Reading First Graders read independently, with partners or as a group. They read silently and aloud. They read and study different genres: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, magazines, newspapers, recipes, letters. They also study various authors' writing and illustrating styles.
Proficient readers construct meaning by using the following strategies: activating prior knowledge, creating visualizations and other sensory images, drawing inferences to form conclusions and think critically, asking questions about the text, determining the most important ideas, and synthesizing what is read.
Students receive guided reading practice in small groups and one-on-one. We use leveled books of unfamiliar text to help students learn strategies, word structure, letter and sound knowledge, build confidence and increase stamina. First Graders strengthen their comprehension skills and develop vocabulary. This all leads to becoming a fluent, skilled and independent reader.
Strategies readers use when they get stuck:
Point to the words
Check the picture
Get your mouth ready to read
Slide to the end of the word
Think, "What makes sense?"
Skip and comeback
Look for chunks
Five Finger Rule (how to determine if a book is "Just Right")
Choose a book, turn to any page and begin reading. Put one finger up for every word you don't know. If five of your fingers go up while reading, it's too hard. If zero or one finger goes up, it's too easy. If two or three fingers go up, you've found a "Just Right" book.
Writing First Graders write every day. The types of writing taught are: narrative writing, informational writing, and opinion or argument writing. Students also write poetry, non-fictional research pieces, letters, lists, reading responses as well as in journals. In January, students begin writing letters to Pen Pals at Strawberry Point School.
Students engage in Writing Workshop almost daily, in which the types of writing are taught and practiced, as well as the conventions of writing. Most writing sessions begin with a mini-lesson that focuses on a specific skill (punctuation, spelling words, quotes, vivid verbs, etc.). Then students set to work, encouraged to apply the skill.
Spelling - We teach 100 "high-frequency words" through the homework program and in-class work. The classroom is our source. Students read the room, keep word books, use a word wall, and consult with peers to expand their spelling vocabulary.
Along with the mechanics of spelling, students learn editing and self-analysis skills, grammar and basic punctuation.
Penmanship - Students are taught to write on various kinds of paper. The Handwriting Without Tears program is used throughout the year. There is daily practice of proper pencil grip, posture and formation of letters.
Math The district has adopted Everyday Math this year. TERC, Fosnot and other programs are used, supported with games and activities, to teach number sense, logic skills, time, measurement, data collection and geometry. Children are encouraged to be autonomous thinkers, a skill for successful living in this world. Tools used in the classroom include: 10 frames, math rack, number line, 120 charts. Strategies include: relative equations, doubles, doubles + or - one and two, splitting numbers and jumping tens to compose and decompose numbers.
Science is a gateway to explore, discover and unravel the world around us. Hands-on learning develops critical thinking skills through actual experiences. Students predict, hypothesize, observe, compare,explore, investigate, and organize information. Units taught this year include: plants and their edible parts, watershed studies, native birds, air & weather, the states of matter, health and nutrition, Pacific Coastal tide pools, bones & skeletons, animals and their habitats.
Social Studies is taught throughout the year. The curriculum includes: traditional holidays, Golden Rule, American symbols, democracy, regions of California, Winter holidays from other cultures and more.
Technology is the future. Many students have already learned to navigate on a computer. Our curriculum includes: keyboarding skills, creating and formatting a Word document, printing, math games, clip art, and projects using Google image search, Word, Keynote, Safari and more. We also use iPad apps to reinforce learning and enrich subject areas.
Other programs in the First Grade:
Visual Thinking Strategies (VTS) Visual art is used to develop critical thinking, observation and evidential reasoning skills. There are monthly lessons.
Character Education - Six traits are focused on throughout the year to teach and model good character, citizenship and humanity. Each trait is reinforced using literature, writing, discussion, role playing and practice.
The 6 Traits (focused on for two months each) 1. Community & Belonging 2. Respect & Tolerance 3. Honesty & Integrity 4. Responsibility 5. Kindness & Compassion 6. Community Service (throughout the year)