what we did – a first grader’s curriculum

I’ve finished one kids paperwork. If you’d like to see what our first grader learned this year, click past the “read more” page break:



  1. Grammar


  • Parts of speech: Identifying and defining nouns, pronouns, conjunctions, adverbs, adjectives, interjections, verbs, and prepositions.
  • Past present and future tense of verbs
  • Singular vs. plural nouns
  • Capitalization


  • Brain storming examples of each part of speech
  • Using Montessori Grammar Symbols to identify parts of speech in pre-written sentences
  • Rewriting sentences to change verb tense, to be verbs and how they change depending on number
  • Using plural nouns

Videos Watched:

School House Rock: Conjunction Junction, Unpack Your Adjectives, Verbs: That’s What’s Happenin, interjections, Get your adverbs here

Montessori Lessons on Noun, Verbs, and Articles

  1. Phonics:


  • Review of previous concepts including c-v-c words, consonant blends, short vowels
  • Introduction of long vowel sounds (silent e and diphthong), ing, and words that break the “rules”
  1. Reading
  • Practice reading aloud from readers covering new and previously mastered phonics lessons.
  • Readers: Bob Books set 2: Fun in the Sun, Up Pup, Pip and Pog, Bow Wow, The Big Hat, Sox the Fox, Ok Kids, Rub-a-Dub, Go Bus, The Red Hen, The Sad Cat, 0 to 10, Bob Books set 4: Ten Men! , Bump!, Cat and Mouse, The Swimmers, Samantha, Willy’s Wish, Jumper and the Clown, Max and the Tom Cats, Bob Books set 5: The Game, Joe’s Toe. Bud’s Nap, The Picnic, The Train, The Visit, Chickens, and The King
  1. Writing
  • Practice Writing words encountered in phonics lessons
  • Copying sentences
  • Creating sentences from picture prompts and grammar templates

Fiction Books Read Aloud to Theresa:

Mr. Willowby’s Christmas Tree- Robert Bailey

The Night Before Christmas- Putman

If you give a cat a cupcake – Laura Numeroff

Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer- Golden

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly by Lucille Colandro

There was an Old Lady who swallowed a bell by Lucille Colandro

Curious George at the Aquarium- H.A Reys

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson

How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss

The Biggest, Best Snow Man by Margery Cuyler

Row Row Row Your Boat by Iza Trapani

The Runaway Bunny –Margaret Wise Brown

Jingle Bells- Iza Trapani

Where the Wild Things Are -Maurice Sendak

Too Many Turkeys – Linda White

Ten Seeds- Ruth Brown

Five Little Monkeys Bake  a Birthday Cake – Christelow

Five Little Monkeys with Nothing to Do- Christelow

Just Go to Bed by Mercer Meyer

Five Little Monkeys Play Hide and Seek –Christelow

The Itsy Bitsy Spider- Trapani

Big Pumpkin –Silverman

Most Perfect Spot- Goode

Dinosaur Roar- Strickland

Wynken, Blynken, Nod- Eugene Field

The Mitten- Jan Brett

Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed- Christelow

Milly and Tilly- Kate Summers

Give me my Yam- Blake

Hepcat- William Bramhall

I was so Mas- Mercer Meyer

The OctoNauts and the Only Lonely Monster- Meomi

The Tale of Peter Rabbit- Potter

Mary Had a Little Lamb- Trapani

I’m not going to get up today- Seuss

Stella Luna –Cannon

Too Many Pumpkins- White

Polar Bear Polar Bear what Do You Hear- Carle

Mr. Brown can Moo Can you- Seuss

Brown Bear Brown Bear What Do You See?- Carle

There was an Old Lady Who Swallowed a She- Colandro

There’s Something in My Attic- Mayer

Snail Trail- Ruth Brown

I’m a little Teapot- Trapani

Toad- Ruth Brown

Verdi- Cannon

Christmas Eve on Sesame Street- Stone

Winnie the Pooh- A.A Milne



Book sources: the library, the book thing, amazon.com

75 Picture Prompts for young writers- Grades 1-3



Grammar Symbols, introduction to nouns and verbs

Montessori Elementary Language Lesson: Articles

Schoolhouse Rock: Grammar – Conjunction Junction

School house Rock – Unpack your adjectives

SchoolHouse Rock –Verbs

Lolly lolly get your adverbs here



Material and supplies:

