Exploring and Discovering

First grade students are enthusiastic and ready to explore. That’s why first grade encourages students to put their energy into discovering their world.

Explorers and discoverers are at the heart of the science and social studies curriculum. For example, a science study of water coincides with a social studies unit on those who sailed the seas. A science study of the moon integrates with a study of flight and those who explored in airplanes and rockets. Field trips to the Transit Museum, Central Park Zoo, and South Street Seaport, among others, support this study.

Reading and writing happens everywhere in the curriculum. We want each child to experience success and confidence in learning to read and write. A balanced study of literacy occurs in a workshop approach. Here the teacher walks alongside students as a guide for developing readers and writers. In this format, students work at their own skill level. Teachers provide

  • feedback about the quality and content of their work.
  • strategies for improving.
  • time to learn and practice new skills.
  • opportunities to share their work with peers and teachers.

Mathematics instruction continues in the TERC Investigations curriculum. Students develop a strong sense of numbers and different strategies to calculate. Numbers and their operations focus on numbers within 100. Other areas of study include measurement, geometry, statistics, and probability.

First grade distinctives include leading the Pentecost celebration, and a 100th day of school celebration.

Additional areas of instruction include music, art, physical education, library, and daily experiences in the Shared Space.

First Grade Curriculum Overview

Here is a summary of the science, social studies, and language arts themes for each term. As we progress throughout the year, the students’ own interests, experiences, and background knowledge will inform how each study progresses.

Fall Term: September-November: Sailing the Seas

Social Studies: Sea-going explorers, Maps, Navigation
Transportation: Boats
Science: Properties of Water, Bouyancy
Language Arts: Norse Mythology and Sagas, Biographies of explorers
Writing Genres: Personal Narrative Writing, Pattern Books

December Mini-term: Exploring the Poles

Social Studies: Polar Explorers
Transportation: Dog-sleds, Sleighs, Sleds, Moving across snow/ice
Science: The Water Cycle: Freezing, Melting, Evaporation
Language Arts: Journals of explorers, Christmas stories
Writing Genres: Personal Narrative Writing, Making Lists

Winter Term: Earth and Space Travel

Part 1: Earth:
Social Studies: The Civil Rights Movement, Moving on Land
Transportation: Cars, Trains, Buses, Covered Wagons, Bridges
Science: Simple Machines, Force, and Motion
Language Arts: Poetry, Songs, and Literature about Civil Rights
Writing Genres: Personal Narrative Writing

Part 2: Space:
Social Studies: Explorers of Space
Transportation: Rockets, Space Shuttles
Science: The Earth, The Moon, Planets, and Stars
Language Arts: Folktale Study
Writing Genres: Personal Narrative Writing, Letter-writing

Spring Term: Through the Air

Social Studies: Explorers in Aircraft
Transportation: Airplanes, Hot Air Balloons, and Other Flying Machines
Science: 1) The Science of Flight 2) Flying Creatures: Birds
Language Arts: Biography, Poetry
Writing Genres: Research/Non-fiction, Fictional writing, Poetry

summer reading

Summer reading list and requirements for students entering first grade.