1st Grade

University School of Milwaukee’s 1st grade students continue their journey in the Lower School by developing their independent reading and writing skills and math number sense. Our 1st graders and their teachers also grow as a community while learning about other communities and various life experiences around the world as they “travel” the globe and learn about life in Costa Rica, Ghana, and Japan.

At USM, 1st grade is a year of tremendous academic and social growth. In addition to learning to tie their shoes on their own, tuck in their shirts, and buckle their belts as part of the dress code, children will use backpacks and homework folders, play on the “big kid” playground, and serve as “buddies” to younger USM students (our prekindergartners) for the first time. As our 1st graders take on more responsibilities, their teachers also work with them throughout the year to become more independent in their reading and writing while still supporting them with individualized attention and small-group learning.

Academics and Curriculum

The 1st grade curriculum in USM’s Lower School combines core subjects taught by grade-level teachers with many additional classes taught by specialist instructors.

Subject-area outcomes are an important part of how our curriculum is developed and how our students are evaluated. The following lists, broken out by subject area, provide some examples of student outcomes for the end of the 1st grade year.

Special Events and Activities

USM’s 1st graders enjoy a year full of incredible trips and adventures. In addition to field trips to the Milwaukee Art Museum and Milwaukee Public Museum, our students travel the world without ever leaving the classroom, jetting off to exciting locales such as Ghana, Costa Rica, and Japan during their units studying these countries and their cultures. The 1st graders connect their learning as they create experiences such as an African market, Rainforest Rummage Sale to benefit the Children’s Eternal Rainforest in Costa Rica, and a Japanese celebration. Children also host presentations on their individual in-depth studies of specific rainforest animals. Another highlight of the school year is the annual teddy bear picnic. Ahead of spring break each year, all 1st and 2nd graders showcase their vocal talents along with all Lower School orchestra children in a formal concert at school.