First grade students engage in daily phonics activities. The word study program provides instruction and practice in the skills necessary to read and write new words. Instruction each week usually targets a sound and follows a regular pattern. Typically,the pattern is as follows:
- Mondays: Oral practice in distinguishing the target sound, both at the beginning of the word and in the middle of the word
- Tuesdays: Brainstorm words that include the focus sound for the week. They also read a phonics reader that contains the targeted sound(s)/high frequency words
- Wednesdays: Practice segmenting the sounds in given words and using letter tiles to represent those sounds
- Thursdays: Blending the sounds in written words
- Fridays: Segmenting and writing the sounds in given words
To prevent confusion, instruction focuses on letter sounds, rather than letter names. Students are also taught to monitor their comprehension, checking to insure they understand the meanings of the words. Discovering words that have multiple meanings is a favorite activity for students when working with words.
High Frequency Words
Each week, first grade students are introduced to two high-frequency words. Sometimes known as sight words, these are words that occur often in students’ reading and writing but can sometimes be difficult to decode or write correctly. These are words readers and writers need to know “in a snap".
At school, students will practice reading and writing these words, both as part of direct instruction and as part of their own reading and writing of text. Students will be expected to master many of these high-frequency words by the end of the school year. At home, you may wish to point out these words when you encounter them in print or ask your child to read them. Young readers are often excited to see these words in newspapers or magazines.
Trimester 1: the, come, all, are, saw, what, they, many, does, this, why, is, said, who, some, want, to, like, our, so look, out
Trimester 2: again, there, laugh, have, was, you, very, of, friend, your, four, were, any, about, only, read, from, don't, her, new, been, found
Trimester 3: their, mother, because, put, these, work, would, before, one, other, goes, girl, took, knew, always, boy, want, there
In first grade, we use a readers’ workshop model where students choose from a variety of literacy activities. They engage in activities such as read to self, read with a partner, word work, work on writing, guided reading, and other activities that include technology. Students strive for independence through self-selecting their “good fit” books and reading for an extended period of time. This allows students to practice their decoding skills and improve reading fluency.
Students come to first grade with a wide variety of literacy skills. The workshop model allows instruction to be tailored to meet students’ needs.
During the year, through teacher read alouds, students learn comprehension skills such as making connections, visualizing, inferring, questioning, determining importance, and synthesizing.
In first grade, students apply the skills they learn in word study to their writing. They write a variety of genres, which include personal narratives, informational writing, persuasive writing, and poetry. Students move through the entire writing process from pre-writing to publishing!
We use the Foss program for science in first grade. Students work on investigations that focus on three different units throughout the year.
- Air & Weather: Students will observe how air can be captured, how air can be compressed, and how air under pressure can move things around. They will observe daily weather conditions such as temperature, rainfall, cloud cover, wind speed, and wind direction.
- Balance & Motion: Students will observe and compare how objects balance, spin, and roll.
- Insects: Students will care for and investigate several different insects to discover the stages of their lives.
We have five units within our social studies program. Students come together to work on class projects as well as consistently working on building a community within their classroom and beyond.
- Community Building: Students will begin building a classroom community. They will develop a slass promise that will guide their actions throughout the year. They will get to know their classmates and teacher. They will also begin learning how to work with partners.
- Civic Foundations: Students will learn about people and events that have shaped or are shaping American history.
- Life Around the World: Students will learn about daily life and traditions in various countries, focusing on countries from different continents in addition to comparing and contrasting their lives with the lives of children in various countries. They will also learn more about a specific country and present on it.
- Marketplace: Students will create their very own products that will be sold in a marketplace that they will create. They will learn about what it takes to create a product, market it, and sell it.
- Life Long Ago and Maps: Students will learn about mapping and American history through activities such as building a model town that represents different periods of history.