The goal of the first grade literacy program is for children to view themselves as growing, competent, and joyful readers. Students engage in a blended language arts curriculum as they continue their development to be proficient readers and writers. The reading and writing workshop curriculum from Lucy Calkins, along with Phonics Dance, spelling in Words Their Way, and Handwriting Without Tears, allows students to improve phonetic awareness, vocabulary, spelling, letter formation, and consistency. Differentiated mini-lessons in the workshop format further develop students' comprehension, analytical, and communication skills as students become more independent learners.
First grade students develop their math strategies and concepts through our Everyday Mathematics program. These concepts comprise numeration and counting, operations and relations, exploring data, geometry, measurement, reference frames, money, patterns and rules, and process and reasoning. Students practice solving problems from everyday situations using multiple strategies. Supplemental materials enrich the program, and those include Reflex Math, which is a differentiated, web-based program designed to increase basic addition and subtraction fact fluency.
Our science curriculum includes Mystery Science and FOSS (Full Option Science System) Next Generation, a curriculum that engages students in active investigations of scientific concepts. Mystery Science lessons are driven by a central mystery and include discussion questions, supplemental reading, and a hands-on activity. In science, students use their senses to explore and discover structure and function, cause and effect, and energy and matter. In first grade, students learn about plants and animals, air and weather, and sound and light. They follow a hands-on, inquiry-based process to collect, record, and interpret data using an interactive science notebook. Students have frequent opportunities to learn the scientific process and to develop critical thinking and scientific reasoning skills that support scientific inquiry.
Guided by the Responsive Classroom approach to social and emotional learning, students work on building a classroom community by naming their goals as individual first graders; as a class, they develop a set of class rules to help students reach their goals. Each morning begins with a Morning Meeting, which includes a greeting, share, activity, and morning message.
Students also research and learn about the world around them through units of study that include Peter Reynolds and Dot Day, United States Symbols, Women in History, and Community and Economics. Current events are explored each week through Scholastic News. The social studies curriculum also incorporates project-based units and service learning throughout the year.
First grade Spanish builds students’ confidence with speaking and listening and introduces beginning reading and writing skills. Students read and write simple words and phrases while responding orally to simple phrases and questions in Spanish. By answering warm-up questions, listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, responding to listening activities, completing written work, students interact with their teacher and each other using the target language to communicate. Project-based units round out the curriculum.