Lower School


Reading & Writing

  • Consonant Sounds
  • Long and Short Vowel Sounds
  • Segmentation
  • Blending
  • Phoneme Replacement
  • Rhyming
  • Syllables
  • Compound Words
  • Proper and Common Nouns
  • Verbs, Adjectives and Pronouns
  • Sentence Structure and Punctuation
  • Sentence Types
  • Letter Formation
  • Reading Comprehension
  • Story Retelling
  • High Frequency Words
  • Vocabulary
  • Fluency
  • Sequencing
  • Cause and Effect
  • Listening Comprehension


  • One-to-One Correspondence
  • Counting and Counting Strategies (counting on, skip counting, and counting by 5's and 10's)
  • More and Less
  • Numbers 0-100; Numeral formation 1-10
  • Geometry
  • Patterns, Sorting and Clarifying
  • Money
  • Time to the Nearest Hour and Half Hour
  • Measuring Height, Length, Weight, and Capacity
  • Comparing Length, Weight, and Capacity
  • Joining and Separating Sets to 10
  • Calendar Concepts
  • Graphing
  • Estimating


  • Nutrition and Healthy Body
  • Earth’s Landforms (Rocks, Volcanoes, Erosion)
  • Plants and Seeds
  • Animal Characteristics and Habits

Social Studies

Social Studies
  • Community
  • Cultures and Traditions
  • Holiday Traditions
  • Service Learning
  • Character Development
  • Patriotism
  • Global Awareness
  • Important Dates in History (Martin Luther King, Jr. and Christopher Columbus)

Grade 1

Reading & Writing

Communication Skills
  • Handwriting: D’Nealian Manuscript
  • Grammar/Usage/Mechanics: verbs, adjectives, nouns (singular, plural, possessive), pronouns, possessive pronouns, capitalization, punctuation (end punctuation, commas in a series, contractions, suffixes, compound words, antonyms, synonyms, homophones, quotation marks), contractions, plurals, parts of a sentence, types of sentences, spelling, compound words
  • Composition: complete sentences, order words, labels, autobiographies, making lists, keeping a journal, writing instructions, friendly letters, thank you letters, invitations, descriptive paragraphs, summaries, simple book reports, writing directions, descriptions, personal narrative, staying on topic dialogue, alliteration, rhyming poems, non-rhyming poems, posters
  • Public Speaking

  • Phonics: consonants, vowels, digraphs, blends, rhyming words, syllabication blending
  • High frequency words
  • Comprehension Skills: reality/fantasy, compare/contrast, summarize, draw conclusions, classify and categorize, main idea and details, cause and effect, sequencing and make inferences
  • Comprehension Strategies: predict, make connections, visualize, monitor and clarify, ask questions


  • Numeration: counting, addition, and subtraction
  • Patterns
  • Graphs – read, interpret, create
  • Word Problems
  • Applications to Real Life Situations
  • Organizing Data
  • Measurement
  • Money
  • Time
  • Geometry
  • Fractions
  • Using Numbers to 100
  • Problem Solving
  • Mental Math
  • Place Value
  • Odd and Even Numbers
  • Fact Families
  • Temperature


  • Animals
  • Natural Resources
  • Weather
  • Solar System
  • Life Cycle of a Butterfly, Frog, and Plant

Social Studies

  • Going to School
  • Good Citizens
  • Columbus Day
  • Native Americans and First Settlers
  • People Around the World
  • Famous American Heroes
  • The Land Around Us
  • Jobs Around Us
  • Global Partners – focus on different country each year

Grade 2

Reading & Writing

Communication Skills
  • Handwriting: D’Nealian review, D’Nealian cursive
  • Grammar/Usage/Mechanics: spelling, capitalization, parts of speech, contractions, types of sentences
  • Composition: writing process, descriptive paragraphs, creative writing, daybook journaling, book reports, research papers.
  • Dictionary skills
  • Public speaking: oral presentations, show and tell, book reports, calendar, current events
  • Phonemic awareness: prefixes, suffixes, contractions, compound words, irregular vowels, possessives, diphthongs
  • Comprehension: sequence of events, cause and effect, story structure, compare and contrast, predict and summarize, author’s viewpoint, main idea, inference, character identification
  • Vocabulary
  • Genres: realistic fiction, biography, non-fiction, folk tales, fantasy
  • Study skills


