First Grade

First Grade Program Overview
First graders are making a major transition and are becoming independent learners. They are encouraged to progress at their own rate and to achieve their personal best. First grade students become readers, writers and mathematicians responsible for their own learning. Through accepting ownership of their academic responsibilities they are encouraged to take pride in their work. The children begin to recognize the inseparable relationships among reading, writing, listening and speaking. They learn to read for enjoyment and information, express their own thoughts verbally and in written form, and ask relevant questions. The students are involved in inquiry within a structured math, science and technology program geared to fostering critical thinking and problem solving. The first graders build an awareness of family and community, and they learn to embrace and celebrate diversity. They “learn to learn” in preparation for a lifetime of learning.
Reading/Language Arts
The first grade Reading/Language Arts Curriculum is directly aligned and supports the New York State English, Language Arts Standards (ELA):
Standard 1: Language for Information and Understanding
Standard 2: Language for Literary Response and Expression
Standard 3: Language for Critical Analysis and Evaluation
Standard 4: Language for Social Interaction
First Graders’ accomplishments include the following:
Makes a transition from emergent to real reading
Reads aloud with accuracy and comprehension
Uses letter-sound correspondence knowledge to sound out unknown words when reading text
Recognizes common, irregularly spelled words by sight (have, said, where,two)
Has a reading vocabulary of 300-500 words, sight words, and easily sounded out words
Monitors own reading and self-corrects when an incorrectly identified word does not fit with cues provided by the letters in the word or the context surrounding the word
Reads and comprehends both fiction and non-fiction that is appropriately designed for the grade level
Notices when difficulties are encountered in understanding text
Reads and understands simple written instructions
Predicts and justifies what will happen next in stories
Discusses how, why and what-if questions in sharing non-fiction texts
Describes new information gained from texts in own words
Distinguishes whether simple sentences are incomplete or fail to make sense
Can answer simple written comprehension questions based on material read
Can count the number of syllables in a word
Can blend or segment the phonemes of most one-syllable words
Uses invented spelling/phonics-based knowledge to spell independently
Shows spelling consciousness or sensitivity to conventional spelling
Uses basic punctuation and capitalization
Produces a variety of types of compositions (e.g., stories, descriptions, journal entries) showing appropriate relationships between printed text, illustrations and other graphics
Engages in a variety of literary activities voluntarily (e.g., choosing books and stories to read, writing a friendly note to a friend) Within these activities, students participate in a formalized manuscript writing program.
Social Studies
The grade 1 Social Studies program is directly aligned and supports the applicable NYS Standards for Social Studies.
Standard 3: Geography
Standard 5: Civics, Citizenship, and Government
Anger management
There is an emphasis on sensitizing students to accept their active roles as members of a family, school, and community. The students explore self, family and school through social, political, economic, geographic, and historical perspectives. Discussion and activities concerning current events are an integral part of understanding the world and their part in it.
The children begin to:
Explore self, family, and community
Explore beliefs, customs, and traditions
Enjoy folktales, legends, and oral history
Locate places on maps and globes
Recognize the rights, responsibilities, and roles of citizenship
Be introduced to key terms related to the study of government
Plan, organize, and make decisions for the common good
Participate in conflict resolution
Mathematics, Science and Technology
The Mathematics, Science and Technology programs at Holy Cross align with and support the NYS Standards (MST):
Standard 1: Analysis, Inquiry and Design
Standard 2: Information Systems
Standard 3: Mathematics
Standard 4: Science
Standard 5: Technology
Standard 6: Interconnectedness: Common Themes Standard 7: Interdisciplinary Problem Solving
First graders focus on building basic skills that prepare students for future activities in mathematical reasoning, number and numeration, operations and measurements.
