First Grade

First grade is the year we build on the social foundations that students have established in Kindergarten and build students’ stamina for academics. While first grade is more academic focused, we work hard to educate "the whole child," helping them learn to identify and regulate their emotions, develop and strengthen empathy, and build community. First graders are busy, excited, and curious students. They love anything messy and hands on and we try to embrace that as much as possible with time in the forest, craft projects, and games! In first grade at Westshire, we learn mostly in centers with hands-on games and explorations. First grade is a year focused on building stamina and perseverance. Learning how to read, add, and subtract requires a lot of hard work and determination. First grade is the year that students are expected to make the most growth, primarily in reading, out of any other year in their educational career. To help them tackle reading we work to get to know each student and use a multisensory, hand-on, and differentiated approach. We work hard to focus on each student as a unique individual and provide the tools and structure to help them build on their strengths and make that growth. It is always amazing to see how much first graders can accomplish and how much they change in just one school year. 

Learning in First Grade

We work on decoding and encoding sounds into words.  We start with consonant vowel consonant single syllable words and progress to multisyllable words which could contain short or long vowels, digraphs, and consonant blends.  We read lots of nonfiction, fiction, and poetry while learning about what features go into these types of books.  We spend time learning about a collection of books from various authors.  We write in a variety of formats and the transformation that occurs from the beginning of first grade to the end of first grade is substantial.

In Grade 1, math instructional time is focused on four critical areas:

  1. developing understanding of addition, subtraction, and strategies for addition and subtraction within 20;
  2. developing understanding of whole number relationships and place value, including grouping in tens and ones;
  3. developing understanding of linear measurement and measuring lengths as iterating length units;
  4. reasoning about attributes of, and composing and decomposing geometric shapes. 
Science in first grade is primarily about learning to explore nature in our forest classroom. We focus our scientific explorations on animals in winter, light and shadow, and the engineering/design process. 
In first grade we focus our first six weeks on our classroom community using the responsive classroom framework. We then work to answer the questions: Where do I live in the world? Where can a map take me? What is culture? Why it is important to learn about other peoples’ culture?

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