Dry erase board, dry erase pen, Montessori grammar symbol stencils, paper, pencil, handwriting paper, sentence strips, computer, television, roku


Demonstrated Skill

This year Theresa:

  • Made substantial gains in ability to blend and decode words using phonics “rules”
  • Learned parts of speech and was able to not only analyze sentences for parts of speech but using templates to create sentence of her own with specific parts of speech
  • Continued to work on her handwriting both with and without handwriting guidelines
  • Showed emerging understanding of verb tenses and using plural nouns
  • Showed Understanding of capitalization and punctuation



Brief description: English is a daily subject, duration of which depends highly on what we’re learning and how much time the children need. I teach lessons in the “three period” style, continuing to teach/reteach the concept if necessary, and then it is worked into their schedule for independent English work. Theresa and Patrick were instructed together and worked as a team on independent work. The children were read to daily as well as had time to read quietly and aloud from readers.




  • Simple Addition and Subtraction, Multiplication and Division using number bonds and visual strategies
  • Skip Counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, 10 and 25
  • Adding and Subtracting like fractions
  • Fraction equivalents, comparing fractions
  • Fractions as part of a whole
  • Measuring objects
  • Converting inches to feet
  • Base 10 place value to four digits

Time and Money:

  • Telling time to the hour and half hour on both numerical and traditional clock face.
  • Counting pennies, nickels, dimes and quarters to one dollar
  • Money equivalencies


  • Finding Area and perimeter of quadrilaterals
  • Identifying quadrilaterals
  • Building platonic and Archimedean solids
  • Creating patterns with Penrose tiles (kites and darts)
  • Identifying and creating points, lines, angles, rays, line segments
  • Properties of right, acute, and obtuse angles
  • Identifying right, acute, obtuse, isosceles, and equilateral triangles
  • Euclidian concepts via Dragonbox Elements
  • Tessellations

Algebra via Dragon Box Algebra 5+:

  • Solving for x
  • Inverse operations
  • Balancing equations
  • Use of Parenthesis to Isolate
  • Order of Operations

Understanding sets:

  • Creating sets
  • Subsets
  • Union
  • Intersection
  • Venn Diagrams

Math related games played:

  • Connect 4
  • Snakes and Ladders
  • Sorry
  • SET
  • No stress Chess
  • Cluedo


Math kits and manipulatives:

Learning resources fraction tower and activity cards

Attribute blocks

Montessori Stamp game

Base ten blocks

Montessori Fraction board

Learning Resources Geoboards kit with activity cards


1 inch square plastic unit tiles

Tessellation Puzzle- Kites and Darts

Workbook: Stick Kids Work Book – What time is it? Grade One

Material and supplies: dry erase board, dry erase pens, pencils, paper, 3 ring binders, paper towels, tape measure, saucepan lid for drawing clock faces, wooden shapes, plastic rings, notecards, pencils

Demonstrated Skill:


  • Shows emerging ability to perform basic mental addition and subtraction
  • Utilized visual strategies to add, subtract, multiply and divide
  • Shows emerging understanding of fraction, fraction equivalents, comparison and basic addition and subtraction of fractions
  • Is able to use rulers, unit squares, and tape measures to measure objects
  • is able to determine perimeter and area of quadrilaterals
  • Is able to tell time to the hour and half hour
  • Can count combinations of pennies, dimes, quarters, and nickels determine equivalent amounts (1 dollar or less)
  • Is able to compare quantities
  • Received exposure to balancing equations, solving for x order of operations and mathematical properties via game play
  • Emerging ability to convert inches to feet
  • Shows interest in and created tessellations and geometric patterns using manipulatives


Brief description: Math is covered daily via direct instruction and independent work duration of which depends on what we’re learning. As with English, I teach lessons in the “three period” style, continuing to teach/reteach the concept if necessary, and then it is worked into their schedule for independent English work. Theresa and Patrick were instructed together and worked as a team on independent work.


