First Grade Teacher
Plymouth State Univ., BS
NH Elem. Ed. Cert.
In first grade, we spend the beginning of the year building a caring, supportive and cooperative classroom community. Each student is encouraged to feel comfortable and confident sharing and expressing himself or herself. We discuss natural feelings, honest expressions and how to treat one another respectfully.
During Morning Meeting we gather for a greeting, news about home and school events, songs, poems and games. It is a good time for students to practice their listening and speaking skills.
Language Arts includes reading, writing, listening and speaking. For reading, students learn strategies for decoding, build their vocabulary, and practice comprehension strategies by reading a variety of literature (including leveled books, poems, picture books, and magazines) to self and to others. For writing, students participate in Writing Workshop, where they practice getting their thoughts onto paper, start using sight words, practice strategies for spelling unknown words, and begin revising their work. Listening and speaking happen throughout the day.
For Math, we use the Investigations in Number, Data and Space curriculum, which uses a hands-on, developmental approach to encourage exploration, questioning, and sharing of thinking and strategies. Students use a variety of materials to help them in their problem solving. They practice skills through games, group activities and individual work. Topics we study include: patterns, geometry, counting and comparing, measuring, collecting data, sorting and classifying, number sense, and and beginning and addition and subtraction.
In Science class, plant diversity, weather and seasons, and properties of matter are covered. We investigate these concepts exploring our surrounding environment, as well as through literature and nonfiction books. The class also practices making observations and predictions.
In Social Studies, the first grade explores the topics of Community, My Family and Other Families, Now and Long Ago. Starting with the classroom community and building outward, the class learns about what makes a community, who is in it and how it works. The first grade works together with kindergarten and second grade on a shared theme later in the year.
In Spanish class, the goal is to create situations where the vocabulary is contextualized. As students are exposed to the language, they move from being able to recognize a word and to react to it, to being able to use it in a given situation. The main tool to contextualize language is through stories created in class using a lot of visual support. Songs and games also play an important role. The focus this year is on: greetings, colors, numbers (0-29), body parts, emotions, common objects at school and at home, animals, family vocabulary and action words. On the cultural side, we will celebrate Las Posadas and the three Wise Men, common celebrations to Mexico and many other Latin-American countries.
In Music class, we integrate several elements to develop musicianship and social growth, and build on what children do naturally: sing and play. Class includes group singing, movement games and stories, rhythmic speech and movement, work with both un-pitched and tuned percussion instruments, and dramatic play.
In Health Education class, the main topics covered are the body system, growth and development, exercise, healthy food choices, traffic and bicycle safety, and dental health. We also focus on social and emotional health, addressing topics such as how to deal with conflict and emotions and strategies for being a good friend. The Health Education program has been developed in accordance with guidelines of the State of New Hampshire Health Education Standards and the National Health Education Standards.
The goals of Physical Education are to expose children to a variety of activities, games and sports; to teach teamwork and friendly competition; to encourage students to give their best; to let them experience a variety of activities so that they can enjoy and be physically fit for a lifetime. The classes encourage and enable all students to have experiences of success and good sportsmanship.
During our STEAMS blocks, students will have the opportunity to rotate to various centers and engage in activities such as technology, writing, math, science, cooking, building, art, drama and listening. There will be time at the end of each class for reflection on these activities and sharing what was learned.