Sierra School

sierra School

First Grade Program

First Grade Program – In first grade, children continue to build a strong foundation for learning as they enter the primary grades. A strong academic curriculum, partnered with enrichment courses motivates students to succeed, gain self-confidence, and develop a deep love of learning. First grade students are encouraged to become more independent problem solvers and thinkers. Positive work and study habits such as neatness, time management, and taking pride in one’s work are also reinforced in our students as their minds continue to flourish with knowledge. Sierra School realizes that each child is unique, and individual needs are met to bring out the best in all of our students.

Language Arts (includes Reading, Spelling and Writing)

Each student is carefully placed at an appropriate academic level through testing, teacher evaluation, and parent feedback to ensure maximum opportunities for success. Children are exposed to a wide variety of poems, plays, and literature, while simultaneously strengthening reading comprehension and critical thinking skills. Each book in the series gradually increases in difficulty and level, yet offers new adventures with rich, colorful illustrations that make reading fun and exciting! Students continue to develop phonetic awareness, decoding, comprehension skills, writing, and verbal skills, as well as begin to develop grammar usage, spelling, and vocabulary skills. They expand upon their knowledge of phonemic awareness and decoding by working with consonant blends, contractions, vowel pairs, prefixes and suffixes, and base words with common endings. Their comprehension skills are developed by identifying the sequence of events, summarizing details of material, drawing conclusions and problem solving. A broad language arts program compliments our reading program to provide our first graders with essential literacy skills. Vocabulary and spelling are developed with the use of rhyming words and sentence writing. The students writing skills continue to be developed by independent, shared, and coached writing activities. Oral language, grammar usage and mechanics are developed by proofreading and editing materials, reading and summarizing information, and understanding the difference between sentences. Students write in personal journals throughout the school year. Houghton Mifflin’s text is used for the Language Arts program. The Language Arts program is taught daily for 45 minutes.


First grade math promotes critical thinking skills and prepares young learners to manipulate numbers. Students learn through hands-on activities and math centers for reinforcement and exploration. Students continue to explore numbers, mathematic operations, geometry, measurement, data analysis and probability, algebra, and mathematical processes through a multi-sensory approach of patterns, fractions, time, counting, place values, graphs, simple monetary transactions, measurement and probability, and two-digit calculations. Each math lesson builds on previous concepts learned, so constant review is critical and necessary to ensure complete mastery and full understanding. Our math program utilizes stories to help students creatively visualize and grasp mathematical principles. They develop a positive attitude toward math by incorporating activities which introduce math concepts into their daily activities. Scott Foresman Addison Wesley’s text is used for the Mathematics program. The math period is 45 minutes each day.

Social Studies

The social studies program encompasses a wide range of topic that expands a youngster’s worldview and knowledge base. Students become familiar with important historical events and figures that have shaped American civilization. Furthermore, Sierra embraces diversity, so children learn about international holidays, cultures, and traditions that are celebrated around the globe. First grade students also learn about personal health, safety, positive interaction, and other themes that are beneficial and are of high interest to this age group. Periodic field trips are taken throughout the year that correspond to our monthly themes. Social Studies classes are taught twice each week for 40 minutes.


First graders are exposed to a variety of lessons related to earth and space science, physical science, and life science, which allows them to better understand and explain life cycles and processes in our world that occur naturally. Our young scientists are also taught process skills such as making observations and predictions, classifying, and collecting data through hands-on experiments performed in the classroom with our science kits that compliment each lesson. Workbooks, flip charts, and video clips are also used to enhance science instruction. The students develop an understanding of life sciences by exploring living and nonliving things; habitats; how plants and animals live; life cycles; food chains; and the earth’s land, air, water and weather. They expand on their understanding of physical science by exploring matter, movement, sounds and energy. They explore space and technology by understanding the day and night sky and how technology and science impact the world. This new science program allows students to actively explore and satisfy their curiosity about our world and beyond. Scott Foresman’s text is used for the Science program. The science period is 45 minutes twice each week.


Enrichment activities bring balance to the curriculum and help students become well-rounded individuals. Children will sing songs both familiar and new to them to help develop their sense of pitch. Movement is also introduced to help children with coordination skills. Music and drama are great tools for helping children to build self-esteem. Students are exposed to the concepts of music, the family of instruments, the beginning written forms of music and the components of the orchestra through practice and the continued exposure to important composers and musicians. Each month, students learn about a famous composer or musician, including artists such as Mozart, Tchaikovsky, and Louis Armstrong. They continue to develop a positive attitude for music through the active participation of singing, clapping rhythms, playing instruments, and listening to a wide range of music. Students also love to participate in the Sierra choir. Each semester students present a program for parents, friends, and teachers. The students attend music classes 45 minutes twice a week.

Visual Arts

In first grade, students continue to develop an appreciation for the fine arts. Painting, drawing, collage, and clay projects are examples of projects that provide students with opportunities to express their ideas and emotions. Students continue their exposure to the elements of making and appreciating art through a wide range of artists and works of art. They continue to develop their knowledge of the lines, shapes, forms, spaces, light, textures and colors of artwork through observations, discussion, and modeling of portraits and still life. Artists such as Claude Monet, Henri Matisse, Leonardo da Vinci, Vincent van Gogh, Paul Cezanne, and Diego Rivera are introduced. Students have art classes twice each week for 45 minutes.


Students expand their understanding of the Spanish language and the Hispanic culture through speaking, grammar, writing, listening, reading, music, stories, videos, and games. They continue to develop vocabulary which is expanded to include the alphabet in uppercase and lowercase letters, words that rhyme, same and different, opposites, numbers to 75, basic addition and subtraction, seasons, types of transportation, classroom objects, an introduction to telling time, and Hispanic holidays. The students attend Spanish twice a week for 45 minute sessions.

Physical Education (PE)

Students continue to develop an understanding of physical activity, team sports, and sportsmanship through a variety of individual and group activities, games and organized sports. The students develop coordination, grace and control along with a sense of fair play and cooperation. They are provided opportunities in planning, organizing and leading sports activities. The students attend PE twice a week for 45 minute sessions.


Students continue to develop their typing skills by utilizing the Disney Interactive Software, and reinforce their reading and math skills through the use of specific classroom software. In addition, they develop an understanding of technology and it’s usefulness in the classroom through individual activities and programs. Each student works with computers twice a week for 20 minute sessions.

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