Curriculum: Following Unit Studies

Physical Science

  1. Magnetism

Concepts and Topics:

Properties of magnets, poles, attraction of opposites, repelling of same, magnetizing objects, magnetic materials


Using magnets and different materials both magnetic and non to explore above concepts

Books/Magazines read:

Rookie Read about Science “Magnetism”

Videos Watched:

Bill Nye the Science Guy: “Magnetism” via Roku Plex

Physical Science for Children “All About Magnets” via Amazon Prime

  1. Electricity

Concepts and Topics:

Conductivity, Materials that conduct, insulate, offer resistance, circuits, batteries, flow of electricity, electricity safety


Creating circuits via snap circuits

Determining which materials provided conduct electricity and complete a “broken” circuit

Books/Magazines read:

Rookie Read About Science: What is Electricity?

Social Studies tie in: Learning about Nikola Tesla

Videos Watched:

Electricity! – School House Rock video via youtube

Bill Nye the Science Guy – “Electricity” via roku Plex

Tesla Documentary -DVD

  1. Simple Machines

Concepts and Topics:

Common simple machines

Simple Machines in everyday life

Vocabulary: Load, Effort, Force, Fulcrum, pulley, wheel, axle, lever, inclined plane, wedge

Social Studies tie-in: learned about the cartoonist/satirist Rube Goldberg and “Rube Goldberg Machines”


Completing Learning Resources Activity Cards for their Simple Machines Kit

Making Models of Common Simple Machines (Pulleys, Wheel and Axle, Lever, Inclined Plane, Wedge)

Locating and identifying simple machines around the home and in the community

Books/Magazines read:

Kids Discover “Simple Machines”

Rookie Read About Science: “Simple Machines” by Allan Fowler

“Levers” by Anne Welsbacher

Videos Watched:

Bill Nye the Science Guy Season 1 Episode 10 “Simple Machines” via Roku Plex

Physical Science for Children “All About Simple Machines” via Amazon Prime

Ok Go “This Too Shall Pass” Rube Goldberg Machine Video

  1. Gravity

Concepts and Topics Studied:

Gravity of the Earth/on other planets, effects on tides, electromagnetic force, mass, weight, wind resistance, falling object


Gravity Activities from PBS Learning Media: Gravity and Falling Objects


Activity Objectives: Describe gravity as a force that exists between any two objects that have mass”


“Gravity is a Mystery” by Franklin Branley


Galileo: His Experiments (Flash interactive)


Galileo on the Moon


What is Weightlessness?


Bill Nye the Science Guy “Gravity”

The Magic School Bus gains weight

Social Studies tie in: learning about Galileo’s falling object experiments, Isaac Newton

  1. Light

Concepts and Topics Studied:

Reflection, refraction, absorption, visible light spectrum, electromagnetic spectrum, rainbows, prisms, opaque, transparent, and translucent objects, light is energy, light waves


Exploring concepts using prisms, flashlights, fiber optic fibers, mirrors, and rainbow glasses


Light- Bonnie Juettner

Light: Shadows Mirrors, and Rainbows by Rosinsky

Art activity:

Using photographic paper to make prints, light painting


Bill Nye the Science Guy: Light and Color

Magic School Bus: Gets a Bright Idea, Makes a Rainbow

Physical Science for Kids: All About Light


Concepts and Topics Studied:

Biomes, habitat, ecosystems (different land and aquatic ecosystems including: wetlands, forests, ocean, river, lake, desert, tundra, grassland) food chain within ecosystem, common animals and how they are adapted to the habitat, different types of forests, difference between deciduous trees and conifers


Animals of the desert, temperate forest, grassland, and rainforest nomenclature cards

Field Trips:

Jug Bay Wetland Sanctuary

National Aquarium in Baltimore

Videos Watched:

Biomes of the World In Action (Via Amazon) titles: “Coniferous Forests”, “Deciduous Forests”, “Freshwater Ecosystems”, “Marine Ecosystems”, “Rainforest Biomes”

Bill Nye the Science Guy (via Roku Plex) titles: “Lakes and Ponds,” “Ocean Life,” “Deserts,” “Climates,” “Biodiversity,” “Forests,” “Wetlands”

National Geographic Animals in Nature Series “Realm of the Alligator” (Okefenokee Swamp) via amazon prime

Wild America “In the Forest” (Forests of the United States) via amazon prime

Magic School Bus: “All Dried Up (deserts),” “In the Rain Forest,” “Gets Swamped”

Natural Wonders Series (via amazon prime) “Death Valley,” “Gobi Desert,” “Sahara Safari”

Books read:

National Geographic “Explore a Spooky Swamp”