  • Adding and subtracting 2 and 3 digit numbers
  • Adding with regrouping
  • Subtracting with regrouping
  • Place value in 5 digit numbers
  • Fact families
  • Number strategies
  • Fractions
  • Geometry
  • Multiplication (introduction) / Division (introduction)
  • Patterns and Algebra (introduction)
  • Time
  • Measurement
  • Mean, median, mode
  • Problem solving with each concept covered


  • Life cycles of plants, animals, and people
  • Fossils and dinosaurs
  • Sound
  • Matter, Halloween Chemistry
  • Magnets
  • National Geographic Explorer

Social Studies

  • Continents and Oceans
  • Map skills
  • Landforms
  • City, State, Country, Continent (global address)
  • Native Americans
  • Famous people
  • Current event in Time for Kids
  • Colonial America
  • Global communities: yearly focus on a specific country

Grade 3

Reading & Writing

Language Skills
  • Nouns
  • Adjectives
  • Verbs
  • Adverbs
  • Pronouns
  • Suffixes and prefixes
  • Homographs
  • Contractions
  • Compound words
  • Plurals
  • Subjects and predicates
  • Identifying and writing complete sentences
  • Punctuation
  • Capitalization

  • Continued phonetic and spelling pattern study
  • Continued review and application of mechanics
  • Approaches to writing (shared interactive, guided, timed, writing to prompts)
  • Identify audience and purpose
  • Personal voice, writer’s viewpoint
  • Organizing information
  • Effective sentences (opening, closing, combing sentences, sentence variety)
  • Elaboration (reasons and details, developing ideas, staying on the topic)
  • Paragraphing (topic sentence and details)
  • Word choice (vivid words, sensory details, description, figurative language)
  • Analyze published models
  • Writing process
  • Use technology to create, revise, edit, and publish texts
  • Descriptive writing
  • Narrative writing
  • Writing a friendly letter
  • Poetry
  • Persuasive writing
  • Informative / expository writing
  • Everyday writing
  • Daybooks

Reading / Literature
  • Predicting
  • Summarizing
  • Sequencing
  • Classify and categorize
  • Cause and effect
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Making inferences
  • Compare and contrast
  • Identify main ideas and supporting details
  • Author’s purpose
  • Point of view
  • Identification of story elements
  • Make connections between stories
  • Genres: fiction, fantasy, biographies, historical fiction, non-fiction, myths, legends, fables, poetry
  • Reading fluency and expression
  • Vocabulary


  • Counting, Estimating, and Approximation
  • Addition and Subtraction (with and without regrouping)
  • Equalities and Inequalities
  • Place Value
  • Rounding
  • Counting beyond 1 million
  • Reading a Thermometer (comfort levels)
  • Graphing (bar, pictograph)
  • Perimeter and Area
  • Skip Counting
  • Multiplication
  • Arrays
  • Division (with and without remainders)
  • Functions and Arrow Notation (including inverse operations)
  • Fractions (adding, subtracting, comparing, improper, and mixed)
  • Length (metric and customary)
  • Decimals (all operations)
  • Points and Lines
  • Angles
  • Triangles, Quadrilaterals, Polygons
  • Congruence
  • Slides, Flips Turns, Symmetry, Circles
  • Collecting Data (samples and tally marks)
  • Mean, Median, Mode


  • States of Matter
  • The Water Cycle
  • Moon Phases
  • Plant and Animal Life Cycles
  • Plant and Animal Populations
  • Graphing
  • Temperature
  • Predicting
  • Scientific Method
  • Understanding Concepts: melting and freezing points, condensation and evaporation, physical properties, physical and chemical changes, changes in water, water and life cycles, changes in the moon’s appearance, characteristics and needs of plants and animals, metamorphosis, biotic potential, habitat loss, endangered and extinct, food chain

