Term II

1st Grade

During the second term, students study Unit 3 through Unit 5 in the Open Court Reading series. In Unit 3 students read the Big Book Things That Go! This book contains a collection of informal writing, realistic fiction, and poetry. This offers students the opportunity to learn about and experience transportation modes vicariously.  Students are able to share their own travel experiences and learn about the travels of others. Students also brainstorm and discuss types of vehicles familiar to the children, as well as a wide range of more exotic vehicles used for travel in other parts of the world.

The Big Book in Unit 4, Our Neighborhood at Work, exposes students to a variety of occupations. Students gain a deeper understanding of the broad range of work roles assumed by adults and develop a vocabulary to describe a number of different occupations. The non-fiction and poetry selections in this book are designed to illustrate the direct relationship between reading, learning and writing. The Writing Workshop introduced in this unit allows the students to explain the relationships between each occupation, as well as how these jobs affect their own families.

In Unit 5, students read the Big Book Weather. Students share their own experiences with changes in daily weather, as well as changes in seasonal patterns. They are able to identify and discuss ways in which weather directly impacts their lives. The discussion ranges from how weather can affect what they wear each day to how it determines ways they spend their free time. During the culmination of the study, students explain which type of weather they enjoy most in their first expository piece.

Students study Unit 3 through Unit 5 in the Everyday Math series. Much of Unit 3 focuses on number patterns: odd and even numbers, patterns in number lines and number grids, and number sequences. Students are also introduced to addition and subtraction on the number line and begin solving simple addition and subtraction problems. Dimes are added to their existing collection of coins and they find the values of various combinations of dimes, pennies and nickels. Students add the calculator to their tool kits and begin counting up and back from any given number. They also identify patterns and explore skip counting on the number grid. Clocks are also reviewed and students are given practice telling time to the hour and half-hour.

In Unit 4, children work with linear measures while reviewing and extending their use of thermometers and clocks. They measure objects in nonstandard units, such as digits and hand spans, as well as U.S. customary units of inches and feet. Students review telling time to the hour and half-hour, and are introduced to telling time on the quarter-hour. They also begin the important work of achieving automaticity (automatic recall) of basic addition facts.

Most of Unit 5 is devoted to extending the children’s understanding of and proficiency with addition and subtraction. Children learn to create and solve number stories. This helps foster links between verbal representations and concrete, pictorial, and number-model representations. They continue to investigate place-value concepts for tens and ones, and begin to explore addition of two-digit numbers. Finally, the relation symbols for greater than, less than, and equal to are introduced.


During second term the first grade students learn the importance of symbol and color.  The students use this knowledge to create cards that reflect the traditions of varying cultures at the beginning of the winter solstice.  In January the students work with clay.  They make clay forms with coils and slabs and learn how to join them together with slip.  The students create texture in the clay by making lines and indentations with objects and materials.  The final product is fired in the kiln and the students paint them.  In February the students create with paper mache’.  This year they are creating bats, which will be hanging from the stalactites in our simulated cave in the art wing gallery.


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.


First graders are able to select books from the shelves in the lower library.  Part of the first grade library experience is learning how to select books that are considered “good fit” books. Students will be building on concepts learned in the classroom (the five-finger rule, choosing books by a favorite author) and practicing  book-selection skills over the course of the year, and librarians and stdents will continue to discuss making good choices as children grow and their interests and abilities change over the years.



The second term in music begins with intense preparation for the Holiday Concert.  The first graders have their first exposure to the full concert and the joy of being part of the first, second, and third grade chorus.  A high level of performance is achieved by the students.  Singing a wide variety of songs and learning to sing independently are very important parts of the first grade music curriculum.  Using Kodaly hand signs for sol, mi, and la, the music activities include: reading, singing, and playing music notation.  Through music literature listening lessons and creative movement activities, students develop musical skills and knowledge.


During the second term students are introduced to the game of basketball.  Throughout this unit students concentrate on the fundamentals of basketball such as shooting, dribbling, passing, and defense. During the culmination of our basketball unit students enjoy a week of scrimmage games. All students have a chance to put all their hard work to the test during our scrimmage games. The months of January and February are spent concentrating on the dance and gymnastics. During this unit students learn about body awareness, balance, and rhythm, while using various locomotor and non-locomotor skills. Each student also has a chance to design their own unique gymnastics routine to perform in front of the class.

Throughout these units students continue to add words to our Spanish vocabulary. Students are able to respond to the names of twenty body parts en español. Ten more are added by the end of the school year as students learn both locomotor and non-locomotor vocabulary. Third term the curriculum moves to volleyball, bowling, and paddle ball.


At the beginning of the second term the first grade students complete their study of arthropods by closely examining arachnids.  As they compare arachnids to insects and other arthropods, they also observe some of their unique features and abilities.  The venomous stingers of scorpions or the incredibly strong webs that certain spiders weave are just a few of the amazing characteristics that the first grade students will learn about.  After arthropods on land, the first grade students turn their attention to invertebrates and other animals that live in the oceans.  They first compare the exoskeletons of insects and arachnids to the shells of crustaceans like crabs and lobsters, and then they are on to even more peculiar invertebrates like the jellyfish or octopus.  Towards the end of the second term the first grade students begin their unit on pre-historic life starting with an introduction to fossils and how they teach scientists about the history of life on the planet Earth.           


During the second term, first grade Spanish students focus primarily on las formas (shapes) and vocabulary from La oruga muy hambrienta (The Very Hungry Caterpillar), which includes las frutas (fruits) and los días de la semana (days of the week). Using the oruga (caterpillar) and la fruta that they make in class, students work on generating simple sentences that tell what the caterpillar eats. Students continue to warm up for each Spanish class with songs and chants and expand their repertoire to include La araña pequeñita (The Itsy Bitsy Spider), Cinco muñecos de nieve (Five Snowmen), Cabeza, hombres, piernas, pies (Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes), and La víbora de la mar (The Sea Serpent).