First grade is an amazing year, during which our students show remarkable amounts of growth, while having a lot of fun. Our workshop approach to teaching means that first graders spend most of the day working partnerships, small groups, or independently, and that instruction is differentiated. We spend considerable time developing strong classroom communities and work hard on social and emotional skill development.
Teachers conduct ongoing and interim assessments in literacy, sitting side by side and listening to each student read, discussing books, assessing high frequency words and spelling, noting what skills they have and which they need, and looking closely at their writing. Running records help teachers track student progress toward benchmarks and guide instruction. Consistent with the Common Core Standards, we have increased the amount of nonfiction/informational text in both reading and writing. By the end of first grade, children are expected to be able to read for 30 minutes independently and understand level I books. Examples of level I books are Grizzwold by Syd Hoff; Hattie and the Fox by Mem Fox; Jim’s Dog Muffins by Miriam Cohen, and Yum and Yuk (Story Box).
In math, we are strongly committed to a concept-based, problem-solving, hands-on approach to mathematics. We believe children need to be involved in constructing meaning in math, deciding on which strategies to use as they solve complex problems. We also know that children need to learn and practice basic math facts so that they can calculate quickly and efficiently, and so we do that as well. The Common Core Standards outline end of year expectations in math on each grade, and our pacing calendars are designed with that in mind. We draw on TERC Investigations, Math in Context replacement units, units developed by Metamorphosis, and more, and emphasize differentiating math instruction.
Some of the key end-of-year 1ST grade math benchmarks include:
In Social Studies, students study The Neighborhood. The grade does one shared study on Prospect Park, and all classes do one other study such as pizza stores, bakeries, food coop, a block of the neighborhood. The curriculum incorporates inquiry and engaging trips throughout the year.
All first graders have art, music, science, physical education, library, and dance. The day incorporates many opportunities for movement during transitions, yoga in many classes, and daily recess.
Teachers are always informally assessing students to guide their instruction. Report cards are distributed in November, March and June.
For a detailed listing of the Common Core Standards for ELA and Math, please click here.
The links below are downloads of materials used in class from math games, to handwriting and word study. They are .zip files with multiple .pdfs.