About First Grade

The Basics
First grade is an amazing year! Students grow in wisdom, strength, and stature, just like Jesus did as he was growing up.  They participate in experiences that help them to become independent learners and members of their community.  First graders now have to use the social skills they developed in preschool and kindergarten in more mature ways. They start to use their God given talents in amazing ways. God enables this age group of children to  develop the ability to understand the love of reading by themselves,  the wonder and order of mathematics and the gift of God's love for them.

First grade students love learning about God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit. We start each day with devotions and end each day with stories from the Bible. First grade students participate in chapel by using their own hymnals, memorizing and reading liturgy and singing hymns of praise weekly. Students write about their faith during daily religion lessons. They also recite memory work that apply to lessons three times a week.

Language & Literacy
First grade is traditionally thought of as the level where children learn to read. Not all children become fluent readers by the end of the first grade, but most take their first solid steps toward fluid reading. Our classroom reading material varies from simple rhymes, to classroom news, to patterned stories and beginner fiction and non-fiction books. By the end of the year, most are reading grade-level chapter books and some are reading at even more advanced levels. First graders love learing about authors like Cynthia Rylant, Jan Bret, Arnold Lobel and others that write for the emergent reader. Students are excited that they can read Bible stories themselves and share God's word with their family and friends.
First-grade teachers help children listen for sounds in words, write the sounds they hear, and discover parts of written language, like the –at in cat that they can then use to figure out other words that belong to that word family like hat, mat, and sat.
Writing, like reading, takes a variety of forms in our first-grade classroom. Students work on sounding out words as they write. They break multiple syllable words apart into small parts to write the whole word. Writing activities include journal writing, writing creative stories, documenting their work in other subject areas and writing about their faith. 

First graders learn that God created a world full of mathematical patterns that they can start to apply to more abstract mathematical concepts. Students continue to  work on the concepts of time, money, and the meaning of numbers greater than 100.  Since, first graders still learn best by working with physical objects, we use lots of manipulatives during math lessons such as number cubes, pattern blocks, and number lines, 
First graders continue to work with addition and subtraction problems. They learn to count by 2s, 5s, and 10s, which will help them later when doing math equations. They also work with 2- and 3-dimensional geometric shapes and fractions.

First grade students learn about the wonderous world that God has created for them. They learn to find patterns and life cycles in this amazing world. They are introduced to concepts such as living things being made up of small parts. Our science explorations include water, seasons and weather, the parts of the human body, identifying characteristics of plants and animals. Our students also experiment with motion and with how pushing and pulling affects an object. Students learn about God's universe such as the sun, moon and stars. They are also introduced to how engineers plan as they invent, create and use technolgy.

Social Studies
First-grade social studies curriculum is framed by the God given world of family, school, and neighborhood. First graders can tell the difference between events that happen in the past, present, and future, although they are not ready to match real meanings to different time intervals. Events that happened 20 years ago and 100 years ago are all part of the same “past” time period to a first grader, unless they’re related to things that children are familiar with, like “That was when your grandmother was a baby.”
Socially, first graders are much more independent and responsible for their own actions than they were in kindergarten. Therefore, knowing how to follow rules and take care of themselves becomes important. Becoming self-sufficient enough to navigate through a school’s routine (like finding the classroom, the library, the gym, or even the 7th grade room by themselves) is an important part of first grade.