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Challenger teachers use catchy drills, songs, and exercises to enhance math lessons and provide review. We assess what the students know and then review and build upon that knowledge. For example, students easily make the transition to solving multiplication problems because they understand the concept of repeated addition. First grade math introduces Venn diagrams, place value, area, perimeter, and graphing, as well as other concepts.
In first grade, students continue to practice their penmanship as they learn to write effective sentences and paragraphs. Brainstorming exercises allow students creative freedom as they work on sequencing to describe real and imaginary happenings. Using all their senses, first graders learn to add vivid detail to their writing. On the creative side of things, they practice writing acrostic, shape, and haiku poems.
In Challenger’s first grade language arts classes, students learn how sentences work. They learn grammar concepts such as subjects, predicates, objects, punctuation, possessive nouns, verb tenses, homophones and homographs, and synonyms and antonyms. We use sentence diagramming to help students understand the functions of parts of speech in the English language and to become effective communicators.
Because of the phonics foundation our students acquire in preschool and kindergarten, they are able to begin independently reading works with more complex themes, characters, and plots. We read books like Little House in the Big Woods and A Toad for Tuesday together in class, examining literary elements such as character, plot, setting, and main idea. Through discussing the stories, students begin to understand the relationship between choices and consequences.
Challenger School practices the principle that the purpose of education is to teach a child how to think, not what to think. Our logic lessons provide students an opportunity to explore the world using rationality and logic. Our students further their critical thinking skills and explore new logic concepts such as observing, patterns, analogies, predicting, and divergent thinking.
Challenger first graders reinforce and strengthen their science skills by studying changes in matter, energy, living things, ecosystems, natural resources, and measurement. They consider such questions as “How does an object’s vibrations affect the volume and pitch of its sound?”
Because public speaking skills provide students with the ability to communicate ideas clearly and confidently, Challenger teaches speech techniques such as poise, posture, articulation, inflection, and pitch.
First grade teachers prepare students for learning history in later years by helping them discover that geography shapes the way people live. They discuss man’s basic needs and how he uses his mind and environment not only to survive but to thrive. As students study the western half of the United States, they look for similarities and differences and gain an understanding of cause and effect.
Challenger teaches students to sing by helping them learn how to match pitch and sing in natural high, light, and clear tones. We incorporate rhythm, beat, and movement with singing and music history into our exciting curriculum. Students are eager to show off their musical skills during their Christmas Sing and Spring Program.
In first grade, we lay the foundations for basic computer programming, which helps students develop conceptual thinking and creativity. They apply basic plane geometry to create digital art and take advantage of patterns to write more efficient code.
Challenger recognizes that art enhances comprehension, vocabulary, perceptual skills, and creative thinking. First grade students are introduced to different art techniques, styles, and media. Areas of exploration include paper weaving; modeling and sculpting; finger and sponge painting; collage; and drawing people, animals, and landscapes.
By focusing on coordination, strength, speed, and stamina, we teach first graders to achieve physical fitness through exercise. Varying activities correspond with students’ growing, changing bodies. Age-appropriate dances integrate PE skills with music, and free play gives students the opportunity for social development.
On this test on the state of Washington, this first grader writes neatly, uses complete sentences, and shows a command of grammar and mechanics in his very precise and correct answers.
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