It’s August, which means our favorite time of the year has arrived. The new school year is here!
There is just something magical about the start of a new year. Who doesn’t love a chance for a fresh start? Everything seems new (especially the school supplies – ohmygoodness – crisp notebooks, the smell of box of sharp crayons, boxes of colored paper clips – YAY!) and exciting, the return of old friends and thrill of new ones, and the anticipation all the greatness that is to come! It’s also fun for parents, even the ever heart-wrenching dichotomy of the thrill of a new experience for our children met with the heartbreak that those children are growing up, seemingly one step further into independence and one step further from the protection of our arms (can you tell I just had a new baby? Emotions. Sniffle). As a mom, I’m fully feeling that, too, as my older little ones prepare for K4 and K2, so I’m happy to have a classroom-full of dear ones to love on and the assurance that my children’s teachers will be loving on them.
Your babies will be my babies every day. I promise to take care of them.
Welcome, Firstie Families!
An exciting year is coming! The Patience Fruit Stand, home of the fabulous Firsties, is a special place, a space that allows us to develop and express our creativity, to take risks, to feel valued and safe. It is a place where everyone learns to treat one another with kindness and respect, and no one says “I can’t!”
Our curriculum is driven by four pieces of children’s literature, through which we integrate the study of art, language, math, science, social studies, and God’s Word. In Uncle Jed’s Barber Shop, patience is groomed in Depression-era southern-America where we follow the life-long struggle of Uncle Jed, the only black barber in a county of sharecroppers, to overcome overwhelming obstacles in his pursuit of a dream. Next, patience grows in the late-1800s, where we homestead along with a self-sustaining farming family in Ox-Cart Man. We learn the value of hard work and diligence, where our food comes from, and the importance of using resources wisely. In our third book, Keep the Lights Burning, Abbie, patience glows through a biographical account of courage, endurance, and faith as the protagonist dutifully and dramatically protects both her family and their livelihood. Finally, we end on a story that asks us to give back by making the world a better place. In Miss Rumphius, patience grows through the story of a young girl who is challenged by her grandfather to do just that. God’s world is a beautiful place, but it is up to us to be good stewards of God’s gracious gifts.
All the while, we build our stamina, independence, and learn reading strategies and the writing process by working in both small groups and independently through reader’s and writer’s workshops. In reader’s workshop, students participate in activities that provide them with opportunities to explore and practice writing, manipulate sounds and spelling patterns, read, develop vocabulary, retell and summarize stories, and build fluency and comprehension. In writer’s workshop, students write to communicate to an audience through studies of writer’s craft, build endurance, develop and refine grade-appropriate writing skills, work on the writing process, and improve fine motor skills and handwriting.
We develop and hone fundamental skills in addition and subtraction, patterning, problem solving, estimating and predicting, graphing, telling time, counting coins, comparing, measuring, numeral recognition, one-to-one correspondence, sorting, sequencing, and number sense in math workshop.
Technology is integrated into almost everything we do through the use of our Kindle Fires, SMARTboard, books on tape or CD, and trips to the computer lab. We use digital photography to capture and reflect on our learning. Technology is used to dive into God’s Word, read and explore books, practice basic math skills, respond to literature, develop reading strategies, engage in science and social studies extensions, and work with words and spelling patterns.
As first graders, we develop much patience as we continue learning to take turns, wait for attention, take our time to do our best work, and develop communications skills which enable us to solve our own problems. Everyone learns best in different ways, and we learn to be patient with others and to help those who need it. Leaders emerge and children are allowed to be experts on topics of interest. Everyone is an expert at something; we grow deeper through shared experiences.
Finally, we invite our firstie families to partner and share in our experiences. We look to parents to support our work and communicate openly and honestly for the benefit of each child. I look forward to a great year; although it will sometimes be messy, it will be a time of new discoveries, developing maturity, and exploring friendships.
I simply can’t wait!
Click above for more specific information about what first grade looks like in the Patience Fruit Stand.
Click above to download a copy of the first grade ACOs.