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Curriculum » Ideal School Curriculum


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            A child comes to first grade with a background of personal experiences, emotions, and natural abilities that build upon this background.


            Color: Be able to recognize secondary colors and produce warm and cool colors.


            Design:  Be able to express design elements of line, shape, and form.


            Life Form:  Learn that facial expressions change with emotions.


            Still Life:  Recognize what is foreground and background.



Learn to put less detail in the distance and more detail in the foreground and objects get lighter in color as they go away.



  • Learn tempera painting by starting with big shapes of color and then adding details.
  • Learn watercolor painting by using wet on wet and dry brush techniques.
  • Use a good composition by filling in the paper and experimenting with shapes and lines.
  • Experiment with tools, other than a brush in painting (e.g. sponge, sticks, finger, feathers, etc.).
  • Use watercolor and tempera paints with other media.
  • Learn to mix their own tempera and acrylic paints and use of brushes in watercolor and India ink painting.
  • Learn shades, tones, and values of colors and their visual impact emotionally on a painting.
  • Be exposed to different painting styles of different artists.



  • Use oil base clay to make a print.
  • Demonstrate printing process by use of folding paper in half.
  • Be introduced to mono-printings and heat transfer method.
  • Learn various ways of printing using crayons, stencils, textures, styrofoam, fruits and vegetables, erasers, leaves, glue, and found objects.
  • Be introduced to relief prints and etchings.

Fiber Arts:

  • Be introduced to the process of weaving paper, and the terms loom, warp, weft, and shuttle.
  • Learn to make simple puppets from paper bags, and them more complex mediums, such as: socks, clay, and paper Mache.



  • Learn to thread needle and make simple stitches (e.g. running, cross, chain, and French knot.)
  • Use muslin, other fabrics, or plastic mesh in stitchery.



  • Know about the use of a base and what the terms balance and imbalance mean.
  • Learn to sue different materials to form a sculpture (e.g. paper, Styrofoam, clay, tin, wood, paper Mache, and found objects).
  • Learn to assemble sculpture by cutting, bending, folding, tearing, piercing, overlapping, and balancing pieces.
  • Learn proper use of tools in hand building with clay and cleaning-up procedures.



  • Learn to make a montage.
  • Learn to make a collage using found objects, paper, labels, and natural objects.



  • Learn how pastels are made.
  • Employ a nub of paper to blend pastel colors together.



  • Be introduced to simple jewelry construction using string, beads, pasta, buttons, paper, and natural materials.
  • Be aware of types of jewelry made in different cultures and times of history.
  • Experiment with jewelry construction using clay, paper Mache, leather, wire, bread dough, plastic, and fabric.


Calligraphy: Discover illuminated lettering by designing a letter of the alphabet style


The first grade curriculum prepares children for the transition from a play-based, literacy curriculum, conducted at a child's pace, to a structured phonemic and whole language approach to writing and reading. Teachers respect children's need for active participation and physical movement in all areas of the curriculum. Teachers recognize the cognitive shift children make, so that they are able to recognize symbols as letters and numbers by the end of the first grade year. Children learn how the world works through studies in mathematics, science, and social studies. Teachers support and nurture children's interest in themselves and their families, as young learners.


The study of English language and literacy at the first grade level is the study of writing, learning to read, oral communication, and listening. Language and literature are introduced to children as the foundation upon which reading and writing can be learned and enjoyed. Children engage in both handwriting and computer writing experiences.

A. Writing instruction at the first grade level is the study of naming words, letter and number formation, and descriptive and narrative writing. Writing becomes formalized as the D'Nealian style of print is learned and personal experiences are written. Children write upper and lower case letters and use simple punctuation and vowels as an extension of earlier, inventive spelling. Writing skills include noun awareness, a clear definition of nouns, and the ability to write a complete sentence.

1. Present sight words in print.
2. Explain language patterns in print.
3. Introduce standard spelling of high frequency words.
4. Introduce standard spelling of categorical nouns (objects).
5. Classify nouns according to familiar groupings, such as food, clothing, etc.
6. Present and read stories in various formats; e.g., journals, published books, letters, and invitations.
7. Introduce mechanical aspects of writing and reading.

