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Course Content: B is for Bear
Details of Curriculum
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Reading and Literary Studies

In addition to their independent reading, students will be assigned smaller reading passages every week with vocabulary and literary terms to study and memorize as well as spelling/vocabulary exercises and reading comprehension questions to complete. The reading selections are varied and include lyrical poetry, letters, short stories, fable, fairytales, mythology, history, biography, and autobiography. Students will study literary terms and apply them not only to the story read but also to other works of literature. Students will be tested on the literary terms at the end of the year. Literary terms include anecdotes, elements of story telling: plot, theme, setting, foil characters, literary genres: fiction and non-fiction, fables, folktales, tall tales, fantasy, myth, fairytales, historical fiction, philippic, figures of speech: simile, metaphor, personification, paradox, allegory, irony, literal and figurative language, apostrophe, pathetic fallacy, etymology.


Students will learn vocabulary presented in the phonics section of the textbook and complete the vocabulary in context exercises that follow.

Book Reports

Students will be assigned three books to read during the year, which are as follows: 

Margaret Hodges, Saint George and the Dragon

Sibylle Von Olfers, The Story of the Snow Children

Arthur Ransome, The Fool of the World and the Flying Ship

For the three assigned book, students will present a simple oral report in which they will present the name of the author and a brief summary of the story; the directions of this report will be given in class. If students have read the above books, or they prove too challenging or too easy, any of the following books may be substituted:

Arlene Mosel, Tikki Tikki Tembo

Steven Kellogg, Jack and the Beanstalk

Ai-Ling Louie, Yeh-Shen

Rebecca Hickox. The Golden Slipper: A Middle Eastern Cinderella

Hans Christian Andersen, The Ugly Duckling

James Thurber, Many Moons

Philip C. Stead, Bear Has a Story to Tell

Writing Assignments

Students will begin the year by learning the foundational elements of writing, such as composing sentences and paragraphs. 

In preparation for these written assignments, students will do the following:

dictation exercises

learn how to write sentences with supporting detail

learn the importance of detail, dialog and description, especially in narrative writing

learn the importance of neatness, carefulness, proofreading, and following grammar and usage conventions

Poetry, Poetry Memorization and Poetics

Students will memorize a stanza of poetry and recite a poem at the end of the school year in front of an audience. In addition to other poems chosen by the teacher for the particular year, students will memorize at least five of the following.

Helen Hunt Jackson’s “September”

John Keats, “To Autumn”

Christina Rossetti, “Bitter for Sweet”

Emily Dickinson, “In the Garden”

Alfred Tennyson, “Weariness”

Edgar Allan Poe, “The Bells”

Robert Frost, “Looking for a Sunset Bird in Winter” and “Gathering Leaves”

Mary Howitt, “The Voice of Spring”

William Wordsworth, “The Rainbow” and “The Sun Has Long Been Set”

As part of their instruction in poetry, students will learn the following terms and concepts. (The instructional material is found in the textbook.)

prose and poetry

meter: syllable, foot, iambic, trochaic, dactylic hexameter

rhyme: alliteration, rhyme scheme, assonance, consonance, identity, eye rhyme


kinds of poetry: epic, ballad


A lesson in grammar will be assigned every week. The grammar lessons are found in the grammar and poetics textbook. Students will learn the following terms and concepts:

end marks

  • parts of speech: nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, adverbs, prepositions, 

  • proper nouns

  • regular and irregular nouns

  • regular verbs

  • contractions

  • comparative forms of adjectives, suffixes

  • titles

  • prepositional phrases

  • subjects

  • punctuation: commas, apostrophes, quotation marks



Students will study the following letter combinations:

the short and long vowels

the sounds of letter combinations: er, ow (as in cow), ea (as in bead), ou, ew, oi, ai, ee, y, ar, or, aw, oa, igh, ir, ay, oo (as in book), ow (as in snow), al, oy, ind, soft c, old, ea (as in bread), ough, oo (as in root), le, mb, kn, wr, tion, wh, ies, ss, age, cious, tch, tr, dr, dge, or, ph, qu, silent t, ture, ur, soft g (as in giant), oar, ey, silent h, ous, ue



Organization and Neatness

Students will focus on the following in class: 

taking responsibility for their belongings

carefulness and neatness

quick and legible handwriting.

The students will be graded on each of the above areas mentioned.


Students will continue to develop their cursive italic handwriting through workbook activity as well as through dictation, note-taking, and essay writing. Students will focus on 

posture and handling their pencil when writing

the form of the letters and the letter “families”

speed, neatness and legibility


parallel lines

size of letters

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