The American International School of Bamako
Teacher: Julie Gibson
About the Class
Each student brings a background, knowledge, skills, abilities, and life experiences to help make our classroom a special place. First grade students will continue to learn and build upon their skills and abilities through direct instruction, inquiry, discussion, projects, and problem based approaches. Students will be encouraged to develop innovative and critical thinking skills through active learning. Building independence and reflecting on learning and behavior will promote a stronger student identity. Grade level expectations are based on the Grade One AERO standards and AISB benchmarks. Individual needs of students are met through differentiation including support for struggling students and enrichment for students who have met learning outcomes. Teaching and learning is based on a student centered approach.
Children’s Social and Emotional Development
As children enter first grade, they are more mature, independent, and adventurous. Their physical skills are improving and they have better hand-eye coordination, stronger gross and fine motor skills. They are curious about the world around them and begin to look for logical answers to their questions. Students develop reasoning and thinking skills. They use what they hear and read to learn. They are enthusiastic and want to do it all! They have a better sense of time and start demonstrating individual learning strengths in how they learn best. Students are more independent yet like security. They like rules and are starting to be aware of other people’s feelings. They are figuring out how to make and keep friends.
Our day begins with a morning meeting to build our classroom community, work cooperatively, and learn about and build upon the values and beliefs of the school. Throughout the year, students will explore the AISB Graduate Profiles developing social, intellectual, cultural and personal characteristics and a stronger sense of community in our classroom and school. Students will use Kelso’s choices to resolve minor conflicts on their own.
Learning in Language Arts
First grade students make great strides in learning how to read and write. Students continue building foundational skills further developing concepts about print, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and increase reading fluency and comprehension. Students understand the relationship between letters and sounds and are building a bank of words to use. Students build reading and writing stamina and learn about a variety of genres. Students begin to understand that reading gives them knowledge and pleasure, while writing is a tool for recording, remembering and communicating. Students show an understanding of the value of speaking and listening in social situations and to initiate, explore, question, inquire, explain, and share.
Instruction will include the workshop model, teacher conferencing with students, discussion about reading and writing development, independent work, partnerships, word focus, speaking and listening, technology, and a system for checking growth and fostering students’ independence.
Literacy is based on the core values and vision of Fountas & Pinell and taught using F & P, Jolly Phonics, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University, RAZ Kids, and Words Their Way.
Learning in Mathematics
Mathematics is woven throughout the curriculum beginning with our morning meeting. Grade One math is based on guided discovery and exploration through a balanced approach and stresses conceptual understanding and connections to real life problems. Key areas of focus in first grade mathematics are addition and subtraction concepts, skills and problem solving, explaining mathematical thinking, and fluency. First-grade students will extend their knowledge of mathematics as they learn to add and subtract within 20, develop an understanding of whole numbers and place value within 100, measure and order objects by length, interpret data, work with shapes to compose new shapes, and partition shapes to create “equal shares.” Students will learn different strategies and are encouraged to share and explain their mathematical reasoning with evidence.
Grade one uses JUMPmath, Eureka Math, and IXL resources.
Our units in Mathematics include:
- Counting and Comparing
- Introduction to Greater Than and Less Than
- Introduction to Addition
- Introduction to Subtraction
- Measuring Length
- Applying Strategies for Addition and Subtraction
- Problem Solving with Pictures, Models, and Equations
- Understanding and Using Place Value to Add and Subtract
- Telling and Writing Time
- Reasoning with Shapes
- Representing and Interpreting Data
Learning in Social Studies
First grade students will have the opportunity to learn about the world and their place in it through our units. Critical thinking and discussion will be encouraged as students make connections, study and share their thoughts and ideas about what they learn.
Our units of study include Citizenship, Celebrations Around the World, and Homes and Communities. Students will also engage in a meaningful and student driven Community-Based Engagement unit.
Learning in Science
Students will explore our world through hands on experiments, scientific inquiry, and exploration using scientific methods. We will study Earth, Physical and Life Sciences.
Our units of study include The Human Body, Plants, and Forces.
Parents receive standards-based report cards four times a year after the end of each quarter. In addition to classroom observations, formal and informal classroom assessments, AISB uses several internationally normed assessments, including the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) by Fountas & Pinnell, administered in September and May/June. A collective assessment of writing at AISB occurs twice a year through Whole School Writing. The assessments provide information about each student’s academic level that is used to build curriculum and meet the needs of students, one child at a time.
A traditional parent-teacher conference occurs in November. Throughout the year students will reflect on their work, behavior, and on themselves as learners, identifying strengths and areas of improvement while taking more responsibility, culminating in a student-led conference.