B. Reading instruction at the first grade level is the study of phonemic awareness emerging from earlier stages of the prephonemic and connected writing, drawing, and experimenting with print. Children learn to rhyme, tell sentences, use their active imaginations, and pretend in a variety of literacy settings. Children engage in reading groups as well as receive one-on-one instruction from teachers, who understand children's need to adjust to a full-day, integrated classroom.

1. Prephonenic and phonemic awareness develops children's understanding of how print and pictures convey meaning.

a. Demonstrate initial and final consonants.
b. Repetitively review letter-sound correspondence.
c. Blend alphabet letters to make words stressing sound and symbol association.
d. Segment words with spaces and write nouns in lists.
e. Review left-right progression.
f. Use picture cues for understanding.
g. Introduce syllables and word parts.
h. Encourage children to listen for vowel sounds.
i. Encourage children to listen for short and long vowel sound blending.
j. Encourage children to listen for oral and silent blending and reading.
k. Rhyme words with children.
l. Dictate words and sentences and repeat these words each time.
m. Instruct and spell -ar, -er, -ir, -or, and -ur vowels.
n. Blend digraphs and letter clusters.
o. Give examples of verb tenses.
p. Offer a variety of segment and blend multi-syllabic words.
q. Introduce middle consonant sounds.
r. Teach doubling final consonants before adding -ed or -ing.
s. Present, instruct, and spell plurals: -s, -es, and -ies.

2. Reading comprehension develops naturally, as children's reading becomes fluent.

a. Share thinking strategies.
b. Engage in oral and silent reading.
c. Discuss current events, people, places, and things.
d. Engage children in Young Authors program.
e. Continue daily journal writing.
f. Discuss and identify components of story grammar and characterization.

3. Establishment of the reading and writing connection develops children's ability to engage in independent and collaborative writing.

a. Write using inventive spelling and sentences.
b. Introduce chapter books during listening time.
c. Create writing opportunities on a daily basis.
d. Tell and retell math stories with story and plot.
e. Give reports on topics orally and in written form.
f. Assign authors of the month.
g. Compose ABC books.
h. Introduce magazine contests and create entries.
i. Invite authors to visit children and read to them.
j. Model poetry writing and rhyming poems for children to copy.
k. Read picture books on a daily basis.
l. Produce integrated strategies for writing and reading, such as reports and summaries.
m. Model writing notes, invitations, and lists for children.
n. Introduce and identify beginning, middle, and end of story.

4. Reading literature to children signifies that children now see themselves as readers and writers.

a. Demonstrate how to write a storybook and read it as being the author on a monthly basis.
b. Make up simple poems and read them aloud.
c. Read literary magazine articles to children.
d. Read stories and chapter books aloud to children.
e. Assign small group projects such as, dramas, puppetry, and writing big books.

C. The study of oral communication and listening instruction at the first grade level prepares children to speak confidently in groups and in one-to-one conversations.

1. Engage children in echo and choral reading out loud.
2. Prepare role-playing and dramatizing speaking activities.
3. Vocalize with children in songs and games, oral memorization of verses, rhymes, and other genres.
4. Read to children aloud.
5. Introduce children to the meaning of discourse and active listening.
6. Allow children to freely express their ideas during conversational style instruction and class meetings.


The study of mathematics at the first grade level is the study of concrete, logic-mathematical applications leading to children's understanding of the basic operations of addition and subtraction. Physical, rule-bound materials form the essential foundation for teaching children the building blocks of counting, estimating, measuring, adding, gathering, and analyzing data. Children learn to understand relationships in space, size, and shape, and to represent those with symbols.

