The first grade teacher provides explicit, systematic instruction for phonics, spelling, structural analysis, grammar, vocabulary, and fluency skills. Students have extensive opportunities to practice targeted foundational skills in order to increase their reading fluency. Rigorous Word Work instruction in first grade ensures students master the foundational skills they need to become lifelong readers and writers. As their fluency builds, students’ understanding of text grows. Students learn the right comprehension strategies for their stage of reading development in small groups through explicit instruction that includes think-alouds, text-dependent questions, discussion, and graphic organizers. First graders build on what they learned in kindergarten with new comprehension skills such as determining cause and effect, recognizing text structure, and identifying main ideas and details.
Through daily explicit writing process instruction, students learn how to express their ideas effectively in writing and develop critical writing skills in a variety of text types and genres. Students write multiple narratives, informative/ explanatory texts, opinions, and other genres. They practice writing mechanics and genre-specific writing skills.
The curriculum reinforces previously taught skills as it introduces new ones, and teachers supplement this work with many experiences with math manipulative and hands-on learning. First graders become more adept at counting to higher numbers; understanding addition and subtraction properties, along with those of place value; recognizing coins; telling time and measuring accurately. Each lesson begins with Problem- Based Learning, an activity in which students interact with their peers and teachers to make sense of and decide on a workable solution for a situation.
By the end of first grade, students encounter energy of sunlight and the effects on the earth’s surface. First graders experiment with light investigations to determine how different materials interact with light. Investigating plants, parts of the plant, life cycle of plants, and interdependence of plants and the surrounding environment is an essential building block toward more complex content. Students learn about patterns in the day and night sky, that the telescope and naked eye can identify celestial objects in the sky, and the patterns of earth, moon, and sun.
First grade curriculum focuses on Tennessee’s place in the United States through culture, economics, geography, government and civics, and history. Students discuss cultures within their community and state. They learn about goods and services, wants and needs, and factors that influence people to save money. Building on previously learned geographic skills, they reinforce basic map reading skills. Students continue to develop their citizenship skills by expanding their studies from a personal level to a local, state, and national level, including an understanding of the function of government and patriotic symbols. In history, students compare life today to the past, identify significant individuals and groups, and understand the impact of national holidays.
Our elementary school provides a warm, friendly, and dynamic environment that fosters critical thinking, collaboration, and creativity, developing a lifelong love of learning. It implements a high-quality curriculum that is aligned with state standards, built on high expectations, highly rigorous, and meets the needs of all students.