Mrs. Rischard and Mrs. Walker are the first grade teachers. They each have a Reading Specialist that teaches sight word reading and a teaching assistant that helps in the classroom part of the day. Each classroom teacher leads the instruction in all academic areas in her classroom.
The Lindamood-Bell program is the basis of phonics instruction in first grade. Whole group instruction, led by the classroom teacher, is enhanced with the use of manipulatives and interactive SMART board activities to teach and practice phonics skills. A school subscription to the online program Reading Eggs gives students additional practice on phonics, sight words skills and comprehension. Students also use the program Earobics which develops phonological awareness and listening skills. Both of these programs allow students to work and progress individually.
The reading curriculum in first grade uses the SRA Basic Reading series for the phonics approach to reading with additional practice in the Merrill phonetic reading series. The classroom teacher reads individually with the students on the phonetic-based reading. The sight reading curriculum is based on the Houghton-Mifflin Sight Word Series. Students work individually or in small groups with the Reading Specialist. Accelerated Reader, an important part of our reading program, begins in first grade. This reading comprehension program provides student motivation that increases sight word recognition, vocabulary, and reading comprehension. Participating in the Book It program also provides additional motivation for these developing readers.
During their morning work time, students work independently on reading skill packets, workbooks, computer programs, iPad apps or center activities to reinforce reading and other academic skills. A teaching assistant is in the classroom during this time for individual help.
Sitton Spelling and Spelling City are the spelling programs used in first grade. Students also work on spelling skills through aspects of the Lindamood-Bell phonics program. Spelling City is a web-based computer program that allows the students to practice spelling at school and at home.
Written language skills are practiced daily. Creative writing in first grade includes journal writing, descriptive writing, expository writing, and nonfiction report writing. The SRSD writing program is used from creative and informational report writing. Sentence formation, capitalization, and punctuation and editing are some of the skills also covered in first grade.
The Handwriting Without Tears program is used throughout the year to help the students develop correct handwriting techniques. Use of the interactive HWT web site on the SMART board gives the students the opportunity to use their large muscle groups as they practice proper letter formation.
The students divide into three groups for math. Saxon Math provides the basis of the math curriculum. The Saxon curriculum is supplemented with the IXL online math program, manipulatives, and interactive SMART board activities.
The first grade classes join together to work on science and social studies. Some of the units they cover are The Five Senses, Parts of the Body, Food Groups, Rocks, Climates/Habitats, Insects and Plants. Lessons are designed to stimulate curiosity and interest in science. Many of the science units are enhanced with hands-on science projects such as in-house field trips provided by High Touch High Tech and planting in the school garden.
The social studies units covered are Native Americans/Thanksgiving, Holiday customs, Martin Luther King, Jr., Presidents and United States Symbols, Groundhog Day, and Dr. Seuss.
The first grade sponsors several community service projects each year. Some examples of past projects are collecting Coats for Kids in the winter, making sandwiches for the Hunger Busters-a nonprofit that feeds food insecure children in DISD, and making holiday cards to go with church food baskets.
First grade students receive additional instruction in the following areas:
Fine Motor lab-3 days a week
P. E.-3 days a week
Music- 2 days a week
Computer-2 days a week
Art -1 day a week for an hour
Drama: Once a year, a representative from the Dallas Children’s Theater works with the class for 10 sessions to create an original drama production, which is performed for PHPS classmates.