Grade 1 Layout

My thinking about teaching grade 1 has evolved this summer. Before I started planning, I thought we would do a grade 1 main lesson 1 day a week, and just read/tell lots of fairy tales. However, meditating on my sweet (and oh-so-phlegmatic) boy, I think more frequent and less concentrated is the way to go. I am currently planning to do main lesson with him 4 days a week for about 30 minutes a day in the beginning. This may stretch to 45 minutes during the second half of the year. Rhythm tethers this child (as I believe it tethers us all) – in a good way – and I see the consistency of a short daily main lesson as fortifying to his will and soul forces.

Jude is one of those kids who constantly has a ball in his hand. If he is “missing”, I know to look somewhere in the yard and I will find him playing hockey, soccer, baseball or basketball. (No wonder he hovers around 40 pounds – the calories don’t have a chance!) This physical activity is good on so many levels. It is also a very important part of first grade, where the ultimate goal is to help the child fully incarnate into the body. However, first grade is also a transition year from the undifferentiated consciousness of kindergarten to the assertion of the “I” that happens during the early grades. (I think I am quoting Donna Simmons verbatim here. I just listened to her grade 1 audio again, and the information is basically hardwired in my brain at this point. I cannot recommend them enough.) To me, the rhythm (and here I think you could also say discipline) of consistently doing main lesson 4 days a week is almost more important then what we do or how long we do it.

Below you will find my block layout for the year. You may notice I didn’t schedule any breaks or vacation. I can assure you, we take many! However, they are never planned in advance, as I find it easier to move my blocks around than to try to predict, for example, when we will go to the beach in the fall or when we will need a spring break.


  • Form Drawing (2 weeks)


  • Letters and Fairy Tales (4 weeks)
  • Celebrate Michaelmas


  • Form Drawing (2 weeks)
  • Nature Block – Fall (1 week)
  • Knitting as Main Lesson (1 week)


  • Math (4 weeks)
  • Celebrate Martinmas
  • Celebrate Thanksgiving


  • No Main Lesson
  • Holiday Prep
  • Advent
  • Celebrate Vincent’s Birthday
  • Celebrate Tom’s Birthday
  • Celebrate Christmas


  • Form Drawing (2 weeks)
  • Nature Block – Winter (1 week/overlap with 1 week of form drawing)
  • Math (3 weeks)
  • Celebrate Sheila’s Birthday


  • Fairy Tales (4 weeks)
  • Celebrate Candlemas


  • Form Drawing (2 weeks)
  • Nature Block – Spring  (1 week)
  • Celebrate Easter


  • Math (4 weeks)


  • Geography (4 weeks) (this is primarily a music, food and story block for Jude that will coordinate with Vincent’s more formal Grade 5 study of North American geography. You can see how we did this last year here with US Geography.)


  • Overflow/Wrap Up
  • State-mandated Testing

8 thoughts on “Grade 1 Layout

    • Taproot was great. I’m still processing it all. Yes, I have a layout for grade 5 but want to reconsider it this weekend in light of what I learned at Taproot. I may post it as early as Monday – but I’m not sure. I was going to post my new weekly rhythm tomorrow, but I think I have too many things to reconsider first. That will probably be next week as well. What I can tell you is that I will be revising grade 5 and our weekly rhythm in a “less is more” manner. Some things will be on the chopping block.

      I wrote this post on my grade 1 layout before I went to Taproot. It is still pretty solid, but I am thinking about approaching form drawing differently because of what I learned. I may begin each week with a short session on form drawing rather than the mini 2-weeks blocks scattered throughout the year like I have now.

      How about you? What are you thinking for next year?

  1. thanks for sharing your thoughts! i have come to your blog from carrie at parenting passageway… i am about to sit down and do this same for my first grader (eldest) and some ideas for my 3 yr old…we will have a late start to our year as we are about to buy a place in the country and he will need time to settle in but its great to see other peoples approach to this year. can i ask, how old is your son? my son is just turning 6 this month so i am thinking of a slower approach then doing letters and number blocks in the late winter early spring months…in any case. fun to find your blog. come visit mine too :)

  2. Curious about Michaelmas, which I must confess is not a feast day I knew much of anything about, I did a bit of reading on it this morning. Interested to know how you like to celebrate “Goose Day.”. : ) Perhaps a late September post?

  3. Pingback: Plans for October | Sure as the World

Join the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s