Social Studies

  • Charlotte / Mecklenburg County: history, climate, geography, government, economic development
  • National government: three branches
  • Country research skills
  • Famous African Americans
  • Map skills
  • Our Nation’s history: early settlements
  • Current Events: Time for Kids

Grade 4

Reading & Writing

Reading Skills
  • Sequencing plot events
  • Making inferences
  • Following directions
  • Text organization (topic, main idea, supporting ideas)
  • Cause and effect
  • Drawing conclusions
  • Fact and opinion
  • Author’s viewpoint
  • Compare and contrast
  • Problem solving and decision making
  • Story structure
  • Context clues
  • Making generalizations
  • Drawing conclusions

  • Fiction
  • Non-Fiction
  • Biography
  • Historical Fiction
  • Realistic Fiction

Writing Skills

  • Spelling rules (suffixes, prefixes, base words, contractions, compound words)
  • Types of sentences
  • Punctuating sentences
  • Commas
  • Titles and quotation marks
  • Homophones
  • Compound sentences
  • Compound subjects
  • Compound predicates
  • Conjunctions
  • Nouns
  • Verbs
  • Adjectives
  • Adverbs
  • Pronouns
  • Prepositions

  • Informational
  • Autobiography
  • Poetry
  • Character Sketch
  • Friendly Letter
  • Personal Narrative
  • Summary
  • Creative/ Fiction
  • Descriptive
  • Revision Writing


  • Numerical sequence
  • Basic addition and subtraction facts
  • Multi-digit addition and subtraction
  • Detecting obviously wrong answers
  • Basic multiplication facts
  • Common multiples and common factors
  • Multiplying multi-digit numbers
  • Basic division facts, including remainders
  • Dividing by one and two digit divisors
  • Functions and inverses
  • Graphing functions
  • Mean, median, mode and range
  • Adding and subtracting fractions
  • Understanding decimals and percents
  • Adding, subtracting, multiplying, and dividing decimals
  • Measuring length, weight, and volume
  • Converting metric units
  • Perimeter and area
  • Lines, angles, quadrilaterals, and other polygons
  • Congruence and similarity
  • Symmetry
  • Calculating area
  • Measuring and calculating perimeter
  • Problem-solving


The fourth grade curriculum is an inquiry-based science program utilizing varied hands on activities to strengthen the student’s ability to use the scientific process. Students work together in cooperative groups to explore open-ended challenges in developing science knowledge. Projects are assigned to enhance research skills and target the multiple intelligences.

Physical Science
  • Electricity: experiment with circuits to study components, compare different circuits and their application
  • Force and Motion: exploring Newton’s Laws of Motion, identifying forces on objects, measuring the effects of force
  • Simple machines: identification and construction of simple machines, communicating the uses of simple machines in everyday life

Earth Science
  • Rocks and Minerals: classification of rocks and minerals through geological tests
  • Earth’s Surface: classifying types of volcanoes, examining earthquakes, comparing the layers of the earth, investigating plate tectonics

Social Studies

  • NC Geography
  • NC History
  • NC Economy
  • Culture/ Traditions of NC
  • The Land and Early People of NC
  • Colonial North Carolina
  • NC in the Revolutionary War
  • NC in the Civil War
  • Recognizing and Preserving Culture
  • State Government
  • Map Skills

Grade 5

Reading & Writing

Reading – Houghton Mifflin Series
  • Six compelling themes with excerpts taken from popular children’s literature, focusing on six key strategies for reading
  • Vocabulary: recognizing and reading high frequency words, vocabulary expansion, antonyms, synonyms, homophones, multiple-meaning words, compound words, using context, making analogies, understanding idioms, jargon, and slang
  • Additional Theme Focuses: poetry, speeches and plays
  • Novel Study: The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle by Avi
  • Literature Circles will explore literary devices, in this tale of drama on the high sea

