Reading and mathematics are at the core of the 1st grade curriculum. There are numerous activities which enhance daily learning and reinforce what is learned in the core curriculum. In 1st grade, the children also explore land and sea animals including endangered species. A trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, writing books and other interesting projects are incorporated into this unit. The first year also includes exploring their own uniqueness' through poetry and "Me Bags". The addition of a "problem of the day" book provides new opportunities for each student to use learned mathematical skills. Students also get their first introduction to history through the excitement of castles, knights and royalty. Our study of medieval times includes a trip to the Philadelphia Museum of Art, dioramas, and a research project with the 6th grade students that include participation in the 6th Grade Medieval Festival.
In the 1st grade language arts program, we want children to experience the excitement of reading a variety of materials and to develop a lifelong love of reading. The students are immersed in numerous interdisciplinary experiences allowing for the growth and strengthening of their reading, writing, speaking and listening skills.
The emphasis on phonemic awareness and phonics allows the students to develop an understanding of the basic sound/symbol system for decoding words. Through the use of mini-books, literature-based readers and classroom books, the students improve their quality to decode and read words. Through workbook activities and teacher-generated materials like word finds, hidden pictures, short directed books and games, the students continue to develop their decoding and encoding as well as show their understanding of the written word.
As the 1st graders begin to read short sentences they understand the elements necessary to write a sentence. Through direct teaching and further exposure, each student will learn to write a complete sentence using correct punctuation and capitalization. Students discover their writing styles through journal and book writing experiences. The use of brainstorming in the form of guided class discussions allows the students to recognize the importance of using a beginning, middle and end to each story.
Students begin mastering spelling via biweekly spelling lists taken from a list of high frequency words used in everyday reading and writing. The students are held accountable for the correct spelling of these words in their daily work. Students learn about alphabetizing these words and practice dictionary skills.
First grade math concepts and skills are taught systematically using a step-by-step approach. Focusing on problem-solving and reasoning provides numerous opportunities for students to demonstrate theory concept understanding.
The 1st grade social studies program is integrated with the language arts program. The social studies program aims to develop an awareness of self and others in the student's immediate world and in medieval times. The students gain an understanding of what makes humans special as a group and as individuals. An exploration of the animal kingdom further develops their understanding of the world around them.