Curriculum Update

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In first grade, your child will have a variety of literacy experiences in order to provide a balanced literacy program. During our literacy instruction, we make sure that every day, every child writes, reads independently, reads with support, and works with words. Every day, every child writes: Through various writing experiences, students develop writing strategies and skills. Students use writing as a tool for learning and communicating. Every day, every child reads independently: Students read a variety of self-selected text at their reading level to practice reading strategies and develop fluency. Teachers hold individual conferences with children about their books. Opportunities are provided for children to share and respond to what is read. Every day, every child reads with support: Teachers provide instruction and guidance in a variety of whole class, small group, and partner formats. Students learn effective comprehension strategies that apply to fiction or non-fiction texts. Every day, every child works with words: Students investigate the meaning and structure of words, along with following the rules of grammar. Children learn how to read and spell high-frequency words and how to decode and spell multi-syllabic words.

Please continue to read at home every evening for approximately 20 minutes. Encourage your child to discuss the story to improve comprehension by asking who, what, where, when, why and how questions, as well as making predictions. Also ask your child to summarize or retell what he/she has read to monitor comprehension. In addition to the book sent home with your child, please use the books from Raz-Kids, the Media Center, books from home, books from the public library, magazines, comics, and newspapers to fulfill this goal. Your child should read to you for part of the time and you may also read to your child. Please sign the Reading Log each night.

In first grade students will learn to write informational text, opinion pieces, and narratives. Students are required to write detailed stories with a beginning, middle and ending, including correct capitalization and punctuation. At this time, we encourage all students to write complete sentences that include a capital letter in the beginning and punctuation at the end. Continue to develop neat handwriting using appropriate size, shape and spacing. Letter and number reversals are very common among first graders at this time of the year. Continue to monitor any such reversals and help your child recognize and correct these reversals. Students will practice writing throughout the day in all subject areas. In addition, the students will write daily in writer's workshop to practice and develop their writing skills throughout the year. Students will participate in a mini lesson, write independently, confer with the teacher to individualize writing instruction and share stories.

By the end of the year, students will be required to use basic short and long vowel patterns to write words correctly, as well as many basic sight words. At this time, students are encouraged to use inventive spellings in their creative work. Inventive spelling or sound spelling allows the child to write the sounds that they hear in order to keep the flow of writing. Often times, I will include traditional or conventional spellings in their work in order to expose them to the correct spelling. However, spelling list words should be used correctly throughout the year. Students will work on individualized spelling lists. We will use Words Their Way word lists in class and as weekly spelling lists. These lists follow a spelling pattern and I will choose approximately 10 words from your child’s list for spelling homework. Your child should complete his/her spelling homework each night to prepare for the spelling test on Friday.

Homework will be assigned daily Monday through Thursday. A homework assignment sheet will be sent home every Monday. Daily homework will include math, spelling and reading. Homework will begin later this month.

In math, we will use the Pearson/Scott Foresman mathematics program called Investigations. Investigations is a hands-on approach to learning about mathematics. This program encourages students to both explore and discuss mathematical concepts. The first grade curriculum is organized into nine units: How Many of Each? (numeration/addition/subtraction), Making Shapes and Designing Quilts (2-D shapes), Solving Story Problems (numeration/addition/subtraction), What Would You Rather Be? (Data Analysis), Fish Lengths and Animal Jumps (Measurement), Number Games and Crayon Puzzles (numeration/addition/subtraction), Color, Shape and Number Patterns (patterns/functions), Twos, Fives, and Tens (numeration/addition/subtraction), and Blocks and Boxes (3-D shapes).
You can find more information about this math program at On this site, you will find an overview of the first grade program and examples of activities your child will participate in during the school year. You may also learn more about each unit by visiting our class website to read the parent newsletters.

Social Studies
CMS has adopted the Nystrom Exploring Where and Why Social Studies Program. This is a hands-on, collaborative program which develops responsible citizens, critical thinking, and reinforces reading, writing, communication and math skills.
In social studies, students will study citizenship and changes in our neighborhood. We will discuss rules and their importance. We will use geographic tools to identify landforms and bodies of water. Our study of geography will take us around the world while our study of economics will help us develop a better understanding of the differences between wants and needs. We will discuss jobs in our community and the goods and services they provide. We will locate places on a map, read symbols, identify oceans and continents, and identify the planet, continent, country, state, and city in which we live. We will discuss national holidays and why they are celebrated. We will celebrate diversity by exploring different cultures and explain how the environment impacts where people live.

Character Education
Character development is an important part of your child's school day. Each month we will focus on a specific character trait, help students integrate this trait into their daily lives and recognize students for demonstrating the character trait. At the end of the month, the whole school will come together for an assembly to celebrate the study of the monthly character trait. First grade is scheduled to present the character assembly in April. Listed below is the CMS monthly character trait schedule: September-Respect, October-Responsibility, November-Honesty, December-Caring, January-Justice & Fairness, February-Citizenship, March-Courage, April-Perseverance, and May-Hope.
In addition to the monthly assemblies, Mrs. Reading will present the "Paws" character education program in our classroom. Mrs. Reading will visit our classroom monthly with one of her pet dogs to share stories about how her dogs demonstrate the character trait of the month and to discuss ways the children can model good character.

In science, we will use the Macmillan McGraw-Hill Science program. Currently, we have discussed what science is and the science inquiry skills: observe, compare, measure, classify, communicate, put things in order, infer, make a model, predict, investigate, and draw a conclusion. Throughout the year we will utilize these skills to explore the life sciences, earth sciences, and physical sciences. In science this year your child will be learning about Force and Motion. Students will explain the importance of a push or pull, explain how some objects can be used to make objects move without touching them (magnets) and predict the effect of a given force. We will also explore Earth in our Universe. Students will recognize the features and patterns of the earth/moon/sun system as observed from Earth. We will recognize the difference in the features of the day and night sky, and patterns of changes in the moon. We will also work with Earth Systems, Structures, and Processes to understand the physical properties of Earth materials and how they are useful in different ways. We will study Ecosystems in order to allow students to recognize that plants and animals need air, water, light, space, food and shelter. We will give examples of how the needs of plants and animals can be met by their environment. Additionally, we will summarize the ways humans protect their environment and improve the conditions for the growth of plants and animals. We will also study Molecular Biology. Students will be asked to summarize the needs of living organisms for energy and growth for both plants and animals.