A. The study of number awareness at the first grade level:

1. Count orally through one thousand.
2. Write number or shape patterns, including doubles and doubles plus 1.
3. Introduce frame, arrow, and domino patterns and rules.
4. Show number sequencing by counting on number lines and grids.
5. Use tally marks related to a theme, such as apples.
6. Count forward by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s from specified numbers.
7. Count backward by 1s, 2s, 5s, and 10s from specified numbers.
8. Make temperature notations.
9. Graph and create grids.
10. Review and use a calendar to identify dates, days of the week, months, and year. Chart school days up to the 100th day.
11. Create single-digit number stories in order to master addition and subtraction facts through 18.
12. Introduce fact families.
13. Identify odd and even numbers.
14. Introduce zero properties of addition and subtraction.
15. Introduce sets of numbers.
16. Use phone numbers, oral and written, as symbols children need to know.
17. Discuss clocks - usefulness and types.
18. Make estimations of routine time and money concepts.

B. The study of place value at the first grade level:

1. Identify and evaluate number digits in terms of hundreds, tens, and ones.
2. Read and write numbers through one thousand.
3. Make logical estimates to hundreds.
4. Choose, apply, and share thinking strategies.
5. Reintroduce use of calculators in problem solving.

C. The study of mathematical symbols and signs at the first grade level recognizes children's need to differentiate, rather than find similarities, among written symbols:

1. Recognize and use of plus (+), minus (-), and equal to (=).
2. Recognize and compare values using greater than (>) and less than (<).
3. Read and compare the temperature scales Fahrenheit and Celsius.

D. The study of time at the first grade level:

1. Compare and contrast analog and digital clocks.
2. Estimating time (hour hand only).
3. Discuss familiar times - school, lunch, dinner, favorite TV show, and bedtime.
4. Tell time by manipulation of mini-clocks.
5. Recognize hour and minute hands.
6. Introduce elapsed time.
7. Explore clock making.

E. The study of money at the first grade level is of interest to children who discern its value:

1. Recognize U.S. coins and values.
2. Identify and name monetary symbols.
3. Understand cost of purchase(s).
4. Model and show how "change" is made by using coins.
5. Practice estimation strategies.

F. The study of measurement and weight at the first grade level assists children in understanding relationships and properties among objects:

1. Introduce non-standard linear measures.
2. Introduce "foot" and standard linear measurements.
3. Use a ruler for linear measurements.
4. Use correct terminology such as inches, foot, yard, and centimeters.
5. Introduce meter stick.
6. Use a tape measure.
7. Measure height, weight, size, shape, angles, and gravity using scales, etc.
8. Introduce abbreviations such as cm., in., ft., yd., lb., and oz.
9. Practice estimating height, weight, and perimeter.

G. The study of geometry at the first grade level presents configuration and linear planes to children:

1. Identify points and segments.
2. Identify basic plane figures.
3. Introduce symmetrical patterns.
4. Name geometrical solids.

H. The study of fractions at the first grade level reinforces children's previous knowledge of part-whole relationships.

1. Reintroduce naming parts of regions as fractions.
2. Introduce naming quantities with reference to one whole.
3. Introduce naming parts of sets with fractions.


The study of science at the first grade level helps children discover earth materials, such as weather and rocks, and impart knowledge about the structure of the universe. Life sciences are studied in order to show children how plants, animals, and people are interconnected and dependent on one another and the environment.

A. The study of seasons at the first grade level:

1. Develop an understanding of the meaning of each season and their relationship to each other.
2. Discuss weather expectations during particular season.
3. State the relationship between weather in each season and its effect on the natural world, including leaves.

B. The study of weather at the first grade level:

1. Review that weather changes daily and seasonally.
2. Define and discuss weather terminology such as sun, wind, rain, snow, storms, clouds and temperature.
3. Explain the effect the sun's energy has on the earth.
4. Diagram the water cycle.
5. Explain how clouds are formed.
6. Read, graph, and chart temperatures and weather and look for patterns.
7. Identify the relationship between temperature and precipitation, and temperature and states of matter - liquid to solid.

C. The study of magnets at the first grade level:

1. Discuss and explain magnets are usually made of a metal called iron.
2. Explain and demonstrate magnets attract only those things containing iron or steel.
3. Explain magnets have two poles called north and south.
4. Teach the north pole of one magnet is attracted to the south pole of another magnet.
5. Initiate an independent exploration with magnets of students' investigation into the magnetic properties of everyday objects and record observations.