English – Houghton Mifflin Series

  • Students will engage in the writing process through pre-writing, drafting, revision, proofreading and publishing
  • Exploration of the traits of writing to include ideas, organization, word choice, conventions, voice, sentence fluency, and presentation, in a variety of experiences for a range of audiences
  • Grammar: punctuation, capitalization, complete sentences, types of sentences, parts of speech, plurals, possessives, present, past and future tense, comparisons, prepositional phrases, and conjunctions
  • Study skills
  • Note-taking strategies
  • Visual association techniques
  • Use of mnemonic devices
  • Multiple intelligence study technique
  • Multi-sensory study techniques


Real Math 1
  • Whole numbers: Students will investigate graphing, place value, arithmetic laws, adding and subtracting
  • Multiplication and Division
  • Decimals: Students will investigate place value, compare and order, multiplying and dividing, and rounding
  • Function Rules: Students will investigate function machines and rules, negative numbers, and integers
  • Fractions: Students will investigate equivalent fractions, same denominators, comparing fractions, adding and subtracting fractions, mixed numbers and improper fractions, multiplying and dividing fractions, mixed numbers, and improper fractions
  • Ratios and Rates
  • Mean, Median, Range and Mode
  • Geometry: Students will investigate angles, triangles, congruence and similarity, perpendicular and parallel lines, quadrilaterals, parallelograms, circumference, area, rotation, translation, reflections, and symmetry
  • Percents
  • Measurement: Students will investigate length, weight, volume, capacity, and time


  • Scientific Method and Processes
  • 5 Kingdoms: Students will investigate the classification of the animal kingdom.
  • Human Body: We will explore the skeletal, nervous, muscular, circulatory, and respiratory systems of the human body.
  • Space: As we explore the solar system, we will investigate the moon and eclipses, solstice, equinox, axis, rotation, revolution of the planets, and space exploration. Next we will move into a more detailed exploration of the sun, stars, galaxies, meteoroids, and asteroids.
  • Oceans: We will discover information about oceans and seas, including salinity, waves, currents, and tides. Also we will investigate physical features and submersibles.

Social Studies

  • Overview Unit: Symbols of our country, Common beliefs of Americans, Citizenship, Free Enterprise, Regions of the United States, and Resources and the Environment
  • Regions of the United States: geography, history, natural resources, and cultures of each region of the United States, culminating in the 50 States Test
  • State Reports: The Road to Research (Throughout the fall, the library and computer specials teachers will support the introduction and practice of research skills in preparation of our January state report project.)
  • Freedom, A History of U.S.
  • American Revolution
  • Civil War
  • Civil Rights Movement

Special Subjects


Visual Art

The visual art department at Latin strives to create an environment in which students are comfortable expressing themselves artistically. Independent thinking, creativity, resilience, positive self-critique, and fine craftsmanship are hallmarks of this program. Students in the Lower School have art once a week for an hour (TK and K for 45 minutes). The curriculum, which emphasizes the artistic process, is based on art elements, principles of design, art history, and aesthetics. In addition, student work is influenced by world cultures, contemporary trends, and common childhood experiences. Fine motor and problem solving skills are developed sequentially, encompassing a variety of media and techniques including collage, drawing, painting, printmaking, sculpture, clay, and fine crafts. When possible, art lessons are coordinated with grade level curricula.


The Lower School music program is experiential, interactive, and designed to introduce concepts through singing, playing, improvising, listening, moving, and reading music of all genres. Students will study the es­sential music elements, including melody, rhythm, form expression, and timbre. Younger students will focus on developing pre-reading skills and internalizing these concepts, while developing fine and gross motor skills for playing and moving. Older students will develop music vocabulary and learn to read musical notation through practicing singing and playing on many types of instruments, including the recorder. All students will participate on Orff instruments, hand percussion and African drums, as well as develop proper vocal technique. Emphasis will be placed on integrating concepts across curriculum areas.

