Age 3 through 6th Grade

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First Grade Overview

Students doing hands-on math

First grade – a benchmark year signaled by the move to the “big building.” 

Other highlights include learning about and touring diverse St. Louis neighborhoods, creating time capsules to be opened in sixth grade, and studying Australia. Children also learn about the history of the School.

Some favorite books for first graders include the Amelia Bedelia series, The Boxcar Children series, and the Mr. Putterseries. And taking home “Mr. Bear” and writing in his journals are very popular.

Academically, students are using a literature-based approach to reading. They secure math concepts through small-group differentiated instruction. They refine their penmanship skills and write in-depth creative stories and a research paper on an Australian animal. They also write original poems which they share with parents during a “Poetry Tea” in the spring. Spelling is taught through the schoolwide phonics program and language arts.

First graders do a major drama production in the fall, alternating years between the history of the school and Australian folk tales.

Literature/Language Arts

    Learn the writing process with a focus on narrative, informative and opinion writingDevelop structural analysis skills for words
  • Demonstrate phonetic analysis of words
  • Use a dictionary
  • Use self-correction strategies
  • Become more fluent in oral reading
  • Answer age-appropriate questions about stories
  • Sequence a series of events
  • Author and present a poem
  • Write a research paper
  • Continue to build handwriting skills


  • Use concrete and pictorial models to create sets
  • Use number bonds to represent number combinations
  • Use place value models
  • Model addition and subtraction situations
  • Use order, grouping and zero properties for addition and subtraction
  • Use mental math strategies
  • Compare lengths and masses
  • Tell time
  • Represent and interpret measurement and data in picture and bar graphs and tally charts
  • Use math vocabulary that corresponds with each unit
  • Present mathematical thinking through journaling

Social Studies

  • Learn map skills
  • Incorporate international perspective through study of Australia
  • Investigate, compare and contrast various neighborhoods in St. Louis
  • Research the history of Community School through artifacts and oral history
  • Develop personal time capsule to be opened during sixth grade year


  • Theme: Science in Our Community
  • Learn how scientists group animals based on their body coverings and body parts
  • Identify characteristics of each animal group (vertebrates)
  • Explore several animal habitats and compare them to native habitats found in the community
  • Observe and graph daily weather
  • Use basic weather instruments to measure temperature, wind direction and rain amounts
  • Learn the water cycle
  • Identify the four seasons and weather associated with each
  • Learn the importance of the sun, what causes day and night and what causes the seasons
  • Identify the planets in order from sun
  • Investigate and measure matter
  • Explore the properties of solid, liquid and gas
  • Identify the parts of a plant and explain their roles
  • Discover what plants need to grow and survive


  • Learn communication functions (greeting, introductions, identification of friends and objects, age, date, likes and dislikes)
  • Understand adjective agreement with colors and definite articles
  • Learn common French names, Francophone countries, cardinal numbers, letters of the alphabet, actions
  • Recognize printed form of vocabulary words
  • Copy words, phrases from word bank
  • Introduction to French culture and monuments

Physical Education

  • Recognize territories in team games
  • Chase and evade in tag games
  • Run one mile cross country
  • Perform knee and standard pushups
  • Dribble around obstacles
  • Throw and catch while running
  • Identify different locomotor movement through drum beats
  • Create partner tumbling activities
  • Teach and lead nursery buddy in activities
  • Throw and catch overhand
  • Identify north, south, east and west
  • Climb up and down panel of climbing wall
  • Utilize Brain Gym exercises
  • Lead the class in tai chi exercises
  • Attempt long rope jumping

Performing Arts


  • Introduction of mallet instruments
  • Recognize, read, write and sing so, mi, do and la
  • Understand 4/4 meter, half notes and eight beat phrases
  • Perform rhythmic canon
  • Recognize staff and bar lines
  • Sing in two parts
  • Recognize and use the repeat sign
  • Recognize music that contains two parts
  • Build game and song repertoire
  • Drama

    • Demonstrate competency in enunciation, projection, cheating out, eye contact, tableau, and visualization
    • Use the tools of an actor to become a character
    • Work cooperatively to solve problems
    • Sequence a story
    • Learn stage direction terms
    • Perform Pieces of Our Past or Australian Folk Tales (alternate years)

    Visual Arts

    Studio Art

    • Understand color wheel and continuum of colors
    • Mix secondary and tertiary colors for projects
    • Paint with contrasting colors
    • Add textures to paintings
    • Texture patterns in wax-resist paintings
    • Distinguish hollow form versus solid form
    • Create open forms with clay
    • Prepare an architectural model or another three dimensional representation
    • Apply the effects of repeated line
    • Cut complex shapes
    • Create puzzles with a variety of shapes
    • Generate work with formal and informal symmetry
    • Illustrate with basic repetition of line, dots and shape
    • Alter self-designed pattern into a cohesive whole
    • Make interdisciplinary connections


    • Understand and demonstrate safety guidelines in the woodshop
    • Make individual design decisions affecting the outcomes of the assigned projects
    • Use claw hammer
    • Use half round file as a shaping tool
    • Use nails as a design element
    • hare completed project with classmates and teachers
    • Analyze quality of each project and set goals for improvement
    • Use scrap wood to create appropriate and safe projects
    • Measure in inches and half inches