The First Grade program increases our challenging academic approach with an emphasis on personal responsibility. Students develop decoding skills, while learning strategies to analyze literature. They understand that good readers develop lifelong habits that set them up for success. Expanding reading skills equip students to express their ideas in writing with fiction and non-fiction formats as they shift from the role of reader to writer. Math concepts are explored with a developmental sequence that includes moving from the concrete to visual to the abstract. Problem solving skills are an integral part of the program. Students develop map skills beginning with a look at neighborhood maps and later apply their understandings to a study of maps of continents and oceans. First Graders investigate a variety of American symbols such as the Statue of Liberty, Mount Rushmore, and the American flag as they discover the values and beliefs that represent our country.
First Graders begin to explore what it means to be a leader. A leader is someone who can be counted on to make good choices about their words and actions. In First Grade this message is practiced throughout the year and across the curriculum in a variety of ways. First Graders use the concepts from The 7 Habits of Healthy Kids as a model of what a responsible emerging leader looks like. Ideas such as: Be proactive, Put first things first, and Listen with your ears, eyes, and heart provide concrete examples and goals.
Another opportunity to practice these important life skills comes from our actions to “Be a bucket filler, not a dipper!” This message is modeled in two powerful books by Carol McCloud. Have You Filled a Bucket Today? and How Full is Your Bucket? Students learn that each of us carries an imaginary bucket that people can either help to fill, or dip into. Being a bucket filler is something your child will aspire to demonstrate each day at home and at school. First Graders demonstrate their leadership skills with pride as they work to become bucket fillers!
First Graders are off to an amazing start this school year! Although the August school month was short, First Graders were busy bees! There were many highlights of the month, such as our First Day Jitter Juice Party, the neighborhood walk, and taking our first spelling test!
During the month of August, First Graders became familiar with their new classroom, rules and expectations, and learned about what the school year has in store for them! Here are some of the things we covered in August:
- Leadership and Responsibility- First Graders demonstrated their ability to be positive leaders during recess with the younger students, walking in the hallways, as well as during SK/First Grade Math Buddies time.
- Leadership and Responsibility- A way for students to demonstrate responsibility and leadership in the First Grade is through weekly classroom jobs. The "Student Teacher" is an example of one of the jobs. This student takes on a strong leadership role each day. The Student Teacher is in charge of leading our daily Pledge of Allegiance, daily calendar and weather graph tracking, tallying the school days, passing out materials, and any other odd jobs that may arise. First Graders are already demonstrating a strong sense of pride for their classroom. Students are treating their materials and one another with kindness and respect.
- Reading: During the month of August, First Graders learned about spelling patterns. First Graders also began using their Sight Word Journals to aide in recognizing important sight words quickly! Students were thrilled to begin using Daily 5, a program for reading. They are AMAZING at Read to Self, which is independent reading with books that are "just right" for each student. First Graders began to "book shop" this month, learning how to pick books that were not only interesting to them, but level with their abilities. Students started both individual and class reading logs, in order to practice reading both at home and school! They are VERY excited about the reading logs and take pride in bringing them back to school with parent signatures.
- Spelling: First Grade is the first year students are able to take weekly spelling tests! Students were happy to hear that they also have "Mighty Words" (challenge words), such as elephant and sketch! First Graders learned the expectations of test-taking during the month of August and did an excellent job on their first two spelling tests! Students are working on a Second Grade curriculum and covered spelling words with both the short "a" and short "e" sounds this month.
- Math: Singapore Math is popular in First Grade! The program focuses on concepts and skill development through hands-on instruction. It is a challenging program that gives First Graders the foundation he/she will need to prepare for future grades! During the month of August, First Graders reviewed reading and writing numbers, skip counting, ordering numbers, and making number patterns.
- Handwriting: In August, students learned the importance of legible handwriting. First Graders worked on proper letter formations of both lower and capital letters, appropriate finger spacing, and practiced the four keys to legibility: shape, size, slant, and spacing. Students take pride in their handwriting and started self-correcting written work at the end of the month.
- Project Approach: First Graders work with the Second Grade students during Project. Students worked together to discover ways to work as a team, develop personal responsibility, and learned new strategies to communicate within small groups. During the month of August, students completed non-verbal exercises and activities to learn the importance of teamwork. They are excited to begin their first big Project in September!
August was a fun month! Stay tuned to find out the amazing things that unfold in September!
- Ms. Coleman