As the year begins, all first graders are excited about learning to read. Some
students are discovering the secrets of decoding, while others continue to
refine their reading skills. Although reading and mathematics are at the core
of the first grade curriculum, there are numerous activities which enhance
our daily learning as well as reinforce what is learned in the core curriculum
of reading and mathematics.
In the fall, the children explore land and sea animals, as well as endangered
animals. A trip to the Philadelphia Zoo, writing books and other projects complete
these units of study.
A highlight of the holiday season is the tradition of first grade students
creating candy houses. Wintertime also finds the first graders 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
Spring brings 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 Sixth Grade students. The grand finale is our
participation in the Sixth Grade Medieval Festival.
As the year ends, first grade students have discovered the fun of learning.
Language Arts Philosophy
The first grade language arts program is designed
to address a variety of reading levels from the pre-readiness to above grade
level. We want the 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.
As the students progress through the reading of and listening to familiar and
unfamiliar folk tales, fables and realistic fiction, they acquire strategies
for gathering information and exploring story elements.
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
On a daily basis the students learn the importance and necessity of fluency
and expression when the teacher reads a wealth of material.
As the first 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 develop their written work by using teacher-generated materials and
reading workbook activities. They begin to learn the importance of the written
word as they strive to respond to questions asked.
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.
The students will master, with consistency, a biweekly spelling list
of six words 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. The students learn about alphabetizing these
words and practice their dictionary skills.
The first grade mathematics program is designed to meet the needs of all
students. Concepts and skills are taught systematically using a step-by-step
approach. We believe the use of concrete representations to teach concepts
ensures an understanding and enables the students to develop a strong foundation
upon which to build. Focusing on problem-solving and reasoning provides numerous
opportunities for students to demonstrate theory concept understanding.
The first 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. They learn to work toward cooperation and understanding
one's responsibilities in a small group and as part of the world.
Field trips to the Philadelphia Zoo, Art Museum, and the theatre are
integrated with the social studies curriculum.
Medieval Research Project with
the Sixth Grade
First grade students, together with their sixth grade, partner
research a medieval topic. The facts gathered are used to write a paragraph
and then the students draw a picture together. The first graders present their
projects to each other.
First grade students participate in the sixth grade Medieval Festival.
They serve as pages, recite a poem and open the festivities.