Term I

1st Grade

The Big Book Let’s Read! is a collection of poems, rhymes and stories that encourages students to explore the foundations of literacy.  Through exploration, students begin reflecting on our language, how letters represent sounds, and how letters combine to write the words we speak.  They come to appreciate the conventions of our written language and learn that sentences begin with capital letters and end with punctuation.  Students begin recognizing how words form sentences and sentences become stories.  They become more proficient with blending sounds and spelling while reading, enabling them to find meaning within text.  Let’s Read! is full of good literature that sparks curiosity and opens young minds to the ideas of the world.  

The Big Book Animals introduces children to several examples of expository writing.  Students learn about the characteristics, the habitats, and other important facts about a variety of animals.  By expanding their understanding of animals, students are offered the opportunity to compare their own lives and needs with those of animals.  The rich vocabulary found in Animals helps continue the practice of using important comprehension and decoding strategies to read more effectively.  

Unit One of Everyday Math encourages the teacher and students to work together to establish an active learning environment where children can build mathematical knowledge.  Because of its “spiraling curriculum”, the routines introduced and established in Unit One will be followed throughout this school year and beyond.   These routines provide a solid structure where rich mathematical activities will take place.  The main areas of focus for this unit include:  comparing two numbers, finding a number one more/less than a given number, using tally marks to record data, using a calendar effectively, how to record the daily temperature and weather, and how to solve number stories.  Students also practice with tools to make problem solving easier.  They learn to use a number line when counting; they use a thermometer to help determine the temperature; they use a slate to record answers.  Most importantly, students learn to work cooperatively to solve problems.  

In Unit Two, children are introduced to a variety of everyday uses of numbers.  Understanding and applying these uses will continue to be developed throughout the year.  The children take part in many activities designed to prepare them for addition and subtraction.  The skills they develop are used for computation and problem solving.  The main areas of focus for this unit include  exploring various uses of numbers, using the analog clock effectively, finding and comparing the values of various coin combinations, exploring the complements of ten, and learning to change numbers to more or to less.  Students use a variety of tools to give them hands-on practice with these skills.  They learn to use a number grid, number models, individual analog clocks, and authentic coins to solve problems.


The first days of school are important for the students because they need to review procedures and rules in the art room.  During September, students talk about the beauty of fall and work on design and color theory.  First grade leaf projects line the walls of the Fine Arts wing in the fall.

During October instruction shifts to Surrealism and students create a ghost town.  The haunted houses are made out of brown paper bags, and the class will create a scary town with purple lights, ghost, and goblins.  These go on display in the gallery.

Finally, during November the students work on Native American art to learn more about a rich part of our history and culture.  First graders draw Native American symbols and work on sand painting projects.


In first grade drama, students engage in games and exercises throughout the year that provide a foundation for theater and performance. These games and exercises draw on the vivid imaginations of young children and their natural inclinations regarding play and performance. Built on the idea that children enjoy movement, animation, and just plain having fun, drama classes encourage students to tap into their imaginations each and every day. Students use masks, props, pictures, stories, ideas, and one another for inspiration and adventure. More specifically, students develop storylines, create original characters, explore different perspectives, integrate movement, and practice cooperation in the classroom.


During first term, first graders are allowed to check out one book per cycle.  Part of the first grade library experience is to learn how to select books that are “just right.” Librarians build on concepts learned in the classroom with The Daily Five by selecting “good fit books” during check out time.  First graders practice their book-selection skills over the course of the entire school year and continue to discuss with their librarian and classroom teacher about making good choices that fit not only their reading ability, but also their interests to encourage their love and excitement for reading.

During reading time, the librarians and first graders celebrate back to school and all the things we love about Fall, from apples, pumpkins, falling leaves, to ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night.


The music room is filled with the sounds of the fresh voices of the first graders!  Students are warming up their voices and are learning how to use correct vocal technique on  American folksongs.  Students also play simple rhythm patterns on instruments.  The students study Peter and the Wolf by Sergei Prokofiev.  They read the book, listen to the music, make puppet characters, and act out the story.  Working on understanding of musical elements and terms is also part of the curriculum.  During the first term, first graders have multiple performances including a community service performance and Boo Sing.


Throughout the months of August and September, all first graders learn the appropriate fundamentals of stretching/flexibility and fitness. Through these first months of school, students worked on balance, locomotors skills, and overall physical fitness. First graders also work on team building and sportsmanship. Through the months of October and November, students are introduced to the game of soccer. Students learn the fundamentals including shooting, passing, dribbling, and throw-ins. In addition, students learn the rules and regulations of the game. Throughout the first term, students will brush up on their Spanish in PE. By the conclusion of the first term, students can stretch, count and name most body parts en español. 


The first graders begin the school year with a unit on the human body.  They start off by studying a few of the major bones that make up the human skeleton as well as vital organs and the important function that each one serves in keeping people healthy.  Students first experiment with building body posters and later build the skeleton of a cow in order to compare humans with other mammals.

Following the study of the human body, the first graders then turn their attention to the amazing world of Arthropods.  Students learned how to organize and classify Arthropods according to unique characteristics.  In comparison, students label the different parts of their own bodies.  Arachnids such as spiders and scorpions are part of the focus, but much of the time in the first term is spent on insects.


First grade Spanish students begin the semester with an introduction to los saludos (greetings), los colores (colors), and los números (numbers 1-20). Spanish students become acquainted with their new amigo, Paco, who only speaks Spanish and loves to ask ¿Cómo te llamas? (What is your name?). Students continue working on recognizing this question along with ¿Cómo estás? (How are you?), ¿De qué color es? (What color is it?), ¿Cuántos? (How many?) and ¿Qué significa? (What does that mean?). Students learn several songs to help reinforce the vocabulary from the correlating themes and warm up for Spanish class, including Buenos días (greeting song), ¡Cuenta! (Count!), Los colores (Colors), El chocolate (Chocolate), El tren de los días de la semana (Days of the Week Train), Diez gatitos (Ten Little Kittens) and Adivina (Guess). Integrating the vocabulary from our stories Margaret and Margarita, ¡Mira quién toca calipso!, and Buenas noches, luna (Goodnight Moon), the students complete several activities in which they are required to respond to verbal commands through movement.