The goal of the first grade literacy program is for children to view themselves as growing, competent and joyful readers. Students are engaged 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, Open Court Reading, along with 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 the comprehension, analytical and communication skills as the students become more independent learners.
First grade students develop their math strategies and concepts through our Everyday Mathematics program. These concepts consist of numeration and counting, operations and relations, exploring data, geometry, measurement, reference frames, money, patterns and rules, and process and reasoning. Students problem solve for everyday situations using multiple strategies. Supplemental materials are also used to enrich the program, including Reflex Math, which is a differentiated, web-based program designed to increase basic addition and subtraction fact fluency. The year culminates in a unit that integrates science and math as the children collect and analyze data from the flight distances of paper gliders.
Our science curriculum is called FOSS Next Generation. FOSS stands for: Full Option Science System.The FOSS Next Generation program engages students in active investigations of scientific concepts. Students utilize their senses to explore and discover structure and function, cause and effect, and energy and matter. The specific areas covered consist of plants and animals, air and weather, and sound and light. The students use a hands-on inquiry method to learn to collect, record, and interpret data using an interactive science notebook. Students are given frequent opportunities to develop the scientific process, critical thinking, and scientific reasoning skills that support scientific inquiry. A feature of the curriculum is a cross-curricular Project Based Learning unit on animals and their continental habitats.
First grade social studies gives students new insights into their communities and helps them make connections to the larger world through literature, biographies and lessons about real families. Units focus on where people live and how those communities are alike and different; the importance of the earth’s land and water; and different and shared cultures in America and the contributions of our ancestors. Projects incorporate basic map and globe skills using keys and directional terms, as well as simple research and interviewing skills, within each unit of study. The curriculum also involves a Project Based Learning unit on United States symbols as well as a Service Learning project during the holidays.
First grade Spanish builds students’ confidence via speaking and listening while exposing them to beginning reading and writing skills. Students read and write simple words while responding orally to simple phrases and questions in the target language. Through answering warm-up questions, listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, responding to listening activities, completing written work, and performing skits, students interact with the instructor and each other by using the target language to communicate.