First graders notice a big change in their classroom. They now have their own desks in which to keep their supplies and no longer share a table with their classmates. That desk becomes their cockpit as they take off on their adventure into reading, writing, and mathematics.
In first grade children are immersed in oral and written language and all areas of the curriculum are used to teach language arts, including science and social studies. As they take off on an adventure into reading, they are surrounded by books and writing and learn to use descriptive language and sequencing in their sentences as they write friendly letters, poetry, and stories. The major portion of instruction in reading and spelling is done in small groups and is based on the student’s developmental level. Students learn how to write proper sentences and paragraphs and are taught the writing process.
Mathematics is taught using the Investigations in Number, Data, and Space curriculum. The main objective is to engage students in making sense of mathematical ideas as they think, speak and do math. There are nine curriculum units and each focuses on an area of content, providing time for students to practice ideas across a variety of activities. Students work individually, in pairs, and in small groups in which they use manipulatives and play a variety of games to help reinforce the mathematical concepts. Students work toward a mastery of computational skills and a strong understanding of mathematical concepts as they advance their skills in counting, seeing patterns, solving word problems, adding, subtracting, and estimating.
First graders learn about personal safety, character development, maps, Pilgrims, and famous Americans in their social studies units. Science units include a study of health and the human body, natural resources, magnets, and biomes. In addition to these academic priorities students also learn D’Nealian handwriting as a preparation for cursive handwriting in second grade. The students take a turn on stage as they participate in Declamation Day and the annual class play.