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The first grade is a big stepping stone for children as they move out of the nurturing environment of kindergarten and into more structured learning. First-grade teachers play a vital part in helping children develop reading and writing skills and the abilities necessary to interact in a social environment. The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics says the minimum requirements for elementary school teachers are a bachelor’s degree from an approved teacher education program, and licensure.
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A first-grade teacher provides effective learning exercises to help children successfully transition into the elementary grades and promote physical, emotional, social and intellectual development. She often focuses on reading and writing skills and on helping children hone the skills they learned in kindergarten. She also introduces basic science and mathematical activities. She must create a developmentally appropriate curriculum that includes many different activities on all core subjects, such as reading, writing, science, mathematics and social studies. She facilitates learning by using a variety of teaching techniques, such as hands-on activities, group discussions, songs, books, games and crafts.
A first-grade teacher is responsible for effectively managing the classroom and ensuring all students are safe and have the ability to reach their maximum potential. He establishes an inviting classroom environment that promotes learning and is appropriate for all types of development. He participates in the selection of classroom materials, such as books, displays, décor and learning tools. A first-grade teacher manages the behavior of all students according to classroom rules and a student code of conduct. He must consistently enforce the rules and take necessary disciplinary actions.
Consistent communication with parents or other caregivers to provide feedback regarding the progress of students is among the responsibilities of a first-grade teacher. She often sends home letters and progress reports with comments on each child. She also conducts periodic conferences to meet face-to-face with parents. A first-grade teacher must regularly communicate with other teachers and principals as well as parents.
The first-grade teacher must regularly assess all students to gain an understanding of what teaching methods are effective and which ones need improvement. He evaluates the learning styles of individual students and uses the data to plan educational activities. He performs periodic assessments using formal and casual evaluation techniques, such as checklists and tests. The first-grade teacher often collaborates with other teachers to develop effective educational objectives and teaching methods. Some first-grade teachers work with special educators to adjust learning activities for students with special needs.
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Melissa Weaver started writing professionally in 2008. She has published articles for private clients and on various websites, specializing in education, careers and health. Weaver received a bachelor's degree in early childhood education/special education from the University of Minnesota in 2008 and has an educational background in the health sciences.