New York, New York! 1st Grade Studies The Big Apple for “New York Day”

By Alisyn Lima, first grade teacher

First grade students have spent the year learning all about New York City, which culminated in presentations and song on Friday, March 8 with “New York Day” in the Grammar School. 

In September, students began the year by using what they learned in kindergarten to discuss community. They used their knowledge about CGPS and home communities and began to expand it to explore the larger communities present in NYC, including all five boroughs. Students learned about influential NYC figures, landmarks, customs and traditions and how to celebrate the diversity of cultures present in our city. 

Students also began to look at the history of the city. First graders visit the Transit Museum to learn how NYC’s transportation system has evolved. They visited the Museum of the City of New York and they learned about the five zones of NYC. They were challenged to think like urban planners as they learned about how NYC’s grid system was formed, enhanced their mapping skills and practiced directionality.

Through books, discussions, games, maps, puzzles, blueprints and videos, our students learned about the many city landmarks. Each student chose a landmark, researched it, wrote about it, created a blueprint of it and then created a model of the landmark out of recycled materials. Planning ahead, creativity and collaboration were just a few of the various skills our students practiced.

In math, the first-grade teachers immersed the students in the study of geometry and measurement. They integrated these units into the students’ landmark study. In writing, students learned how to write outlines using keywords and how to create topic sentences. They utilized these skills as they wrote about their landmarks and began to self-edit their reports. With the help of the MakerSpace, the students began building, painting and adding details to their landmark. Meanwhile, our Art Department guided students in creating incredible cityscapes. Our Music Department led the students in writing and singing New York songs, and studying artists such as Louis Armstrong, Duke Ellington and Ella Fitzgerald.

For our New York Day, first-grade teachers turned their classrooms into “museums” as they invited families in to see the display of landmarks and informational reports. First graders also performed songs in the Center, which was followed by New York City refreshments for all. First graders should be so proud of their accomplishments!