FIRST GRADE In first grade, our goal is to provide an atmosphere of high expectations, challenging curriculum, and generous support so that each student achieves success and develops a life-long love of learning. BIBLE and CHARACTER EDUCATION In first grade, classes use Lifeway Bible curriculum. It introduces spiritual training to help the students apply Biblical principles throughout life. In addition, students memorize a Bible verse each week. We celebrate Christmas with a presentation of the play, "Rebecca’s Shawl," where each student has a special part. First grade students also learn about the Easter story by filling Resurrection Eggs with meaningful symbols. The school year ends with a reading of Dangerous Journey, a version of Pilgrims’ Progress. LANGUAGE ARTS In first grade, the emphasis is on continuing to read. Students are encouraged to read at school and participate in many fun activities related to the stories they read. The reading series introduces new words and skills throughout the year. Some of the skills introduced include main idea, cause and effect, and drawing conclusions. In addition, first grade uses the ABeka phonics program that emphasizes special phonetic sounds. To enable the students to put their thoughts on paper, they do creative writing. Through the language curriculum, Harcourt Language, students learn grammar, as well as different writing techniques. The Association of Christian Schools International spelling program offers challenging words that reinforce the special sounds and patterns the children learn in phonics. MATHEMATICS In first grade, the Abeka math program is used. It combines basic number concepts with addition and subtraction speed drills. Students study time, measurement, money, fractions, geometry, and beginning multiplication. The curriculum builds on and reviews these skills throughout the year. SCIENCE and HEALTH The first grade science program combines literature with hands-on activities. Students study exciting units that address weather, matter, magnets, bones, the heart, teeth, plants, and animals. Students observe and predict outcomes while learning to conduct safe experiments. S0CIAL STUDIES First grade curriculum explores holidays, economics, history, geography, and citizenship. The students identify anthems and mottoes of the United States and Texas. They also identify historic figures. The students learn the importance of family customs and traditions. They also learn to make maps and identify the location of places in their school and community. COMPUTER First grade students learn further basic elements of using a computer and also learn to type. They learn graphing, basic internet navigation, and to access the network where they can save and retrieve documents. The Office Suite, which includes Microsoft Word, Powerpoint, Excel and Microsoft Publisher is used to teach word processing, presentations, spreadsheets and brochures. Graphic organizer software like Kidspiration helps students organize information for the language arts programs. The students also learn how to manipulate graphics and work in the lab with the Smartboard, an interactive whiteboard. EXCEL EXCEL stands for Extended Curriculum and Enriched Learning. The first grade EXCEL program promotes higher-level thinking skills, problem solving, art, classical art studies, and theater arts. The students are given opportunities to practice creative problem solving strategies both individually and while learning the value of teamwork. Many of their solutions are presented orally. Each semester, the students will study works of art, artists, and they will be able to create their own masterpiece. They will receive instruction in different art mediums and participate in the International Children’s Art Exhibition. LIBRARY First grade students learn what an author and illustrator are, the parts of a book, how to arrange books in alphabetical order, the difference between fiction and nonfiction books, why call numbers are used, and how to use a primary dictionary. Story time is also part of the students' library experience. MUSIC The first grade music curriculum continues to build on a foundation of music skills and appreciation of music using a variety of methods. Activities include singing, singing games, movement, listening, playing instruments, reading, and writing. The students participate in one musical stage production each year. In first grade, the students continue to practice careful listening and matching pitch with student and teacher voices. Students love to play “Lucy Locket,” a listening and singing game. With continued emphasis on steady beat, the Spanis h students are introduced simple rhythms such as quarter note, eighth notes, and quarter rest. The students also sing, tap, read, and write various rhythm patterns. The students begin to read simple pitch notation using solfege syllables such as sol, mi, and la. A favorite listening activity is “Follow the Drinking Gourd, an historic African-American folk song that was used to guide slaves to safety on the “Underground Railroad.” PHYSICAL EDUCATION The goal of our physical education program for first grade is to teach our students to be physically active. The students learn to stretch, do cardio vascular workouts, and other fitness activities. They also learn individual and team skills, rules, and compete in games using the skills they learned. Special rewards are given with programs such as Marathon Kids and Jumping Rope. Students have physical education class twice a week for forty-five minutes and thirty minutes for recess each day. SPANISH The study of Spanish begins with the development of listening skills as a means of building vocabulary. Music, games, songs, and scripture are incorporated into the learning process. The first grade students identify basic shapes, use colors to describe objects, and listen and recognize sounds of vowels and consonants distinctive to Spanish. Students write sentences in Spanish about colorful clothing, as well as other topics and read them to the class with their English translations. FIELD TRIPS and SPECIAL PROJECTS and EVENTS First grade has the opportunity to take many interesting field trips. Students enjoy visiting a pumpkin patch, Wells Branch Homestead, Elgin Christmas Tree farm, and the Blue Bell Creamery in Brenham. Highlights of first grade include basket weaving, our annual Christmas play, a Spring Musical, and participation in several mission projects throughout the year.
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