Mrs. Carol Becker
Carol is our first grade classroom teacher. She has a bachelor’s degree from Cornell University and was excited to join our staff in 2008 after being a home educator for 17 years. Carol and her husband have five adult children and are now happy to be grandparents as well. She loves spending time with children and considers it a blessing and a privilege to partner with families to build godly character in young people in her role as a teacher. When not in the classroom, Carol enjoys spending time outdoors and reading.
Our first graders begin each day with a Bible time consisting of engaging, age-appropriate stories and activities. Students work on Scripture memory every day in an active way through sign language, projects, and songs. The children also have the opportunity to pray for needs and to offer thanks. Throughout the day, students are encouraged to relate God’s Word to daily life, whether in their relationships with God, other people, or His creation.
The Children’s Illustrated Bible
Day by Day Begin-to-Read Bible
Our first grade language arts program is rich with a large selection of appealing, age-appropriate literature, a variety of creative and engaging materials, and lessons that systematically build a strong foundation of phonics, grammar, spelling, vocabulary, and writing skills. Students have the opportunity to grow as readers both by selecting trade books that suit their interest and skill level and by participating in guided reading experiences. They learn and practice strategies to improve the comprehension, accuracy, and fluency of their reading through a variety of methods: games, plays, puppet shows, buddy reading, and time for quiet, independent reading. Students also grow as writers through regular instruction in the conventions of writing and through literature-based writing workshops that explore a variety of genres. With daily practice, the students continually refine cursive writing skills begun in kindergarten.
Fundations Level 1 (Wilson Language Training Corporation)
Math in the first grade classroom involves a combination of three important elements: first, experience with a diverse array of manipulatives, math tools, and games; second, active exercises that engage the children’s whole bodies; and third, abundant practice of skills and concepts on paper. We believe that children come to understand and naturally enjoy math when they have the opportunity to experience it using real objects. In our classroom, first graders have access to a variety of objects, from dinosaur counters to math balances and abacuses. They learn math concepts in a fun, engaging way by direct interaction with these materials through teacher-directed jobs and games. Confidence in the use of math vocabulary and in the knowledge of math facts is built by engaging, hands-on lessons. Students also have the opportunity to grow in their understanding of math concepts through active use of their bodies and voices as they learn to skip count. Finally, students practice their math skills using paper and pencil in appealing, child-friendly daily assignments in addition to weekly assessments.
Topics covered over the course of the year include: place value, single- and double-digit addition and subtraction, geometry, fractions, measurement, telling time, graphing, money, and skip counting. Word problems and interactive notebook exercises are a part of the daily math work.
1st Grade Magic of Math (Amy Lemons)
Math and Movement (Suzy Koontz)
Mastering the Basic Math Facts in Addition and Subtraction (O’Connell and SanGiovanni) Teacher-created materials
Social studies and science topics are taught hand in hand in the classroom with a unique unit study approach. At the start of the school year, students learn basic geography facts and beginning map skills as a framework for understanding the earth. Over the course of the year, students study specific countries and natural habitats, learning about animal and plant life as well as aspects of different cultures through lessons involving informational texts, stories and a multitude of hands-on projects. Some of the habitats and ecosystems we typically explore include: wetlands, deserts, the Arctic, the Amazon rainforest, coral reefs, the Australian outback, and the African savanna.
Environmental Education for the first graders is designed to nurture a love for God and His creation by utilizing the wonderful 99+ acre school property around us. Weather permitting, the students venture outdoors once a week to explore and participate in a guided study of a wide variety of flora and fauna. Our study is hands-on and engaging, allowing the students to develop observation skills, core knowledge, and respect for creation. Some of the topics we explore include: wetlands, trees, birds, animals in winter, insects, and maple sugaring. Some specific skills within these areas include: learning to identify different types of wetlands and various species of plants and animals, recognizing animal tracks, observing life cycles, and tapping trees for the school-wide maple sugaring day. The students are also active participants alongside scientists and volunteers in the annual CLCS “BioBlitz” on the school property.
Hands-On Nature (Linglebach and Purcell)
Project Seasons (Shelburne Farms)
Miss Tonika Jones
When the students enter the classroom, they begin with a conversation reviewing basics by saying Spanish words that correspond to pictures, objects, or lists that are pointed to or by responding to questions. In first grade, this might include repeating the alphabet, colors, numbers, and classroom objects. They also practice saying the date and describing the weather.
The Total Physical Response approach helps students use motions to demonstrate the meanings of 10-20 action verbs. Tonika begins the lesson with worksheet activities that may include coloring, fill-in-the-blank, translating, or cutting and pasting. In addition, students enjoy related activities like painting, making posters, eating food, learning Spanish songs, making puppets, play “store,” dress-up, vocabulary bingo, and other games.
Teach Them Spanish! (Grades 1 – 2)