The day has finally come. You are now in the first grade in the lower elementary wing at Highlander; you’ve been looking forward to this for three years. You jump out of the car when the bells rings (an elementary privilege), and confidently walk down the hallway to your classroom. You wear your uniform proudly, knowing others will recognize that you are no longer an Early Childhood student. You have arrived.
With great privilege comes great responsibility, like reciting poems, math homework, research reports, spelling tests, dictation, and sentence analysis. Highlander’s Carden curriculum has been preparing you for this since you were three-years old. You didn’t realize that when your Pre-K teachers asked, “Who has a little lamb?” and you answered “Mary” that you were already learning to identify the subject — the “who” — in the sentence. You are ready for sentence analysis and reading comprehension.
This year, you get to join in the longstanding Highlander tradition of memorizing and reciting poetry. Generations of Highlander graduates still reminisce about reciting Robert Louis Stevenson’s “The Swing.” Memorizing this and the other 19 poems this year won’t be difficult for you because you learned and recited classic nursery rhymes with your class in Early Childhood.
You’re looking forward to the First Grade State Fair “Craft Fair” — you’re going to make a Ferris wheel out of Legos — and you’ve heard the blubber experiment during the Alaska unit is really cool! Your reading is improving with each passing day, and you know that you’ll be out of Carden readers soon and on to great literature, another Highlander tradition. This year, you’ll read “Peter Rabbit” and other works by Beatrix Potter as you learn about — and report on — life in London. You can’t wait to research spiders and reptiles, study weather, make applesauce like Johnny Appleseed, visit the Dallas Arboretum, observe owls, falcons, and hawks in person, perform in your Christmas program, meet a dentist and conduct a tooth decay experiment, learn to type, make a volcano explode, grow a lima bean, study rocks and gems, and take a field trip to the Dallas Museum of Art.
You will be writing in paragraph form in your class journal, and you’ll enjoy the self-expression. You’ll write about learning the days of the week in French class, drawing a cat like artist Paul Klee, playing pizza tag in P.E., and singing in music class. You won’t realize this until much later, but as you grow this year, so will your confidence and poise. Learning is exciting, and you can’t wait to see what’s next.
- Pledge and prayer
- Character development
- Poetry memorization/recitation
- Nouns, adjectives, and verbs
- Sentence analysis
- Class literature: “Peter Rabbit,” “Benjamin Bunny,” “Squirrel Nutkin,” “Mrs. Tittlemouse,” and “Pelle’s New Suit”
- State Fair Craft Fair
- Research reports: Alaska and Beatrix Potter
- Saxon Math (1st and 2nd grade math)
- Art appreciation
- Self-expression through art
- P.E. every day
- Recess every day (usually twice a day)