First Grade

Our Curriculum

The Barbereux School provides an environment conducive to the natural development of young children. We believe education is a process of unfolding rather than acquiring, and little children learn best through many play-based opportunities that allow them to manipulate and explore their environment and ideas. The act of learning through discovery makes the knowledge much more meaningful. The teacher’s main goal is to set up the classroom and guide the child towards discovery.

For the purpose of identifying the skills we want children to acquire, the following curriculum is divided by subject/developmental area. At Barbereux, we believe our curriculum is a living document that is continually updated as the children and world at large change over time.

Language Arts

Learning Objectives:

  • Use newly aquired words
  • Aweness of correct language patterns
  • Continue phonemic awareness
  • Develop phonic skills
  • Begin to recognize compound words and parts of words
  • Begin to recognize and understand contractions, plurals etc.
  • Begin to use reading/word identification strategies
  • Build sight word vocabulary and use specialized vocabulary from other subject areas
  • Recall prior knowledge
  • Formulate questions and make predictions related to text

Examples of Activities:

  • Respond to literature through art, drama, music, writing, puppetry, oral reading, reciting
  • Create class stories based on the patterns of books read
  • Share personal responses to books with other students in a variety of ways
  • Listen to literature read aloud
  • Read literature aloud with teacher, peers, and independently
  • Participate in story time with teacher and whole or small groups
  • Listen to teacher read from non-picture books to increase comprehension skills
  • Read at home

Genres Studied:

  • Folktales and Fairytales
  • Animal books
  • Periodicals/newspapers related to curriculum
  • Picture books
  • Fiction
  • Nonfiction
  • Poetry

Learning Objectives:

  • Choose a topic, gather information and write
  • Learn to organize ideas
  • Learn to develop ideas into sentences
  • Develop short stories
  • Develop sense of identity and conscious worth through the writing process
  • Create pieces using factual information
  • Express own ideas in creative writing
  • Use resources to find unfamiliar words, define words, spell correctly, and find the best words to use
  • Begin to use periods, commas, exclamation points, question marks, apostrophes and capitalization correctly
  • Begin to study vowel patterns, blends, etc.
  • Make plurals by adding “s” and “es.”
  • Use inventive spelling
  • Spell sight words and phonic pattern words correctly
  • Work toward improved legibility in printing
  • Learn consistent letter formations and spacing
  • Work toward use of conventional grammar

Examples of Activities:

  • Write for a variety of purposes, using a variety of formats including stories, short reports and poetry
  • Keep a daily journal of ideas and activities
  • Write chart stories, lists, etc., with whole group and in small groups
  • Receive instruction in grammar, spelling and writing mechanics, with whole group, in small groups and individually (to meet individual developmental level of each student)
  • Write and create books, with the class and individually, on a variety of topics
  • Share individual compositions with peers, teachers and families
  • Play letter, word, and language games under teacher direction during class and without teacher during free-play
  • Compose letters to communicate with families and friends

Objective: Speak Effectively

  • Begin to identify various purposes for speaking
  • Use standard English in a manner that is appropriate for age level
  • Develop a vocabulary that is appropriate for age level
  • Participate in various informal and formal speaking situations
  • Use language to communicate wants and needs
  • Communicate new information learned
  • Participate in class discussions

Objective: Listen Effectively

  • Identify various purposes for listening effectively
  • Recall content of messages received
  • Use appropriate audience/listener responses
  • Develop strategies for good listening
  • Ask appropriate questions of a speaker
  • Demonstrate ability to comprehend speech and meaning in various situations
  • Follow 2-3 step directions accurately

Examples of Activities:

  • Conduct brainstorming sessions
  • Retell stories in sequence
  • Listen to, bring or tell the joke or riddle of the day
  • Create add-on stories with peers
  • Memorize and recite poetry
  • Read aloud to teachers and peer
  • Respond to teacher read selections of literature
  • Show and tell
  • Observe and discuss works of art: line, form, color, shape, etc.


