First Grade (Little-Talked About) Resources

I wrote a post some time ago, in 2010, about first grade resources.  That was seven years ago!  I did first grade for the third time last year, and have a few updated notes to add.

First of all, I suggest you take all questions regarding, “What curriculum should I use?” to the Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum Discussion Facebook group.  There are so very many back posts comparing all the major curriculums and what resonated with people (or what didn’t).  Curriculum, to me, is very , very tricky.  What appeals to one person will not at all appeal to another.  My advice, as always, is to look at curriculums in person if that is at all possible, and look to further your own knowledge of Waldorf Education through in-person  workshops and trainings.  My very simple three requirements for Waldorf curriculum can be found here.

But today I would like to mention a few very helpful  resources that are often over-looked for first grade (I am not in any way shape or form affiliated with these products; I just like them):

  1. “Waldorf Teachers’ Companion to Poems and Speech Exercises for Grades I and II” by John Cyril Miles of Promethean Press.  I have the fourth edition, and it is 141 pages of lovely speech exercises, tongue twisters, and then poems divided by categories:  morning, evening, the seasons (Michaelmas, Fall, Halloween and Martinmas, Advent and Winter Solstice, Spring and Summer), animals and plants, nursery rhymes, fable poems, elementals, people, number poems, miscellany, prayers, story poems.  The last two sections are finger exercises and riddles.  My only wish would be that it included jump roping  rhymes and clapping games, but overall a really thorough resource to carry you through two grades.  You can look at it here , along with other selections.
  2. “Spelling By Hand”  by Jeremy Harrmann.  I hope to write a complete review of this book. It is new to the market, and I think quite good for its 55 paged-size.  There are sections in this book about alliteration in grade one, the spelling of regular words in grades one and two, rhyming and hand spelling in order to make gestures part of the spelling of words, CVC words, finger spelling, the use of writing in grades one and two.  There are also learning objectives for grade one (essentially, such this as the children are able to rhyme and alliterate, they are able to properly spell CVC words, during independent writing they try to break words down phonetically even if they don’t spell them correclty, and that when the children encounter unknown words when reading they try to sound them out phonetically).   I would say these goals could easily extend into grade two for some children (two out of my three have been/are in this category going into section grade where these skills are still emerging), but there are also goals listed for second grade as well. There are many ideas for spelling word games,  and there are spelling word lists of rhyming fun, regular words (CVC or consonant-vowel-consonant words in English), consonant blend words, and then moving into CCVC, CCVCC,silent E words (words ending in long e, a-e words, e-e words, i-e words, o-e words, u-e words), consonant blend words, common vowel pattern words, tenses, common error words, and then “sophisticated errors”, ending with common prefixes and suffixes.   It is a very reasonable price, and I suggest it be on your shelf to help you grasp not only the sequencing of spelling from grades 1-8, but how to bring this is in an experiential way that makes it “Waldorf”. From Waldorf Publications here
  3. The resources available through Lemon Tree Press by Waldorf Master Teacher Howard Schrager.  This includes a variety of wonderful math stories that don’t involve gnomes; the book LMNOP and more. For a full discussion of these materials, head to the Waldorf Homeschool Curriculum Discussion page.
  4. For those of you with first and second graders mixed with having early year children in the house, I recommend Celebrate the Rhythm of Life  by Master Early Years Teacher Lisa Boisvert MacKenzie, who is on the Board of Directors for Lifeways of North America, is on the Waldorf Early Childhood Association of North America task board for birth through three, is a Simplicity Parenting Coach, and more.  Her monthly e-program is a reasonable cost, and will help you with rhythm and festivals.

Please share your favorite off-the-beaten path resources for first grade!


7 thoughts on “First Grade (Little-Talked About) Resources

  1. That poetry and speech books looks really interesting; unfortunately I have so much already for first grade that I probably can’t justify another purchase. However, I was wondering if you are familiar with the similar volume for grade 5/6? I am finding my grade 5 “rhythmic time” much harder to plan. There seems to be a lot for the ancient civilizations, but I’m struggling to find appropriate poetry and other exercises outside of that.

  2. Hi Carrie, I am currently planning First Grade for the first time and finding your posts incredibly helpful and inspiring, thank you! Among my many questions, i am just wondering whether you used Fairy Tales in your quality of numbers block? and also whether you introduced roman numerals within this first math block also? I guess I’m looking for inspiration to do things the way i want to, if that makes sense…..its nice to hear about all the different ways others are working their lessons.
    Thanks again 🙂

    • HI Marja!
      I always do Roman Numerals first thing with my Form Drawing block, so before we ever get to the Qualities of Numbers block and then I review them within that block. I have used Fairy Tales for qualities of numbers before, I think one out of three children, and the other two children I made up my own story or embellished a story or characters…I used a story from the back of the book “All Year Round” for my last child and re-wrote and expanded it.
      Hope that helps,

  3. Thanks Carrie! This sounds like a good idea to me…..i just kinda feel like roman numerals should be covered separately to the numbers…..personal feeling 😉
    Would you mind expanding on how you integrate them into the form drawing? I was also wondering if you have the Brain Gym book/s? is it worth purchasing?
    Thanks again! Your’e an absolute gem!

    • I made a story that encompassed form drawing, counting, skip counting, and Roman numerals. I do have the Brain Gym books but I took the course so the books made sense. I would try to look at the books before you bought them and see if the books make sense to you. Hope that helps. Blessings, Carrie

  4. Hi Carrie, thank you so much for your helpful replies. You are such a wealth of knowledge.
    I am putting together our final block plan for grade 1 and i love the idea of the intro to numbers block straight up, for all the reasons you have spoken about. I just wondered whether you know what Steiner himself had to say about block progression? Most curriculum seems to start with a Language Block (after form drawing) but i have not seen this specifically indicated in any of the Steiner literature that i have read so far.
    Thanks again.
    Warm wishes,

    • As far as I know, this was left to the teacher. There is a little book regarding the curriculum of the first Waldorf School and I always wondered if there was something in that perhaps.

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