D. The study of seeds and trees at the first grade level:

1. Describe seeds as a plant beginning.
2. Explain plants have basic requirements for growth.
3. Explain that plants live everywhere on earth, not all plants can live everywhere. Specific plants have different habitats; e.g., cactus in the desert not in tundra.
4. Name plant parts and functions.
5. Explain the seed germination process.

E. The study of rivers at the first grade level:

1. Explain characteristics of rivers and that rivers have a beginning, mouth, and flow to the ocean.
2. Study rivers as being a habitat for many plants and animals.
3. Discuss rivers as part of the water cycle.
4. Define uses of rivers by humans.
5. Explore how rivers shape the land through erosion and deposition.


The study of social studies at the first grade level develops children's knowledge of how humans live and work together in families and communities. Historical developments, which contribute to America's cultural, political, and economic heritage, are presented.

A. The study of families and their heritage at the first grade level expose children to cultural issues such as ethnicity and religious backgrounds.

1. Identify what a family is, name and list descriptive family names; e.g., mother.
2. Differentiate types of family structures.
3. Discuss ways family members work together and share responsibilities.
4. Name and list rules families establish and follow.
5. Discuss importance of rules for families, schools, cities, and countries.
6. Discuss and describe the communities of which we are members; e.g., school, church, community, city/town, country, and world.
7. Discuss and write book about special events that occur at home, school, and in the community.
8. Introduce quilt making as a cultural and ethnic project.

B. The study of geography and the world at the first grade level presents places and regions to children.

1. Introduce concepts of city, town, state, country, and nation.
2. Locate state in which we live on maps of various types.
3. Locate country on world map, globe and other media.
4. Identify and list U.S. symbols such as the flag, Statue of Liberty, Liberty Bell, and White House.
5. Introduce, identify, locate, and list continents.
6. Discuss and locate directions - north, south, east, and west.
7. Discuss and explain that our nation is made of many people living in different places and having different cultures and the importance of their heritage.
8. Model a family tree.
9. Compare and contrast countries of different regions in the world.
10. Participate in the International Night play and musical about different countries.

C. The study of economics at the first grade level:

1. Identify and list needs of people who live in towns and cities.
2. Identify economic wants; discuss agricultural and rural regions.
3. Explain economic concepts of goods and services and how they satisfy needs and wants.
4. Discuss how businesses operate, such as people, jobs, operating costs, products and profit.
5. Discuss and explain how a chocolate factory functions.

D. The study of contributions and significance of historical figures through an integrated study at the first grade level:

1. Focus on early presidents, George Washington, democratic values, and colonial life.
2. Focus on pioneers and settlements in old Northwest, prairies, Southwest, and the West.
3. Study Abraham Lincoln, democracy and slavery.
4. Prepare for Columbus Day, first inhabitants, and the discovery of America.
5. Pay respect to those who fought in wars on Veteran's Day.
6. Focus on Native Americans, Pilgrims and what life was like at the time of the first Thanksgiving.
7. Plan for Christmas Around The World - customs and practices of other countries.
8. Remember and pay tribute to defenders of our way of life, celebrated on Memorial Day.
9. Discuss current events and people, places and events in our city, state, and country.
10. Prepare for Dr. Martin L. King, Jr. Day and the present history of African-Americans in Africa.




I.   Social Skills

            Team work - examples:  Bean bag war, Keep your field clean, etc.


II.  Locomotor Skills


            Examples:  Catch me if you can


III.  Manipulative Skills

             Reception and Propulsion Games

       Examples:  Busy Bee, 5-Pass etc....(may start to introduce soccer drills and basketball skills)


IV.  Axial

             Fitness Activities and Games

             Examples:  Partner spring, push ups, arm circles, stretches, etc.


V.  Exploratory Rhythmics

            Creative Movement - examples:  Hoops, rope activities


VI  Tumbling

            Basic Gymnastics

            Examples:  Jump turns, straddle rolls, etc.




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