Ms. Emily Keenan

First Grade Webpage

Teaching Philosophy

I see education as the opportunity to expand one’s mind academically, socially, and emotionally. An educator plays many roles in the classroom, such as teacher, friend, parent, and so on. A student should not only be taught how to add numbers and write sentences, but should also be taught how to greet a friend and say “please” and “thank you”. A classroom should be a comfortable, positive environment, where students can give opinions, but also respect their peers and teachers. Rules and expectations of the classroom should be discussed and created together, as to ensure healthy relationships and communication.

I see learning as a hands-on activity, where students explore the world around them, produce ideas, make mistakes, and apply their knowledge. I want my students to have experiences, not lessons. I want my students to remember the vocabulary words I taught them because they had acted them out, not because I made them write the words in sentences five times each.

I see achievement as setting goals and reaching them. I look for progress in my students, and motivation to succeed. I want them to accomplish things they never thought possible. I instill confidence in my students, by encouraging them to try their best, and praising them for their effort and resilience. No amount of effort will go unnoticed. I want my students to be seekers of knowledge, to ask “why?” and “how come?”, and to know that their questions are important. Curiosity is the basis for learning, a car’s ignition. Without it, there would be no desire to put one’s thoughts into action.

I see children as sponges. They are born with so much potential and so many brains cells waiting to be stimulated. As a teacher, I support their growth with countless opportunities to investigate their interests and talents, and I create the foundations necessary for my students to thrive. It is my job as a teacher to connect to my students and give them chances to be the teacher at times, to share what they know. Each student is unique and also comes from a different background. This should be celebrated and shared.

Overview of Curriculum

In Religion, we study the Story of Creation, the miracles of Jesus, the Bible, and how we celebrate and remember Jesus’ Birth, Death, and Resurrection.

In ELA (English Language Arts), we spend a majority of our time engaged in the different areas of Reading, Handwriting, Thinking and Listening skills, Speaking and Writing. We use a variety of hands on learning activities to engage the students and provide deeper meaning to the work as a whole.

In Math, we use Macmillan McGraw-Hill Math Connects to integrate Math with other subjects, we incorporate written responses to questions, and we use a vast array of manipulative to reinforce skills and concepts. Students are actively engaged in problem solving, mental math, and higher order reasoning to understand how mathematics is integrated into our daily lives each day.

In Science, we study the Earth, Weather and the Seasons, Matter and Energy, Living and Non-Living things with a focus on integrating these topics into our other studies as well. Students will pursue experiments and engage in seeking answers and information to their scientific questions through the use of the scientific method, observations, and making judgments about the world around them.

In Social Studies, we focus on People and Neighborhoods, Families, America, and Things all People Need. We will also learn how to use a map and a globe.

Collaborating with Kindergarten and Second Grade Teachers

I have always felt it was important to work with the teacher of the prior grade to ensure a smooth transition for the students. It is important for me to understand the dynamics of the class as a whole, as well as the individual strengths of the students. It is important to build upon the foundation built from their time Kindergarten and then reinforce and strengthen those skills as the students move forward into First Grade.

It is also vitally important to work with the teacher of the next grade to ensure that the students are prepared and ready to move on even further in their academic endeavors. I communicate with the second grade teacher to determine where the class should be academically by the end of their first grade year so that they are ready and focused for the next school year. Portfolios and student work are passed up to the next teacher which allows that teacher the ability to see how much the students have learned and grown throughout the academic school year.