The American International School of Bamako

Grade 1

Teacher: Julie Gibson

About the Class

Each student brings a background, knowledge, skills, abilities, and life experiences to help make our classroom a special place. First grade students will continue to learn and build upon their skills and abilities through direct instruction, inquiry, discussion, projects, and problem based approaches. Students will be encouraged to develop innovative and critical thinking skills through active learning. Students will build independence and reflect on their learning and behavior promoting a stronger student identity. Grade level expectations are based on the Grade One AERO standards and AISB benchmarks. Individual needs of students are met through differentiation including support for struggling students and enrichment for students who have met learning outcomes.

Children’s Social and Emotional Development

As children enter first grade, they are more mature, independent, and adventurous. Their physical skills are improving and they have better hand-eye coordination, stronger gross and fine motor skills. They are curious about the world around them and begin to look for logical answers to their questions. Students develop reasoning and thinking skills. They use what they hear and read to learn. They are enthusiastic and want to do it all! They have a better sense of time and start demonstrating individual learning strengths in how they learn best. Students are more independent yet like security. They like rules and are starting to be aware of other people’s feelings. They are figuring out how to make and keep friends.

Our day begins with a morning meeting to build our classroom community, work together cooperatively, and learn about and build upon the values and beliefs of the school. Throughout the year, students will explore AISB Graduate Profiles developing social, intellectual, cultural and personal characteristics and a stronger sense of community in our classroom and school. Students will use Kelso’s choices to resolve minor conflicts on their own.

Learning in Language Arts

First grade students make great strides in learning how to read and write. Students continue building foundational skills further developing concepts about print, phonological awareness, phonics and word recognition, and increase reading fluency and comprehension. Students understand the relationship between letters and sounds and are building a bank of words to use. Students build reading and writing stamina and learn about a variety of genres. Students begin to understand that reading gives them knowledge and pleasure, while writing is a tool for recording, remembering and communicating. Students show an understanding of the value of speaking and listening in social situations and to initiate, explore, question, inquire, explain, and share.

Instruction will include the workshop model, teacher conferencing with students, discussion about reading and writing development, independent work, partnerships, word focus, speaking and listening, technology, and a system for checking growth and fostering students’ independence.

Our class will use Jolly Phonics, Teachers College Reading and Writing Project from Columbia University, CAFÉ Literacy Program, Daily Five, RAZ Kids, and Words Their Way.

Learning in Mathematics

Grade One mathematics is based on guided discovery through a balanced approach. Students are supported through guided discovery and exploration that stresses conceptual understanding and connections to real life problems. Key areas of focus in first grade mathematics are addition and subtraction concepts, skills and problem solving, explaining mathematical thinking, and fluency. First-grade students will extend their knowledge of mathematics as they learn to add and subtract within 20, develop an understanding of whole numbers and place value within 100, measure and order objects by length, interpret data, work with shapes to compose new shapes, and partition shapes to create “equal shares.” Students will learn different strategies and are encouraged to share and explain their mathematical reasoning with evidence.

Grade one follows the JUMPmath curriculum, based on AERO Common Core standards.

Our units in Mathematics include:

Learning in Social Studies

Students in first grade will have the opportunity to learn about the world and their place in it through our units. Critical thinking and discussion will be encouraged as students make connections, study and share their thoughts and ideas about what they learn.  

Our units of study include Citizenship, Celebrations Around the World, and Homes and Communities. Students will also engage in a meaningful and student driven Community-Based Engagement.

Learning in Science

Students will explore our world through hands on experiments, scientific inquiry, and exploration using scientific methods. We will study Earth, Physical and Life Sciences.  

Our units of study include The Human Body, Plants, and Forces.


Parents receive standards-based report cards four times a year after the end of each quarter. In addition to classroom observations, formal and informal classroom assessments, AISB uses several internationally­ normed assessments, including the Benchmark Assessment System (BAS) by Fountas & Pinnell, administered in September and May/June. A collective assessment of writing at AISB occurs twice a year through Whole School Writing. The assessments provide information about each student’s academic level that is used to build curriculum and meet the needs of students, one child at a time. Students will reflect on their work, behavior, and on themselves as learners throughout the year, identifying strengths and areas of improvement while taking more responsibility, culminating in a student-led conference.