First grade is the year when students seemingly begin to read overnight. By now your child is able to recognize their name and some other high frequency words in print, is able to write, recognize and have sound correspondence of most of the letters in the alphabet and, even if they are not reading yet, they have a good grasp on concepts about print. This year they will continue to build phonemic awareness with more complicated sounds like blends and digraphs. They will be taught a number of strategies for decoding words they don't know or are unable to sound out, and start to answer questions about the meaning of what they are read.
LIteracy CAFE and Daily 5 is the literacy program used in K-2 classrooms:
Literacy CAFE: After assessing the needs and reading level of each students, the teacher guides the students in selecting one strategy at a time to work on from a 'menu' of choices focusing either on comprehension, accuracy, fluency or expanding vocabulary. Students practice this strategy as they read "good-fit" books of their choice.
Daily 5: While the teacher is conferring one-on-one with students or working with a small group on a strategy, students have a choice of independent activities that will help them become better readers and writers. These include 'read to self', read to someone', 'listen to reading', 'word work' and 'writing'.
Your child's fine motor skills have improved a great deal since they began kindergarten, providing the control they need to really begin writing. Expect your child to begin formal work on handwriting skills this year in addition to creative writing tasks. Some teachers will focus on inventive spelling, allowing children to write the sounds they hear in words, while also instructing students using weekly spelling words. Your 1st grader will learn how to use punctuation and capitals, but, more importantly, they will start to use writing as a tool for communication.
First grade is a year to explore and introduce a number of different concrete building blocks of math, such as problem solving, operations and number sense. Last year, your kindergartner learned to count with one-to-one correspondence, recognize numerals and sort into groups. This first grade year continues to build on these concepts, using hands-on manipulatives to more concretely visualize the numbers as your child begins basic addition and subtraction.
Similar to kindergarten, first grade students are assessed in reading and math 3 times a year. Our teachers utilize the data to set the level of instruction and to form groups. We make changes to instruction and groups as needed based on observation and assessments throughout the year.
Like math, science in 1st grade focuses on finding patterns, though in science the patterns explored are in the natural world. Your child will spend time learning about insects and their common characteristics. They will learn about land and aquatic animalsand plant life. All first graders participate as a class in the All-School Science Fair in the spring.
Expect your child to begin exploring the concept of community beyond her family this year. They'll learn about how neighborhoods make up cities, cities make up states and states make up nations, with a focus on how all of those components work together to create a cohesive unit.
Beyond the core subjects, Waters students receive instruction in the following ancillary subjects:
Music - once a week
Drama - once a week
Art & Technology: These 2 subjects are all taught as studio-sized half classes (14:1) for more in-depth concepting on projects:
Visual Art - once a week, for a semester
Technology - once a week, for a semester
Phys Ed - once a week
Math Enrichment - once a week
Ecology - this is used as an extension to the science curriculum. The focus in 1st grade is the study of trees. Students learn the parts of a tree and its functions. Hands-on learning in this subject also occurs in or outside of class if it is applicable to the science unit being studied.