First Grade Curriculum
- Responsive Classroom
Our classroom should be a safe, positive, fun place to learn. We start each day with a morning meeting where children greet one another, share and listen to one another, and particiapte in songs, games, and other activites that focus them for the day's learning. Similarly, we end each day with a closing circle where children reflect on their learning and finish the day on an upbeat note. The day is structured to allow children to make choices, work cooperatively with others, build community, and explore. I encourage children to work hard and take pride in their work. One philosophy I stress with my students is that it is okay to make mistakes. Mistakes are important opportunities to learn new skills, and every day we will challenge ourselves to grow as both learners and classroom citizens. Every child has an important place within the classroom dynamic, so everyone's contributions are respected and appreciated.
We use Reading Street for our core reading instruction. Whole class instruction focuses on all aspects of reading, from phonics to reading comprehension strategies to grammar skills. Small group instruction meets children's individual reading needs. While I meet with small groups, the rest of the class engages in the Daily Five--independent literacy activities such as reading to self, reading to a partner, listening to reading, word work, and writing. Reading Street also provides spelling lists that connect with the skills being taught in class. To give students exposure to high quality literature and to create a community of readers, I read both picture books and chapter books as part of our daily read aloud.
First graders explore narrative writing, descriptive writing, persuasive writing, letter writing, poetry, and writing a research report. We use Lucy Calkins' Writing Units of Study as the backbone of our writing curriculum. Children work on handwriting and writing conventions as parts of the writing process.
Math in Focus is our math curriculum. The specific mathematical concepts chidren learn this year will be built upon in years to come. In addition, children will begin learning how to problem solve, talk about their thinking, and explore multiple strategies to understand math. The program encourages students to persevere through "Thinking Cap" problems. There are whole group lessons, small group lessons, independent work, and extra practice for math facts. I also use Every Day Counts, a supplemental math program that reinforces math concepts through the teaching of calendar, clock, money, and related skills.
- Science/Social Studies
First graders study solids and liquids, weather, organisms, and measurement. In addition to the official curriculum, we study germs and topics of interest to the children in the class. Social Studies focuses on communities and learning about maps.