First grade is a time when children often blossom with their math and English skills. Some common topics taught in first grade include counting money, telling time, reading and writing. Because first-graders vary widely in their ability levels, teachers need to create projects that can be diversified for individual needs. It is of utmost importance to create a strong foundation in math and English for first-graders so they will have strong legs to stand on throughout their elementary years and beyond.
Teach counting by fives and 10s to students before introducing money. Introduce coins first, starting with pennies, nickels and dimes. Then introduce quarters and finally dollar bills after all of the coins are mastered.
Create a store project to teach counting money to students. Set up an area in the classroom with items for sale, complete with price tags and a cash register stocked with play money. In pairs, students take turns being the shopper and the cashier. They can practice adding up their purchases and counting out change.
To introduce telling time, begin with a number line with the numerals 1 to 12 on a strip of paper. Bend the number line into a circle to demonstrate how a clock face contains the numbers 1 to 12. Have students fill in a clock face worksheet with the numbers in the correct spots.
Make a paper plate clock to practice telling time. Use a brad fastener to attach clock hands made of construction paper. Students write in the numbers for the hours, then use this clock for a variety of time telling activities. Call out hours and minutes and have students adjust the hands on their clocks to show the correct time. Ask time-related questions, like what time they eat lunch or go to bed, and have them answer by showing the time on their clocks.
Use thematic reading units to engage students in learning to read. Pick themes that relate to holidays, special events, animals or other subjects such as science and math. Choose a theme to focus on for an extended time and use several reading strategies to read a variety of books based on your theme. Include classroom read-alouds, individual silent reading and reading with a partner as some of your reading strategies. Be sure to build background knowledge by discussing and studying your theme before you begin reading and then reinforce reading comprehension by providing follow-up questions after reading.
Writing and reading often go hand in hand. Include writing in your thematic reading unit to create an integrated English project. Use story starters in a creative writing unit for first-graders. Create a writing prompt that relates to your thematic unit, a story you have read recently or just a silly idea, and then allow each students to write her own story. Create short introductory sentences to use as story starters that will help students focus on developing characters, setting and plot details. For story starter ideas, go to the Scholastic website, which has an online activity that generates story starters for students.
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