First Grade

First grade is a year filled with growth and excitement! Your child will use the foundational skills they have mastered in kindergarten and begin to apply them as they grow in their reading abilities. We will be working cooperatively in groups every day during our literacy stations and math stations where children are placed in flexible groups based on their ability and need for instruction. Learning to work with others will be an important life skill that we will practice daily. The children will be responsible to complete daily homework which focuses on word study and reading. It is so important to set up a homework routine and give your child the guidance he needs to follow through every night. It is these early years where your child will learn and apply good study skills.

Language Arts

Our language arts time involves children rotating through literacy stations. They will learn to work within a group and to be accountable for the work of their station. Your child will be learning the basic strategies he needs in order to become a fluent reader. We will learn basic decoding skills, develop strong comprehension and grow in fluency. Early readers will be learning to decode words by using the context of picture clues, using phonetic skills such as looking at the beginning letters and chunks that they know and applying the features that they are learning in word study. Of course we all know that good readers don’t just say the words on a page but they must also understand what it is that they have read. We will build comprehension by looking at story elements such as characters, setting, problems and solutions. We will be asking your child to retell stories that he reads using good detail from the story. Connecting what they have read to personal experiences as well as to other books that we read will also build comprehension. We will be learning 4-5 new word wall words each week. It is essential that your child practice these words nightly and continue to practice them so he can read the words automatically. In writing, we will essentially be learning the “craft” of writing. We will be learning writing traits to build this craft. Writing with good ideas, strong organization, interesting word choice, using voice and fluency as well as developing strong conventions will be our aim. We will practice writing every day in our literacy station to become great-first grade writers.


Conceptual math is our goal in first grade. Our day will consist of calendar math, a short teacher directed lesson, then time to apply what we are learning in math stations. Once again we will be using that life skill of cooperative learning within a group as well as a personal responsibility; being accountable for the work of the station. Our overall focus for the year is addition and subtraction strategies. We will be learning different mental math strategies to help us solve problems. We will also continue to develop number sense of place value using a hands on approach. Comparing numbers, counting money and telling time will also be taught this year.


Although first graders do not take SOL tests, the content we are learning will be included in the tests the children will take in 3rd grade. As we learn the content, we will also be learning and practicing test taking strategies. We will have a good mix of hands-on activities and paper to pencil work. Many of our units will be problem-based learning experiences where the children are presented with a problem and asked to solve it. We will learn the content of our studies and then apply that knowledge to solve a problem. We will be emphasizing those 21st century skills that your children will need to succeed in our world. Our topics will range from citizenship and economics to famous Americans. We will also go from scientific investigations, seasonal changes to animal and plant life processes.

Social Studies

In first grade, we split time between science and social studies. Before tests in these subjects, the students will bring home a study guide to help them prepare at home.

Students in the first grade will learn about the lives of American leaders and their contributions to the United States. During our discussions about early Americans, we explore Henricus Park to see how they contributed to the success of America. The students will also construct simple maps and recognize basic map symbols. Students will study economic concepts and making economic choices. Students will learn about what makes a good citizen in the class room and in their community.

First-grade science includes several hands-on activities that are engaging for all students. Students will begin to conduct experiments and learn how to classify objects. The students will also be exposed to moving objects and natural resources. The students will learn about the relationship between the sun and Earth, the cycle of the four seasons, and plants and animals. During our lessons on plants, we will explore Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens and learn LOTS about plants!

Be sure to check your child’s Weekly Work folder each week and look for our newsletter on for details on the most current information. We work very hard to insure that each first grader is successful and excited about learning!

Lauren Britton
Jeanne Roinnel
Kay Rowe
Sherry Thomason
Latisha Thorn