English/Language Arts

Word Recognition and Word Study

Phonemic Awareness
Students will…

• demonstrate phonemic awareness by the wide range of sound manipulation competencies including sound blending and deletion

• recognize that words are composed of sounds blended together and carry meaning

• understand the alphabetic principle—that sounds in words are expressed by the letters of the alphabet


Students will…

• use structural cues to recognize one-syllable words, blends, and consonant diagraphs


—onset and rimes

—whole word chunks

—word families

—digraphs th, ch, sh

Word Recognition

Students will…

• recognize grade 1 frequently encountered words in print and out of context automatically

• be making progress in recognizing the 220 Dolch basic sight vocabulary and 95 common nouns

• use strategies to identify unknown words and construct meaning

—letter- and word-level cues (i.e., prefixes, suffixes, rimes) more than other cues to

—recognize the word

—use semantic context cues (including pictures) and syntactic cues to check word recognition

—and construct the specific meaning intended (use context cues to select between

—alternative meanings


Students will…

• use syntactic and semantic cues to determine the meaning of words in grade level appropriate texts

• know the meaning of words encountered frequently in grade 1 reading and oral language contexts

• Grade level vocabulary lists to be developed

• in context, determine the meaning of words and phrases (objects, actions, concepts, content, and English language arts vocabulary) using strategies and resources

• use context clues, mental pictures, questioning

Fluency in Reading

Students will…

• apply the following aspects of fluency

—automatically recognize identified grade 1 high frequency words whether encountered in or out of context

—read aloud using intonation, pauses and emphasis

—use punctuation cues (periods and questions marks)

—independently read aloud unfamiliar text with 95% accuracy in appropriately leveled books

Narrative Text

Students will…

• recognize how various cultures and our common heritage are represented in classic and contemporary literature that is recognized for quality and literary merit

• identify and describe a variety of genre including

—realistic fiction



• identify


—sequence of events

—sense of story (beginning, middle, end)

• identify how authors/illustrators use

—illustrations to support story elements

—transitional words (e.g., before, after, now, finally) to indicate a sequence  of events and sense of story

• respond to multiple texts read by discussing, illustrating, and/or writing to reflect, make connections, take a position, and share understanding

Informational Text

Students will…

• identify and describe a variety of informational genre including

—simple how-to books

—science and social studies magazines

• discuss informational text patterns



• explain how authors/illustrators use text features to enhance the understanding of key and supporting ideas



—labeled photographs


• respond to multiple texts read by discussing, illustrating, and/or writing to reflect, make connections, take a position, and share understanding


Students will…

• activate prior knowledge

• connect personal knowledge and experience to ideas in texts

• retell up to three important ideas and details of familiar simple oral and written text in sequence

• make text-to-self and text-to-text connections and comparisons

• compare and contrast relationships among characters, events, and key ideas within and across texts to create a deeper understanding

• map story elements across texts

• graphically represent key ideas and details across texts

• ask questions as they read

• acquire and apply significant knowledge from what has been read in grade level appropriate science, social studies, and mathematics texts


Students will…

• self-monitor comprehension when reading grade level appropriate text

• recognize when meaning is breaking down

• use simple fix-up strategies to increase comprehension

• make credible predictions based on preview of book cover and pictures

• ask questions before, during, after reading

• plan, monitor, regulate, and evaluate skills, strategies, and processes to construct and convey meaning

• use a graphic organizer to sequence events in a story

• discuss most important ideas and themes in a text

• identify author’s perspective

• sort and order information with teacher guidance

• discuss which comprehension strategies worked and did not work with extensive teacher guidance

Critical Standards

Students will…

• develop and discuss shared standards

• begin to self-assess the qualities of personal or other written text with teacher guidance

Reading Attitude

Students will…

• be enthusiastic about reading and learning how to read

• do substantial reading and writing on their own during free time in school and at home


Operations and Algebraic Thinking

  • Represent and solve problems involving addition and subtraction.
  • Understand and apply properties of operations and the relationship between addition and subtraction.
  • Add and subtract within 20.
  • Work with addition and subtraction equations.

Number and Operations in Base Ten

  • Extend the counting sequence.
  • Understand place value.
  • Use place value understanding and properties of operations to add and subtract.

Measurement and Data

  • Measure lengths indirectly and by iterating length units.
  • Tell and write time.
  • Represent and interpret data.


  • Reason with shapes and their attributes.

