First Grade Curriculum Overview
First grade students dramatically increase their fluency and accuracy in reading over the course of the year. The Scott Foresman Reading Street program focuses on contextual reading comprehension, incorporating phonemic awareness, blending, and decoding. Dictation and spelling are emphasized. Students learn more about the conventions of English grammar and make use of them through frequent writing experiences. They discuss how, why, and what-if questions and learn to make plausible predictions concerning fiction and non-fiction texts. They begin to read chapter books while reading about children in America long ago and children in other lands. They read stories with positive morals and discuss how these qualities can be used in their own lives.
Students also learn beginning speech techniques through simple memorizations of fun poems and sayings.
Through use of the Singapore Math program, First Graders increase their range of knowledge in all areas of mathematics. They strengthen their number sense by working with place value, number relationships, addition and subtraction of multiple digit numbers, regrouping, comparisons, and estimations. They further develop their understanding of measurement, fractions, time, and money. Students work towards gaining automatic recall of basic addition and subtraction facts and move toward more complex use of these facts. They begin to learn the concepts behind multiplication and division and are taught strategies to solve math problems in everyday situations. Singapore Math teaches our students how to think creatively in Mathematics.
Life science concepts covered in First Grade include the life cycles of plants and insects. Earth science concepts include the study of soil, weathering, and erosion. Physical science explores two states of matter (solids & liquids). In all of their studies, students are encouraged to observe, measure, and predict through experiments, hands-on projects, thematic units, and reading materials.
First Graders work together on the Science Fair project; the teacher helps them conduct all of the experimenting in-class, and all of the write-up is done in school as well. Students explore the concepts of: observation, prediction, conducting an experiment, recording data, analyzing results, creating a display, and presenting the material to others under the direct instruction of the teacher.
The study of geography continues by looking at map keys, directions, scales, routes, and grids while studying about the community, the country, and the world in which students live. Major themes in the First Grade include local communities and how they change, family ancestry, Egypt and Africa, early exploration and settlement of America and the Midwest, our government, citizenship (symbols of our country and basic government institutions), needs and wants (including how we depend on each other to meet our common needs), and biographies of famous individuals who have helped others.
International Studies focuses on the continent of Africa, including Ancient Egypt, and the geography, climate, culture, animals, and history of the many peoples of African countries. Learning about Jane Goodall and Rachel Carson excites our young learners. The final presentation in June will focus on one African country.
Spanish classes build upon their introduction to the language through the next level of Sing N Speak Spanish and the total physical response of games, art, songs, and drama. Students also begin the Symtalk program, covering levels 1 and 2. This program encourages students to be able to speak with more fluency, more quickly. They learn present tense verbs and build vocabulary and confidence. They also learn about our near-neighbor country, Mexico. Students have Spanish three times a week.
Students in First Grade continue to learn about elements of art such as color, line, shape, and texture. They also study art from many cultures and periods, exploring various styles and techniques. Each month they focus on a different artist, while learning more about their work and life. They explore different fields of art, including pottery, weaving and sculpture. Students have art class once a week.
Through participation vocally and instrumentally, First Grade students continue to learn about rhythm, melody, form, tone, and timbre. Adding to their music theory knowledge from Kindergarten, First Graders learn how to clap a steady beat, identify notes on a line or a space, identify half notes and half rests, identify whether notes go up or down on the scale, and identify dynamic markings. Students learn to sing in a round, recognize string instruments and explain how the sound is made, and sing do, la, so, and mi using hand signals. First Graders explore Peter and the Wolf, The Four Seasons, Hello Dolly, Ballet of the Unhatched Chicks, and Beethoven's Symphony no. 5 in C Minor to further their appreciation and understanding of music. Students enhance their performance skills through participation in the all-school Winter Fest and the Spring Showcase. Students have music once a week.
Students continue to develop basic gross motor skills and agility and learn basic game fundamentals. Students have Physical Education two times a week.Technology
First Graders go further into applications on the ipad. They also explore Google Classroom. Students also use ixl.com for supplemental math instruction and KidsA-Z.com for supplemental, individualized reading instruction.
First Grade students enjoy a weekly ethics class. They complete an in-depth study of Hilldale's monthly virtues, quotes, and villains. Additionally, they delve into First Grade heroes, focusing on friendship skills. Furthermore, they engage in Friendship Assemblies and work to understand the Kindness of the Week Challenge. Students discuss the importance and aspects of friendship as well as how to have positive personal characteristics. Students practice their Hilldale Habits of Respect, Leadership, and Independent, Lifelong Learning on a daily basis. All students participate in Service Learning projects which help students understand their relationship and responsibility to the world at a young age.Students participate in the Peace First
curriculum designed to teach hands-on, social-emotional skills and nurture friendships. This year the focus is on identifying feelings.