Lower School Curriculum » First Grade

First Grade

1st Grade Art

“How very drab the lives of our children would be
If they looked, but did not see
Touched, but did not feel
Listened, but never took a curtain call.”
Wilson Riles

Art concepts taught at the Solomon Schechter School of Queens, consist of: Line, shape, form, color, pattern, texture, space and composition.
Introduction to Art begins with drawing lines to form a turtle and a school bus. The children transpose their drawings to clay, where it becomes a three dimensional piece of art. From kindergarten through the 8th grade, drawing continues, consisting of gesture, contour drawing of heads, hands and body, one point perspective to optical illusions.
Throughout the grades, students will be exposed to painting, paper mache, collage, wire sculpture and clay. All children will view the art of the following artists: Marc Chagall, Pablo Picasso, Georgia O’Keeffe, Vincent Van Gogh, Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Joan Miro and Henri Rousseau.
1st Grade Computer Science

All classrooms are equipped with multiple computers and a printer. Most of our classrooms have a Smartboard, an interactive whiteboard that turns your computer and data projector into a powerful tool for teaching and presenting.

The library has a computer center which allows our students the ability to do research through the software on the internet, create signs and write reports.

Our Computer Lab is equipped with twenty-seven flat screen multi-media computers, a printer and a scanner. Through the generous contribution of the Gruss Life Monument Fund, our students are able to have access to numerable enrichment materials in Math and English. Our first grade students take advantage of the acclaimed Ariot Hebrew Language Computer Program.
1st Grade English Language Arts

Teachers use an integrated hands-on approach to teaching reading. The classroom is a language-rich environment, where skills are introduced through sight words, the understanding of phonetic patterns and beginning punctuation. The teachers use every opportunity to increase reading skills by incorporating these into the day’s schedules, charts, poems and activities.
In addition to whole-group instruction, students work in small groups and have time for independent reading experiences each day. Resource materials include Big Books and books written specifically for emergent readers, as well as literature for more advanced readers.
The students develop skills in:
• Decoding
• Phonics
• Building a sight vocabulary
• Using context to gain increase understanding
• Increasing their ability to read longer texts
Students receive daily instruction in the art of writing. Genres covered include personal, fiction and journal writing. Daily mini-lessons teach and demonstrate the writing craft and process-drafting, revising, editing and how to publish a piece of writing. Another aspect of the first grade writing program includes attention to proper letter formation, spacing, beginning punctuation and spelling.
1st Grade Judaic Studies

Hebrew Language Arts - In first grade the children learn the basic fundamentals of the Hebrew alphabet, including both reading whole words phonetically and with select sight vocabulary in context. The children are introduced to classroom vocabulary, as well as daily expressions. By the end of the year they are able to speak and write simple sentences and questions, using the proper formation of nouns, verbs, and adjectives in masculine, and feminine, singular and plural forms. At the end of the year reading and writing the script alphabet is taught.

Holidays - First graders learn and celebrate the holidays with traditional customs. They are taught basic vocabulary and expressions associated with all the holidays from Rosh Hashana through Shavuot, together with special blessings associated with each holiday, such as lighting Chanukkah candles and Passover Seder melodies. A model Seder celebration is one of the highlights of the curriculum.

Tefillah (Prayer) - The children learn daily blessings for food, as well as the fundamentals of the morning prayers. A prayer service is conducted daily. Once the children have grasped the basics they present a beautiful assembly called the Siddur Party to share their learning with parents and families. They receive their first Siddur at this celebration with a special decorated cover. This is a highlight of their first grade learning.Towards the end of the year they learn the first paragraph of Birkat Hamazon.

ISRAEL – The children learn about the flag, the symbol of the State of Israel, and Hatikvah in first grade in preparation for celebration of Israel Independence Day. References to Israel are integrated throughout the curriculum
1st Grade Mathematics

The first grade math curriculum connects beginning number concepts to everyday mathematical applications.
This is done through:
• The continuation/reinforcement of basic skills and concepts
• Application of skills/concepts to larger numbers
• Introduction of place value, addition and subtraction concepts
• Analyzing and efficiently solving word problems
• Use of manipulatives: unifix cubes, pattern blocks, counters, trading chips, etc...
• Connection of symbols to concrete representations
• Simple addition/subtraction problems
• Introduction to coins/money and some forms of standard measurement
• Telling time
Math activities are incorporated in projects such as baking and cooking. During these projects children use numerous math skills including measuring, estimating, addition and subtraction, counting, telling time and understanding monetary value.
1st Grade Music

The Music Curriculum combines Hebrew/Israel and American songs while learning the fundamentals of music theory, musical instruments, and musical compositions. Many of the vocal selections are integrated with the holiday curriculum.

In the First Grade the children continue learning Hebrew and English songs centering around the holidays. A portion of the music curriculum is dedicated to the preparation of the Siddur celebration. Additionally, the children learn note values including whole, half, quarter and eighth notes. They play rhythmical patterns on percussion instruments and learn to identify high notes and low notes and the major scales, integrating the rhythm with bodily motion and comparing them to the voice tenor of different animals.
1st Grade Physical Education

Physical education continues to be a favorite of all our students. The PE program is designed to develop lifetime activities in order to keep their bodies strong and healthy. Social skills, positive self concepts, cooperative and team play all provide a strong basic foundation. The 1st grade PE curriculum introduces students to basic activities and skills which include; movement/body/spacial awareness, basic motor/manipulative skills, good sportsmanship/teamwork, and fitness/aerobic exercises. Lead up activities to a variety of sports include; track and field, soccer, basketball, kickball skills and games. This foundation allows our students to go forward with confidence in their future athletic endeavors.
1st Grade Science

The goal of the Solomon Schechter School of Queens science program for all grades is to utilize children’s natural curiosity and excitement about the world to encourage the development of scientific thinking, exploration and discovery. The curriculum is designed to develop science literacy by merging science content and concepts with science processes (questioning, communicating, gathering and making sense of data).
The science specialist provides children with a wide range of scientific experiences and opportunities to help them develop their skills in using scientific tools/technologies and scientific processes. In our newly constructed state of the art science laboratory, children are involved in hands-on activities that expand their knowledge of scientific methods and concepts, as well as develop their science inquiry skills such as:
• Making careful observations
• Hypothesizing
• Developing appropriate tests and understanding variables
• Recording observations and data
• Evaluating data
The science laboratory is equipped with a Smartboard which is utilized to enhance and bring to life the science specialist’s lessons and experiments.

First grade students build upon their observation and experimentation skills while they pursue:

Magnet Study
• What is a magnet?
• What are magnetic poles?
• What are the magnetic properties of magnetism?
• What is a magnetic field?
• What are the uses of magnets?

Solar System
An exploration of the planet Earth in the context of the solar system focusing on:
• Introducing the structure of the solar system
• The Earth’s layers and surfaces
• Day and Night
• Seasons and Time

Life Cycle of a Butterfly
• What is a metamorphosis?
• What are the stages of a butterfly’s development?
1st Grade Social Studies

The first grade social studies curriculum centers on community and systems within our immediate neighborhood.
Neighborhood Study
• What makes up a neighborhood?
• What kinds of systems does a neighborhood need to function?
• What kinds of institutions are found in a neighborhood?
• What kind of jobs do people do?