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THE HEWITT SCHOOL

Lower School Curriculum Overview 2013-2014

First Grade


Literacy At Hewitt, each student embarks on a lifelong reading journey with a balanced literacy program that incorporates the two major skill sets needed for reading mastery: decoding and comprehension. During daily literacy sessions first graders work in abilitybased groups to learn essential skills for fluency and understanding. Each girl is

assessed formally and informally throughout the year to monitor progress and ensure that individual needs are met. In addition, girls engage in a language-rich environment throughout the school day with read-alouds, word games, handwriting work, and a close study of folk and fairy tales.

Writing In first grade Writers’ Workshop, girls build their writing skills by writing about what they know and what they are passionate about. Girls learn to write with focus, detail, and dialogue in their Small Moment stories. First graders will experiment with non-

fiction writing through how-to books and by writing like scientists. In each unit of study, girls will experience the writing cycle of rehearsing, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing in order to gain a greater awareness of writing for an audience. Math

The Hewitt School provides each student with a balanced approach to mathematics. We integrate a constructivist approach to understanding number concepts with traditional methods for learning algorithms and developing automatic recall of math facts. Our learning specialists and classroom teachers provide a team teaching approach to offer individual assistance to our students and to ensure that they are all challenged.

Daily lessons offer a range of learning strategies including reinforcement of concepts and the teaching of higher order thinking skills for application in problem solving. Our spiral approach to teaching mathematics allows students to learn, reinforce, and master concepts. Girls also have an opportunity to practice their math skills through technology and games.


Social Studies First graders delve into two New York City themes over the academic year. In the first study they delve into the history of Central Park, the natural and built environments within it, and the animal and plant life that inhabit the park. Through field trips, interdisciplinary work, and guided

explorations the girls learn the importance and relevance of Central Park to their world and New York City. Transportation constitutes the second theme. Students study the various modes of transportation in the city and the vital role it plays in the lives of NYC residents and visitors. Science

The first grade science curriculum is titled “How Things Change.” Students explore change in a variety of contexts, looking at states of matter, changes in weather systems and climate, and also how living things develop over the course of their lives. As part of their studies, first graders also

have the unique opportunity to partner with Columbia University on the study of acorns in Central Park. This course presents a dynamic, hands-on approach to science. Classes meet for sixty minutes per week and are taught by a science specialist.

French The Hewitt School is unique in exposing its lower school students to two modern foreign languages from the early years. The initial goal is for our students to develop an “ear” for the language, an appreciation for its culture and to start to build a global

competence. This course focuses mainly on the development of oral abilities, but it also introduces some notions of written French. French is taught twice a week by a French native speaker in the homeroom class.

Spanish In their second year of Spanish, our students continue build on their initial exposure to the language and culture of Spanish-speaking countries. The emphasis in first grade is on oral expression and comprehension. The curriculum focuses on

songs, rhymes, and games as ideal vehicles to start a language at this early stage. Our program emphasizes the coordination of language learning and physical movement. Spanish is taught twice a week by a Spanish native speaker in the homeroom class. Music

The goal of the lower school music program is to foster each child’s enjoyment of experiencing music. Children sing, play instruments, and participate in movement activities that encourage kinesthetic learning. The lower school curriculum is based on the Orff_Schulwerk and Kodály

methods. Orff-Schulwerk focuses on percussions and movement, while The Kodály Method uses a child-developmental approach to sequence. After the children become familiar with a new musical concept, they learn how to notate it. Concepts are constantly reviewed and


reinforced through games, movement, songs, and exercises. In addition, the students perform as a grade level choir at a variety of events during the year, which builds their confidence as singers and

performers. Students will perform outside of school three times a year for a community of elderly people as a community service and service learning experience. First graders have music class twice a week Art

First grade artists come to the art studio twice a week; there they learn how to take risks, problem solve, translate their ideas, take responsibility, practice a discipline, and make discriminating choices. Our girls work with a variety of materials and ideas and learn to trust their own creative process.

Each girl will learn that the art room is an environment where her individual talents are valued and celebrated. Drawing on the ever-changing exhibits in our local museums and on the resources of this vibrant city, our art curriculum inspires and encourages each young artist. Library

The library program strives to develop students’ personal interests through guided exposure to the library’s collection. Students enjoy a wide variety of resources that are print, non-print, and electronic. Library provides another opportunity for girls to listen to stories and discuss them together

during surveys of favorite authors and illustrators. Finally, beginning research skills, including finding “keywords” in the table of contents and index pages of books, and note taking, are taught in both homeroom and library classes during an animal research project.

Physical Education The physical education program consists of an introduction to the development of spatial awareness and balance as well as the coordination necessary to perform various movements and activities related to team sports.

Students practice these skills during class as individuals and in small groups with emphasis placed on working cooperatively with classmates to achieve a simple, common goal while consistently demonstrating sportswomanship.

Grade 1 Curriculum Overview 13-14  
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