First Grade

First grade marks an important milestone for the young learner. First grade students are learning to become good self-managers and are learning to be more independent. The first grade student is encouraged to cooperate and collaborate with class members in an exciting learning environment. Children learn through many different learning styles, and it is important to teach using many different methods to reach all children. We know that children learn best when a variety of meaningful experiences are provided, and they are given the opportunity to be actively involved in their learning.

Language Arts

First grade students are immersed in a print-rich environment to develop oral language, phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary, fluency, comprehension, and an awareness of print as sources of information and enjoyment. An emphasis is placed on learning to read and write proficiently. Students will develop multiple strategies to read and comprehend fiction and nonfiction. All aspects of literacy will be taught through a balanced literacy framework for instruction. Students will become independent and strategic readers, writers, thinkers, and communicators.


First grade students build upon and broaden their mathematical understanding. An emphasis is placed upon developing number sense, addition and subtraction, units of measure and time, spatial geometry, money, and estimation. Students will have opportunities to experience varied problem solving, communicate mathematically, and see the connections between mathematical topics. Students learn best by working with physical objects. Teachers give children materials to use during math lessons such as number cubes, pattern blocks, a variety of counters, and game boards.


First grade students are encouraged to “Think Like a Scientist”. Students will be involved in classroom learning experiences that enable them to learn about science through a variety of hands-on activities. Students will participate in simple science experiments. Students will be introduced to the concept of classifying plants and animals based on simple characteristics. An emphasis is placed on the relationships among objects and their interactions with one another. Students will understand the basic relationships between the sun and Earth, and between seasonal changes and plant and animal activities. Students will also begin to develop an understanding of moving objects, simple solutions, and important natural resources.

Social Studies

First grade students will be introduced to the lives of American leaders and their contributions to the United States. They will construct simple maps and recognize basic map symbols. Students will study economic concepts of goods and services, buyers and sellers, and making economic choices. They will learn to apply the traits of a good citizen and recognize that communities in Virginia include people who have diverse ethnic origins, customs, and traditions, who make contributions to their communities.

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