As a 1st grader at Capital Prep the opportunities offered to be a robust reader, awesome mathematician and inquisitive scientist are endless!
In first grade, students continue to receive direct instruction that builds upon the foundational reading skills introduced in pre-k and kindergarten. They memorize additional sight words, learn more phonics rules, and learn how to read regularly spelled multi-syllable words using known phonics patterns. Students begin to make the connection that knowing rules for sentence structure helps to guide the reader in how to read and understand text. As students begin using these foundational skills with focus on reading leveled text with fluency and expression, there is a shift away from learning to read to reading to learn.
As students begin to read independently, students are taught to retell stories sequentially with details, how to figure out the main idea, explain major differences between non-fiction and fiction genres, and describe characters, plot, and setting. As writers, first graders write simple opinion, informational, and narrative pieces, while adding details with adult support. At this level, there is a transition from using invented spelling to the use of known phonics rules and memorized sight words to write words accurately, and to use punctuation and capitalization rules to compose sentences. As members of the classroom community, collaboration is fostered as first grade students respond to and coach each other during classroom discussions, and present ideas, opinions, and knowledge with relevant details. In this way, they develop their listening, speaking, and social skills.
A solid base of fundamental math skills is crucial so continuing with Kindergarten’s work, the year starts with a thorough review of number identification, writing, and counting. Grade 1 focuses on four critical math development areas: understanding addition, subtraction and the strategies that accompany them with numbers up to 20; understanding number relationships and place value; developing understanding of measurement; and forming ideas about geometric shapes. Once students confidently extend the counting sequence, they will have a better understanding of place value properties. These foundation math skills lends to building understanding of operations, mainly addition and subtraction, and strategies for solving equations using these operations. Their confidence in various math facts will be tried, practiced, and tested throughout the year in small group centers. Students will be able to read, write, draw and work with manipulatives.
Science at Capital Prep is where first graders begin their career as scientists. Students will strengthen their inquiry skills by learning about plants, animals, shadows, force and motion. First graders will create their own scientific experiments and complete projects that require them to research and present to the class. Just as with math, the science curriculum encompasses the Common Core State Standards as well as the national science standards.
Through all subjects the students will also be combining their growing knowledge of their social justice skills. Students expand upon their knowledge of community to include the world. As they learn about local historical figures, timelines are used to sequence events within a lifetime. Using the world map key, geographical relationships and physical features are identified. Students begin to understand their role as citizens within the school and community at large. As a citizen, the role of government is introduced. Each student will demonstrate their skills to express and practice social justice by creating and participating in interdisciplinary projects for each quint that allows them to answer their grade level social justice question: “What groups do I belong to in the community?” The amount of knowledge gained as a Capital Prep first grade Trailblazer seems endless, but then again so are the opportunities!