In first grade, our students will greatly expand their understanding of mathematics, explore the natural world through the eyes of a scientist, and begin to develop into passionate readers and writers.
With exposure to music, art, physical education, and foreign language, our first graders will continue to grow into well-rounded scholars. They will expand their view of the world and its people through carefully-planned trips, events, and activities.
While academics are a major focus, we also recognize that first grade is an important time for students to really begin to develop the social and emotional skills needed to succeed in school and life. With well-designed structures to support the brain and the heart, our first-grade students will be ready to take on any obstacles life throws their way.
Pioneer’s K–4 Language Arts program is based on the reading and writing workshop model developed by Teachers College at Columbia University. This focused approach ensures that each student develops the skills needed to excel as a reader, writer, speaker, and listener. Our classroom libraries are loaded with engaging titles from our students' favorite series, all of which are ideal for elementary school libraries.
Through read-alouds, guided reading, and book groups, children develop listening and comprehension skills and learn to express their ideas. “Read, Stop, Think!” strategies are taught to build skills in predicting, visualizing, summarizing, and making inferences.
Grammar, spelling, and vocabulary are integrated as students master mechanics while writing for a variety of audiences and in a wide range of genres. The writing process includes pre-writing, revising, and editing. Each student is encouraged to develop skills that lead to a lifelong love of reading while guided in developing a voice as a writer.
- Each session begins with a mini lesson. Kids sit with a long-term partner while in the mini lesson.
- The mini lesson ends with the kids being sent off to their own independent work.
- As students work, the teacher confers with them and leads small groups.
- Partway through independent work time, the teacher stands and delivers a mid-workshop teaching point.
- The workshop ends with a share.
Every day, our K-1 students read from the tiered classroom library. Teachers help them build decoding and comprehension abilities. Teachers work one-on-one with students and in small groups with the goal of building strong reading habits and experiencing the joy of reading. Reading Workshop begins with a mini-lesson on a reading strategy, followed by pupils independently practicing that strategy. Students frequently collaborate with reading partners, reading aloud to one another, asking one another questions, and predicting what will happen next in a novel. Kindergarten and Grade 1 classrooms frequently begin the day by reading aloud to family and friends during Drop Everything and Read. Students also learn to read sight words and acquire phonological awareness. Spelling is taught using a variety of tactics, including word games, word sorts, phonics-based texts, and word families.
The Writing Workshop approach emerges from research that literacy and play are intrinsically linked. In writing workshops, students are guided through the writing process: generating ideas, drafting and nurturing those ideas, editing and revising their work, and finally publishing their writing. Teachers provide each student the opportunity to create stories using a variety of different materials, including clay, beads, oil pastels, paints, blocks, puppets, and dramatic play. Students are asked the essential questions, “Where do stories come from?” and “What materials will inspire you to tell your story?”
Students are encouraged to play with materials and investigate elements of a story, including characters, setting, and plot. Stories may take different forms, including fiction, personal narrative, and poetry. Following story creation, students capture their stories in writing. Each workshop begins with a mini-lesson in which the teacher introduces a writing technique such as adding detail or suspense. Children spend their writing time attempting to apply strategies and skills learned from the daily mini-lessons. Each student has a writing folder where work in progress is kept so that children may add to and revise their work. At the end of each unit, children share finished pieces during an Author’s Writing Celebration.
STANDARDS AND SKILLS:
- Develop reading comprehension and decoding skills
- Develop a love of reading to include a variety of genres and authors
- Write uppercase and lowercase letters correctly
- Develop phonetic spelling skills and spell grade-level words conventionally
- Write complete sentences, short personal narratives, and creative stories
All students will acquire the knowledge and skills to think analytically about how past and present interactions of people,cultures,and the environment shape the American heritage. Such knowledge and skills enable students to make informed decisions that reflect fundamental rights and core democratic values as productive citizens in local, national, and global communities.
In grades K-4, students learn fundamental concepts about government, citizenship, geography, economics, and history. The focus of instruction is on developing an understanding of core democratic values, the rights and responsibilities of American citizens, and how key people and events contributed to the development of the American heritage. Exploration of cultural universals enables students to realize how the availability of resources, the changing environment, and innovation impact everyday life.
Grade 1 Social Studies will continue to develop each student's sense of self-identity, which was introduced in Kindergarten Social Studies. The role of the child in his or her family will be analyzed and explored. Moving forward, students will learn about families from around the world and the various family beliefs, customs, traditions, history, and cultures they possess.
Students will compare and contrast their family with their peers' families and then those from other continents and countries. The various holidays from around the world will also be examined. Students will then study the United States of America with an emphasis on its origin, past important leaders, and national monuments and symbols. The fundamental rights of citizens will be introduced and also what it means to be a good United States citizen.
STANDARDS AND SKILLS
- Understand concepts of wants and needs
- Appreciate multicultural society/styles of family structures
- Understand concept of responsibilities of individual to group
- Create two- and three-dimensional maps of home, school, and neighborhood
Our inquiry-based science program encourages children to satisfy their curiosities through experiences. Presented with open-ended questions, students gather evidence, conduct experiments in the lab and in the field, propose solutions, and collaborate with one another to defend their thinking. Experiential lessons deepen content knowledge in relevant ways. Students gain awareness of the natural world while enhancing skills needed in a world of rapidly expanding scientific knowledge. Students connect concepts, develop critical-thinking skills, and gain confidence in communicating their ideas clearly.
Kindergarten and Grade 1 students are introduced to the scientific method by considering the five senses, the concept of gravity, and plant and animal life cycles.
