty much capable of creating anything
   Creativity may be disappearing so pull it back and give them ways to be creative
   Will be accustomed to behaving in a classroom
   May express a growing need to be "cool"
   Half hour attention span

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   Can identify the main problem or conflict of the plot and explain how it is resolved
   Can follow multiple step instructions
   Understand synonyms, antonyms, figurative language
   Can understand complex themes
   Capable of most projects
   Again, may have forgotten how to be creative, and will be more inclined to copy others--encourage creative brainstorming.
   Need things that are meaningful to do or will do a poor job
   Need to feel it is their idea to do it and not to be forced
   Will be accustomed to behaving in a classroom
   Half hour attention span

Grade Levels:     Kindergarten   |   1st   |   2nd   |   3rd   |   4th   |   5th