In first grade, we administer several assessments in reading and math to aid teachers’ understanding of your child’s strengths and needs in order to design instruction accordingly. Students participate in AIMSWeb Reading Curriculum-Based Measurement, where they are asked to read grade-level passages to assess their accuracy. The AIMSWeb Math Computation assessment focuses on computation/fact fluency. Students also complete the Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark Reading Assessment, which provides classroom teachers with key information about individual students' strengths and areas for growth in reading accuracy, fluency, and comprehension to drive small group reading instruction.
All first grade students experience music and art classes. Students in grades 1-5 attend two 30 minute music classes each week as well as one 45 minute art class. These classes follow the National Core Arts Standards and engage students in creating, presenting, responding, and connecting to Art and Music.
First grade classrooms implement a reading workshop model completing five reading units of study. These units of study are as follows: Launching, Nonfiction, Fiction, Poetry, and Content Literacy.
Teachers utilize the best practices in reading structure by:
- Modeling explicit skills and strategies through Interactive Read-Alouds using high-interest text,
- Reading shared texts with students during Mini-Lessons to practice focus skills and strategies,
- Supporting students’ application of skills and strategies through guided and independent reading, and
- Differentiating and extending learning through guided and independent practice.
Teaching materials include Schoolwide Reading Fundamentals Units of Study, Independent Classroom Libraries, Guided Reading Libraries and Digital Resources.
Our first classrooms utilize Being a Writer. This curriculum provides a full year of research-based whole-class writing instruction. Using a workshop model, the Being a Writer program teaches the writing process while developing intrinsic motivation for the craft of writing through immersion in the narrative, informational, and opinion/argumentative writing genres. Instruction encourages students to write regularly with passion and intent as it builds an understanding of and appreciation for the skills and conventions of writing.
The following units are taught in first grade: Writing Community, Getting Ideas, Telling More, Writing Stories About Me, Writing Non-Fiction, Exploring Words Through Poetry, Opinion Writing, Revisiting the Writing Community.
The goal of word study is to help our students become excellent readers and writers. Word study allows students to participate in focused instruction examining words and word elements.
First grade students are instructed in the following nine areas of word study:
- Early Literacy Concepts
- Phonological Awareness and Phonemic Awareness
- Letter Knowledge
- Letter/Sound Relationships
- Spelling Patterns
- High Frequency Words
- Word Meaning
- Word Structure
- Word-Solving Actions
The comprehensive Teacher Resource Guide, Phonics Lessons: Letters, Words, and How They Work, by Heinemann, provides both instructional and content support to implement and manage an effective word study program for first grade students.
Math in Focus
The Math in Focus program strives to develop conceptual understanding with the goal of content mastery. Concepts are taught moving through a sequence of concrete to pictorial to abstract. Concrete learning happens through hands-on activities with math manipulatives, such as counters, coins, number lines, or base ten blocks. Pictorial learning uses pictures, drawings, or other forms that illustrate the concept with something more than abstract numbers. Finally, abstract learning requires students to use numerals, strategies, and problem solving methods to solve problems. Math in Focus is a research-based program that focuses on classroom learning, discussion, and practice. It strives to balance conceptual understanding, visual learning, and problem solving.
Curriculum Resource: Math in Focus Parent Resources
First grade students attend two 30 minute P.E. class each week. All Elementary students (kindergarten through 5th grade) attend an Extended P.E. session on days that they do not have a P.E. class. Students participate in a variety of developmentally appropriate games and sports throughout the year with a focus on skill development, teamwork, and physical fitness. Elementary P.E. teachers also incorporate learning experiences to develop students’ understanding of nutrition, body systems, conflict resolution, and decision making.
The Illinois Learning Standards in science emphasize a more engaged, hands-on science education that aims to give students a deeper understanding of the core concepts in science and engineering as well as practice applying those concepts –linking knowledge and real-world skills.
As such, Arlington Heights District 25 science curriculum for K-5, Science Companion, is inquiry-based, student-centered learning, where students learn best while doing science rather than merely reading about science. The purpose of the curriculum is not only to provide children with the opportunity to wonder about their world, but to teach them science processes as they explore, quantify, and interpret the world. The program’s approach to primary education balances discovery-based learning with teacher-directed instruction.
In 2016-17 school year first grade students will complete 3 units in science. Those units are:
- Collecting & Examining Life
- Light & Sound
- Watching the Sky
Through these investigations students are given the time and encouragement to draw, write, discuss, observe and reflect upon what they see and the questions they have.
In social studies, disciplinary concepts are divided among the major disciplines of social science: civics, history, economics, and geography. These standards are taught in conjunction with inquiry skills.
The process of aligning social studies to the Illinois Learning Standards for Social Science takes time. Elementary school will begin the process in 2017-2018 with their focus on the themes that are aligned to the disciplinary concepts for K-5 learners. Elementary students experience social studies through thematic units and a combination of teacher created units with various textbooks, nonfiction readers, primary sources, and maps. In first grade the theme is Living, Learning, and Working Together.