First Grade is the start of the academic and social journey through Elementary School.
As our two Kindergarten classes join together to form the First Grade, we begin the year by establishing our identities as First Graders and as part of the Elementary School community.
Our days are filled with routines, songs and games that encourage growth and build confidence. We read about and befriend the Wood Elves who mysteriously share our classroom space, study ants (How do they work as a group?), learn about ourselves (What makes me, me?), and research dinosaurs (How do I become an expert on a topic?). Many of us come into reading or stretch our ability to think about what we have read. We learn about different ways to combine numbers and then take them apart again. And, we write about our lives, learning and the world around us.
Learn more about our 1st Grade curriculum:
In First Grade, we work to develop lifelong readers with a passion for reading and an ease with words.
- As a class, we read Pamela Myer’s Wood Elf Series, which develops our reading identities as people who share a love of books and the magic they can bring into our lives.
- In small, flexible groups of 2 to 5 students, we read “just right” books that stretch our reading abilities.
- Students also have time to engage independently with books throughout the day.
It is never too early to be a great writer. First Graders progress through writing units that focus on descriptive, narrative, and expository writing. Students use mentor authors to inspire, guide, and help them hone their skills. Writing units include:
- An imaginative and playful study of poetry, which becomes a classroom touchstone throughout the year
- “Mini Memoirs”, where students take a snapshot moment of their lives and turn it into a story
- Procedural books, that develop students’ sequencing and organizational skills
- “All About” books, which take a deeper look at nonfiction texts
Students write for many purposes across the curriculum; journal writing, creative fiction, letters and writing within subject areas all play a role in student’s writing development and increasing their familiarity with a broad range of genres.
Spelling and Grammar
By thinking about writing for a reader, students are taught spelling and grammar expectancies. Basic grammar is taught and practiced as a means to making students’ writing sound like speech. Spelling patterns are discovered and learned through guided exploration in phonics and word studies.
We approach math through active, hands-on investigations that encourage students to be mathematical explorers, flexible thinkers, and fluent and creative problem solvers. Over the course of First Grade, students:
- Develop number sense up to 100
- Use a rekenrek to develop fluency and mental math skills within 20
- Complete an exploration of doubling
- Complete an exploration of odd and even numbers
- Use the 100s chart to cement their understandings
- Take a deep dive into place value
- Add and subtract with multiple digits
- Apply math to the real world: counting materials in the classroom into the triple digits, develop a store for the Kindergarten students, measure fish to decide if they are “keepers”, and develop surveys to gain information about the class and our school.
Games play a central role in our math curriculum. They are engaging opportunities to deepen understanding of numbers and operations and to practice computation off the page. They also encourage strategic mathematical thinking as they push students to find the optimal way (rather than just any way) of “winning”. And, they are fun!
Project Time (Science & Social Studies)
We start the year small and end the year big! Our Project Time units open with an investigation of ant colonies. How do ants work as a group? This unit includes a healthy dollop of science mixed in with a lot of play, role-playing, and community building.
Who We Are
In the middle part of the year, we study ourselves. Guided by the question, “What makes us who we are?” we think about ourselves, our classmates, and our families. We work to develop an awareness and shared language around differences and similarities, and we celebrate both the ways we are the same and unique. We end this unit with a collection of art and writing that captures who we are right at this moment in our lives.
We end the year studying dinosaurs, a unit which begins with the formation of the universe, and moves forward through time. We gain scientific knowledge, an understanding of form and function through looking at evolutionary advantages, and a deep feeling of mastery and expertise as we complete our first research projects.