First grade continues to build on the foundation for reading and writing that was started in kindergarten. We use a balanced literacy model to teach reading, writing, and word study. This approach gives students the opportunity to experience literature in a variety of ways throughout the day.
During guided reading, we use small group instruction to meet the individual needs of each child. Students use books on their level to develop the skills that will help them take their reading proficiency to the next level.
Shared reading is a time for students to be exposed to a wide variety of literature. Often the texts used at this time are linked to what we are studying in science, social studies, and math. Students learn about the comprehension strategies and practice applying them to texts. Whole group and partner discussions as well as individual assignments enhance their understanding of these strategies.
In addition to practicing capitalization, punctuation, and sentence structure, first graders learn how reading and writing are connected. We use an assortment of books and texts to model how to write using the six traits – ideas, organization, voice, sentence fluency, word choice, and conventions.
Word study is an important time each day where first graders work on a variety of word skills. We use this time to introduce and practice the 220 first grade sight words. We also teach the children to recognize word families that will help them become better readers and spellers. Students also have a chance to work in small groups made up of children working at the same level to sort and write words to develop specific spelling features. Each of these word skills helps students as they become readers and writers.
In first grade, not only do we teach children the skills necessary to become literate, we promote a love of reading and writing that we hope students carry with them throughout their lives.
Just like first grade helps to build the foundation for reading, first graders work hard to develop a strong number sense that will lay the groundwork for working with mathematics through the rest of their time in school and into their adult lives.
Using hands-on activities, math talk, and exploration, students go beyond the procedures to develop a deeper understanding of numbers. Some of the topics we explore are counting, number relationships, addition, subtraction, place value, money, patterns, graphing, time, measurement, geometry, and problem solving.
In first grade, we investigate topics such as Sun and Earth relationships, seasonal changes, natural resources, motion of objects, interactions with water, plants, and animals. Through hands-on activities and literature connections, students will learn how to think like a scientist using logic and reason. Students enjoy working as a whole class and in small groups to learn more about science throughout the year.
First graders begin social studies learning how to be good citizens. They get to immediately apply what they are learning about citizenship by showing these behaviors in school, at home, and in the community. Throughout the year, students are introduced to symbols of America, famous Americans from history, maps, economic concepts, diversity, and holidays. An understanding of these skills helps to contribute to success throughout life.