In grade one, students learn about and practice faith in meaningful ways. From daily prayer to our many service projects at school, we learn from an early age to give to those in need. The first graders also host Mass for one of our most special days, Grandparents’ Day! Through simple acts of caring and kindness, the students follow the way of Jesus and know what He was trying to teach us. Our religion book, We Believe, provides lessons to help children focus on these beliefs. We also weave in ideas about our faith in literature, poetry, science, and social studies. As one student noted, we talk about Jesus as much as we talk about math! In this way our students connect faith as a part of our daily lives and we appreciate and give thanks to God for our blessings.
In grade one, reading is an activity to engage in for learning new information and for enjoyment. Good readers read often and for extended periods of time. Our reading program promotes using a variety of instructional methods including whole group read alouds, small group skill work and individualized instruction, so each child sees him/herself as a reader. Aspects of reading include sight word knowledge and phonics instruction. Our Fundations program is used for both. Reading comprehension is supported through analysis of text including: fiction, folk takes and fairy tales, informational text and poetry. The Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark Assessment System monitors student growth and allows teachers to track growth of phonics, sight words and comprehension.
Students engage in writing activities that correlate with the genres we learn in reading class. Each writing genre has specific traits that are overtly taught. The John Collins program focuses on content, grammar and mechanics. Through daily writing activities, students have a place and purpose for sharing their individual thoughts and ideas.
The first grade curriculum teaches students to understand our role at home, at school, and in our community. We learn about patriotism and citizenship and why these values and practices are the foundation of our society. As outlined in the Massachusetts Frameworks for History and Social Studies, our students study themes of leadership, cooperation, unity and diversity. Topics of study include leadership roles and characteristics of a good leader; rights and responsibilities of a good citizen; identifying and locating places on a map; and recognizing American symbols and their meaning. Our unit on the economy distinguishes between goods and services; income and savings; money and jobs. Students learn about natural resources and renewable resources and the connections to geographical locations in our country.
Students engage in science units that are aligned to the Massachusetts Curriculum Frameworks. First graders will study the properties of light and sounds, plants and the life cycle; animals and animal traits; patterns of daylight and sunlight; and patterns of temperature and weather that impact animals, plants, and people. Using the engineering design process, students learn that failure and retesting are part of a process. Our young scientists investigate the scientific process through inquiry, experimentation, observation and problem solving. Alongside our community mentor, our real world connection is the growing and keeping of plants in our garden; and to enjoy and share the flowers we grow with others in our community.
The first grade math program develops students’ analysis and knowledge in four areas of mathematical practice: operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, measurement and data, and geometry. We utilize the Envision math program. Math concepts are taught in whole-group discussions, and reiterated and practiced through various activities independently, in small groups, and in center games. Students learn and recognize relationships and patterns of numbers from our base ten number system. Understanding and application of concepts are applied to word problems. Rote memorization is also reinforced with Reflex Math, an online sight to work individually on addition and subtraction fast facts.