Our first grade classes provide students with their first real introduction to what we would call “school”. First grade is a year where independence is fostered through learning. Students participate in centers activities, classroom jobs, and being “in charge” of keeping their desk clean and organized. Students also continue to learn to read and really understand what they are reading by being introduced to, and honing in on, their comprehension skills across the subject areas. Most importantly first grade helps students to have fun while learning, allowing them to realize school can be both challenging and enjoyable!
Daily Schedule of Content:
Go Math, published by McGraw-Hill, is the text used to support the first grade math curriculum. This text correlates with the Common Core. The primary foci in first grade include: addition and subtraction, using pictures, taking models apart, adding doubles, adding doubles plus and minus one, counting backwards, related facts; counting by ones and tens up to 120; comparing numbers using greater than, less than or equal to symbols; measurement, both nonstandard and standards units of length; time, to the hour and half hour; graphs, including tally marks, picture graphs, and bar graphs; three-dimensional and two-dimensional shapes, including taking apart and putting shapes together; and unequal and equal parts, including halves and quarters.
Students will be learning about God, Jesus, and the Catholic religion in their religion book “Blest Are We.” The spiral curriculum is based on the four pillars of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. Students will attend Catholic Mass in Saint Patrick’s Parish. They will learn parts of the Catholic Mass and prayers. Students will learn about saints and their feast days. All are welcome to come attend mass with us throughout the year.
Students perform the nativity at our Annual Christmas Pageant which the third grade narrates. The first graders will be paired with the 7th graders as “Mass Buddies.” We will attend mass with our buddies. Throughout the year we will have other opportunities to meet with our buddies. The first grade class will also be in charge of organizing and participating in a prayer service or mass at the end of the school year.
First graders will acquire map skills and apply them through group based projects and as a class, specifically what a compass rose is, how to follow directions, what a map key is and how to use it. Students will learn about many famous Americans including Johnny Appleseed, Benjamin Franklin, George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Thomas Edison, Martin Luther King, Jr. (to name a few) through scholastic news articles, smart board presentations, books and videos. First graders will learn the history of various holidays, including discovering how people around the world celebrate Christmas. They will also learn how to recognize United States symbols and why they are important.
The first grade science curriculum is based on the Mass Frameworks and the New Common Core State Standards. Students gain an understanding of all of the sciences (earth, physical and life sciences) by actively participating in activities that encourage inquiry. Emphasis is placed on the development of science process skills. All units are designed to heighten students’ awareness of the world around them. They discover and learn about the world around them by using the five senses. They also learn by observing, predicting, investigating, questioning, and analyzing. Students have many opportunities to engage in discussions, experiments, and activities that enhance a better understanding of scientific skills and concepts. Some of the science unit topics covered are living things, life cycles, the earth and space, habitats, Arctic animals, weather and seasons.
The first grade students participate in a balanced literacy program. We utilize the Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Journeys and Modern Curriculum Press programs. Both are aligned with the Common Core Standards and provide explicit, systematic instruction in the areas of reading, fluency, language, writing, speaking and listening. Developing skillful readers and writers is pertinent and is the fundamental goal of the Language Arts program.
At the beginning of first grade students continue to build upon foundational skills. They receive instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding and word attack skills, and are also taught academic vocabulary, comprehension skills and strategies. They review beginning, medial and final consonant sounds and move on to learn short and long vowels. Later, they learn blends, digraphs and high frequency words. All of the skills learned are reinforced in spelling. In reading, the children grow from emergent readers into beginning readers. They build up their fluency skills by participating in guided reading groups, choral reading, paired reading and independent silent reading.
Students read a variety of genres from high-quality literature such as the Journeys Anthology, picture books, poetry, informational texts and trade books. The students explore literacy elements such as plot, setting, characterization, and main idea. Skills such as sequencing of events, drawing conclusions and retelling a story are reinforced to deepen comprehension. In grammar and writing the Voyages in English book by Loyola Press is used along with supplemental materials. Three sets of skills are taught simultaneously throughout the book. They are basic skills in grammar, spelling and writing. The students learn simple sentence structure, spelling rules, punctuation, and parts of speech. Students also understand and apply the skills learned in Writer’s Workshop. The Language Arts program offers a wealth of opportunities for the students to master the Common Core State Standards.