FOUNDATIONAL SKILLS FOR READING/PHONICS
In K1, students learn to recognize and name uppercase and lowercase letters, segment words in a simple sentence, identify the the initial sound of a spoken word, recognize and produce rhyming words. With systematic exposure to 1-3 letters and sounds each week, K1 learns to link pictures of familiar objects with their associated beginning sounds and, with support, to the matching letter. Students also learn to recognize their own names, their classmates’ names, and some common signs, labels, and sight words in print. Starting in September, K1 reads weekly emergent readers where they practice following the text from left to right and segmenting sentences. K1 learns to locate target words (beginning sounds of the week) and often reads their emergent readers to their second-grade book buddies (who usually read to them) at the end of the week.
WRITING SKILLS AND COMPOSITION
Students learn to effectively draw/graphically represent a real or imagined story. Starting at the very beginning of the year, K1 establishes a journaling practice; students respond to questions/prompts with drawings and produce coordinated oral dictation. During the year, students begin to add arrows with labels and eventually a simple sentence or two. In January, students begin guided reading groups and complete a writing response journal entry (picture with labels or a simple sentence like ‘I see a _______.’) after each book.
The Handwriting Without Tears curriculum is used to provide direct instruction for handwriting. While students are exposed to upper- and lowercase letters in print throughout the year, students in K1 learn to properly form the uppercase letters first and then, in the spring, begin forming the lowercase letters. HWT uses a variety of developmentally appropriate manipulatives including wooden pieces to make big lines, little lines, big curves, and little curves, play doh, and individual slates with chalk. The HWT curriculum is supplemented with weekly letter packs, which include extra handwriting and phonics practice. Letter recognition and beginning sounds are reinforced throughout the day with songs and games in line between classes, at the beginning of the day, and at dismissal.
In K1, math is all about building a strong foundation for operations and mathematical thinking. Through direct and indirect instruction, math is embedded in almost every part of the day. From informal practices like doing the wave while counting in line to formal small- and whole-group instruction, K1 spends lots of time counting, ordering, and comparing quantities. Their whole-class behavior chart (a ten-frame on the board for collecting ten whole-class compliments) serves as a day-long reinforcement of adding (and understanding) numbers up to ten. Students work with 5-frames, 10-frames, and learn to subitize. Topics in math include recognizing and naming numbers 1-10, understanding and accurately representing quantities from 0-10 (using manipulatives, dots, 10-frames, etc.), counting and comparing objects in both sets and scattered formations, comparing two sets to determine if one is less than, more than, or equal to the other, comparing lengths, weights, etc., sorting, categorizing, and classifying objects by more than one attribute, describing position using words such as above, below, beside, in front of, and creating two- and three-dimensional shapes using manipulatives. At the end of each day, K1 analyses the compliment chart and we write a number sentence on the board underneath. As a class, students count the number of compliments in the ten-frame (e.g. 8) and then count the number of empty boxes (e.g. 2) and as a class, learn to say “8 + 2 = 10.” This daily practice reinforces many of the concepts that are introduced throughout the year and helps to build skills for algebraic thinking in solving problems like “8 + ⃞ = 10, ⃞ = 2.”
In K1, Religion is integrated across the curriculum through math projects and long-term investigations and thematic units throughout the year. For example, K1’s assessment of the math standard ‘measuring and comparing lengths’ is a Christmas project that involves ordering different sized rectangles (made of green construction paper) from longest to shortest, which makes a Christmas tree. On the Christmas tree, students are asked to arrange the ornaments (circles made of construction paper) in various ways to show their understanding of different types of patterns. Other projects include making Advent calendars (lots of practice recognizing and ordering numbers 1-25) as well as completing 100 Acts of Kindness with a coordinated Kindness Quilt for Lent, which happens to be around the time that K1 celebrates 100 days of school. We spend lots of time working with 100 objects and especially focus on being kind and what that means and loots like during this time.
In addition to following the liturgical calendar, K1 attends weekly school masses, Monday morning prayer services, and learns several prayers, including grace, which they recite each day before eating snack and lunch. In K1, there is a big focus on Bible stories and parables. Students are reminded of our school’s Catholic values and of doing the kind thing in their everyday interactions with peers, teachers, and students at school as well as at home with families and the greater community. K1 loves to participate in service! Each Thanksgiving, K1 enjoys collecting boxes of stuffing and mashed potatoes to donate and then, as a class, lines them up to see which item “wins the race.” This activity is a fun way to celebrate the end of the drive and K1 is (unknowingly) introduced to graphing.
In addition, students in K1 participate in gym, computer, library, Spanish, music, art, science, and yoga.