Heather Zediak, Stacye Meeley, Ashley Carroll, Corey Ford, Karlie Burroughs, Michaela Smith (Left to Right)
Reading and writing is an area of major growth and change in first grade. Children need to read and practice high-frequency words (word wall words) on a daily basis at home. They learn strategies such as clarifying words they are unsure of, predicting, making connections, summarizing, visualizing and questioning. The Phonological Awareness and Literacy Screening (PALS) is given in the fall and spring. The Developmental Reading Assessment (DRA) is given each quarter to monitor progress. Students learn to write sentences and paragraphs using proper capitalization, punctuation, and spelling high frequency words correctly.
There is a strong focus on conceptual math and developing number sense in first grade. The major focus is on truly understanding the numbers 1-10 and recognizing the relationship between the parts of these numbers. Students learn addition and subtraction strategies by using hands-on manipulatives in conjunction with written equations. It is imperative for this foundation to be strong as future grade levels will continue to build on these strategies and concepts. While addition and subtraction is the primary skill that we work on, first grade students will also recognize coins and count mixed change, tell time to the hour and half hour, learn basic fractions, pattern and measure using nonstandard units.
In Social Studies, children learn how to interact with others as a good citizen in our classroom and school community. We study patriotic symbols, famous Americans, holidays/traditions, maps/geography and basic economics. In science, students learn how to think like a scientist by exploring the life processes of plants and animals throughout the seasons. They also learn how to take care of the earth and these precious natural resources. They conduct hands-on investigations about sound, force, motion and matter.
In terms of work/study skills, conduct and social skills, there is a major shift in the level of independence expected from the beginning of the year to the end.
As the bridge between kindergarten and second grade we gradually shift towards more independent stations and seat work as the year progresses. Students need to be self- starters and problem solvers. They need to learn to be more self-sufficient; for example, students are tying their own shoes, opening lunch items, being responsible for their school supplies at their desk as well as transporting papers/notes to and from school.