Catholic, Classical Grade School: Donahue Academy’s Grammar Stage

The Grammar Stage focuses on presenting information, the broad acquisition of facts and laying the foundation of knowledge. Grammar refers in this context to the simple concrete artifacts, basic building blocks or fundamental rules which inform a subject matter or exercise. This is the critical stage when students are learning “how to go to school,” how learning works and what behavior, conduct, and intellectual involvement are appropriate.

Grammar Stage students explore in simple and concrete ways the basic elements of reading, math, art, language and science. Memorization and simple observation in a rich environment, both of which come quite naturally and with delight at this stage, are maximized. Reading and being read to are at the heart of this stage as all students become fully fluent in reading and develop a love for stories, poetry, and the spoken and written word. The student becomes familiar with various parts of disciplines and future skills, in a basic but comprehensible way. The student’s developing intellect will more fully appreciate and synthesize the elements of this fact-focused stage as he grows in age and wisdom.

Grammar Stage Curriculum

Developing Knowledge – Asking “What”

Lists of texts below are illustrative and not exhaustive. Age-appropriate versions of certain works may be used.

Cognitive Taxonomy: Knowledge

Description: Recalling or remembering something without necessarily understanding, using or changing it.

Skills: Define, describe, identify, label, list, match, memorize, observe, point to, read, recite, recall, re-tell select, state.

1st Grade

Period: Ancient (5000 BC- 400 AD)

Assessments: N/A

History (2-3 times per week)

  • The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 1: The Ancients ( Wise)
  • The Gods and Goddesses of Olympus (Aliki)
  • Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (Barker)

Literature (Daily)

  • Book of Greek Myths (D’Aulaire)
  • The Trojan Horse, (Hutton)
  • The Odyssey & Greek Myths (McCaughrean)
  • Theseus and the Minotaur (Fisher)
  • The Adventures of Spider (McDermott)
  • Pandora (Burleigh)
  • The Aesop For Children (Winter)
  • Twelve Labors of Hercules (Rioradan)

Language Arts (Daily)

  • Heinemann Phonics, Spelling, and Word Study System for Grade 1
  • Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, Grade 1;
  • Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grade 1
  • Writing Our Catholic Faith 1 (Wasylyk)
  • Traditional Spelling 1 (Memoria)
  • Little Angel Readers; Scott Foresman Leveled Readers
  • Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum (Berquist)

Religion (Daily)

  • Image of God 1 (Ignatius)

Mathematics (Daily)

  • Sadlier Math 1

Science (2-3x per week) – Emphasis on Biology

  • Harcourt Science Big Book
  • Harcourt Science 2

Latin (Occasional)

  • Prayer: Hail Mary, Glory Be

Art/Music/Physical Education (2x per week)

  • Various Art Projects

2nd Grade

Period: Ancient/Medieval (400 AD-1600)

Assessments: Iowa Tests

History (2-3 times per week)

  • The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 2: The Middle Ages (Wise)

Literature (Daily)

  • Junior Great Books: Series 2 (The Great Books Foundation)
  • Magic Tree House Research Guide to Knights and Castles (Osborne)
  • The Knight at Dawn (Osborne)
  • Knights of the Round Table (Gross)
  • Robin Hood (Ingle)

Language Arts (Daily)

  • Voyages in English 2 (Loyola)
  • Writing Our Catholic Faith – Grade 2 (Wasylyk)
  • Traditional Spelling 2 (Memoria)
  • Scott Foresman Leveled Readers
  • Harp and Laurel Wreath: Poetry and Dictation for the Classical Curriculum (Berquist)

Religion (Daily)

  • Image of God 2 (Ignatius)

Mathematics (Daily)

  • Sadlier Math 2

Science (2-3x per week) – Emphasis on Earth Science

  • Harcourt Science 2

Latin (Occasional)

  • Prayer: Our Father

Art/Music/Physical Education (2x per week)

  • Various Art Projects

Cognitive Taxonomy: Comprehension

Description: Understanding something that has been communicated without necessarily relating it to anything else.

Skills: Alter, account for, annotate, calculate, change, convert, dictate, group, explain, generalize, give examples, illustrate, infer, interpret, paraphrase, review, summarize, and translate.

3rd Grade

Period: Renaissance-Early Modern (1600-1850)

Assessments: Iowa Tests

History (2-3 times per week) emphasis on United States

  • The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 3: The Renaissance (Wise);
  • States & Capitals (Memoria)
  • Map Skills Level D (Continental)
  • American Geography

Literature (Daily)

  • The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (Conan Doyle)
  • The Adventures of Pinocchio (Collodi/Philpot)
  • Hunchback of Notre Dame and Les Miserables (Hugo)
  • Oliver Twist (Dickens)
  • The Adventures of Tom Sawyer (Twain/Kulling/Christopher)
  • 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea (Verne)
  • Midsummer Night’s Dream (Shakespeare)
  • War of the Worlds (Wells)

Language Arts (Daily)

  • English Grammar Recitation (Memoria)
  • Heinemann Units of Study for Teaching Reading, Grade 3
  • Units of Study in Opinion, Information, and Narrative Writing, Grade 3
  • New American Cursive (Memoria)
  • Writing Our Catholic Faith 3 (Wasylyk)

Religion (Daily)

  • Faith & Life Text and Activity Books Gr. 3 (Casa Maria)
  • The Golden Children’s Bible (Memoria)
  • Christian Studies (Memoria)

Mathematics (Daily)

  • Sadlier Math 3

Science (2-3x per week) – Emphasis on Biology (excluding rocks and minerals)

  • Harcourt Science 3

Latin (Occasional)

  • Prayer: Introduction to Mass Parts

Art/Music/Physical Education (2x per week)

  • Various Art Projects

4th Grade

Period: Modern (1850-Present)

Assessments: Iowa Tests

History (2-3 times per week)

  • The Story of the World: History for the Classical Child, Volume 4: American History (Wise)
  • Map Skills E (Continental)

Literature (Daily)

  • Little House In Big Woods (Wilder)
  • Sarah Plain and Tall (MacLachlan)
  • Strawberry Girl (Lenski)
  • Wind in the Willows (Grahame)
  • Swiss Family Robinson (Wyss)
  • Homer Price (McClosky)
  • Ivanhoe (Scott)
  • The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis)

Language Arts (Daily)

  • Voyages in English 4 (Loyola)
  • Writing Our Catholic Faith 4 (Wasylyk)
  • Wordly Wise 3000 Book 4

Religion (Daily)

  • Faith & Life Text and Activity Books Gr.4 (Casa Maria)

Mathematics (Daily)

  • Sadlier Math 4

Science (2-3x per week) – Emphasis on Physics and Chemistry

  • Harcourt Science 4

Latin (Occasional)

  • Prayer: Mastery of Mass Parts

Art/Music/Physical Education (2x per week)

  • Various Art Projects