First Grade at ACS is focused on developing thinking minds, life-long learners and Christ-like relationships. Independence and problem solving are key factors taught and encouraged for successful learning. The core of our teaching is devoted to reading, writing, and math skills which are then woven into other areas such as social studies, science, and Bible. The goal of our program is to develop a community of kingdom workers who desire to bring the transformational impact of heaven to earth now.
Bible: The students are taught to see themselves as wonderfully made by an amazing God with a purpose and plan for us. Connections are drawn from the stories of God’s Word to build a foundation of faith which sees God’s faithfulness as He reveals His plan and keeps His promises to God’s people and therefore to us. Our core curriculum is based on Christian School International’s publication of Walking With God and His People in conjunction with the Bible. The lessons mainly focus on the Old Testament with short visits to important celebrations of Thanksgiving, Christmas, and Easter. Much time is spent in singing, prayer, devotions, chapels, and memorizing Scripture to use as tools in developing personal relationships with our God.
Word Study: Research shows the importance of teaching language from speech to print. Therefore, we use the Heggerty Phonemic Awareness curriculum to introduce speech sounds and to build our awareness of spoken language. Students will learn to recognize sounds based on how their mouths look and feel, using a classroom sound wall. Throughout the school year, we use the sound wall to display the spelling patterns and sight words learned each week. By the end of 1st grade, students will have learned a list of 100 high-frequency words, which are collected on a word ring for increased fluency and accuracy. Students will work to build their spelling skills through word sort activities, word games, and phonetic readers.
Reading: For the first half of our year in 1st grade, students are immersed in decodable readers to build their confidence in decoding words through knowledge of sounds and syllables. As students develop fluent decoding skills, they will move on to leveled readers and begin to practice comprehension skills. Along with an emphasis on decoding, we foster a love for reading by digging into a variety of quality children’s literature that is thematically tied to other subject areas. Through literature, we will expand our vocabulary knowledge and learn to use comprehension strategies including story mapping, predicting, questioning, and making connections.
Writing: As writers, students will develop their skills in personal narrative, how-to, opinion and non-fiction genres. First graders will dig into the process of writing more than the finished product.
Social Studies: The majority of our studies involve roles and responsibilities we have as learners in first grade – how this connects to our families, classroom, resources, needs, and profit. Woven throughout these lessons, which are based on scripture and core democratic values, is God’s call to a life of grateful service as family members, producers, consumers, and citizens. We spend time enjoying map skills and finding our place in our community, country, and God’s world. We use the Michigan’s Social Studies Curriculum.
Science: Our time is devoted to exploring God’s world throughout the year as we learn about seasons and weather. We spend time reflecting on our awesome God as we discover properties of His creation while learning to sort and organize the materials He has given us. Class time is directed towards the study of plant and animal life, light and sound, and weather in God’s creation. Throughout these units we embrace the opportunity to marvel at His order, power, and faithfulness. We use God’s Word and the FOSS science curriculum.
Physical Education: First Grade students receive fifty minutes of PE instruction each week. Students begin learning how to cooperate with others and work together to be successful as we work on continued development and control in basic locomotor movements (skip, hop, etc..) and manipulative skills (dribble, underhand throw, etc…)
Art: First Grade students receive fifty minutes of art instruction each week. Students will do many projects that build confidence in materials that were introduced in kindergarten. Many projects will relate to classroom learning to reinforce concepts. Students will continue to work with the Elements of Art such as line, color, shape, etc.
Music: First Grade students receive two-one half hour classes of music instruction each week. The mission of the music program at Allendale Christian School is to allow students to discover and develop the musical gifts that God has given them through an appreciation of, enjoyment of, and success in music. Through movement activities, composition, improvisation, singing, and the use of instruments, first graders will develop the following musical skills: performing with a steady beat, matching pitch, reading basic rhythms, and recognizing and demonstrating musical opposites. Students will also participate in the Annual Christmas Concert in December.
Library: First grade students have one half-hour library class a week. In the library, students listen to a read-aloud book and have discussions on the book, aiming to meet first grade reading standards and allow us to learn about the story God is writing. They also have time to find, read, and check-out books they want to read.
Spanish: First grade students have one forty-five minute Spanish class each week. Students learn basic greetings, numbers 1-31, family members, animals, and food vocabulary through songs, games, and interactive activities. They also learn short Bible verses, songs, and prayers.