Students begin their time in the science lab exploring the five senses to make careful scientific observations. From these observations, students construct realistic animal habitats. During a unit on plant and animal life cycles, students plant seeds and observe their growth over time. Dissecting lima beans, children see firsthand that seeds contain new baby plants. They also study the four stages of a ladybug’s life cycle, learning that ladybugs are beneficial insects when they release them into the P community garden.
STANDARDS AND SKILLS
- Learn and use laboratory and equipment safely
- Children identify themselves as scientists breaking stereotypes
- Make accurate observations using the five senses
- Conduct experiments to gather data in pictures, words, and numbers
- Determine properties of objects: magnetism, buoyancy, and flexibility
- Understand the role of beneficial insects
MYSTERY SCIENCE is a curriculum aligned with Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and supports Common Core. It features rigorous lessons in science and engineering that inspire students to love science. Each Mystery begins with a question that is explored through hands-on scientific investigations, discussion questions, engaging videos and experiences that connect to real-world phenomena.
Grade 1 Planning Guide
Pioneer Academy provides CCSS aligned Singapore Math Program for elementary students. Mathematics program at Pioneer gives students a deep understanding of math concepts, emphasizing skills and strategies to solve problems in multiple ways. The curriculum makes math meaningful by connecting lessons and projects to everyday life and by building “math esteem,” which is crucial for every student.
The Elementary Mathematics program allows for the appreciation of children’s intuitive mathematical thinking, emphasizes problem-solving, and builds mathematical understanding through a CPA approach. The Concrete Pictorial Abstract (CPA) approach is a system of learning that uses physical and visual aids to build a child's understanding of abstract topics.
First graders begin the year with ways to count to 10, and within a short amount of time move into learning about and working with subtraction. Single-digit multiplication is introduced later in the year with division introduced very briefly immediately after. Students are not expected to memorize multiplication facts yet. Teachers stress conceptual understanding over math-fact drill at this level. Practical applications are used in lesson presentation and word problems. In addition to the arithmetic operations, this first level teaches ordinal numbers, shapes, measurement, time telling, money, and graphs.
- Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction
- Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction
- Add and subtract within 20
- Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract
- Reason with shapes and their attributes
Pioneer Academy’s elementary visual arts program promotes confidence with materials, techniques, skills, and a genuine enjoyment of the creative process. Each child is challenged to closely observe, experiment, make decisions, and find personal meaning in his or her work. Every student has opportunities to draw, paint, sculpt, and experiment with printmaking, ceramics, and technology.
Students discover elements of art and principles of design through color, texture, line, shape, form, and pattern in fundamentals of drawing, painting, sculpture, printmaking, mixed media, and new genres. In collaboration with their social studies theme, Homes and Habitats, students create ceramic objects for their homes. Students are encouraged to have free expression while experimenting with learned techniques and skills in every project.
Physical Education gives opportunities for children to be creative, cooperative and competitive and to face diverse challenges both as individuals and in groups.
A “good workout” helps ease anxiety, tension and stress and will result in improved attention in class.
Lower School Physical Education Classes give students the opportunity to grow outside of the classroom. The Curriculum is focused around locomotor movements, teamwork, communication, and cooperation.
Pioneer Academy’s Physical Education program promotes the use of Life Skills to help children develop physical and social skills and a lifelong love for healthy physical activity. The program’s four essential components are reinforced through play and practice:
- Sportsmanship—Each student learns positive social behavior through movement and interaction with others.
- Physical fitness—Students learn to develop and maintain the best possible level of performance, understanding, and appreciation for physical fitness.
- Skill acquisition—Each student learns specific skills, such as throwing, catching, striking, and kicking.
- Self-image—Students develop a positive self-image that includes awareness and understanding of one’s body, the use of the body as a means of expression, and the body as an instrument for self-realization.
Physical education classes begin with warm-up activities. Jogging, jumping rope, parachute games, tumbling, and dance activities build aerobic and anaerobic endurance. Games designed to develop physical skills that include agility, balance, object manipulation, spatial awareness, directionality, and creative movement are enjoyed in large and small groups.
Foundational sports skills of jumping; catching and throwing; kicking, trapping and dribbling; and volleying and striking are learned in a fun, noncompetitive atmosphere. All partner and group play is supervised to help children develop positive personal skills, self-esteem, and ease in cooperative social situations.
Technology at Pioneer Academy is ever-changing, ever-growing, and always evolving. Students are encouraged to experiment, explore, create, and collaborate in a supportive environment. Besides Technology lessons, the Technology teacher works closely with classroom teachers and specialists to integrate technology into the curriculum in an appropriate and meaningful way. With flexible scheduling, we are able to see students in a manner that best supports the current project or area of study.
Grade 1 Technology is the first true exposure to computers in an academic setting for the students. The primary focus of the course is to familiarize students with word processing, keyboarding and basic computer terminology. The course will include a brief computer history as well as computer vocabulary. Students will be expected to easily navigate the computer using the keyboard and the mouse at the conclusion of the course.
An introduction to Microsoft Word is an important piece of this course and will be a building block for their future computer courses. Students will learn some of the basic formatting techniques and will take some of the projects from their classrooms and type them using word processing programs. Time will be spent introducing how to use the Internet in a safe and efficient manner.
Students will learn how to navigate to a specific website as well as follow links within a web page. By the end of this course students should feel comfortable using the computers, keyboarding, and using the basic functions of a word processing program.
The Music curriculum from Kindergarten through 2nd grade focuses on general music, where students experience music education through singing, dancing, and play. Orff, Kodaly & Dalcroze serve as the backbone techniques of this generation. Performances are an integral part of the program.