Having previously looked at what I believe to be the minimum requirements for a comprehensive Kindergarten curriculum, in this post I will break down what I believe are the appropriate learning goals for first and second-grade classrooms.
First Grade: Much like Fourth, Seventh, and Ninth grade; First Grade is both a transitional and foundational year. Students are ecstatic to be with “the big kids” and begin “real” school. It’s important to keep students at this level engaged and focused on moving forward through the material.
Math: By the end of this grade students should have mastered counting to one hundred, counting backwards, counting by 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, and 10’s. They should be able to perform addition and subtraction problems on paper. They will learn how to identify even/odd numbers, number patterns, and whether numbers are greater than, less than, or equal to each other. They should be able to extend those number patterns or fill in the missing numbers from those patterns. They should learn about the concepts of Base 10 and Place Values. They should also have their first exposure to fractions, telling time, counting money, basic shapes, and word problems.
Science: Students keep lab journals for the first time. Students will learn how to differentiate between plants and animals and be introduced to the concept of life cycles. They will also learn about the names of the constellations in the night sky and the stories behind those names. Students will learn about the different states of matter and types of energy as well as the different types of ecosystems and the concept of inter-connectivity.
Computer Science: At this grade students begin to develop their typing skills. Students should also be taught to identify the basic parts of a computer. As in the previous year, students should be allotted time on computers to use learning software that reinforces other lessons and breeds familiarity with technology. Students will be introduced to basic and accessible algorithms and logic statements.
History/Social Science: Students should be exposed to a broad outline of human history. Covering all the major epochs and civilizations. Emphasis should be placed on cultures and day in the life routines for each era and people.
Human Studies: Student will learn about their local city government. And an emphasis will be placed on how to be a good citizen in their community. Students should be able to answer the question What is a Religion? At a very basic level. Students should become familiar with the names of all the worlds major religions and where they first originated. They should also be exposed to the traditions of and learn about a day in the life for a follower of these different belief systems. Students will study the questions “How do I make good choices?” and “Why do I do what I do?” as well as the concept of “Want vs Need” Teaching the students to critically think about their actions.
English: Weekly Spelling tests. Daily reading circles. Nightly at home reading. Basic grammar and punctuation. Vocabulary expansion.
Foreign Languages: Exposure/Submersion in Spanish for thirty minutes daily. Emphasis on forming basic sentences and expanding their vocabulary.
Music: Students will gain experience performing in groups; creating short, independent, phrases and sound; and identifying patterns. The will also learn how to identify changes in dynamics and tempo, components of music by sound, basic patterns of rhythm and melody, and basic vocal and instrumental tones. Students at this level should be able to demonstrate an appreciation for music in everyday life and the fundamentals of performance.
Art: Students will learn to identify different subjects in Art as well as distinguish between different mediums. They will learn to describe art using proper terminology such as line, color, shape, form, texture. Students will learn how to use texture and how to create 2D and 3D representations of everyday life/objects. They will be exposed to art from varying cultures and learn how to derive meaning from art.
Second Grade: Second grade is a year of stability and continuation. By now students are accustomed to the school routine and have a solid foundation on which to build. Reinforcing and expanding upon key concepts is the goal of this grade level.
Math: Students will continue to develop previously introduced concepts with the addition and subtraction of large numbers. They will also learn about place values, rounding, fractions, and common modes of measurement. They will be introduced to multiplication, division, area and perimeter of two- and three-dimensional shapes.
Science: Students will be introduced to the scientific method and keep a lab journal. Over the course of the school year they will study: phase changes; how compounds can interact with each other and change as a result; Biospheres; the food chain; how different organisms have adapted to their environments; Earth and the Solar System; orbits; forces/gravity; simple machines; energy transfer/transformation; types of rocks/fossils; and Earth’s physical history.
Computer Science: Emphasisshortcutlevel will be placed on typing for speed, shortcut keys, basic operating system navigation, and how to work across a network with other students. Students will learn how to apply and describe their knowledge of algorithms and learn how to Debug. They will also learn how to decompose larger problems into smaller, more manageable ones. Learning software should continue to be used to reinforce other learning areas
History/Social Science: Students will study a broad survey of U.S. history, covering major era’s with a focus on every-man first hand accounts and day in the life experiences.
Human Studies: Here students will learn about the roles and duties of the city, state, and federal governments as well as how to be a good citizen in their geographic region. Students will gain an understanding of beliefs and evidence; exploring the question “What makes a belief system?”. An emphasis will be placed on seeing things from different perspectives and students will address the question “Why do people react differently to things than I do?”.
English: Students will be tested weekly on new vocabulary and spelling words. Daily reading circles will continue at this level with students answering questions about what was read to them afterwards. Nightly at home reading will also be assigned. Students will learn about the parts of a sentence and a special emphasis will be placed on multi-paragraph reading comprehension.
Foreign Languages: Students will focus on basic grammar as well as the continued expansion of their Spanish vocabulary. Programs should include, at minimum a daily 1/2 hour of exposure/submersion in grade appropriate Spanish communication.
Music: Students at this level will perform songs both individually and in a group. In addition they will learn to perform simple rhythmic, melodic, and harmonic patterns. They will create musical Q&As in small groups and learn to identify rhythmic and melodic notional patterns. Students should have a comprehension of dynamics, tempo, meter, articulation, and beginning musical notation. Using proper musical terminology students should be able to articulate reactions to musical performances.
Art: Students will use printing, crayon rubbings, collage, and stencils to create art as well as beginning to work with oil pastels, water colors, and tempera. They will recognize and use artistic vocabulary to describe art from various times and places. They will use artistic vocabulary to talk about their own artistic goals. They will learn about warm and cool colors, repetition and balance, and space and depth in artistic works.