The fifth grade music curriculum is a bridge to Middle School Ensembles. All students participate in Chorus and choose a band or string instrument to study. Vocal music focuses on healthy vocal technique, music theory and history, sight­ singing, and the rehearsal of music. Band exposes students to one of the five basic instruments: flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, and percussion. In the String Ensemble, students will begin study of the violin, viola, cello, or bass. In all Ensembles, students will de­velop self­-discipline and learn to work cooperatively while experiencing the joy of music.


Each class in grades TK to 4 visits the Library weekly for a regularly scheduled 30-minute lesson. Authors and various genres of literature are featured during weekly lessons. Fifth grade students visit the library on a flexible schedule. In collaboration with fifth grade teachers, students go to the library to work on research projects as needed.

Students learn how the library is organized and how to locate and use age appropriate materials. Librarians collaborate with all grade levels across the curriculum to provide lessons in the research process. Open check-out is available and students are encouraged to visit the library often.

Physical Education

The Lower School Physical Education program helps students begin to understand the physical skills necessary to ensure the proper development of their mind, body and spirit. Enjoyment, cooperation, and good sportsmanship are stressed at all grade levels.

The TK-3 curriculum consists of movement exploration and locomotor and non-locomotor skills mixed with play activities. The emphasis is on body control, coordination, cooperative play as well as fitness. Lead-up games and manipulative skills are also a focus in second and third grades. Fourth and fifth graders continue to improve their motor patterns, sports skills, and personal fitness levels during our sports units.


The Lower School science, technology, engineering, art and mathematics (STEAM) lab exposes students to the natural world using age-appropriate activities. In addition to their classroom science program, students come to the STEAM lab weekly. STEAM lab lessons are developed to encourage each child to use creative and higher-level thinking skills to solve real-world problems. Labs are periodically designed to supplement and enhance the classroom learning. In addition to numerous science investigations, students work collaboratively in groups to complete several STEAM activities throughout the year. Science lessons are taught in the science lab and various sites on the CLS campus – the outdoor classroom, the butterfly garden, woods, streams, fields, and Lake Latin.


All students in TK through fifth grade participate in the Lower School Spanish program. In our FLES­-based program (Foreign Language in Elementary Schools), the primary focus for language acquisition at this young age is on interpersonal and interpretive communication. Our ultimate goal is for children to be able to have a meaningful conversation with one another, even if they make a few grammatical mistakes along the way. Teachers use games, songs, and Total Physical Response activities (TPR) to enhance understanding and the ability to orally communicate with one another. Students also work on different visual projects throughout the year to present to their classmates to practice their speaking abilities. As students progress into Grades 3-­5, reading and writ­ing in Spanish are introduced and developed. All students learn about similarities and differences between the cultures in the United States and those in Spain and Latin American countries. When appropriate, Spanish teachers integrate the Spanish curriculum with other subject areas like math, science, social studies, art, and music.


Learning and teaching in the Lower School are enriched through the use of computers and iPads. Students begin using iPads as early as kindergarten, and Latin’s 1:1 iPad program begins in the third grade. Students use iPads to learn new ways to create, collaborate on, and share their work in the classroom. Keyboarding skills are introduced in the second and third grades and steadily developed in fourth and fifth grade through the use of the EduTyping program. Keyboarding and iPad skills are meant to supplement, but not replace, traditional skills like handwriting and face-to-face discussions, and a balance between the technological and the traditional remains central to the CLS Lower School education.

Through its iPad and engineering programs, as well as programs like Global Partners, the CLS Lower School nurtures the development of twenty-first century skills in its students. In all of its curriculum planning, CLS applies the educational technology standards established by ISTE (the International Society for Technology in Education). In our Lower School, this means that all students learn the fundamental principles of digital citizenship, and they practice the skills and the self-control that they will need to thrive in a diverse and globally connected world.