“The Great Animal Search” by Ian Jackson

“Rivers and Streams” by Jenny Vaughan

“Chesapeake Bay Walk” by Owen Bell

“A Day in the Salt Marsh” by Kevin Kurtz

Cathryn Sill “About Habitat” Books: “Grasslands,” “Deserts,” “Forests,”

“Temperate Deciduous Forests” by Laura Puedie Salas

“An Ocean of Animals” by Janine Scott

Rookie Read About Science: “It could Still be a Desert,” “Our Living Forests,” “Life in a Wetland”

“Living in a Rain Forest”

Social Studies tie-in: locating/learning about biome examples in the U.S including: Temperate rainforest of Olympic National Park, Okefenokee Swamp, The Great Plains, The Great Lakes, Death Valley and the Sonoran Desert, Chesapeake Bay


Concepts and Themes:

Moon phases, moon effect on tides, eclipses, Planets, Solar System, Stars, heliocentrism, solar power, sun’s role in the food chain, The Big Bang, Being made of “star stuff,” immensity of the universe


Ordering the planets in our solar system using the planet magnets

Creating the lunar cycle using three part moon phases cards and a “phases of the moon” chart

Space three part nomenclature cards including: solar system, moon, planet, stars, nebula, asteroid, space station, astronaut, comet, space shuttle, black hole, meteor

Creating the phases of the moon chart using Oreo cookies

Books read:

“The Moon Book” by Gail Gibbons

“Space: The Animated 3-D Guide”

National Geographic Kids “Space”

Videos Watched:

Bill Nye the Science Guy (via roku plex) “Moon” “Outer Space” “Sun”

Magic School Bus: “Sees Stars”, “Lost in Space,” “Out of this World”

Social Studies tie in:

Learning about the Apollo 11 missions, Discussing Ancient Beliefs about the Sun, Moon, and the Universe, Philosopher Bruno, Astronomers: Cecilia Payne, Amy Joe Cannon, Galileo’s experiments, life and persecution

Earth Science

  1. Layers of the Earth/Platectonics

Concepts and themes:

layers of the Earth, how volcanos and mountains are formed, volcanoes creating islands, parts of a volcano, types of eruptions, geysers, fault lines, Earth plates, continental drift, Pangea


Parts of a volcano nomenclature cards

Layers of the Earth/Crust nomenclature cards

Continental Drift Activity

Social Studies tie in: Mt. Saint Helens, Hawaiian volcanoes, MT. Vesuvius eruption that destroyed Herculaneum and Pompeii

Videos: “Magic School Bus Blows It’s Top”, “Extreme Earth- Volcanoes” (prime), Bill Nye: Layers of the Earth, Earth Quakes


  1. Earth Science: Fossils and Prehistoric Times

Concepts and Themes:

Definition of a fossil, Types and examples of fossils, fossils as evidence of the past, eras of the Earth, decay, petrification, imprints, molds and casts, dinosaur extinction, types of dinosaurs and other extinct prehistoric animals (traits, comparison)


Making dinosaur footprints

Creating “fossils” using imprints clay and plaster of paris

Petrification activity with sponge and Epsom salt

Videos Watched:

Bill Nye the science guy: “Fossils” and “Dinosaurs”

Magic School Bus: “Busasaurus”

Books read:

DK Eyewonder “Dinosaurs”

How Big Were Dinosaurs?

Field Trip:

Fossil Hunting at Calvert Cliffs


Miscellaneous Earth Science videos via Netflix:

Dinosaur Train: “Dinosaur Big City part 1-4” (lessons taught: Laramidia / Theropods, Kosmoceratops / Paleontologists )

“Stargazing on the Night Train and Get into Nature!” (lessons taught: Sinovenator and Constellations / Tide pools)

“Shiny and Snakes and Tiny Loves Flowers” (lessons taught: Sanajeh / Flowers)

“Buddy Explores the Tyrannosaurs and Rainy Day Fight” (lessons taught: Raptorex / Beaches)

“That’s Not a Dinosaur! And Tiny’s Garden” (lessons taught: Amphibians / Gardens)

“The Earthquake and The Nursery Car” (lessons taught: Ceratopsians / Dinosaur eggs)

“The Lost Bird” and “The Forest Fire” (lessons taught: Jeholornis / Redwood trees)

