• Reading: Comprehension and fluency are emphasized through the SRA Imagine It program and guided reading groups. First grade strives to differentiate instruction through different genres and leveled readers. Non-fiction, as well as fiction and biographies are used. Independent reading is also stressed.
• Phonics and Spelling: First grade is the time for children to further develop their phonemic awareness and become fluid, comprehending readers and spellers. Students begin the year reviewing the sounds and letters taught in kindergarten using the Orton-Gillingham method. This multi-sensory approach is used throughout the year to build a strong phonics and spelling foundation. Students learn phonetic rules, how to apply them, and how to identify "exceptions". Students are assessed weekly on sight words to determine mastery. In addition, students are required to spell, using their knowledge of the different phonetic concepts.
• Grammar: Writing and grammar are important components of literacy. Students begin writing simple sentences in their journals. They learn grammar and sentence structure through Morning Message and Daily Oral Language, and are introduced to the writing process. Their writing progresses to telling simple stories related to their reading. They learn to write personal narratives, letters, descriptions, simple reports and more complex stories.
Manuscript handwriting is taught in first grade. Handwriting instruction coordinates with the sounds being taught in phonics using the Orton-Gillingham method. Teachers also integrate the methods of Brain Gym, which encourage physical movement, to enhance handwriting performance and learning.
The foundation of our K-4 mathematics program is Math in
Focus, a curriculum focused on problem solving through real-world and hands-on
experiences.Students are taught to
think critically about math by moving through a sequence of concrete
(manipulatives) to pictorial (bar models) to abstract (formulas/algorithms)
learning.To achieve mastery, students
will learn the “why” behind each mathematical concept before learning the
“how”.The ability to apply knowledge to
routine as well as non-routine math problems is an integral part of
demonstrating mastery of math concepts.
In grades 2-4, math classes are departmentalized and taught
according to ability.Through on-going
assessments and the support of a math specialist/resource teacher, teachers are
able to differentiate lessons to meet the needs of each individual
student.Academic support and enrichment
are both part of the daily math experience in the lower school.
At Wesleyan, we believe success in math cannot be achieved
without mastery of math facts, therefore each grade level has its own math fact
mastery expectations. Research shows students who are able to recall math facts
quickly free up working memory that can then be devoted to more difficult
Science instruction is integrated throughout the first grade curriculum. Through hands-on activities, field trips, and guided reading groups, students are introduced to a variety of science experiences. Habitats and animals are explored and studied in depth. Related activities have students constructing different habitats, and completing animal research papers. Other units of study include weather; sound; heat and light; simple machines; and, the human body. All of these units incorporate hands-on activities and computer programs such as Kidspiration to inspire learning and enthusiasm. A highlight of the year is the opportunity for students to hatch chicks and watch them grow.