In first grade, the little kindergarteners who were learning
to sing their ABCs and count on their fingers have an exciting
chance to apply what they have learned.
Math and English
While they may have started reading in kindergarten, reading
really takes off in the first grade. Math goes from comparing
numbers or very simple addition to real addition and subtraction.
Math classes at this stage often benefit from tools such as flashcards
and worksheets. The disadvantage of traditional flash cards is
that while they are an excellent tool for one-on-one tutoring,
they can be harder to use in a classroom environment. However,
you can use larger, illustrated flashcards to reach the entire
Simple math problem worksheets, on the other hand, can be distributed to each
child (or small groups of students). This gives them an opportunity
to practice the concepts, and you can see exactly in which concepts
they are struggling.
History, Geography, and Social Studies
In the first grade, it is also time to introduce the students
to simple United States history, such as the story of the pilgrims
or how their state was founded. This part can be a tough balance
act for teachers, since history (unlike math) is full of nuances.
Every side has their own story to tell. While you are covering
the Pilgrims, you also want to tell the story of the Native Americans.
However, it can be hard to talk to children this young about how
the Native Americans were put on reservations, as well as the
entire political underpinnings surrounding our country's history.
Students may also begin learning basic geography. Often this
does not extend beyond knowing the continents and oceans. They
will also learn a few basic facts about United States geography,
such as where their state is located, where the capitol is, and
perhaps the bigger rivers and mountains.
Simple geography worksheets help first grade student concretize
the subject matter. Seeing a teacher point to a country, continent,
or ocean is not nearly as fulfilling as being able to find it
yourself - and enjoying the rewards of a gold star or smiley sticker
at the top of the completed worksheet.
Geography can also tie into basic social studies, allowing students
to learn basic facts about people from other countries. And while
students reading and writing skills may be limited, they can appreciate
stories about other children their age in other countries. Another
great way to incorporate together all three of these subject matters
is utilizing simple stories of immigrant children from all over
the world who came to the United States. The immigrant experience
is a large part of American history and also helps the students
begin to understand the world around them.
Science is very fun and exciting at this stage; it offers a way
for students to discover the world around them.First graders can
begin learning about the cycles of life, such as the transformation
of a tadpole into a frog, the chick that hatches from an egg,
or the caterpillar which wraps itself in a cocoon and emerges
First graders are also old enough to begin learning basic facts
about the planet, such as its water cycles, or earth's place in
the solar system. Many colorful charts and books outline these
complex ideas so simply that even a first grader can understand.
Using worksheets can also measure the class' comprehension of
the subject material. Certain printable worksheets, for example,
have them number the steps in a frog's life, or require students
to put the water cycle in order.
The first grade passes quickly, but students absorb a wealth
of knowledge which will serve them in future school and life.
They are exposed to all of the subject matters, and first grade
is a critical time that piques their interests and desire to learn.