First Grade

Language Arts

First grade language arts stresses decoding and literacy skills. It balances systematic skills instruction in phonemic awareness and phonics with extensive reading and comprehension of predictable, patterned texts, and quality literature with a variety of forms and genres. A differentiated Reading Workshop approach focuses on strategies such as rereading for understanding and making connections. Emphasis is also placed on story genre and elements. Writing begins with interactive dictation, including direct instruction in blending sound/spelling associations. Written language is developed through a workshop approach that includes book reflection in journals, the correction of errors in daily messages, teacher modeling during group stories and collaboration between partners. Manuscript handwriting is refined through weekly practice. Spoken language is developed through speaking opportunities when presenting written work during author’s celebrations, retelling stories read silently or aloud, and book talks.


First grade students are introduced to concepts through our core math program, Everyday Mathematics. These concepts consist of numeration and counting, operations and relations, exploring data, geometry, measurement, reference frames, money, patterns and rules, and process and reasoning. Everyday Mathematics incorporates problem solving for everyday situations using multiple strategies: hands-on activities and explorations, cooperative learning through partner and small group activities, and sharing ideas through discussions, along with ongoing review and application of previously introduced concepts. A wide variety of materials are used to supplement and enrich the program.


Our science curriculum is called FOSS Next Generation. This program engages students in active investigations of scientific concepts. The specific areas covered consist of plants and animals, air and weather, and sound and light. The children use a hands-on inquiry method to learn to collect, record, and interpret data using an interactive science notebook. Students are given frequent opportunities to develop the scientific process, critical thinking, and scientific reasoning skills that support scientific inquiry. A feature of our curriculum is a cross-curricular Project Based Learning unit on animals and their continental habitats.

Social Studies

First grade social studies gives students new insights into their communities and helps them make connections to the larger world through literature, biographies and a year-long collaborative distance learning project. Units focus on where people live and how those communities are alike and different; the importance of the earth’s land and water; different and shared cultures in America and the contributions of our ancestors; basic economic concepts of how people depend on others and people’s choices about earning, spending and saving; and things that unify the American people and identify us as a nation. Projects incorporate basic map and globe skills using keys and directional terms, as well as simple research and interviewing skills, within each unit of study.

World Languages

First grade Spanish builds students’ confidence via speaking and listening while exposing them to beginning reading and writing skills. Students read and write simple words while responding orally to simple phrases and questions in the target language. Through answering warm-up questions, listening to stories, playing games, singing songs, responding to listening activities, completing written work, and performing skits, students interact with the instructor and each other by using the target language to communicate.