First Grade Curriculum Overview
The first grade communication arts curriculum builds on knowledge gained in the kindergarten classroom and fosters a lifelong interest in literature. Writing skills and concepts are reviewed, expanded, and introduced allowing students to make connections and use these concepts and skills in meaningful ways throughout the day. Decoding, recognizing phonetic patterns, and continuing to develop a mastery of sight words is a natural progression from kindergarten word work. First graders will practice reading fluency, comprehension, and build vocabulary as they read aloud individually, with a partner, and in small groups. Additionally, students are read to, participate in book discussions, and explore works of various authors. Story elements, story sequence, making predictions, and recalling details will be a focus in verbal and written formats.
Students review correct letter formation using D’Nealian handwriting and expand knowledge of sentence formation, word use, and punctuation through a variety of writing genres including narratives, poems, fiction, friendly letters, and informational reports. Spelling skills are developed by the introduction of rules and patterns in words. First graders are given many different opportunities to apply spelling patterns in personal writing pieces. The writing process is developed throughout the first grade year including brainstorming, creating a draft, editing, and publishing.
In math, students build upon and broaden their practice and understanding of concepts introduced in kindergarten. A connection to real-world problem solving is emphasized as students explore mathematics concepts using manipulatives, bridging concrete and abstract understanding. While math focuses change each trimester, developing a strong number sense and computation skills in addition and subtraction remains an emphasis throughout the year as this is the foundation for all mathematical understanding. In the first trimester, a geometry focus exposes students to the concept of two and three dimensional shapes, new vocabulary, symmetry, and congruency. Through patterning, students begin to learn basic algebraic concepts. Second trimester math builds students’ knowledge as they actively explore addition and subtraction operations, place value concepts, rounding, greater than and less than, and counting by multiples. Measurement is the math emphasis in third trimester enabling students to use a variety of tools to develop measuring skills in length, weight, and capacity as well as time and money. Using a variety of games, manipulatives, activities, and visual models, students strengthen math fact memorization and problem solving skills.
Social Studies and Science
“Me in the World” is the social studies and science theme for first grade. When possible, subject matter is integrated within the curriculum to make learning more meaningful. Students begin the year exploring the concept of community on the local level expanding to the global level later in the school year. Taking personal responsibility in caring for our environment, emphasizing reducing, reusing, and recycling, students learn about how their daily choices impact the world around them. In our exploration of community, we come to understand the differences between needs, wants, goods, and services. Second trimester, students discover North America and various Native American cultures. Introducing geography concepts, they learn about North American landforms, as well as weather, the water cycle, and states of matter. Third trimester, expanding beyond North America, students will learn about each of the other continents and oceans. They explore various world countries and cultures by learning about their music, art, food, and daily life. Investigating Earth’s biomes, students learn about animal classifications and habitats.
Technology will be integrated throughout the first grade curriculum as we have implemented 1:1 computing. Daily use of computers in the classroom allows students to independently practice a variety of computer and word processing skills. Students practice keyboarding skills emphasizing finger placement and use of the home row keys. First graders create documents and use simple formatting through Google Drive. Student laptops are used to access the Internet to carry out curriculum related activities as well as research on topics related to classroom learning. Learning to take responsibility for their materials while navigating Internet safety issues are key components to the technology curriculum.
Social-Emotional Learning and Character Education
Social-emotional learning occurs through everyday interactions as first graders work to build a classroom community in which each member is respected and valued. This too is reinforced through literature, addressed throughout the school day, and is often a component of morning and closing meetings. We will utilize some concepts from Conscious Discipline in our classroom to help students better understand their own emotions in order to regulate themselves and build positive relationships with others.
Character Education will teach students valuable soft skills such as kindness, respect, and tolerance. Our learning community is built on respect and kindness towards others. Students also participate in school-wide and classroom-based community service projects during the school year.