Curriculum Overview - First Grade
Throughout the year, students will learn about their role in the Church. In addition, students attend weekly Masses and a monthly Rosary with the entire student body. Students gain a deep understanding of God, Jesus, and The Holy Spirit, and how they can establish relationships with each that make their lives special. First graders learn about sharing light and love, and acting as Catholic Christians - not only toward one another, but also to our earth. They put what they learn into action by participating in local, national, and international service projects.
First grade is a wonderful year for students to grow in literature as readers, writers, and spellers! They will learn and build upon strategies for reading, writing, and spelling as they gain knowledge of phonics, our language, and its nuances. First grade writers will start by organizing parts of speech into complete ideas and full sentences, including capital letters and all necessary punctuation. They will use the writing process to create many writing projects across various topics, which are often linked to projects they are completing in other subject areas.
First graders use our school’s reading series - Journeys: Catholic Identity - to strengthen their reading comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency skills. Students use a weekly story to help them develop their understanding of important aspects of literature through reading all types of fiction and nonfiction stories. They also participate in our school’s Reading Counts program.
First grade students use the Daily 5 literacy program. This program engages students in five meaningful tasks directly related to literacy learning daily. Daily 5 also allows the teacher to work with small groups and consult with students one-on-one. The program allows them to take ownership of their learning, exercise choice, and gain independence.
Orton-Gillingham is a sequential, systematic phonics program that 1st graders use daily. Through explicit instruction, students learn and practice methods for mastering: phonemic awareness, phonics, decoding multi-syllabic words, memorization techniques for high-frequency words, auditory sound discrimination, and much more. This multi-sensory methodology engages the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learning pathways – often all at once! - making the learning three times as meaningful.
In Math, students develop a deep understanding of the number system: number sense, number relationships, number patterns, and grow their math vocabulary before mastering math skills they will use the rest of their school career. Students master the concepts of addition and subtraction and are able to relate the two functions. They use these skills to translate their knowledge to true-to-life math situations. Students learn and develop problem solving strategies and learn that there are many ways to find your “answer!”
In Science, First grade students will conduct experiments, engage in long-term projects, and use the scientific method to explore; earth and its place in the universe, seasonal changes, and patterns in the sky. They study plant and animal cycles in depth. Students also design experiments and construct “inventions” that explain forces and energy, light and sound waves, and resources of our planet.
Students will participate in activities and create projects to explore many topics in Social Studies throughout the year. First graders spend time learning about various cultures - past and present. They begin to understand basic geography and map skills, government and citizenship, as well as economics. They are able to relate and compare themselves to their neighborhood, and also to the world at large.