Building reading and writing skills

IMGP3222.jpgThe development of reading and writing skills is prominent in first grade. Our students move from “pre-reading” skills to mastering the fundamental reading, spelling and writing skills that will set them up for success. We cultivate successful readers and critical thinkers by encouraging and guiding students to ask questions such as “Who are the characters in the story?” “Where does the story take place?” “What happens in the beginning, middle and end of the story?”  

Building vocabulary and word sense

First grade is often when a child’s vocabulary starts to flourish. With this, students are introduced to many irregularly spelled words (e.g. school, people, thought). In first grade we will practice language categorization, such as sorting words that are types of food, colors, or clothing, and learn to define words by one or more key attributes (e.g. a duck is a bird that swims, a tiger is a large cat with stripes). Students will learn to use their own experience to understand shades of meaning among similar verbs (e.g. look, peek, glance, glare, scowl) and between adjectives that differ in intensity (e.g. large, huge, gigantic). The students will begin to use the new words learned in conversations and writing.

Exploring fiction and nonfiction

By the end of first grade, your child will know that there are different kinds of books: ones that tell stories and ones that give information about things that are (or were) true.

Building your child’s knowledge bank

Kids learn by connecting new ideas and information from books they read to what they already know. With every poem, story, or passage read, there’s a main point, a message, or a key fact (or two) that your child learns. The emphasis here is on thoughtfully relating these new bits of knowledge to your child’s life, experiences, and prior knowledge. Being able to remember storylines, recalling key details, and finding information are different forms of “banking” the knowledge. 

Mastering Math Skills

Our first graders are excited about math!  They become very familiar with number concepts, they learn addition and subtraction facts, and how to tell time. They count coins and identify patterns in numbers and objects, and they apply all of this learning in their daily lives.

Responsibility and routines

In first grade our students assume more responsibility for their learning through homework and classroom chores, which they take great pride in doing. We foster independence and cooperation by implementing daily routines that students can follow independently. They become aware of the important role that each of them play in creating a safe and fun classroom learning environment.

  Social and Emotional Learning (SEL)

We incorporate Social Emotional Learning into students academic lives cultivating self regulation, self awareness, flexibility, and the ability to consider other perspectives.  Magic Circle is a very special time in First Grade. Students count on this daily routine to be able to express themselves heartfully and to be listened to. In this setting students learn to listen deeply, appreciate differences, understand that others feel similar things as they themselves do, and that they can support one another powerfully.

  Hebrew Reading and Writing


Students in our first grade will become proficient in Hebrew Reading and writing. Our Hebrew reading is tailored to the needs of each individual student and many supplemental activities are added to the reading program to ensure that learning comes alive and that students are engaged and positively motivated. Throughout the year they will work on mastering the skill of transposing from Hebrew block letters to Hebrew script. A highlight of our first grade year is when the students begin to Daven (pray), using their very own Siddur (prayer book). In addition to mastering reading from the text, the students gain an appreciation and begin to develop a strong connection with the daily Prayers.

Jewish Culture and Tradition

Students of the Hebrew Academy receive a complete and comprehensive awareness of Judaic culture and traditions along with their timeless messages that are relevant today. Learning and internalizing Jewish values are integral parts of the outstanding Hebrew Academy educational program. Our Jewish Holidays and traditions come alive with energy and  spirit as our students see, hear and learn about the different rituals and traditions while crafting, singing, playing and having lots of fun.

The Weekly Torah Portion becomes very relevant, as our students learn and reenact the weekly Parsha themes of the week. Our students are very proud to share their extensive knowledge with family and friends around the Shabbat dinner table. 

Hebrew Language

The acquisition of conversational modern Hebrew (Ivrit) is a main theme at the Hebrew Academy. Our aim is for our students to develop a love of Israel through the use of Hebrew language and identification of the land and culture. In first grade the students  will begin to their Hebrew oral skills. As they advance in their knowledge and fluency in Hebrew, they become confident in their communication abilities. Lessons are based upon our recently adopted Migdal Ohr series. Each page is beautifully illustrated, thereby engaging the students' interest and stimulating their curiosity to learn more. First grade emphasizes simple sentence structure, using familiar contexts such as the  home or school, shopping at the store or supermarket and playing outside.  

 Core Values

HBHA-5951 (1).jpgWe are proud that learning and internalizing Jewish values are integral parts of the outstanding Hebrew Academy educational program, and look for opportunities to recognize students who embody these character traits. Each month our school highlights a different core value. Our teachers, both General Studies and Judaic, will be teaching lessons connected to the core value of the month. Students also reflect on the role that each core value plays with their families and friends extending beyond our campus. Every Rosh Chodesh, at our school community assembly, the children are recognized for their achievements and a Community Leader Award is chosen from every grade for exemplifying the core value(s) of the month.