Our first grade students become independent learners and experience a wonderful year of academic, social, emotional and physical growth. Throughout the year, students develop their reading, writing and math skills while learning about the air around us, trees and pond life!
In math, they primarily learn about the addition and subtraction of whole numbers and how to read, write and compare numbers to 100 in many ways. They learn how math impacts them each day by discussing money, time, dates and temperature.
In science, students discover first hand the many different animals and plants live and grow alongside the nonliving elements and observe how ponds change during the seasons. They learn about the role tress play in the world in which we
live and become meteorologists, as they understand air and weather. One of the highlights of each March is the Science Expo where students learn about a wide range of scientific disciplines and conduct experiments themselves.
First graders complete a community service project that embraces all six pillars of character by skillfully making blankets and sock toys for the cats and dogs cared for at the Humane Society.
Students in first grade have their first opportunities to serve as acolytes and readers in Chapel. They take a lot of pride in this new job and responsibility during Lower School Chapel.
In Language Arts, students use the new Imagine It! Program. The themes include Back to School, Where Animals Live, I am Responsible, Our Neighborhood at Work, What’s the Weather, North South East and West, I think I can, Away We Grow, Home Sweet Home, I am Brave. First graders practice complex sentence structure and are introduced to paragraph structure. Every day, they reflect upon events of the school day and record their stories in their writing journals. D’Nealian print is continued and punctuation is emphasized.
Students eagerly learn how to read, write and compare numbers to 100. They clearly understand number patterns and shape sequences in readiness for addition and subtraction.
Students learn and practice strategies for addition and subtraction facts to 18. By the end of first grade, they can confidently add and subtract 2 digits numbers with and without regrouping. They write and solve number sentences. Students identify and describe solid figures. Furthermore they recognize plane shapes and properties of geometric figures. Key data is illustrated on picture and bar graphs and students also use tally marks and coordinate grids. Fractions are introduced and students discover equal parts, halves, thirds and fourths. The students practice telling and writing time to the hour and half hour and minute hands. Measurement is an important concept and students measure objects with inches, feet and centimeters. They measure capacity with cups, pints, and quarts, liters and test the weight of objects using grams and kilograms.
In social studies, our students examine the concepts of school, neighborhood, town and city. They compare and contrast the characteristics of urban and rural areas and explore places at a state, country and world level. Canada is selected as a case study.
First grade science includes an extensive study of trees. Students classify the different properties of trees, learn to recognize tree structure and define the basic needs of a tree. Trees are valuable resources and the different ways in which they are used are considered. Students also explore air and weather. They learn about the different types of air pressure, wind speed and direction. They forecast and observe the weather with instruments used by meteorologists. They analyze and present the data. Science class also includes ponds and wildlife research. Students study the life cycle of a frog, the needs of living things and consider food chains.
We read Bible stories and stories from other faith traditions. We use storytelling, dramatic presentations, crafts and songs to give students the opportunity to connect the stories with life situations. We pray and worship together in class and in chapel.
During Technology Classes, the first grade core curriculum is expanded into projects that include drawing, labeling, presenting and researching topics that are being studied in the classroom.
In Music, students use the Orff-Schulwerk approach to learning, which involves playing xylophones, percussion, singing, clapping and movement. They use music to bring poems and stories to life, study various musical works and styles, and learn performance skills. Combining their science study of weather with music, the students perform a musical each spring entitled The Weather Show.
Students continue to become familiar with the language. Listening and oral skills are emphasized. Other basic aspects of their daily lives are encouraged through songs, games and art activities. Topics discussed include:
- Classroom commands
- The alphabet
- The colors
- The numbers 1-30
- Farm animals
- Basic greetings/farewell
- The clothing
- The family
Students learn how to determine whether a book is fiction or non-fiction based on its call number. In first grade, students learn how to locate non-fiction topics that interest them within a library. Additionally, we'll discuss the five-finger method of assessing the difficulty of a book.
In Lower School Physical Education Class, students learn about their bodies through exercise, games and movement. Classes emphasize the development of healthy bodies through early introduction to nutrition and physical wellness. Through distance running and games involving ropes, hoops, balls and ladders, children develop cardiovascular endurance, strength, agility and flexibility.