Our 1st Grade is a dynamic classroom where children engage in creative play to ignite their imaginations and create community, while building on the many skills acquired in Kindergarten. We start each day with a Morning Meeting, which helps us to create strong classroom community.
First Grade Language Arts is an exciting time of exploring genres and developing skills. For many children, it is their first time being able to read texts by themselves or communicate something in writing to another person. It is a time of taking risks in a safe and supportive environment and becoming a reader and a writer. We learn different strategies for exploring those different types of words and practice them through games, activities and lessons. During our Writing Block, we get to use all the skills we are acquiring to become authors in many different genres.
First Grade Math is full of hands on manipulatives and active games that promote a deeper number sense. Our Singapore Math program revolves around explorations, investigations and computations. In every unit, we begin with concrete examples, modeling and active games. Then we move to pictorial representations and finally to the more abstract representations of numerals and symbols. This helps the children gain a deeper understanding of what the concepts really mean rather than just knowing what they should do with the numbers. We strive to foster a love for figuring things out and looking for patterns while giving the students tools to problem solve and helping them understand and be able to use common mathematical language. Topics included in 1st Grade math include numbers up to 40, number bonds, composing and decomposing numbers, double digit addition and subtraction, measurement, money, shapes, beginning multiplication and division, fractions and telling time.
Because Kindergarten and 1st Grade combine for Social Studies, we have an alternating curriculum: one year focusing on Community and the next on The Hudson Valley. Our Community curriculum explores various communities that we are a part of, beginning with our families, our classroom, our school, and finally spreading outward to our towns. We go on various field trips to learn about community helpers and institutions like the firehouses, farms, post offices, and local merchants. We also explore the natural community around us and learn about what animals and plants live in our community and how we affect and are affected by them. Our Hudson Valley curriculum enables children continue to develop their own sense of place in their world. Students study the Hudson River through the lenses of culture, continuity and change, individual identity, citizenship, and people, places, and the environment, and enjoy numerous local field trips.
Life in school would not be complete without exploration and discovery in the arts, language and nature. At WDS, students are welcomed into the world of creativity and movement; during weekly specials, 1st Graders make art and music, expand their ability to communicate in Spanish, learn cooperative games in Physical Education, play with their older buddies, plant and pick vegetables and herbs in our garden, take walks in our woods, and spend time reading with our librarian. 1st Graders also begin weekly study of the violin. During annual residencies with local artists, our 1st Grade learns African drumming and dance, rehearses and performs an original class play at our weekly Friday Gathering, and has their first taste of Media Arts.