We will be participating in the Picturing Writing program to create student books throughout the year. First grade will be participating in a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) program with Kindergarten. Students will rotate and work in groups to complete different activities involving STEM.
We are very excited about continuing with the Super Kids reading program that the children worked with in Kindergarten! The program includes a brief review of skills learned during the previous school year to help students recall information presented in the past. This review program also gives children who are new to our school a chance to meet the wonderful characters who help the students stay motivated and make real life connections to their learning.
This year, the students will be working on exciting new spelling patterns and developing comprehension, fluency, and grammar skills. They will be learning more about the Super Kids in our first grade units: Adventures of the Super Kids and More Adventures of the Super Kids. Another fantastic feature to this program is a new writing program that will help students connect to the characters and their experiences.
Students will be given various opportunities to work in a whole group setting as well as small groups so that individual learning needs and styles are addressed. Core curriculum will be presented in a large or whole group setting so that all students are able to enjoy the stories, activities, and lessons together. After core curriculum is presented, students will be given opportunities to work in smaller groups with guidance from the teachers to review presented sounds and skills in ways that help the students learn.
Guided reading groups will be used to provide more individualized instruction to children using the Super Kids decodable readers. These guided reading lessons will focus on fluency and comprehension development. Students will have opportunities to practice reading a text with expression independently as well as in groups. Small groups work with the teachers, while the other groups complete a series of tasks that involve reinforcement and enrichment of previously taught skills. Journal writing and handwriting are also given during this independent work time. Students are provided with step by step instructions by the teachers prior to starting, and directions are also written on the interactive whiteboard. Motivating enrichment activities, centers, and games are provided for when students complete their tasks.
The great thing about the reading program is that students are exposed to fiction and nonfiction literature. We will be incorporating the SUPER DUPER magazines into the curriculum to further develop reading skills as well as social studies and science. Students will discuss ways to identify differences between fiction and nonfiction text. These magazines are a great way to meet New York State Core Curriculum requirements involving expository text! Students will often be given writing assignments to reflect on information learned from SUPER DUPER magazines.
Writing is a huge part of the first grade curriculum. Everyday we will develop our writing skills, as they are so closely related to reading skills. Students will be writing daily through the use of handwriting practice, creative, and expository writing. We use journals to allow them to share what they have done on the weekends, for a nice warm up to each week. Students are also given a variety of expository writing assignments, based on current science, social studies, religion, or math topics. The class works as a team to complete graphic organizers to assist with getting ideas generated. Later students are directed to make an outline to help them organize and focus their writing. Topic and closing sentences are also discussed throughout the year.
Grammar becomes a big focus this year. We will learn the various parts of speech such as nouns, pronouns, verbs, adjectives, and adverbs. Use of apostrophe for contractions and to show possession is also focused on throughout the year. Students will practice editing sentences for basic things such as beginning capitalization, ending punctuation, and eventually move onto more complex corrections such as use of subject verb agreement.
Our approach to Math is “hands-on.” We will use manipulatives to explore math concepts whenever possible. Some manipulatives we will use are unifix cubes, base 10 blocks, counters, and many other objects to count, estimate, problem solve, and develop math skills. Advanced skills in money and time will be covered as well as two digit addition and subtraction. We have a strong focus in problem solving and complete “Problem of the Day” and “How Do You Solve It?” story problem activities that review skills worked on in class and help with enrichment in already mastered skills.
Our Science lessons involve the use of hands on activities whenever possible. We will study the various areas of science within the disciplines of life, earth, and physical science. Some specific topics covered: Human body systems, habitats, and plant growth.
In Religion, we get to know God through Bible stories and lessons. Our curriculum follows the textbook series Alive in Christ. To supplement these texts, bible stories will be read to students as they “take notes” to develop listening skills. Children will be drawing pictures as they listen to a bible story. These drawings will serve as notes to help students practice writing and describing what they drew. As the year progresses, students will begin to write sequenced responses to the bible stories before drawing pictures.
Our Social Studies curriculum involves topics such as getting ready for school, families, communities, our country, work, and our world. Scholastic news publications will also supplement our Scott Foresman curriculum. Focus on geography, holidays, and other appropriate topics will be part of the curriculum this year. There is also a focus on literature including fables, folk tales, fairy tales, and other stories that teach lessons about behavior and morals.