  • Number Sense: Learning Objectives
  • Count to 100
  • Count by twos, fives, and tens to 100
  • Use ordinal numbers
  • Use strategies for adding and subtracting, such as counting up and back, doubling, halving
  • Identify one half, one third, one fourth using models and symbols
  • Use manipulatives to find sums of basic facts up to 18 and begin memorization
  • Add three one-digit numbers to 18
  • Add two-digit numbers without renaming them
  • Subtract without renaming numbers
  • Learn to use estimation techniques to determine reasonable quantities
  • Know place values to 100’s
  • Understand and use the symbols + and =
  • Read and write 2- and 3-digit numbers
  • Create and recognize number sentences
  • Compare number values to one another
  • Recognize odd and even numbers
  • Understand the concept of zero
  • Understand multiplication
  • Identify and create square, rectangle, triangle, quadrilateral, pentagon, trapezoid, hexagon, octagon, and parallelogram
  • Identify circles, ovals, ellipses
  • Identify congruent and symmetrical figures
  • Begin to identify 3-dimensional shapes
  • Begin to learn concepts such as parallel and perpendicular
  • Understand simple patterns based on numerical, geometric, or physical properties of things
  • Collect and record observations of data over periods of time
  • Display and analyze data in a variety of methods
  • Make and interpret and make pictographs and bar graphs
  • Use proper terminology to discuss data and graphs
  • Identify a sensible temperature in a given situation using the Fahrenheit scale
  • Measure length in centimeters and inches
  • Measure capacity in cups, pints, quarts, half gallons, and gallons
  • Measure weight in pounds
  • Become aware of the elements of the metric system and measure weight in kilograms
  • Understand equivalent relationships such as “2 cups = 1 pint”
  • Use and read a scale to determine the weight of objects
  • Know and recite the days of the week and the months of the year
  • Read and use a monthly calendar


  • Add coins needed to make a given amount up to one dollar
  • Identify currency and coins
  • Use coins to solve money problems


  • Identify times of day on the hour, the half hour, five-minute interval
  • Solve simple problems of elapsed time


  • Discuss possible and actual outcomes or events
  • Categorize events as more predictable or less predictable.
  • Use a variety of math and sorting manipulatives daily; include puzzles, shapes, peg boards, Unifex cubes, etc.
  • Use measuring tools daily; include rulers, scales, kitchen tools; improvise measuring devices
  • Play a variety of age appropriate board and card games
  • Use math throughout the day such as when setting the snack table or taking attendance
  • Listen for math terms and ideas used as teacher and peers engage in daily conversation
  • Participate in cooking and baking projects
  • Participate in daily math exercises, created to meet individual level of each student, that focus on developing particular math skills
  • Participate in critical and creative thinking games, exercises, puzzles, etc.; some introduced by teacher and some created by students individually and collectively
  • Apply math concepts and relationships in other subject areas

Social Studies

  • Become aware of social and cultural diversity in the world
  • Discuss and explore how to think about and seek solutions to present and future social and political problems
  • Distinguish between past, present, and future
  • Develop ability to make decisions based on exemplary values
  • Explore various ways and means to go about solving problems
  • Learn what a responsible citizen is and how to be one in school, community, and the world
  • Understand basic principles of government such as leadership, fairness, and cooperation
  • Understand simple economic principles, such as buying/selling, trading, and integrity
  • Understand simple geography concepts such as city, state, country, continent, and oceans
  • Demonstrate an awareness of our community and its participants/workers
  • Know address and phone number.
  • Prominent, historical, and contemporary figures
  • Our country and its symbols
  • Sources and types of food, clothing, shelter
  • Geography (maps and basic geography features)
  • History of neighborhood and country
  • Community Workers
  • Local and National Holidays
  • Families
  • Native Americans.
  • Celebrate cultural holidays that are meaningful to one or more of the children/teachers
  • Create a class cultural book, which includes a page about each family or each culture represented in the class
  • Read and discuss simple books about cultural holidays, foreign cultures, and diversity
  • Explore the diversity of classroom and world through posters, artwork, songs, books, and play items
  • Discuss and/or invite parents to come speak about or demonstrate appropriate cultural/family activities
  • Participate in voting activities
  • Role play commercial activities such as buying and selling
  • Use a variety of maps as references

(Kindergarten and first grade do the same science and social studies units. Children who attend two years, do not repeat duplicate activities.)



