1st Grade Curriculum

First Grade Curriculum


As in the Kindergarten program, the Carden Reading Method® continues to build the child’s mental image that allows for ease of comprehension. Questions for developing comprehension and building a speaking vocabulary are introduced with each reading lesson throughout the school year.  These questions develop judgment and create in the child the ability to be able to recall the text of what they read.  This process develops true understanding of written material.

Workbooks that accompany the readers are written clearly so each child can accomplish their work independently of the teacher.  This activity develops maturity and confidence in the student.


The Story of Ferdinand, by Monro Leaf

Each Kindness, by Jacqueline Woodson

Pellet’s New Suit, by Elsa Beskow

Milo and the Magical Stones, by Marcus Pfister

The Important Book, by Margaret Wise Brown

When I am Old With You, by Angela Johnson

The Tale of Peter Rabbit, by Beatrix Potter

The Tale of Benjamin Bunny, by Beatrix Potter

Charlotte’s Web, by EB White

*Non-fiction Holiday stories

Biographies (history/social studies) are read together and in small reading groups: Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa Parks, Christopher Columbus, Betsy Ross (and many more)

Poems from a variety of authors are memorized by the students.  The First Grade students will commit to memory and perform up to fifteen of these poems during assembly to gain poise during public speaking and take pride in a job well done.  A child’s taste and culture is developed through exposure to fine literature.  We are building the first steps for the golden age of memory that each of us carry throughout life.


Singapore Math

Carden Conejo has adopted the “world-class” Singapore Math curriculum for students in Kindergarten to 5th Grade.  The Singapore Math method of teaching mathematics is based on the textbooks and syllabus from the national curriculum of Singapore.

The Singapore Math program has a consistent and strong emphasis on problem-solving and model drawing with a focus on in-depth understanding.  The curriculum covers a relatively small number of topics in-depth and carefully sequences them grade-by-grade.  The concepts are explicitly taught from concrete through pictorial to abstract.  Students are expected to master each concept before moving on.  Subsequent lessons build on prior concepts.

Carden Conejo has single-subject teachers for Singapore Math: Mrs. Donna Brunasso teaches students in Kindergarten – 3rd Grade.

Language Arts

Verb tenses, regular, negative (the “not form”), and question are taught at this grade level.  They are presented in a manner that a young child can understand.  Present tense equals the “now time,” past tense equals the “yesterday time.”  The students are taught how to conjugate irregular verbs in the past tense by the end of the year.  Personal pronouns (singular and plural) are taught before the end of the Red Book Reader.  Students are taught to use singular and plural pronouns with verbs.

Questions Answered: Adding to the knowledge of the “who doing,” and “who doing what” that was learned in Kindergarten, they move into the remaining three patterns of sentences: “who = who,” “who done to,” “who doing where.”  Adding the where on to the “who doing” also leaves the door open to asking additional questions of “when” and “how.”  When these last three questions are asked, the phrase is introduced into their writing.  They soon become confident, creative writers.

Daily Drill

Daily Drill is started at the First Grade.  Each day the children do a written Daily Drill.  On this paper they have practice making their letters, printing (the first semester) and cursive penmanship (the second semester).

After penmanship, they write and recite orally a portion of the Carden Sound Chart dictated to them.  The teacher asks the students to volunteer words that go with the sounds.  This part of the Daily Drill is usually keyed into the spelling lesson for the day.  Next on the Daily Drill is spelling, which is dictated.  The children give the Carden Controls for each of the words.  These are written along side of the spelling word.  Sentences are then dictated which the children write down.  Questions are asked about the “who,” “doing,” etc.  Sentence analysis follows.

The Daily Drill is completed before the morning break and is taught each day.  It develops consecutive work and thinking.  The Daily Drill is a foundation that is laid in the First Grade and continues through Sixth Grade.  The child finds comfort in knowing what to expect and confidence that something new will be taught along with the reinforcement of the familiar.


Meaningless spelling word drills, which are memorized only to be forgotten, are absent in the Carden Method.  The Carden readers have been carefully prepared to enable children to proceed from one step to the next with assurance.  When a child has an understanding of the sound of the vowels, consonants, and blends, then the exercise of that understanding brings personal control over spelling a great number of words. The Carden Sound Chart is the key to fine spelling and pronunciation.  The children are given the word attack skills and rules by which to spell.  They learn that ce, ci, and cy all hiss in words like face, city, and fancy.  They are taught the combinations of letters that say their own names because they have an e in front of them such as ef, el, em, en, es, and ex.  They are taught when to double the consonant after the short sound of the vowel.  The teacher explains carefully all the necessary rules for spelling.  Spelling then becomes a logical process, not a laborious study of memorization.


The FOSS (Full Option Science System) program is taught two days a week in the science lab by Mrs. Stone, a single-subject science teacher. FOSS Science includes hands-on learning activities most days.

There are three modules in First Grade: Solids and Liquids (matter), Air and Weather, And plants and Animals.

Students research a science experiment and then present it to the class in Carden Scientists: always an eagerly anticipated activity!

Students respond in words or drawings in their science notebooks about each investigation to learn the steps of scientific inquiry.


In the First Grade, students learn desktop publishing, graphics, databases, spreadsheets, multimedia, and word-processing.  First Grade masters basics and then work in a program to reinforce specific skills.  Students are introduced to touch typing.


French is taught during three half hour periods a week.  Vocabulary continues developing as the children learn how to spell words from the sounds of the French alphabet.  From having words dictated to them, they progress to writing short sentences.  These they illustrate to show that they understand what they are about.  The days of the week, months, and numbers are some of the areas that are added to the children’s’ French vocabulary.

Games are played and French songs are learned.  The First Grade students sing these songs for our assemblies at school.

Physical Education

Basic motor skills are developed which include eye-hand and eye-foot coordination skills.  Simple Plyometric (hopping, skipping, jumping, and agility) are included in the sports program.  First Grade is introduced to various sports including soccer, football, baseball, track, and volleyball.

Each day the thirty minute sports period is started with a daily warm-up consisting of stretching and running, followed by one skill, and then a game to use what the students have learned.

The National Presidential Physical Fitness Test is given to all grade levels.


Rhythm instruments and beginning piano are taught. Students learn to play piano with their right hand and read the treble clef staff, then play with their left hand and read the chords of the base clef staff.  During two half hour music periods each week they are taught the location of notes, treble, and bass clefs, rhythm, beats to the measure and how to read music.  A sense of rhythm is taught by marching, drumming, and dancing in time to music.  The children enjoy the music program and quickly memorize the songs they are taught.

Art and Art Appreciation

Line and figure drawing are continued in First Grade.  Still life and landscape drawing and painting are developed in the one-hour period each week.  Chinese brush techniques are taught.  Clay and other varied media are used. Projects focus on gaining confidence in expression.

Art appreciation teaches the children to observe paintings while finding out about the artist who painted them. They study how light affects the central point of the painting. They learn of the different techniques that the artists used to paint their masterpiece.  Enjoyment and taste for what is beautiful is an important part of Art Appreciation.

Some of the artists studied in the First Grade are Goya, Manet, Sargent, and Millet.