First Grade Specials

NFS Curriculum Update :: November, 2013


First grade artists explored materials and culture through their study of Dia de los Muertos and the creation of their “Nichos.” As we move forward into November, students will learn about Wycinanki, the traditional art of Polish paper cutting. This form of art will introduce symmetry and help develop fine motor skills. It also helps students make connections to the world around them and to the lives of others that have lived before them. After an introduction to the history and background of this traditional folk art, students will explore cutting and layering technique and work with color and contrast to create personally meaningful illustrations.


In the library first grade will read and perform The Rhyming Dust Bunnies as readers' theater. We also will read Hanukkah and Thanksgiving stories.


The Kindergarten and first grade students had a great time singing Halloween songs last month. As we move into November we will continue to sing, dance and play istruments utilizing the philosophies of Kodaly, Orff and Dalcroze. The Kodály Method incorporates rhythm syllables. In this system, notes values are assigned specific syllables that express their durations. For example, quarter notes are expressed by the syllable ta while eighth note pairs are expressed using the naturally shorter syllables ti-ti. The Kodály Method also includes the use of rhythmic movement, a technique inspired by the work of Swiss music educator Emile Jaques-Dalcroze. Kodály was familiar with Dalcroze’s techniques and agreed that movement is an important tool for the internalization of rhythm. To reinforce new rhythmic concepts, the Kodály Method uses a variety of rhythmic movements, such as walking, running, marching, and clapping. These may be performed while listening to music or singing. Some singing exercises call for the teacher to invent appropriate rhythmic movements to accompany the songs.


In Lower School PE we will continue to develop our physical fitness and work on muscular strength exercises. The class will be participating in a number of games this month that involve running jumping and dodging. We will also introduce the parachute and participate in cooperative group activities that involve creativity and imagination. Fun activities that the class will enjoy playing include What Time Is It Coach Adam and Blob Tag. The month will end with holiday activities involving Thanksgiving.


Students will complete the motion unit with a final challenge day. They will make a structure that includes four components: 1) go up hill 2) have a turn 3) have a jump and 4) only using six pieces of track. It will be a fun and exciting day! Then we will start our next unit, one dear to all first graders' hearts, the dental unit. Students will talk about the names of each tooth and the jobs they have. We will look at our teeth in the mirror and try to name each one. We’ll also learn why baby teeth fall out, as well as how many adult teeth we can look forward to having.


In November First Graders will begin to learn the names of classroom objects, add to the vocabulary we’ve learned with colors, numbers and shapes, and work with descriptive opposites such as large and small. We will also continue to practice using the language with partner activities which require asking and answering simple questions. One of the benefits of working at a small school where teachers are allowed freedom to innovate with their curriculum is that plans can be amended as we learn new things. In consultation with Maria Feinman, Spanish grades 4 – 8, we realized our students don’t know the alphabet in Spanish as well as we would like! Therefore this month we will be working on learning the alphabet in Spanish. Be prepared for lots of singing at home!