1st Grade Subject Descriptions
Phonics & Spelling
We will follow the Saxon Phonics program this year for both phonics and spelling. It is a great program that builds upon itself to create a strong foundation of phonemic awareness necessary for students to become independent readers and writers. We will do a lesson each day, Mon-Thurs, with spelling tests on Friday. (When we begin spelling.) The program is designed to have a practice sheet with each lesson along with homework. I choose to do the practice together, and then allow independent work for "the homework" in class. Most days both will be completed, but there may be times when your child needs to take it home if not completed in class. We will have weekly assessments beginning at the end of the first two weeks and our spelling tests will begin the fourth week.
Reading & Language Arts
We use the Scott Foresman curriculum for reading and language arts. I use the concepts and ideas laid out for first grade and mix them with a lot of children's literature for teaching. We also us AR (Accelerated Reading) for reading. Our sight words come primarily from Fry's Instant Words. I will present the students with a six weeks list of sight words to read aloud to me. Any words that need practice are highlighted and sent home for practice and review. At the end of the six weeks I will listen again to the students read the list aloud for a test grade. We spend time each day learning and reviewing the words and their meanings, so between school and home, students should be able to read all words quickly and fluently. Each day the students participate in literacy centers. This is a time for the students to learn responsibility by self pacing themselves as they work to complete an assigned list of centers. The centers reinforce concepts learned throughout the week and include things like: word work, sentence practice, spelling word practice, abc order, nonfiction books, writing center & listening center. Throughout the year many, many more are added. During the time students are working on centers, I will pull individual students to work with in areas of concern.
We use the Texas GoMath program. This is at times a challenging curriculum, but it is also a strong one that pushes first graders to achieve many new concepts. We will spend the first few weeks reviewing concepts learned in Kindergarten. Addition, subtraction, place value, problem solving, time, & money are among the "big" ideas learned and mastered in first grade. We will also talk about graphing, patterns, fractions, geometric shapes and fact families. I enjoy teaching math because the students are able to play with manipulatives and participate in games to help introduce and reinforce these concepts and ideas. It's one of the funnest times of our day. I will send home weekly math fact cards that need to be practiced and reviewed at home. We will also begin having math fact tests over the weekly facts.
Science & Social Studies
This is my favorite "stuff" to teach because it involves our thematic units. I incorporate science and social studies into daily activities we do each week. Sometimes we may spend more time on social studies, such as when we learn about Lincoln and Washington, or we may spend more time on science, such as when we learn about the weather. We have adopted Stemscopes as our Science curriculum, which is engaging and hands on for the students. We also use Scholastic News, which the kids love!