“Dry Times at Pteranodon Terrace and Big Misty Sea Fishing Contest” (lessons taught: Droughts / Piscivores)

“Hurricane at Pteranodon Terrace” and “Rafting the Cretaceous” (lessons taught: Hurricanes / Rafts)

“Haunted Roundhouse” and “Big Pond Pumpkin Patch” (lessons taught: Volaticotherium / The Moon)

“Don’s Winter Wish and Festival of Lights” (lessons taught: Saurornitholestes / Aurora)

“Dinos A to Z, Part 1-4 (Diversity and Gallimimus / Nodosaurus/ Classification / Yangchuanosaurus and Zigongosaurus)

“Remember the Alamosaurus and Sunrise, Sunset” (lessons taught: Alamosaurus / Nocturnal and Diurnal)

“A Heck of a Neck and Gilbert Visits the Nest” (lessons taught: Diplodocus / Collections)

“An Apatosaurus Adventure and Nature Art” (lessons taught: Apatosaurus / Environmental art)

“Arnie Rides the Flatcar and Old Reliable” (lessons taught: Argentinosaurus / Geysers)

“Tiny and the Crocodile and Meet the Grandparents (lessons taught: Deinosuchus / Migration)

“The Egg Stealer? And To Grandparents’ Nest We Go” (lessons taught: Oviraptor)

“Double-Crested Trouble and Erma and the Conductor” (lessons taught: Dilophosaurus)

“Dome-Headed Dinosaur and Treasure Hunt” (lessons taught: Pachycephalosaurus)

“Dinosaur Train Submarine: Otto Ophthalmosaurus and King Meets Crystal (lessons taught: Ophthalmosaurus)

“Dinosaur Train Submarine: Shoshana Shonisaurus and All Kinds of Families” (lessons taught: Shonisaurus / Sauroposeidon)

“Dinosaur Train Submarine: Maisie Mosasaurus and Date Night (lessons taught: Mosasaurus / Chirostenotes)

“Dinosaur Train Submarine: A Sea Turtle Tale and Rocket Train” (lessons taught: Archelon)


Kits and Cards:

Snap Circuits Junior Kit

Learning Resources Simple Machine Kit and Activity Cards

Solar System Planet Magnets

Phases of the Moon and Space Nomenclature Cards from Montessori for Everyone

Layers of the Earth, Earth’s Crust, and Parts of a Volcano cards from Montessori Research center

Animal/Biome cards from Alison’s Montessori

Phases of The Moon chart

Continental Drift Study Pack from Lab Aids.com


Galileo on the Moon – Unit on  Gravity:


American Geosciences Institute Fossil Study:


On Calvert Cliffs Fossils:



Material and supplies:

Magnets, nails, wire, paper clips, rubber duck, rubber bands, metal spoon, Snap Circuits, card board, computer, television, roku box, plex subscription, plastic dinosaurs, plaster of paris, dixie cups, clay, apples, feather, hammer, paint, flashlight, prism, magnifying class, fiber optic fibers, mirror, rainbow glasses

Demonstrated Skill:


  • Participated in all science activities
  • Shows understanding of basic properties of magnets
  • Constructed numerous circuits
  • Shows understanding of electricity and conductivity
  • Shows emerging understanding of gravity and falling objects
  • Able to model the moon’s cycle and its effects on the tides
  • Can identify different celestial objects and phenomenon (stars, black holes, meteors, comets, aurora borealis)
  • Emerging understanding of eclipses
  • Can model and explain continental drift/Pangea
  • Knows the layers of the Earth and Crust of the Earth
  • Can describe the composite layers of /parts of a volcano and eruption
  • Can describe how volcanoes and mountains are formed, what occurs during an Earthquake
  • Shows emerging understanding of the characteristics of biomes
  • Can describe what a fossil is, describe different ways fossils are made
  • Emerging understanding of the age of the Earth and Eras of life
  • Shows emerging understanding of the properties of light


Brief description:

Theresa was an enthusiastic participant in science class.  Science was covered daily via unit studies that included discussion, hands on activities, books, videos, and field trips. Theresa, Patrick, Peter and in some cases Lily participated in this class time together. After the unit was completed, activities for the subject were added to options for children’s hands-on independent work period.


