Grade 1


Barstow first graders build on skills learned in kindergarten to make the leap toward becoming more independent and organized learners. Students learn to be good listeners, good friends and good citizens in their school community. They take on more responsibility for their own learning. Organization is key to mastering these lifelong skills.

Guided by caring educators, students learn daily routines that give them a sense of dependability and consistency. They know where their homework sheet goes in their folder. They know when and where to return papers from home. They keep their desks organized. Regular tasks and responsibilities become second nature, so they can concentrate on a creative curriculum that is anything but routine.

Grade 1 Curriculum

List of 4 items.

  • Language Arts

    Grade 1 students learn how language develops through reading, writing and word study. They become more confident spellers of high frequency and core vocabulary words through dictation, repetition and breaking down complex words into syllables.

    Young writers learn to compose complete sentences using capital letters, punctuation, subjects and predicates. They enjoy learning to add details and personality to their writing, as reflected in their weekly journals. 
    Students read stories together and in small, fluid groups that match their abilities. This differentiation allows teachers time to observe and work individually with each child. Reading aloud at school and at home promotes fluency, accuracy, comprehension and expression. 
  • Mathematics

    Instruction begins with basic addition and subtraction, then applies those skills to higher level concepts including place and monetary values, telling and writing time, weights and measurements, fractions, graphing and geomoetry.

    Hands-on activities compliment pencil-and-paper lessons to keep first graders actively engaged in learning. To master math facts, they move through a progression of "hot pencil" timed tests at their own rate. To learn graphing, they flip coins and track results. To understand three-dimensional shapes, they take the iPads on a scavenger hunt through the school.  

    Each week, students enjoy math investigations. Rotating through enrichment activities, they deepen their understanding of math strategies and concepts using manipulatives, games and other tools.
  • Science

    The three main areas of science study in grade 1 are plants, weather and matter.
    First graders learn how seeds travel, germinate and grow. They see that growth cycle in the Barstow garden, where they work with middle school mentors to plant and harvest vegetables. The unit culminates in a field trip to Powell Gardens.  

    Students learn to identify the three primary types of matter: solids, liquids and gases. They conduct experiments and observe and describe what they see. They also use observation and description as they learn about weather—how it affects our daily lives, how to collect and measure weather data and it relates to changing seasons.

    Students attend STEAM classes twice a week, where they engage in hands on coding, gaming and other science and technology-related activities that enrhance the classroom curriculum. 
  • Social Studies

    First grade students learn what it means to be part of a community: in their school, neighborhood, city and beyond. They learn about the roles of different community helpers, including police officers, firefighters and doctors, and develop an understanding of the roles of rule and law in society. 

    During a unit on national symbols, students use apps on their iPads and skills learned in language arts to research, write and share reports. They include an introduction, expository information and a summary about their chosen symbol. 
    Geography study includes the culture, history and languages of Canada and Mexico. The study of Mexico is enriched through Spanish lessons twice a week. 

Curriculum Spotlight: American Symbols

Grade 1 students enjoy taking the lead in their own learning, and the study of American symbols gives them the opportunity to do so. The learning is project-based, and driven by the students' interests and creativity.

First, they choose a favorite symbol, and then they use apps to learn its history and significance. They use that information to write their very first research paper with an introduction, expository paragraphs and a summary. Finally, they create replicas of their symbols using everything from clay and paint to Legos and even marshmallows. Taking this social studies lesson from pencil and paper to three-dimensional design makes the experience more memorable and meaningful. The project-based learning method is one that they will experience throughout their years at Barstow in every division.

Lower School News

A Day in the life

Field trips & Special Events

First graders study communities large and small. The year begins with the development of their classroom community—establishing routines and responsibilities that contribute to everyone's success. As they study the larger community around Barstow, they learn the differences between rural, urban and suburban areas. They understand how community helpers such as police officers, firefighters and doctors contribute to society. They study citizenship and laws. Then they look at larger North American communities, diving into the history and culture of Canada and Mexico. Hands-on activities and projects, along with weekly Spanish lessons, enrich the social studies curriculum.

Daily Schedule

8:15 - Greeting/Calendar
8:40 - Math
9:50 - Physical Education
10:25 - Language Arts
11:00 - Lunch
11:30 - Foreign Language
12:00 - Math
12:30 - Recess
1:00 - Science/Social Studies
1:50 - Specials*
2:30 - Finish Work/Clean Up

*STEAM, Music, Art, Library, Spanish

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Visit our Admission's web pages for admission's requirements, information and important dates.

The Barstow School

11511 State Line Road • Kansas City, MO 64114
P (816) 942-3255 • F (816) 942-3227