In first grade, literacy is based in the science of reading and taught via one-on-one, small-group, and whole-group instruction. Literacy centers and reading groups include multisensory and hands-on manipulatives. Building on foundations of letter formation and recognition, first-grade students learn to read and write multisyllabic words that are both phonetic and non-phonetic, and they develop a range of reading strategies to develop comprehension and become more independent readers. Students grow as writers by writing an increasing number of complete sentences, and they learn to write personal narratives, fictional stories, opinions, and informational writing with an emphasis on building stamina and skill.
Using Comprehensible Input, present in both TPR/TPRS (Total Physical Response/Storytelling), first-grade students are exposed to basic greetings, common and cognate animals, descriptive words, basic colors, numbers, simple body parts, and commonly used verbs through movement, stories, games, and multi-sensory activities. Instruction focuses on specific words or structures and uses repetitive questioning that accentuates and repeats the structure. This form of instruction engages the students and the structures quickly become comprehensible.
The Lower School library curriculum encourages students to be information literate, to become independent learners, and to engage in social responsibility. They read; are read to; make connections between the class curriculum and library resources; share their stories; learn to be inclusive and open minded through an array of literature; and find joy in reading. First graders learn about the parts (structure) of a book, explore books/stories that touch on diverse lives and experiences, and are introduced to catalog search and nonfiction texts. First graders will also learn how to approach things with creativity and problem-solving skills.
First grade students enter a new stage of social development where they are interested in celebrations and traditions, as well as their individual heritage. Emphasis in first grade social studies learning is placed on families, cultures, continents and making connections between identity and current events.
As a new language experience, first graders acquire the tonal language of Mandarin through exposure to a variety of topics, including basic greetings, common courtesy expressions, simple expressions of feeling, counting, colors, body parts, basic family members, and commonly used verbs through movement, stories, games, and multi-sensory activities. Students also explore some cultural topics and become familiar with the stories and legends associated with the Lunar New Year Festival.
First graders continue to work on their general ability for music through lessons that introduce and reinforce a wide range of musical concepts, including iconic music notations. They work on pitch and practice singing alone and with others through call-and-response, echo songs, movement, and singing games from different cultures.
Building on their DBi learning in kindergarten, first-grade designers start practicing EMPATHY to imagine the needs of animals to design solutions to meet the needs of a particular animal. In the spring, students attempt to empathize with special guest “Skippy”, a three-footed tortoise, to design a way to help him get around. Students work in the DBi Lab ten times throughout the year.
In first-grade math, instruction is designed to support the curriculum with multi-sensory manipulatives and differentiated small-group centers. Students learn place value, operations, addition, subtraction, graphing, geometry, patterns, comparisons, time and money, and measurement. Students also continue to develop number sense up to 100.
Lower School art is where students explore and express their creativity through a variety of mediums and study artists from diverse backgrounds. Instruction is fluid and philosophically rooted in the idea that all children are artists and that growth comes from continuous practice, experimentation, and reflection. First graders read the book, Owl Moon, and paint beautiful owls using watercolor, they create photo collages in the manner of Romare Bearden, and collaborate on an interactive installation based on the work of Yayoi Kusama.
In First Grade, cooks and gardeners at Redwood Day deepen their understanding of our connected food system. Students observe the life cycles of animals and plants and provide habitats for them to grow and thrive. Beginning cooks practice knife skills and identify the five tastes while engaging in projects that connect with the core classroom.
Science in first grade focuses on the exploration of sound and light, air and weather, and the study of insects, the rainforest, penguins, and spiders. They continue to learn to use observations to describe patterns and relationships to answer scientific questions.
First graders, in PE, are encouraged to embrace challenges and learn from their experiences while developing skills of teamwork, communication, and a sense of fair play. They learn to hop, gallop, jog, slide, jump, and land using a two-foot take-off and landing. They practice catching, dribbling continuously with hands and feet, kicking objects, and volleying. An additional focus for this grade level includes rolling, twisting, curling, bending, and stretching actions. Students also learn to jump forward or backward consecutively using a self-turned rope.
First grade continues building on the kindergarten skill set, with increased attention to collaboration. Students skills expand into choosing and differentiating various tools from applications, and basic file navigation, including opening and closing programs. First graders visit pre-opened sites online to inform their drawings and labeling.