Social Studies/History/Culture:


Goal 1:  Review previous geography skills including:

  • Identifying the continents and oceans
  • Creating land form models of island, lake, peninsula, bay, gulf, strait, archipelago, lake systems, isthmus
  • Reviewing famous landmarks including Big Ben, The Coliseum, The Pyramids, Stone Henge, The Taj Mahal, Buddha of Landou, The Great Wall, Statue of Liberty, Sears Tower, Mount Rushmore, Aztec Temple, The Parthenon, Leaning Tower of Pisa, Arc de Triumphe


Goal 2 – Build Upon previous geography work by learning about:

  • Famous landforms in North America including: Chesapeake Bay, Mississippi River, Missouri River, Florida Peninsula, Gulf of Mexico, The Great Lakes, Great Salt Lake, Florida Strait, Cape Cod, Gulf of Alaska, Hawaiian Islands
  • The history of famous landmarks and their locations around the world including: Big Ben, The Great Wall of China, Easter Island, Stone Henge, The Statue of Liberty, The Empire State Building, Taj Mahal, Buddha of Landou


Goal 3 – Integrate Science and Social Studies by coordinating studies with science units including:

  • American biomes including Okefenokee, The Everglades, The Great Plains, Great Lakes, Olympic National Park, The Sonoran Desert, Death Valley
  • Space history including Apollo missions to the moon, Ancient beliefs about the night sky/Earth as center of Universe, Persecution of Bruno and Galileo, Mapping of the night sky, Constellations of different cultures
  • Historical experiments/beliefs about Gravity, Galileo and Newton
  • Learning about cartoonist Rube Goldberg during our simple machine study
  • Famous volcanoes from history, Life in Pompeii and Herculaneum prior to the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius


  • Modeling land forms with kinetic sand
  • Identifying and marking famous American land forms and landmarks on a map of the United States
  • Three part landmark cards and models
  • Three part land form cards
  • Continent Cards and Globe activity

Books read:

  • “Gulf of Mexico”
  • “The Great Lakes”
  • “Chesapeake Bay”

“Starry Messenger Galileo Galilei” by Peter Sis

  • “Pompeii Lost and Found” by Mary Pope Osborne
  • “Walking on the Moon: The Amazing Apollo 11 Mission” – Carl GreenVideos watched via Amazon streaming on Roku:
  • The Statue of Liberty (Amazon prime streaming via roku)
  • Passport to Adventure: Exploring Rural China and the Great Wall (prime)
  • Mt. Rushmore (prime)
  • Stone Henge Decoded
  • Great Wonders of the World (amazon roku) – the Pyramids, the Colosseum, Eiffel Tower. Grand Canyon, Ayres Rock and the Glaciers of Alaska, Panama canal, Taj Mahal, Queen Elizabeth 2, Grand Canyon
  • Nature Wonders Videos: Death Valley, Nature Wonders Gobi Desert
  • Wild America: In the Forest – This poetic look at America’s forests leads us into the shadowed depths of woodlands from Louisiana’s steamy cypress swamps to the moody rain forests of Washington’s Olympic National Park.
  • Apollo 11: First Steps on the Moon (Streaming from Amazon Prime)
  • Cosmos: A Space Time Odyssey: “Standing Up in the Milky Way,” “Sisters of the Sun”
  • Vesuvius: Deadly Fury


Map of the United States

Map of the World

Landmark cards

Landform cards and booklets – alisons montessori

Famous landmark models


Material and supplies:

Paper, cardstock, laminate, paperclip, kinetic sand, television, roku box, plex membership, Amazon prime membership

Demonstrated Skill:


  • Shows emerging map skills
  • Shows emerging ability to locate specific landforms and locations of landmarks on a map
  • Is able to model different landforms
  • Can identify famous landmarks and has knowledge of their history
  • Can identify the names and location of the continents and oceans
  • Studied ancient cultures beliefs/myths about phenomenon that science now explains
  • Learned of real life/historical examples of volcanic eruptions
  • Understands that the continent of the United States has many type of environments/biomes
  • Is more aware of how cultures are different


Brief description: Geography study occurred 1-2 times a week in the form of discussion, videos and hands on tasks. Once a new task was learned it was added as an option for independent daily work. History and geography were also a part of our science units. For example, while learning about space we watched and discussed a video and later read a book about the Apollo 11 moon landing.




