First grade students learn to apply phonics and sight word strategies as they read a variety of literature from fiction to non-fiction, poetry, folk tales, fantasy, and drama. Students learn to recognize and use correct word order in spoken and written sentences, in journal writing, creative writing, letter writing, and in response to directed questions.
Reading comprehension skills include sequencing, summarizing, finding the main idea, cause and effect, setting, character development, plot, compare and contrast, predicting outcomes, identifying the theme and drawing conclusions. Grammar is an important component of the Language Arts program covering topics such as capitalization, punctuation, identifying nouns, adjectives, verbs, compound words, pronouns, and plural words. In spelling, students review consonant and vowel sounds, initial blends, final consonants, diagraphs, and diphthongs. First grade students work in a separate vocabulary program and learn context clues, synonyms and antonyms, and prefixes and suffixes.
Students learn to print legibly (manuscript style) and use proper spacing between letters, words, and sentences.
Students learn to identify the parts of a book (spine, cover, title page, author, illustrator, table of contents, and glossary.) They learn to distinguish between fiction and non-fiction materials. Through multiple visits to the library, they learn about the role of the librarian, the different sections of the library, and how to use alphabetical order to find words in picture and beginning dictionaries.
Several science units are studied in the first grade.
1) Healthy Choices – Students learn about the Food Pyramid and the importance of good nutrition, exercise, sleep, and proper hygiene.
2) Air and Weather – Students explore the properties of air; observe and use a thermometer to describe and record changes that occur in weather; students graph the changes in temperature, and understand how the sun warms the land, air, and water.
3) Solids and Liquids – Students observe and describe the properties of solids and liquids when they are mixed, cooled, and heated.
4) Plants and Animals – This unit heightens the students’ awareness of the different ways plants and animals meet their needs and survive. In this unit students also learn about different habitats.
5) Composting and Gardening- The first graders take care of our composting program on campus, and they maintain the school garden. They learn how to prepare the soil and determine the amount of sunlight and water needed to successfully grow flowers and vegetables.
The goal of the first grade social studies program is to develop social skills and responsibilities of citizenship. Students identify and learn about American symbols, landmarks, and national holidays. Map skills are taught as well as cardinal directions. Students learn to identify landmarks in the local community as well as the seven continents and four major oceans. In history, students look at the lives of earlier generations, their school, work, lifestyle, and forms of transportation.
Students learn their basic addition and subtraction math facts to twenty. They learn to add and subtract two digit numbers and count by 2s, 3s, 5s, and 10s. Students learn place value, how to read a calendar, tell time, and use money. In addition, metric and standard measurement are taught and practiced. Students learn how to make and read different kinds of graphs, both hand-drawn and computer generated.
Students enjoy a number of field trips during the year which include visits to Underwood Farms – Pumpkin Patch and Berry Picking, Interpretive Outreach Programs, Gardens of the World / Botanical Gardens, the Zoo, the Manna Food Bank, and the Whole Foods Grocery Market.