First graders are involved with:
Identifying number names orally 1-100
Counting occurrences with tallies
Counting forward in various ways (1’s, 2’s, 3’s, 5’s, 10’s)
Ordering relatively small sets
Adding and subtracting up to ten
Understanding place value and sets of tens and ones
Introduction to telling time (on the hour and half hour)
Missing addends to ten
Explore division as a process of sharing (such as crayons/cookies)
Explore the special role of zero in addition
Using manipulatives to demonstrate mathematical operations
Making geometric pictures and designs
Recording information through pictographs
Exploring the basic concept of temperature and how it is measured
Weighing experiences in terms of heavier than or lighter than
Introduction to money
Comparing more than/less than and equal
Measuring time to the day, month, year, and using a calendar
Collecting data in terms of similarities and differences
Estimating quantities
Estimating answers before solving problems
Predict outcomes
Exploring patterning and sequencing
Applying mathematical problem solving to everyday situations
In exploring the physical world, first grade students investigate:
Basic life cycles of the butterfly, frog and seeds — plants
Weather – how to read a thermometer (C/F), simple explanations of the factors that cause/change weather conditions
Magnetic forces – visual examination of force fields, testing objects for magnetic attraction, how magnetic forces travel through various mediums
Plants – identify the parts of a plant and how they work together
Rocks/soil – compare various characteristics of samples, grouping according to similarities, rock style
Starlab – the children are introduced to astronomy in this planetarium. They learn how to read the sky for direction and locate certain constellations
Computer Program:
Enriched activities have been planned to integrate the classroom curriculum into the computer lab. The utilization of Computer Games and software will provide students with access to Microsoft Word for typing, Leap Frog First and Second Grade, and Internet accessibility for research.
Health and Physical Education
The first grade programs in Health and Physical Education are aligned with and supportthe NYS Standards:
Standard 1: Personal Health Standard 2: A Safe and Healthy Environment
Health Education
Our health curriculum helps students work towards achieving a healthy lifestyle by providing current and age-appropriate information. The curriculum prepares students for a lifetime of good health while developing their life skills and building good character. In addition, the health curriculum is aligned with our district wellness and food allergy policies.
Physical Education:
The Physical Education Department enhances the growth and development of each student by providing experiences and challenges in the following areas:
Gross Motor Skills
Manipulative Skills
Motor Skills
Body and Spatial Awareness
Social and Cooperative Skills
Listening Skills
Rhythm and Dance
Fitness Awareness
Organizational Games
The primary program introduces our children to our library and to a collection of literature appropriate to their ages and interest. The children learn how to locate materials and are encouraged to read independently.
Art and Music Programs
The art and music programs for the first grade align with and support the NYS
Standard 1: Creating, Performing and Participating in the Arts
Standard 2: Knowing and Using Arts Materials and Resources
Standard 3: Responding to and Analyzing Works of Art
Appreciation of art and music are an integral part of the following programs:
The main objective of the Art Program is to provide opportunities for children to work creatively using a wide variety of mediums. Projects involve proportion, imagination, changing seasons and the environment.
The goal of the vocal music program is to inspire students to develop musical abilities through the use of simple percussion instruments, listening activities, and movement to rhythmic patterns.
Home-School Connection
The link between home and school is vital for all students. Strong ties can be established and maintained throughout the grades when they begin in the primary grades. Homework, discussion about field trips, and on-going communication between parent and teacher in the form of conferences and report cards are opportunities to strengthen this home-school connection. Students welcome parent involvement when there are good things to share. When and if concerns do arise, the student, teacher, and parent are all on the same team.
Homework assignments are a reinforcement or extension of class work. In primary grades, it is an opportunity to establish good study habits and skills, as well as develop a sense of pride in their work. Parents should encourage young learners to fulfill this academic responsibility by completing all assigned work. Mutually setting up a schedule for homework and long-term projects is a way to let your child know that his/her work is important to you. In this way, she/he can do his/her personal best.
Remember too, that first graders will often require the help of an adult to complete their work.
It is important that your child has:
A quiet, well lighted, distraction-free space in which to work
Time which is set aside for completing homework
Pencils, crayons, ruler, paper, and other basic supplies
Organizational aids that will keep work neat and accessible: folders / book bag /pencil case
Field Trips:
Students are involved in field trips that enrich classroom experience. Parents are notified of specific trips and asked to sign a consent form. Discuss these adventures with your child to enhance his/her learning as she/he shares experiences with you.