First Grade Curriculum
The goal of the first grade language arts curriculum is for students to become independent and confident as they read and write for information and pleasure. There is exposure to classical children’s literature in order to instill a taste for material of higher quality, expose children to sophisticated vocabulary and provide the teachers with the opportunity to model the thinking processes of a sophisticated reader in order to develop comprehension.
The reading program is predominantly literature based. Reading strategies, sight-word vocabulary, reading comprehension and phonics are all taught through the use of children’s literature, poetry and carefully chosen instructional leveled books. The reading program includes daily practice in small-group guided reading lessons, whole-group lessons and independent reading where the teachers individually confer with students.
- Use reading strategies such as context clues, sight word recognition or phonetic cues to derive meaning from the text.
- Continue to teach recognition of letter/sound relationships including short vowels, digraphs and blends.
- Read aloud familiar stories and poems with appropriate expression and increasing fluency.
- Listen and respond to stories, poems and other materials read aloud.
- Recount what happened in a story and predict what might happen next.
- Express opinions based on what has been read, both orally and in written form.
- Read a variety of texts with increasing independence, fluency, accuracy and understanding.
- Introduce a range of literary genres and undertake specific author studies.
Speaking and Listening Goals:
- Participate as speakers and listeners in classroom group discussions.
- Describe an event, real or imagined, to the teacher or another child.
- Listen attentively to stories and poems and discuss them.
- Convey with accuracy a simple message.
- Respond appropriately to more complex instructions and give simple instructions to others.
- Use language to explain, inquire and compare.
Students receive daily instruction in the art of writing. Genres covered include personal, fiction and journal writing. Through the Writers’ Workshop, students draft, edit, revise and publish their writing as they learn to communicate ideas, express feelings, and state facts and opinions. Another aspect of the first grade writing program includes attention to proper letter formation, spacing, beginning punctuation and spelling.
Writing Goals (includes handwriting and spelling):
- Attempt familiar forms of writing, e.g. lists, recounts, stories and messages.
- Begin to produce pieces of writing independently using complete sentences, some capitals and periods.
- Write stories showing some understanding of beginning story structure, utilizing openings, characters and events.
- Produce legible upper and lower case letters using manuscript handwriting.
- Over time, begin to spell correctly simple, monosyllabic high frequency words that follow common patterns.
- Recognize spelling patterns and apply that knowledge to a range of new words.
The first grade math curriculum is more abstract, primarily focusing on the understanding of numbers and the relationship of numbers as expressed in equations or number sentences. Problem solving encourages independent thinking; multiple approaches to achieving solutions are demonstrated. Topics of study include addition and subtraction, telling time, money, graphing, and the introduction of place value, measurement, simple fractions, word problems and geometrical shapes.
The first grade math students engage in hands-on activities and games involving explorations with manipulatives that instill an understanding of concrete and abstract concepts. During these projects children use numerous math skills including measuring, estimating, addition and subtraction, counting, telling time and understanding monetary value.
During the course of the year, students will be introduced to mathematical topics in the following areas:
- Group counts by twos, fives, and tens starting on different numbers.
- Know how to say numbers in different ways.
- Write and read numbers to 100.
- Sequence to 100.
- Recognize the place value of numbers (ones and tens).
- Compare numbers (greater than, less than, is equal to).
- Skip count by twos, fives and tens.
- Recognize halves, thirds and fourths to show equal shares.
- Understand calculator use.
Operations and Computation
- Understand concept of addition and subtraction of single and double digit numbers.
- Know different ways to represent numbers through addition and subtraction.
- Express number sentences vertically and horizontally.
- Create and solve addition and subtraction problems.
- Compute numbers with support of tools.
- Know certain addition facts: doubles facts, sums of ten facts and ten plus a number 1-9.
Patterns, Functions and Algebra
- Recognize similarities and differences in patterns.
- Understand patterns as being able to predict what comes next.
- Recognize and record number, shape and design patterns.
- See patterns in addition facts.
- Do addition/subtraction using number grids and number lines.
- Use literature to recognize patterns and themes.
- Explore patterns in nature, art, architecture, music, etc.
- Sort objects by attributes.
- Group and label objects in a variety of ways to show patterns and relationships.
Measurement, Reference and Geometry
- Recognize similarities and differences among shapes.
- Recognize and record the line of symmetry.
- Identify and characterize 2-dimensional and 3-dimensional shapes.
