Math skills develop differently for many students and we encourage them to work at their own level, at their own pace. Math groups are small which allow students to receive individualized instruction. Math periods may include a group lesson to teach or review concepts. The first grade math curriculum includes: counting, place value, operations, money, fractions, problem solving, grouping, geometry, patterns, and analyzing data. Students use math manipulatives to aid in the understanding of concepts and accuracy in computation. We are using the Engage NY math with supplements from other advanced math programs.
READING AND LANGUAGE ARTS
As in math, students are encouraged to work at their own individual level. The reading requirement for entering first grade is that children demonstrate an ability to read and comprehend sentences. We read a great deal in first grade. We read silently and orally, we read in groups, and in front of the whole class. We focus on phonics, comprehension, and oral expression. Students are encouraged to read chapter books. We have an optional reward program that involves reading and writing book reports outside of class.
Students practice printing throughout the year. We emphasize neatness and proper form. Students also enjoy creative writing, making their own books, writing poetry, journal writing, and creating bibliographies. Every student participates in the Authors Fair in the spring. Grammar studies cover punctuation, capitalization, sentence structure, and short paragraphs. Students work on spelling and vocabulary. By the end of the year the students will be starting cursive handwriting. Spelling, reading and short grammar practice exercises are part of weekly homework assignments.
SCIENCE & LIFE LAB
Science is a popular activity, which involves active participation. Children learn the scientific method (hypothesis, experiment, conclusion, and application). The individual students are encouraged to present topics that interest them and together we explore them as a class. Some of the themes we study are: animals, sound and noise, measurements, temperature, air and weather, light, plants, seasons, earth changes, magnets, simple machines, water and rocks. The first grade students prepare a science report and diorama for the annual school Science Fair. Students participate in Life Lab once a week.
The geography curriculum is a discovery of the planet on which we live. The topics covered are: land forms, oceans, islands, rivers, forests and rain forests, mountains, deserts, plains, and polar regions. We look at the earth in many different ways. We study and create maps. We learn about the people and animals that inhabit the different continents.
HISTORY & SOCIAL STUDIES
Our history program is literature and art-based. The focus is on Native Americans and famous people in American history (Presidents Lincoln and Washington, Martin Luther King, Jr., etc.). In social studies, we explore how we belong to many groups — where we live, how we all work together, and how we can be good citizens.
Students learn simple, basic Spanish through videos, songs, games, and Spanish literature.
Learning the appropriate social skills is important at any age and is incorporated into every class at Spring Hill. In first grade we expect children to be respectful, thoughtful, and considerate toward each other. We continually work on effective communication with other children and adults, working with others, resolving conflicts, problem solving, and becoming more responsible young people. We help the students with decision making, learning from mistakes, and celebrating achievements.