Students in first grade are grouped for integrated core and math. Integrated core includes language arts, social studies, science, and health. Language Arts includes reading, written language and literature, handwriting, speaking, listening, creative expression, and spelling.
Reading instruction is an organized, systematic activity. The student begins by associating the sound and meaning of the spoken word with the printed words and, in an articulated, sequential program, develops the specialized abilities and skills required for reading serious literature and complex subject matter in content fields.
Reading skills development includes word recognition and comprehension. A balanced program in word recognition includes phonics, sight words, structural analysis and content. Comprehension development includes recognizing details, making inferences, predicting outcomes, recognizing main idea, summarizing and evaluating.
Language skills, or use of our written language, are developed to set the foundation for understanding grammar and punctuation. Words and their meanings and uses are also studied.
Authentic children's literature gives the student the opportunity to listen to and eventually read literature in its many forms. Poetry, folk tales, fairy tales, biographies and myths are part of the literature explored.
Listening Skills are developed through following directions, encouraging students to use creative and analytical thinking. Library Skills instruction provides the students with necessary skills to make use of the Media center and its many resources.
Handwriting stresses letter formation, size and proportion, spacing, line quality and proper pencil and paper positioning.
The spelling program is a study of words and how they work. Word walls are used in the classroom during writing workshop and other writing times to refer to the correct spelling of basic sight words.
Our spelling and phonics program has grown out of a combination of philosophies and programs in order to arrive at a balanced approach.
The red words are simple sight words that cannot be sounded out, and therefore, do not make sense. These words are learned, read, and spelled through a process called tapping and sweeping, in which the children physically pretend to put the word on their shoulders, tap the letters of the word down their arm, sweeping the entire arm with the word when it is completely spelled.
Example: "The" Tap shoulders for each letter (t-h-e); sweep the entire word down the arm (the).
With the words that can be sounded out phonetically, the children learn to read and write these words through a multi-sensory process called finger tapping. We finger tap with our non-dominant hand (the hand the child does not write with) and say the word with our fist; then segment each sound by tapping a finger to the thumb; and finally sweep the sounds together to blend the word (joining fingers to make a sweeping motion).
Say cat with a closed fist (as if to catch the word); tap the forefinger to the thumb and make the sound for /c/; tap the middle finger to the thumb and make the sound for /a/; tap the third finger to the thumb and make the sound for /t/; then blend all three sounds together and say cat, as you move all three fingers in a straight motion across your thumb.
The first grade spelling skills include words with short and long vowel sounds, digraphs, blends, endings and vowel combinations. As each new spelling skill is introduced, children will be expected to use these acquired skills in their writing, helping to bridge the gap between temporary (phonetically sounding out a word on paper) and conventional spelling. Please recognize that first graders are just beginning to write and will still use quite a bit of "phonetic spelling."
In the beginning of the year the children are given a screening to determine where their strengths and needs are in math. Based upon this screening, instruction begins in the core classroom (homeroom) for the first semester on the objectives listed in our First Grade Curriculum handbook.
In November, the children will be screened again in order to see progress thus far. Parents will be alerted at fall conferences if it will be necessary to move a child from core class to another teacher's class during their math time. Decisions will be based upon individual student strengths and needs.
Math skills included in the first grade curriculum are:
o Addition facts to 10
o Addition facts to 20
o Subtraction facts to 10
o Subtraction facts to 20
o Counting to 100
o Greater/Less than to 100
o Place value to 99
o Writing numerals
o Ordinal numbers
¨ Money concepts
o Naming coins and values
o Values of mixed coins
¨ Drawing and naming simple geometric shapes
o Recognizing and using one fourth, one half and one third
¨ Time to the nearest hour and half hour
¨ Word problems, problem solving
¨ Graphs and Charts
The Science program involves a great deal of hands on experiences for learning. Science lessons are conducted in the science room where large tables provide the necessary room for these activities.
The topics covered in first grade are: -Weather -Rainforests -Organisms
First graders begin their year with a study of their own community and then broaden their vision with a look to other cultures. Social Studies instruction is integrated into the language arts instruction whenever possible. First graders study 10 district designated holidays as well as:
Homework packets will be sent home in your child's Home folder at the beginning of each week. The packet will include a checklist of assignments for each night of the week. Please complete the assignments throughout the week at your convenience, and return the completed packet in your child's Home folder on Friday. According to school policy, first graders should spend 10-15 minutes per night on homework in addition to reading to or reading with an adult.
Some Tips to Help Beginning Readers at Home
¨ Read with expression.
¨ Talk about the book as you read with your child and after you have finished.
¨ Identify the title, author, illustrator, and copyright date.
¨ Focus on what your child CAN do and how much progress has been made.
¨ If your child comes to a word he/she does not know and asks for help, you can ask:
o Does the picture give you a clue?
o What word would make sense here?
o What letter does the word begin (or end) with?
o If these questions do not produce the word, give the word to your child. Better to do so than to discourage a beginner reader.
¨ Remember to focus on the meaning of the story. If your child reads something that doesn’t make sense, go back to it and try it again. Always allow your child the opportunity to self-correct first. If your child does not recognize the error, stop and ask, “Does that make sense?”
¨ Don’t correct every mistake. If your child makes a mistake, but it does not change the meaning of the sentence, let it go.
¨ It is okay if your child memorizes phrases or entire stories. This is an early stage of reading.
¨ Encourage your child to point to words with his/her finger as he/she reads. This shows your child that there is a one-to-one correspondence between spoken and written words.
¨ Questions that you can ask while reading:
o What happened first, second, etc.?
o What do you think will happen next?
o Why do you think the character did that?
o What would you have done if you were that character?
o What was the best thing about the story? The worst? ¨ Make sure your child sees you reading at home---the newspaper, a good novel, etc.
¨ Give books as presents so that they are seen as pleasurable.
¨ When reading with your child, sit beside your child with the book in between both of you so that you can both see the text and enjoy the pictures.