A Day in the Life of Your First Grader

First grade is an important step in your child’s education.  School begins each morning with our morning routine.  We take time to unpack, place our folder on our desk, and show we’re here by making our lunch choice.  Most mornings there may be writing or reading required as we settle into to our school day.

We officially start our mornings with a Morning Meeting. This helps us set the positive tone for the day. We discuss our schedule, share a brief activity or song, and review our social emotional learning goals for the day.

The next period of time will be spent on either social studies or science. We have a variety of important topics to cover in first grade. These subjects are of high interest and I like doing them early in the morning where students are fresh and ready to learn.

We then move onto our reading block. Our reading block is comprised of whole group and small group learning. I have our block divided into chunks so that we are always on the move, allowing us a chance to learn new skills and apply them. During the morning, we will work on skills in grammar and writing, phonics/spelling, phonemic awareness, vocabulary (both oral and high frequency words – word wall words), reading fluency and comprehension.  These skills are mapped out in our reading series called Wonders from McGraw-Hill.  Most days we will work on some form of writing whether it is practice with handwriting, working on short answers to comprehension questions, or a writing piece.  

When I am working with small reading groups, students really enjoy working at literacy workstations. During this time students rotate through daily 5 style choices including: independent reading, shared reading with a partner, listening to reading, Lexia or Raz Kids on the computer, writing, or a working with words station.   At this time I will either work with individual students, with a guided reading group, or I may be assessing individual progress in a variety of reading areas.

Unlike kindergarten, we also do not have centers that are only focused on play and social skills like blocks or home living.  Our workstations focus on cooperation, student time management, skills based work, building personal stamina for independent reading, and  of course, social skills. We do have carpet time but we spend a lot of time with managing important seat work.  I try my best to get kids moving often to help maintain focus and keep them from becoming too stationary.

First graders will get a recess and lunch break in between reading in the morning and math in the afternoon.  They also have special classes in physical education, library, computers, and music.  A special’s schedule will be included with the open house colorful handout.

In the afternoon, we work on math.  Our math schedule allows us to do a warm up activity, a number talk, our curriculum’s lesson with guided practice, math workstations, and finally a recap of our learning in math for the day.

We use My Math series which is from McGraw-Hill. This series is compliant with common core but lacks spiral reviews (going back to revisit previous skills taught). Fridays are set aside to supplement or review areas in math to help strengthen all of our budding mathematicians in our room. We then follow up our math lesson by completing our math workstations where students get additional practice on skills taught in class through a variety of activities and games.

Math workstations allow students to work independently or with a partner to review previously taught skills to help build mastery while practicing time management, and improve social interactions with peers. Students have a variety of choice for how they wish to practice their math skills and are held accountable for their learning.

At the end of the day, we pack up and enjoy a good read aloud. Our classroom favorites usually include Junie B. Jones, Magic Tree House, or Roscoe Riley Rules. We then spend the most important time together in what we call Closing Circle. Here I will sit on the carpet with your child and his or her peers working on speaking and listening skills, rating our day as an individual, working on our social emotional standards, growing our hearts and taking care of one another. This becomes one of the most important times to your child. We end the day with a celebration of GoNoodle or something chosen by me or by the class before the bell rings and your child is returned to you.