Art Appreciation

Artists’ works examined:

Gieseppe Arcimbolo, Gilbert and George, Pieter Brugel, Leonard Da Vinci, Briget Rile Page, Edgar Degas, Albrecht Altdorfer, Katsushiks Hokusai, Christo and Jeanne-Claude, Andy Warhol, Cindy Sherman Vittore Carpacio. Rembrandt, Rousseau, Pollock, Joan Miro, Van Gogh, Holbein the younger, Botticelli, Monet, Van Eyck, David Hockney, Albrecht Durer, Henry Moore, Raphael, Henry Moore Page, Gerhard Richter, Henry Matisse, Georges Seurat, Kandinsky, Winslow Homer, Salavador Dali, Rene’ Magritte, Wayne Thiebauld, John Waterhouse, Gonzalez-Torres,, Antonella da Messina, Georges de La Tour, Limbourg Brothers


  • Phaidon Press: The Art Book for Children- Books 1 and 2
  • Dover Press Masterpiece Mysteries Books 1 and 2

Arts and Craft Activities:

  • Making Sun prints
  • Drawing
  • Coloring Books
  • Creating Patterns with Kites and Darts
  • Creating cinnamon ornaments
  • Creating with Clay
  • Light Painting
  • Kinetic sand play
  • Painting
  • Using plaster of paris to create molds and impressions

Art in History/Science

Concepts and Topics:

  • Islamic Art
  • Geometric pattern in Islamic Art
  • Making art from light (photography)


  • “Historic Designs and Patterns in Color – From Arabic and Italian Sources
  • Mosaic and Tessellated Patterns- John Wilson (coloring activities)
  • Arabic Floral Patterns Coloring Book

Programs Watched:

Photographic Processes Series

Before Photography – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 1 of 12

The Daguerreotype – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 2 of 12

Talbot’s Processes – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 3 of 12

The Cyanotype – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 4 of 12

The Collodion – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 5 of 12

The Albumen Print – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 6 of 12

The Platinum Print – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 7 of 12

The Pigment Processes – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 8 of 12

The Woodburytype – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 9 of 12

The Gelatin Silver Process – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 10 of 12

Color Photography – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 11 of 12

Digital Photography – Photographic Processes Series – Chapter 12 of 12

Playlist: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL4F918844C147182A


Field Trips:

Nature Art in the Park –Gwynn Falls, Leakin Park (September 2015)

Art in the Park- Robert E. Lee (September 2015)



Kits:  Tessellation Puzzles, Kites and Darts

Material and supplies: kinetic sand, clay, paper, cinnamon, plaster of paris, applesauce, photography chemicals, watercolor paper hot and cold press, markers, camera, colored pencils, construction paper, tracing paper, crayola paint, crayons

Demonstrated Skill:


  • Participated in all art related activities
  • Expressed opinions and ideas concerning famous artwork
  • Created her own artwork and craft projects
  • Basic understanding of different cultures having different forms of artistic expression
  • Emerging knowledge Arabesque geometric and floral design
  • Shows basic understanding of photographic process


Brief description:

As with Baltimore city schools, a quarter of the year was spent on direct art instruction. Using literature geared towards children, Theresa, Peter, and Patrick were exposed different paintings, architecture, sculpture, and performance art. We would look at pictures of the artwork, discuss it, and then read the information in the book. Arts and crafts activities and art activities available during independent work occurred throughout the year. In some cases (see above) an art activity was worked into science and social studies topics.



Concepts and Topics: instruments of the orchestra, sections of the orchestra, smaller groups such as trio’s and quartets, notes on a staff, music listening, music appreciation

Independent Music Work including:

  • Rhythm Instruments: Maracas, xylophone, African drum, Bongos
  • Instruments of the Orchestra Nomenclature Cards

Programs/Videos watched:

  • Serge Prokofiev: Peter and the Wolf. Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
  • Schumann, Beethoven: The Chamber Orchestra of Philadelphia performs Sibelius and Beethoven. Grammy Award winner and founding member of the Eroica Trio, cellist Sara Sant’Ambrogio, joins the orchestra for Schumann’s Cello Concerto in A minor.
  • Movement and Music: University of Maryland Symphony Orchestra’s Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun
  • Pachelbel Canon in D Minor
  • Piano Guys – Thousand Years (Piano/Cello Cover)
  • Introduction to the Instruments of the Orchestra
  • Disney ’53 – Toot Whistle Plunk and Boom
  • Silly Symphony: Music Land