Mathematical Practices

  1. Make sense of problems and persevere in solving them.
  2. Reason abstractly and quantitatively.
  3. Construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.
  4. Model with mathematics.
  5. Use appropriate tools strategically.
  6. Attend to precision.
  7. Look for and make use of structure.
  8. Look for and express regularity in repeated reasoning.

Social Studies

 In first grade, students continue to explore the social studies disciplines of history, geography, civics and government, and economics through an integrated approach using the context of families and schools. This is the students’ first introduction to social institutions as they draw upon knowledge learned in kindergarten to develop more sophisticated understandings of each discipline.



First grade students begin to develop the ability to think like a historian. Using a calendar, students begin to understand the passage of time. They then apply their understanding of time and chronology by using events from family and school, extending their understanding of the past to events beyond their own lifetimes. Using events to which they have a personal connection, students learn that history involves stories of the past. By exploring relevant primary sources such as photographs, diaries, and artifacts, students develop simple narratives of the history of families or school. Students also learn to draw generalizations and conclusions about changes over time by comparing family life, school, jobs, and methods of communication in their lives, to those in the past. In examining why certain events and people are celebrated through national holidays, students begin to appreciate the influence history has on their daily lives. The study of history through the lens of families and schools in first grade prepares students for more complex investigations of the past of their community, state, and country in later grades.



The expectations in first grade build upon simple understandings of maps. Students’ spatial perspective is deepened by constructing classroom maps to illustrate aerial perspective and introducing absolute and relative location using the familiar contexts of home and school. Students begin to use personal directions to describe the relative location of different places in the school environment. Students use maps and globes to distinguish physical characteristics of Earth, such as landmasses and oceans. In introducing students to the concepts of region and human systems, first grade sets the stage for more sophisticated study of these concepts in later grades. By using their immediate school environment, students learn to distinguish between physical and human characteristics of place, and describe unifying characteristics of different regions within their classroom and school. Students begin to build an understanding of the different aspects of culture through a comparison of family life. They learn that people not only use the environment, but also modify or adapt to the environment.


Civics and Government

The content expectations in civics use the school as a context for learning about the purposes of government, the values and principles of American democracy, and the roles of citizens. Building upon the concept that people are not free to do whatever they want, students identify reasons for rules in school. Concepts of power and authority are introduced as students identify examples of people using power with and without authority in the school setting. Drawing upon the notion of fairness from kindergarten, students explore fair ways to resolve conflicts at school. The expectations broaden students’ understanding of the values and principles of American democracy using significant symbols of the United States. Notions of individual responsibilities introduced in kindergarten are expanded to include civic responsibilities as members of a group or school community. Thus, students begin to recognize that respect for the rule of law and the rights of others is fundamental to our system of government.




First grade students extend their understanding of basic economic concepts. They distinguish between producers and consumers and examine ways in which their families consume goods and services. Using practical examples and personal experiences, students begin to learn how scarcity forces people to make choices. Students develop a deeper understanding of trade as they explore the reasons why people trade, how money simplifies trade, and how people earn money. These concepts lay the foundation for more complex studies of economic principles in later years.


Public Discourse, Decision Making, and Citizen Involvement

In first grade, students continue to develop an understanding of public issues and the importance of citizen action in a democratic republic. First grade students identify public issues in the school community and analyze data about them.

They investigate different resolutions to these issues. Students begin to develop competency in expressing their own opinions relative to a public issue in school by justifying their opinions with reasons. This foundational knowledge is built upon throughout the grades as students develop a greater understanding of how, when, and where to communicate their positions on public issues with a reasoned argument



Science Processes: Inquiry Process, Inquiry Analysis and Communication, Reflection, and Social Implications

Students entering the first grade should have an understanding of the five senses and how the use of their senses helps in science observations and investigations. The continued use of high interest subject matter piqued by their natural curiosity will further develop student understanding and skills in making observations, generating questions, planning and conducting simple investigations, meaning-making, and presentation of findings.

In addition to the skills the students acquired in their kindergarten experience, first grade students will recognize the importance of multiple trials in their investigations before drawing conclusions or presenting findings. The first grade students, in all three science content disciplines, physical, life, and Earth, will be required to make careful and purposeful observations in order to raise questions, investigate, and make meaning of their findings.


Physical Science: Properties of Matter

The first grade physical science experience is intended to develop the young learners’ skills in using the senses to sort objects according to their observable physical attributes (color, shape, size, sinking, floating, texture). Young children begin their study of matter by examining and describing objects and their behavior. First grade students will also begin to study states of matter and particularly states of water as found on Earth. They explore water primarily in its liquid state and solid state. The Grade Level Content Expectations do not hold the first grade student responsible for a complete understanding of water in its gaseous state.