  • Learn distinguishing characteristics of non-living and living things
  • Acquire skills of scientific observation
  • Understand the concept and process of cause and effect
  • Make predictions; discuss whether they are based on personal experience, scientific fact or speculation/intuition
  • Learn to question: Utilize inherent sense of wonder to formulate scientific hypotheses
  • Understand and practice the process of experimentation: hypothesis, test, conclusion
  • Analyze, question and evaluate data
  • Recognize, appreciate, articulate and record scientific discovery
  • Begin to understand scientific classification
  • Use scientific language, tools, and technology
  • Learn and follow safety procedures.
  • Living versus non-living
  • Solids, liquids, gasses
  • Our earth and environment
  • Conservation and Recycling
  • Weather and seasonal cycles
  • Hygiene and nutrition
  • Force and motion
  • Simple machines
  • Astronomy
  • Biology and ecology (species and classes of animals)
  • Plants
  • Nature walks throughout the year (During each walk, discuss what we discover. Back at school, extend activity by reading books about what was discovered, drawing pictures or creating a class book from pictures.)
    Maintain a science table for items to explore or research such as rocks, seashells, flowers, plants, seeds
  • Grow seeds inside and transplant them in late spring
  • Participate in baking/cooking projects every other week
  • Make “play dough” once a month and observe the changes
  • Pursue in-depth science activities that correlate with the current unit
  • Use fiction and non-fiction books, charts, discussions and experiments to explore topics/units in depth
  • Make models of scientific objects
  • Role play and illustrate scientific concepts

(Kindergarten and first grade do the same science and social studies units. Children who attend two years, do not repeat duplicate activities.)

Skills and Development

Learning Objectives:

  • Identify elements/principles of design
  • Demonstrate skills necessary to produce visual art
  • Use appropriate vocabulary to describe art
  • Recognize processes and tools
  • Be familiar with artwork. representing historical periods and styles
  • Recognize art forms that are important to a variety of cultural traditions
  • Be introduced and engaged with a variety of art media
  • Acquire a sense of pride about their art accomplishments
  • Use creative arts as an avenue for self-expression
  • Learn about famous artists and their work

Examples of Activities:

  • Explore mediums of paint (oils, watercolors, tempera)
  • Create original designs for printmaking and produce prints
  • Create 3-D sculptures using various materials
  • Use clay to create objects
  • Explore techniques of drawing from life objects and imaginative design
  • Use various media to create group and individual collages
  • Construct structures using various building materials
  • Use various media to create large cooperative murals
  • Observe, discuss, compare and replicate various works of art from diverse sources and historical periods


  • Move to music (live and recorded) mimicking the movements of animals (skipping, hopping, galloping) to match the music
  • Sing with the piano, guitar, etc.
  • Play rhythm sticks or other simple instruments to music
  • Participate in creative dance activities
  • Mimic rhythms by clapping hands, tapping rhythm sticks or other simple instruments
  • Draw to music
  • Free dance to music and learn simple dances
  • Play games or act out stories to music


  • Role play characters from stories and real life situations
  • Interact with other children in role play situations
  • Act out various rhymes and stories in a formal and informal manner
  • Create scenery and props to accompany role playing
  • Develop improvisation skills


  • Recognize and name feelings
  • Express feelings appropriately
  • Learn how to treat adults and peers with respect
  • Communicate effectively and appropriately
  • Acquire good friendship skills such as sharing, taking turns, etc.
  • Learn how to work and play cooperatively
  • Develop problem-solving skills
  • Develop self-reliance and self-control
  • Develop initiative and independence
  • Learn to follow classroom routines and rules
  • Develop a positive self-concept
  • Recognize and honor self-worth of others


  • Talk about and continually model appropriate manners. Acquiring these skills is an ongoing process
  • Encourage the use of words instead of tears or physical means. We help them express to us what is wrong so we can help them solve problems
  • Teach problem solving skills by modeling how to resolve conflicts peacefully, giving suggestions when there is conflict, or allowing the children to contribute ideas on how a problem should be solved
  • Consistently read about and discuss friendship issues throughout the year
  • Include the children in creating and maintaining the classroom rules and resolving classroom conflicts
  • Provide activities where children can achieve success and help others achieve success
  • Empower children to make their own decisions appropriately


  • Develop a variety of large-motor skills such as galloping, jumping, climbing, pedaling, hopping and skipping
  • Develop fine motor control/skills
  • Develop attention span for age-appropriate activities
  • Know and apply the principles and components of health related fitness and nutrition
  • Learn how to play safely and prevent illness or injury
  • Understand the human body systems, how they function and interrelate
  • Acquire skills needed to take independent care for personal hygiene needs


  • Large Motor: Outdoor play, indoor games and music/rhythm activities
  • Small Motor: Cutting, stringing beads, puzzles, drawing, using pegboards, painting, doing lacing activities, etc.
  • Attention span increases with age and a gradual exposure to longer and more complex group time as well as individual exposure to more complex activities
  • Regularly discuss and read about safety, fitness and health practices.