Field Trip: Instrument Petting Zoo at Catonsville Community Library (March 2016)


Amazon prime, prime music via roku


Vivaldi 25 Favorites

Lang Lang- Liszt

Chopin- Greatest Hits

Bach -25 Favorites

Verdi Without Words

Homespun America Composer series

Music of the American Revolution

Classic Old-Time Fiddle

Mozart Music Masterpieces

Golden Classic Volumes 1-8

Material and supplies:

television, internet connection, bongos, African drum, maracas, xylophone, card stock, plex subscription, amazon subscription, DVD player

Demonstrated Skill


  • participated in all viewing and listening experiences
  • learned to play five basic songs on the xylophone
  • experimented with creating her own songs and rhythms
  • interacted with the rhythm instruments during her independent work period
  • showed emerging knowledge of the types and names of instruments in the orchestra

Brief description:

Theresa, Peter, and Patrick participated in music activities together. Rhythm instruments were available for use during Tessa’s independent work period which lasts an hour a day, five days a week. As with Baltimore city schools, a quarter of the year was spent on direct music study which focused this year on types of orchestral instruments and the sections of the orchestra. The children also learned to play a few songs on the xylophone. We watched orchestra’s perform (in 15 minute intervals to keep attention) via you tube and attended an instrument “petting zoo” offered by the local library. We also listen to different musical selections during meal-times.



Via discussion, video, and reading we covered the following health topics:


  • Growth as affected by heredity and environment
  • Role of Hormones
  • Role of Pituitary gland
  • DNA and Genes
  • Stages of the human life cycle


  • Nutrients of proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals, and water
  • Food groups/food pyramid
  • Food allergies

Diseases and Disorders

  • Germs and Communicative Disease
  • Immunity
  • Vaccines
  • Antibodies and the immune system
  • Hereditary Diseases

Personal Health

  • Skin, hair and nails
  • Sleep and Rest
  • Skills for independence in health related self-care in the topics of hygiene, oral care, and skin care.

Main Text: “Merrill Health: Focus on You”– Meeks, Helt


Bill Nye the Science Guy videos: Genes, Germs, Skin, and Nutrition Episodes


television, roku, plex subscription

Material and supplies:

Dry erase pens, white board

Demonstrated Skill:

  • Shows emerging understanding of food groups and essential nutrients
  • Shows understanding of food allergies
  • Shows understanding of human life cycle, able to discuss stages
  • Shows emerging understanding of types of illness and the immune system
  • Understands the need to care for self by eating well and getting adequate sleep
  • Is now able to brush her teeth well without assistance
  • Understands the need for clean clothing and bathroom hygiene
  • Understands the concept of heredity
  • Shows a basic understanding of genes/DNA

Brief description: As with Baltimore city primary schools, a quarter of the year was spent on direct study of health topics. Using an old health textbook as guide we read and discussed topics as well as watched videos when available. As always we’re working towards greater independence in self-care everyday throughout the year.

Physical Education

Brief description on how your homeschooling activities, classes, awards, routine:

For physical education we:

  • Participated in Baltimore County’s Nature Quest 2015 completing 9 hikes at Robert E. Lee Park, Center for Maryland Agriculture and Farm Park, Oregon Ridge Nature Center, Cromwell Valley Park, Marshy Point Nature Center, Benjamin Banneker Historical Park, and Honeygo Run Regional Park
  • Walked and hiked trails in our local state and city parks both in an exploratory manner as well as planned excursions:

Gwynn Falls/Leakin Park, Patapsco Valley State Park Areas, Centennial, Jug Bay, Cylburn Arboretum, Meadowbrook Park

  • Learned Hiking Safety Rules
  • Leave no Trace Education
  • Taught new pre-hiking stretching routine
  • Played informal games of soccer, basketball, and catch (baseball)
  • Went bowling
  • Playground play
  • Canoeing


Leave no Trace- outdoor ethics

Brief description:

When weather allows the entire family for walks/hikes at local parks two to three times a week.

Demonstrated Skill:


  • Participated in all family activities
  • Increasing confidence while hiking
  • Participated as “trail leader”
  • Worked toward and achieved Nature Quest goals











2 thoughts on “what we did – a first grader’s curriculum

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