First graders at G.W. Carver will have a wide range of learning opportunities this year. First grade is such an exciting time to watch students make progress and reach goals in so many areas. Each of our four classrooms is an inviting place for students to take risks and develop a love of learning! Our curriculum is based on, but not limited to, the Virginia Standards of Learning. Each student is unique and comes to first grade at different stages of readiness. Therefore, we use a variety of teaching methods to reach each child at his or her level and help them celebrate individual achievements.
In language arts, students spend much of their time reading texts on their instructional reading level and meeting with the teachers in small groups to develop decoding, phonics, comprehension, vocabulary, and fluency skills. We have a basal series that we incorporate into our curriculum as well. We use authentic literature and read alouds to learn comprehension skills and model our writing topics in a whole group setting. Creative and narrative writing on a variety of topics is both encouraged and explicitly taught through the use of shared writing techniques, modeling, and conferencing. Students learn phonetic principles and develop spelling skills through sorting, reading, and completing various tasks with words on their developmental level during word study. Sight words are an important part of our reading curriculum as well. These are words that make up a large percentage of any common text and often cannot be sounded out, so they must be recognized automatically.
In math, students spend a great deal of time developing number sense. First graders will learn addition and subtraction strategies, place value concepts, geometry, telling time to the hour and half hour, counting coins, fractions, measurement, estimation, graphing, probability, and problem solving. Math looks different each day and is made up of both whole group and small group components to meet the needs of each child. We use the Envisions Math series to supplement our instruction.
Science and social studies are generally taught on alternating weeks. Many exciting topics will be covered including famous Americans, geography, American symbols and traditions, economics, life processes of plants and animals, the relationship between the sun and the earth, conservation of natural resources, matter, force and motion, and many more!
Our students have an opportunity to work with specialist teachers each day in guidance, P.E., library, music, and art on an 8 day rotation. We are very excited about the addition of our Action Based Learning Lab this year where students will incorporate academic skills with physical activity to increase strength and balance. We are fortunate to have a lot of new, exciting equipment to use!
We look forward to working with our students and families this year and will keep you informed about what is going on in your child’s classroom!