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There will be many challenges for the instructor teaching first grade, as is true for instructors of all grades, certainly. In teaching first grade, your curriculum most likely requires that the children accomplish much through reading.
I believe that reading should be top priority for anyone teaching first grade, in almost every subject. Reading should be done both in the classroom and at home as homework for your students. The more the children read—the better they will be able to read and comprehend what they read as they get older. Of course—“textbooks” are not quite what we want to use when teaching first grade. Here are some examples of reading lessons and how to incorporate them with your lessons in other subjects:
· Group reading:
One thing to do when teaching first grade is group reading. The children will read one book, all of them situated as a group. Use a story that is printed on what will look like a large easel pad. There will be colorful pictures and the words of the story will be printed on the bottom of the page. Use your pointer to follow (underline) the words as the students read them aloud. Then have the students take turns reading, each reading one page at a time. Your history lessons and other lessons can be taught this way if you can find the books. If not, you can use an overhead projector to have the students read the lesson all together in a group.
The best thing about reading homework is that those students who excel in reading can advance without interrupting the progress of the other children. First, for reading homework you will want to have each child select a book either from the classroom or from the library. They will first have some “quiet time” to read their book in class. They can raise their hands if they are having trouble. Then they will keep the book to take home. Instruct the parents to have their children read the stories aloud and give them as little help as possible. The children should stay with the same book for awhile, unless they are more advanced and then you should have them read more than one book—to challenge them. When the students have had their books for a week or so, have them stand before the class and summarize the book aloud.
Students should have a lot of time to interact with each other in class. Social skills are developed at very young ages and this will help them learn how it is appropriate to behave in class, how not to behave in class, how to behave at recess etc. They will begin to understand the differences between social behaviors if you use a lot of interaction in teaching first grade.
Mathematics is not possible to teach by reading. Usually a visual aid or interactive aid that is best to use would be something like a wooden horizontal post with ten balls. This teaching device looks very much like a toy and the initial learning of mathematical skills will feel to the children more like a game than a lesson. If possible, get a small version of one of these for each child. By now the children already know how to count to ten. So let’s say we’ve put three balls on one side of the post and we want to add two. The child can move two balls over to the other side and count that there are five balls there. The same can be done with learning subtraction.
By the end of the first grade, students should be able to understand
and use the basic concepts of ones and tens in the place value number
system. The students should all be able to add and subtract small
numbers with ease.
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