The theme in Grade 1 is Art in My World. Children are artists at heart and learn from things that speak to their imaginations in picture and story, color, form, rhythm, and movement. We encourage them to follow their natural urge to create using basic art forms to tell about the world and what is important about it. Children grow in the value that art does not happen accidentally; it is created through thoughtful and careful organization.
Grade 1 language arts continues the integrated approach used in previous years. Students learn increasingly complex phonics concepts explicitly through Orton-Gillingham style practice of sounds and blending. They apply and practice this knowledge in word study through sorting, and they read authentic texts at their level in small teacher-led guided reading groups. Students learn about grammar, usage, and punctuation. They continue their journey as authors in Writing Workshop, trying their hand at new styles of writing like Small Moments, reviews, and non-fiction chapter books. They also learn how to write friendly letters and continue their practice of handwriting using the Handwriting Without Tears program.
Continuing in the Singapore Math program with its concrete to pictorial to abstract approach, Grade 1 students learn about number bonds, the relationship between addition and subtraction, sums to 20 by memory, place value to hundreds, and using three steps for solving word problems. Money and time tie in with classroom jobs every day. Students are introduced to the concept of fractions and even take a field trip to a pizza parlor to practice their knowledge.
In Grade 1, students begin learning the fundamental concepts of music using the Orff-Schulwerk method. These elemental concepts begin with group participation through movement and imitation, matching pitch, and steady beat. Later in the year, students learn the differences between steady beat and rhythm, high and low, and loud and soft. Students also begin to accompany with basic rhythms on the Orff instruments. Beginning in Grade 1, all students perform in a winter and spring musical concert.
Children continue to develop locomotor skills, non-locomotor skills, and manipulative skills while cooperative games are introduced. Water safety and beginning swimming skills are introduced to the curriculum as well. Three instructors oversee the swim unit and evaluate students in accordance to the Red Cross Learn to Swim program. Students in Grade 1 swim twice per year; five weeks in the fall term and five weeks in the spring term.
Religion in Grade 1 emphasizes God as our Creator and loving parent, with special emphasis on the lives and examples of the saints. To further enhance their studies, the students are given the unique privilege of visiting the sequestered sisters at the Carmelite Monastery. Each student is also assigned a prayer pal with the sisters, offering the children first-hand appreciation of the power and gift of prayer.
Grade 1 students continue meaningful, hands-on science using the Full Option Science System (FOSS) program. They learn to grow plants in different ways—from seeds, cuttings, and bulbs. Students also study air and weather—including taking a field trip to Skydive Monterey Bay to see how parachutes work—and take turns as the classroom meteorologist.
Using the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute (TCI) program, Grade 1 students study their school and family cultures in an interactive and collaborative way. Students create a classroom culture by defining how we get along with each other in a school environment, create classroom rules and connect them to city laws, and take field trips to places like City Hall and the police station. Students also begin learning about maps and geography. Students have opportunities to celebrate their family cultures, learn about others’ family traditions, and what makes families special.
Grade 1 is a year of discovery in technology. Computer-developed projects are designed to build curiosity, exploration, and lead to hands-on construction. Students are introduced to desktop skills with activities in word processing, presentation, and graphics offered through such applications as the Microsoft Office Suite. Students practice typing using the Keyboarding Without Tears program. They also learn coding basics and enjoy seeing what they can create with their imagination and the tools provided.