First Grade Academic Overview
Wildwood Elementary uses a "Balanced Literacy" approach, which combines direct teacher instruction in large group, small group reading/guided instruction, and student independent learning.
Each day the students will be in "Readers Workshop" which will include reading to self, reading to someone, word work, writing and listening to reading.
The National Reading Panel Report (2000)
The panel determined that effective instruction includes teaching children to break apart and manipulate the sounds in words (phonemic awareness), teaching that these sounds are represented by letters that can be blended (phonics), having children read aloud while providing guidance, teaching word meanings, and providing comprehension strategies
· Phonemic Awareness: the ability to hear, identify, and manipulate individual sounds (phonemes) in spoken words
· Phonics: the relationship between the letters of written language and the sounds of spoken language. For example, learning that the letter ‘b’ represents the /b/ sound
· Fluency: the capacity to read text accurately and quickly
· Vocabulary: the words students must know to communicate effectively through listening, speaking, reading and writing
· Comprehension: the ability to understand and gain meaning from what has been read
WRITING: Wildwood Elementary uses the Benchmark curriculum of "Writers Workshop". First graders will be writing in a variety of formats - journaling, personal narratives, informational reports and book reviews.
First Grade implements the Math Expressions program. It is organized into mathematical content strands that cover a number of skills and concepts. These concepts are:
The Math Expressions program uses hands-on manipulatives and games in addition to paper and pencil work to ensure mastery of the concepts that are taught.
- Partners and Number Patterns Through 10
- Addition and Subtraction Strategies
- Unknown Numbers in Addition and Subtraction
- Place Value Concepts and Money
- Place Value Situations
- Comparisons & Data Formats
- Geometry, Measurement and Equal Shares
- 2-Digit Addition
First grade also uses "Number Talks" in math class, where students share how they solved a problem.
Complex Instruction is also being used, where students work collaboratively in a small group to solve a problem, each student having a voice and all voices are needed to solve the problem.
First Grade students are instructed in the Zaner-Bloser method of handwriting. This is a 'continuous stroke' method of letter formation, not a 'ball and stick'.
Wildwood now has STEM as a specialist class. This specialist class covers the Engineering is Elementary curriculum, as well as some of the other first grade standards. First graders study the life cycles of insects (meal worms and butterflies) in their classroom in the spring.
First Graders use the Responsive Classroom approach to work on becoming responsible citizens. Students participate in classroom meetings and help in establishing classroom rules. First graders also have a unit on Presidents and Presidents Day. A highlight of our year is an extensive unit on the Wampanoag Indians and their encounter with early European settlers (The First Thanksgiving). The children learn about history through the eyes of the Native Americans. The topics covered follow the Minnesota State Standards.