Beginning in the first grade, traditional educational materials (textbooks and workbooks) are utilized at Cascadia.  They are carefully selected for use in the academic areas of language arts, reading, and mathematics.  Along with traditional resources in math, Montessori hands-on-manipulatives continue to be used to support the understanding of math operations and place value.  As the students work and learn, the academic level grows through the year from an advanced first grade level to a second grade level.


The typical first grade day is divided into two parts.  In the morning, the students are engaged in a wide variety of lessons and experiences in each subject of language arts, reading, reading comprehension, composition, and math.  The students’ teacher carefully plans, instructs, and guides the students so they learn multiple skills and concepts in each academic subject each day.  By engaging in multiple concepts for each subject, students extend thinking skills and are continually applying their understanding in new ways. For example, the students practice math facts (addition, subtraction, multiplication, or division tables), apply skills to math story problems, draw and illustrate a story problem, have a lesson in geometry (or fractions or time or money or measurement), and do a general review in one day.  For another example, the students practice 2nd grade phonics and 2nd grade spelling, a particular capitalization or punctuation rule, discuss the role of verbs, read and discuss a story before answering comprehension questions,  write Super Sentences (adding adverbial phrasing to simple sentences…After school is over, I like to go to the park to play with my friends.), and begin to plan a paragraph that they will write another day.  It is with excitement that the students learn cursive letters in first grade.  They also are introduced to word processing on the computer.


In the afternoon, special studies in sciences and social studies are the focus.  The topics present a range from a first through third grade level. The first and second grade students are taught together and work together.  Combining the two classes brings many benefits to the students.  The second grade students have opportunities to be a mentor/leader to the first grade students.  The first grade students grow to work at a higher level.  As the students discuss topics and concepts presented in the studies, students listen and learn from each other.  Special studies topics change throughout the year (one a month) and are on a two year rotation.  Example of topics include:  the solar system, vertebrates and invertebrates, plants, weather, rock cycle & volcanoes, pilgrims, pioneers, ancient civilizations, sound, electricity, states of matter, and magnetism.  Literature studies are also incorporated into afternoon activities; Patricia Polacco and Eve Bunting are favorite authors.  Work in all topics includes a variety of educational experiences.  Students read, demonstrate their comprehension through discussions, answering questions and writing, craft/art work is often included, and associated field trips are taken.


First grade students are engaged in several enriching activities.   French class, soccer class, hip hop dance class, art class, and singing provide students with exciting and diverse experiences.  A highlight of the year is our All-School-Concert.  In French class, students expand their vocabulary and begin to write in French. The first grade student is now ready to develop beginning skills in applying grammar, to use pronouns and be aware of singular, plural, feminine, and masculine nouns.  In art, first grade students grow in their ability to follow visual instruction to create a variety of drawings using different art media.  Soccer and hip hop dance classes are new experiences for the first grade students.  The students have their own coach at Arena Sports and strive to build soccer skills in a non-competitive environment.  Hip hop is fun, exciting, and challenging.  The first grade students work with the second grade students to learn and perform a hip hop dance routine for their parents.