The introduction of the three states of water on Earth is appropriate at this level; however, developing a complete knowledge base in states of matter requires many experiences over multiple grade levels, providing opportunities to continue children’s explorations focused on observations and simple investigations. Elementary students have difficulty understanding that the water they see in a boiling pot evaporates into a gas. A common misconception is that it disappeared or went away. In subsequent grades students will be given the opportunity to conduct simple investigations with heating and evaporation that will help familiarize them with evaporation and gas as a state of matter.

The final area of study in the physical sciences is the observation of magnets and the interaction with magnetic and non-magnetic materials. The study of magnets also provides the opportunity for the young learners to build on their kindergarten experience of pushes and pulls that are required in the motion of an object. The magnets can be used to demonstrate pushes and pulls that are not in direct contact with the moving object, yet provide the force needed for motion.


Life Science: Organization of Living Things and Heredity

The first grade life science curriculum builds on the students’ prior knowledge of living and non-living things and the basic needs of all living things. Students are provided with the opportunity to explore and identify the needs of animals and describe the animal life cycle (egg, young, adult; egg, larva, pupa, adult).

Through their study of living things in the classroom, first grade students begin to make connections between young and adult, and are able to make simple identification of characteristics that are passed from parents to young (body coverings, beak shape, number of legs, body parts). They also develop the ability to match young animals with their parent based on similar characteristics (puppies/dogs, kittens/cats, calves/cows, chicks/chickens).


Earth Science: Earth Systems, Weather, and Solid Earth

The Earth science content expectations for first grade focus on two main ideas. The first concept is the importance of the sun providing the warmth and light necessary for plant and animal life, and how plant and animal life are dependent on a variety of Earth materials. The students enter first grade with the basic ability to identify simple Earth materials and recognize that some Earth materials are necessary to grow plants. Building on their prior knowledge, the students will be given the opportunity to demonstrate and describe the importance of sun, air, and soil to plant and animal life.

The second main idea in first grade Earth science focuses on the study of weather and how it changes from day to day and over the seasons. The young learners are given the opportunity to observe, record, and measure weather conditions over a period of time. Student understanding of weather can be obtained through observations, descriptions, and finding patterns. The first grade Earth science content expectations also include the study of severe weather events and precautions that should be taken to ensure their safety if severe weather should occur.


Write Steps

This year, your child will be developing new writing skills through a program that is

based on solid educational research and successful practice. We will be doing a

lot of writing, and I will be keeping most of your child’s finished writing pieces here

at school. It is important to keep the papers here in order to continually track

student progress. This also gives students the chance to revise and edit their earlier

work when they learn new skills.

Parents often ask, “How can I help my child with writing at home?” The most

important things are really the most simple. You can let your child see you as a

writer, since seeing adults model writing reinforces its importance to children. If you

can write blogs and presentations, that’s great – but writing letters and lists is also

fine. Playing word games is excellent, too.

You can show interest by inviting your child to read his or her writing aloud to you.

When you respond, remember to point out what you like. We will be talking about

“glows and grows” to describe strengths and weaknesses when we analyze student

writing at school. You could use this vocabulary if you want, but it’s not required.

What helps most is to focus on the positive. Finally, since reading comprehension is

related to writing fluency, reading aloud to your child helps too.

The program we are working with enables me to guide children step-by-step into

greater language mastery and self-expression. I am looking forward to seeing your

child’s writing skills – and enthusiasm – grow throughout the course of the year. If

you have any questions or comments about how we are approaching writing with

your child, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Handwriting Without Tears 


  • Research shows that handwriting is a foundational skill that can influence student’s reading, writing, language use, and critical thinking (Saperstein Associates 2012).
  • When children practice printing by hand, their neural activity is far more enhanced and “adult-like” (Bounds 2010).
  • Research states that learning how to write by hand is a necessary motor exercise (Saperstein Associates 2012; James and Gauthier 2006; James 2012; Berninger 2012). 
  • The Handwriting Without Tears® curriculum draws from years of research to provide developmentally appropriate, multisensory tools and strategies for your classroom.
  • Our teaching orders move from writing readiness in Pre-K, to printing and cursive. The scope and sequence of lessons is based on research about how children learn best.
  • Our program follows research that states children learn more effectively by actively doing, and by using the different senses.
  • Our unique physical approach addresses posture, grip, and paper positioning.