First Grade Academic Program
First grade language arts stresses decoding and literacy skills. It balances systematic skills instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics with extensive reading and comprehension of predictable, patterned texts, and quality literature with a variety of forms and genres. A differentiated Reading Workshop approach focuses on strategies such as rereading for understanding and making connections. Emphasis is also placed on story genre and elements. Writing begins with interactive dictation, including direct instruction in blending sound/spelling associations. Written language is developed through a workshop approach that includes book reflection in journals, the correction of errors in daily messages, teacher modeling during group stories and collaboration between partners. Manuscript handwriting is refined through weekly practice. Spoken language is developed through speaking opportunities when presenting written work during authorís celebrations, retelling stories read silently or aloud, and book talks.
First grade students are introduced to concepts that involve numeration (counting, reading and writing whole numbers, investigating whole number place value, exploring fractions: whole, Ĺ, ľ, using ordinal numbers), operations and relations (learning addition and subtraction facts, fact families, values of coins and coin combinations, beginning work with properties of numbers and operations), data exploration (collecting, organizing, and displaying data using tally marks, tables, bar graphs, exploring probability), geometry (exploring 2- and 3-dimensional shapes), measurement and reference frames (using standard and non-standard tools to measure length and weight, clocks: hour, half-hour, quarter-hour, calendars, timelines and thermometers), and patterns and rules (exploring attributes, sequences, relations between numbers, missing numbers, working backwards). Students develop an understanding of place value, time, money, graphing, estimation, and probability.
First grade science engages students in active investigations of scientific concepts. Specific areas covered include weather, motion, and collecting and examining life. The children use a hands-on inquiry method to learn to collect, record, and interpret data. Students have frequent opportunities to develop the scientific process, critical thinking, and scientific reasoning skills that support scientific inquiry.
First grade social studies gives students new insights into their communities and helps them make connections to the larger world through literature, biographies and a year-long collaborative distance learning project. Units focus on where people live and how those communities are alike and different; the importance of the earthís land and water; different and shared cultures in America and the contributions of our ancestors; basic economic concepts of how people depend on others and peopleís choices about earning, spending and saving; and things that unify the American people and identify us as a nation. 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.