First Grade Team
Students are assigned to a CORE classroom where the majority of their day is spent. Core classes are designed to include students of more than one achievement level. Core includes language arts, social studies, science and health. The children also attend the special area classes with their core group. This allows coordination with all subject areas. For example, when we are studying Japan in social studies, children may be involved with related activities in art, music, physical education and in the Media Center. Some classroom reading and writing assignments may also focus on Japan at that time.
Language Arts includes reading, writing, literature appreciation, handwriting, speaking, listening, creative expression and spelling.
We use the Literacy by Design reading series by Houghton Mifflin. It is a research-based reading program that provides opportunities for whole class and small group instruction, differentiated instruction and independent application.
Writing is a significant part of the language arts program. Even before children are able to read, they are encouraged to write by putting down the sounds they hear. Children gradually incorporate correctly spelled words into their writing.
Forms of formal writing include: Personal Narrative, Opinion Writing, Author Study, Poetry and Informative Writing.
The Spelling curriculum is based on the Literacy By Design program. The formal spelling program includes homework, class activities, and weekly spelling tests. Our spelling program begins in September and official testing begins in October. Many resources will be sent home to aide in spelling development.
In the first grade we encourage Zaner-Bloser letter formation and correct pencil grip. Manuscript writing (printing) is used in first and second grade. The children are encouraged to use these skills in school and at home.
First grade uses Math in Focus: Singapore Math by Marshall Cavendish. It is a world-class math curriculum from Singapore adapted for U.S. classrooms based on updated math standards. At school, your child will learn math concepts and practice extensively to develop a deeper understanding. Your child will also participate in activities or games, and discuss his or her findings in class. Math in Focus addresses topics in greater depth at each grade. Your first grader will focus on:
- building problem-solving skills and strategies
- counting, comparing, and writing numbers to 100
- adding and subtracting 1-digit and 2-digit numbers
- classifying and sorting shapes and patterns
- measuring length and weight
- using calendars, time, and money
Social Studies consists of three major units focusing on communities and maps, Japan and Africa, respectively. We also study current events, famous people and follow the TESD Holiday Curriculum.
The core teacher teaches science three times in a 6-day rotation. Many activities are extended within the classroom. The six major units of study are What Is A Scientist, Comparing and Measuring, Solar System and Weather, Magnets, Rainforest, Green Efforts and Organisms.
Health units are Safety, Drugs and Alcohol, Family Life (optional), and Care of the Body. PATHS and Olweus Anti-Bullying Programs are taught to encourage a positive school climate. This year our school wide theme will be "Working As A Team". Our goal at VFE is to build a positive school wide climate!
Homework will be assigned throughout the year beginning in the fall. Math, reading, and spelling homework will be given each week. Even though most children will be able to finish the work in a few minutes, this is an opportunity to establish good habits that can last a lifetime. Children should be able to do their work independently, with occasional clarification by an adult. Establishing a routine time and place at this age could promote future family harmony. In addition to any written homework, we also encourage every child to read for 20 minutes each night.
How You Can Help
- Please send a note to school with the student on the first day back from an absence.
- Help your child develop a systematic routine for carrying belongings to and from school. The red “Valley Forge” folder that came home the first day of school should be checked each day. Homework or messages to school may be put in the folders to send back. Checking the calendar to keep track of the day for library book return and physical education (wear sneakers) is also helpful.
- Send a note when any change in dismissal routine will occur. If a child is going home to a friend's house, notes are required from each child's parents. A change of buses requires a bus pass from the office. Please understand that a message on voicemail will not suffice.
- Check regularly to see if your child has the necessary supplies. It is good to have several pencils in school at all times.
- Send your child with appropriate clothing for recess, keeping in mind that we go outside whenever possible, even in the winter when there is snow on the ground. Please make sure your child can zip his/her coat and tie his/her shoes independently. This will help make recess a smooth process.
- Put your child's name on everything. Many articles of clothing and other items are donated to charity each year when they are not claimed from lost and found.
- In many areas children need more practice time than they can get during the school day. Reading every day at home is vital. The material should be easy for the child as this is an enjoyable time. Counting coins, telling time and measuring (such as in cooking activities) are also helpful. It is also suggested to practice addition and subtraction facts for mastery by playing games, using computer programs or flash cards.
- Make sure that your child knows what to do if you are not at home when she/he gets home (This could happen on the event of an early dismissal due to weather). There should also be a plan in case she/he misses the bus and you can't be reached by phone.
- Contact the teacher when you have questions or concerns.
Children are given the opportunity to eat a snack brought from home. Please make sure the snack is healthy and can be easily opened and eaten in a short period of time. Snacks should not contain nuts or nut products of any kind!
A pin number is required to buy lunch and snack. Please make sure your child knows his/her number and can recall it quickly. Pin numbers were sent home on the first day of school.