- Use non-standard measurements.
- Use standard measurements (inches and centimeters).
- Measure length and height.
- Recognizing the value of coins.
- Sorting and counting mixed coins.
- Use the calendar to identify seasons, months, weeks, days and dates.
- Use clocks to recognize and state times to the half-hour and hour.
- Use of correct measurement words when problem solving.
- Use measurement tools correctly.
- Recognize that data can be organized in a way to clarify and communicate information.
- Recognize that information can be recorded, observed and used to make predictions and estimations.
- Graph and make charts from experiences inside and outside of the classroom.
- Move from concrete (real) graphs to pictorial ones.
- Record and interpret data in a variety of forms (tallies, bar graphs, pictographs, Venn diagrams and charts).
- Write titles and labels for graphs and charts.
First grade students build upon their observation and experimentation skills while they pursue:
The New Plants module provides experiences that heighten young students’ awareness of the diversity of life in the plant kingdom. Students care for plants to learn what they need to grow and develop. They observe the structures of flowering plants and discover ways to propagate new plants from mature plants (from seeds, bulbs, roots, and stem cuttings). They observe and describe changes that occur as plants grow, and organize their observations on a calendar and in a journal. During the course of the year, students will develop the following skills:
- Develop a curiosity and interest in plants as living things.
- Experience some of the diversity of forms in the plant kingdom.
- Provide for the needs of growing plants.
- Observe and describe the changes that occur as plants grow and develop.
- Become familiar with the structures and functions of flowering plants (root, stem, leaf, bud, flower, seed).
- Discover various ways that new plants can develop from mature plants.
- Compare change over time in different kinds of plants.
- Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing.
The Insects module provides experiences that heighten students’ awareness of the diversity of animal forms. They come to know firsthand the life sequences of a number of insects. In each investigation an insect is introduced, and students observe structures and behaviors, discuss their findings, and ask questions. Students observe life cycles of insects and compare the stages of metamorphosis exhibited by each species. During the course of the year, students will develop the following skills:
- Develop a curiosity and interest in insects and a respect for them as living things.
- Experience some of the great diversity of forms in the animal kingdom.
- Become familiar with some of the life sequences that different types of insects exhibit (simple and complete metamorphosis).
- Observe the similarities and differences in the larvae, pupae, and adults of insects that go through complete metamorphosis.
- Observe the behaviors of insects at different stages of their life cycle.
- Provide for the needs of insects (air, water, food, and space).
- Acquire the vocabulary associated with insect life.
Solids and Liquids
The Solids and Liquids module provides experiences that heighten students’ awareness of the physical world. Matter with which we interact exists in three fundamental states: solid, liquid, and gas. In this module first and second graders have introductory experiences with two of these states of matter, solid and liquid. During the course of the year, students will develop the following skills:
- Develop curiosity and interest in the objects that make up their world.
- Investigate materials constructively during free exploration and in a guided discovery mode.
- Recognize differences between solids and liquids.
- Explore a number of liquids.
- Observe and describe the properties of solids and liquids.
- Sort materials according to properties.
- Combine and separate solids of different particle sizes.
- Observe and describe what happens when solids are mixed with water.
- Observe and describe what happens when other liquids are mixed with water.
- Use information gathered to conduct an investigation on an unknown material.
- Acquire the vocabulary associated with the properties of solids and liquids.
- Use written and oral language to describe observations.
Air and Weather
The Air and Weather module consists of four sequential investigations, each designed to introduce concepts in earth science. The investigations provide opportunities for young students to explore the natural world by using simple tools to observe and monitor change. During the course of the year, students will develop the following skills:
- Develop an interest in air and weather.
- Experience air as a material that takes up space and can be compressed into a smaller space.
- Observe the force of air pressure pushing on objects and materials.
- Observe and compare how moving air interacts with objects.
- Observe and describe changes that occur in weather over time.
- Become familiar with instruments used by meteorologists to monitor air and weather conditions.
- Compare monthly and seasonal weather conditions using bar graphs.
- Observe the location of the Sun and the Moon in the sky over a day and the change in the appearance of the Moon over a month.
- Organize and communicate observations through drawing and writing.
- Acquire vocabulary associated with properties of air and weather conditions.
In First Grade the formal study of Sanskrit begins. The alphabet is recited each lesson so that the children will come to know it first orally and then they will spend the year learning and practicing the shapes of the 38 letters.