First grade is an exciting time for students to begin to exercise some autonomy, initiative, and self direction as learners. They will take pride in their growing ability to follow classroom rules and routines, use materials purposefully and respectfully, sustain their attention to independent work, and adapt with flexibility to new learning paradigms as they arise.
In addition, first graders will begin to use technology with intentionality as it becomes clear to them that it can assist them with thinking and problem-solving.
First graders flourish socially and emotionally in a classroom culture that stresses love and support and respects that each student develops in this regard at his or her own pace. Students enjoy a variety of opportunities to interact and participate and work cooperatively. Skills such as self-direction, creative problem-solving, taking turns and developing strategies, are all cultivated by playing games with rules and participating in structured physical activities. Students also learn through such activities to interact easily with both adults and peers, participate in the life of the class, and respect the rights and feelings of those around them. The MindUP and Second Step curriculums support such learning with stand alone lessons that engage the students.
Already in love with reading, first graders continue to develop this passion. Children engage literature as a multifaceted practice which sees them engaging in reading aloud, shared reading, guided reading, and independent reading. What is more, they begin to recognize that the term “text” can apply to a myriad of printed material including picture books, novels, non fiction, poetry, songs, charts and newspapers. Reading instruction is delivered through mini-lessons on skills using mentor texts and teacher modeling. Individual and small group lessons are geared to each student’s developmental stage of reading, and these groups are flexible, allowing students the chance to be grouped for skill work and interests, as well as ability. Recognizing that reading is a skill essential to all academic disciplines, it is taught in isolation as well as integrated across the curriculum throughout the day. In terms of cultivating each student’s understanding of the mechanics of reading, first grade curriculum features phonological awareness instruction and a sight word vocabulary is developed and maintained with daily lessons.
First graders are given many opportunities to write throughout the day in a variety of contexts. Independent writing, creating class or individual books, making lists, responsive writing, shared writing, guided writing and writing workshop are just some of the formats that challenge students to continually hone their skills in this regard. Recognizing that the novelty of medium can sometimes serve to inspire creativity, students get the opportunity to write in journals, different size paper, blank books, postcards and dry erase boards using pencils, crayons and markers to allow for exploration. Children learn letter formation though modeling, copying print, and handwriting practice with the Learning Without Tears program. Spelling instruction introduces spelling rules and grammar skills. Children work towards becoming independent writers through reflecting on and documenting their experiences. Instruction is presented through a variety of units such as narrative, informational and fiction opinion writing. Each child’s developmental stage of writing is acknowledged and honored through individual conferencing with their teacher as a means to work towards individual goals.
First grade math is enriched by implementing the Eureka 2 Math program. Teachers use a variety of tools to reach, support, and enrich students of all mathematical abilities. Concepts and skills covered are addition and subtraction of whole numbers, fractions, place value, geometry, time, money, measurement, mental arithmetic, problem-solving, graphing, and patterning. Instruction varies between cooperative, whole group, and independent paradigms. In these various groupings and implementing games and other engaging activities, children will learn to solve problems utilizing a variety of strategies and practice skills. An important goal of first grade math is to teach basic skills with an understanding of their contextual relevance so that students can recognize that these skills are germane to the solution of real world problems.
Children are natural scientists. They love to investigate concepts and phenomena unfamiliar to them and then analyze what they have discovered. Inquiry skills, physical life, and Earth science concepts are integrated into a meaningful context by encouraging students to ask their own questions while exploring in a hands-on environment. The focus in science is on active investigation through observing, recording, describing, questioning, forming explanations and drawing conclusions. Participation in STEM activities and science experiments allow students opportunities to explore topics such as animals, pollinators, rainforest, space system patterns and cycles, wave-light, sound and health topics.
The first grade Science curriculum is supported by Studies Weekly and Healthy Lifestyle Choices.
Social Studies instruction in first grade is focused on family life and community. The students learn about their roles as members of a family and how family life has changed through the years with the use of primary sources, timelines and Studies Weekly. In grade one students expand their knowledge of communities at work learning about economics: needs and wants, consumers and producers, spending and saving, goods and services, and how people receive money. Students in first grade continue to learn how to locate places on maps and globes and how different communities are influenced by geographic and environmental factors. They also study the rights and responsibilities of citizenship in their communities and explore American Symbols and holidays. Participation in group discussions offers children the opportunity to relate knowledge to prior experiences and plays a role in developing higher thinking skills.
Small class sizes that allow for more focused and tailored instruction with the support of the IGNITE program
Hands-on, enjoyable learning experiences that foster collaboration, respect and empathy
Highly qualified teachers and assistants that focus on social-emotional development
Physical education program which focuses on character, teamwork and sportsmanship
Exposure to special academic areas including music, library, and visual and performing arts
8:00 - Mindful Breathing and Morning Routines
8:30 - Math
9:30 - Snack & Brain Break
10:00 - Specials
10:30 - Science, Social Studies, Second Step, MindUP
11:30 - Lunch
12:00 - Specials
12:30 - Handwriting
1:00 - ELA-Daily 5
2:20 - Recess
2:55 - Dismissal