Grade 1

Language arts


Learning to read consists of decoding, in which children learn to identify and recognize words; and comprehension, where children learn to derive meaning from the words, phrases and sentences they have read. The goal of the program is to have the children read familiar texts with fluency, expression and increased comprehension.

Growth in decoding skills is facilitated by:

  • Regular meaningful practice in decoding (e.g., beginning and ending sounds of words, vowel combinations, consonant blends)
  • Building sight vocabulary
  • Learning basic punctuation

Comprehension is developed by:

  • Listening to and remembering main events
  • Comparing and contrasting characters
  • Learning to draw conclusions from what has been read
  • Making connections
  • Making predictions
  • Thinking about cause and effect
  • Categorizing literary features

Students in Grade 1 participate in small, guided reading groups. Students read a variety of materials including nonfiction and fiction and learn to distinguish the characteristics of both genres. Each child is placed in a small group with other children of similar ability and is given a developmentally appropriate book to read. Sessions last 15-20 minutes and begin with introducing the book, eliciting prior knowledge, and building background. Teachers monitor and guide the reading of each child as needed. Discussion of the book follows, and the child keeps the book to reread, often as home learning. This approach recognizes that a wide range of reading ability exists with any grade level or age group, and that reading at the appropriate level ensures success.


The Writers' Workshop approach is used in Grade 1. The emphasis is on creativity, building confidence in writing, and developing fluency. Through this approach, children often participate in mini-lessons directed by the teacher. They learn to:

  • Brainstorm ideas, often with the help of the teacher's questions or discussion
  • Write first drafts, usually with phonetic spellings
  • Revise texts by expanding ideas, clarifying information or adding details, typically with a partner or in a conference with the teacher
  • Edit for punctuation, spelling, and grammar commensurate with their skills
  • Complete the final draft with corrections


In Grade 1, students make connections between the sounds we hear and the letters we see and write, and are constantly exposed to spelling rules and conventions.  Experience shows that this approach leads, in the long term, to more proficient spelling, reading and writing fluency. The Wilson Fundations Program is used to give children experiences in spelling and reading words which follow regular patterns.

Children learn to spell correctly:

  • Through specific spelling lessons based on high frequency words
  • By correcting misspelled words in journals and other writing
  • By having many opportunities to practice their skills in the writing process

By the end of Grade 1, we expect most children to master and to be able to apply in writing a list of 100 first grade high frequency words, spelled correctly.


The expectation is that students will be able to write legibly, using both upper- and lower-case letters correctly.

In teaching handwriting, emphasis is placed on:

  • Proper use of lined paper
  • Correct spacing
  • Modeling of top to bottom, left to right letter formation
  • Legibility and ease of writing
  • Correct pencil grip


The Common Core Mathematics Standards call for students to develop conceptual understanding and skill proficiency in number operations, measurement and geometry through engaging problems and activities. Students are presented lessons that will provide learning experiences toward meeting grade-level math standards and problems to solve in a small group and independently. Throughout the year, parents will receive information about the mathematical content studied in each unit. The grade-level math standards can referenced for more detail but instruction time will focus on these four critical areas:

Operations and Algebraic Thinking
  • Represents and solves problems involving addition and subtraction
  • Understands and applies properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction
  • Adds and subtracts within 20
  • Works with addition and subtraction equations

Number and Operations in Base Ten
  • Extends the counting sequence to 120
  • Understands place value as ones, tens, and hundreds
  • Uses place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract

Measurement and Data
  • Measures lengths with non-standard units and by accumulating length units
  • Tells and writes time
  • Represents and interprets data
  • Reasons with 2-D and 3-D shapes and their attributes

Project work

Project work in Grade 1 provides the opportunity for in depth study of science and social studies topics of significant interest to students. Taking advantage of the world as a resource, children initiate and investigate projects, while developing skills of inquiry, critical thinking and problem solving. With more input in the direction of the research, students are involved to a greater intellectual degree in the learning process. Through research projects, students construct meaning and experience the rewards of self-motivated learning.


Grade 1 inquiry focuses on Life Sciences throughout the year.

By the end of Grade 1, students will be able to know and understand that:

  • Animals and plants are living things

  • A habitat has everything that a plant or animal needs to survive

  • Plants and animals have different characteristics that help them survive in their habitats

  • Animals and plants have life cycles

  • Each plant or animal has a life cycle that differ from others

By the end of Grade 1, students will be able to:

  • Make predictions

  • Ask questions

  • Determine how to answer questions

  • Make careful observations

  • Use tables to record evidence

  • Make explanations based on evidence

  • Share information from investigations with others

Social studies

Grade 1 student focus on Community in their social studies units. This approach means that students learn how to be good members of the classroom, school and other communities. In addition to studying about communities, throughout the year, students learn interpersonal skills by participating in cooperative learning groups, accepting responsibility, respecting the rights and property of others, and learning empathy.

By the end of Grade 1 students will be able to know and understand:

  • what community means

  • his/her role in each community s/he belongs to

  • who makes up our school community

  • how people or groups of people in our school community depend upon each other

  • empathy through exposure to different perspectives and experiences

  • how communities are inter-related

By the end of Grade 1 students will be able to:

  • Link prior knowledge

  • Generate and ask relevant questions

  • Answer questions through interviews

  • Collect and record information using words, pictures and/or technology

  • Make conclusions based on information gathered

  • Share information with others

Curriculum guides