First Grade
In first grade, children make some of the most amazing growth of their school career! With guidance and encouragement from their teacher they will become independent thinkers, develop the skill of self-direction, and realize the rewards of persistence and effort. Children will continue to apply the basic skills they learned in kindergarten, as well as begin to do some work independently. First-grade curriculum focuses on developing authentic young readers and writers, as well as fostering a strong mathematical number sense.
Language Arts

Reading instruction will focus on readers as “meaning makers”. Through teacher-modeling during shared reading time, and student practice during guided reading, children will become masters of clarifying strategies. They will learn to monitor understanding of text and apply appropriate corrective actions when meaning breaks down. Once students are able to independently use these strategies, they will be able to focus on comprehension strategies.

In word study, students compare spelling patterns at their developmental level and apply learned patterns to new words. Students also develop instant recognition of sight words, which do not necessarily follow typical patterns.

First grade students continue to work on sentence fluency, word choice, voice, ideas, organization, and conventions while learning to extend their capacity for sustained writing. Teachers focus on using mini-lessons to introduce and model the writing process. Mentor texts and picture books are often used as students begin to develop their writing skills.


Kathy Richardson (1999) reports that “children’s first experiences with numbers will influence the way they deal with mathematics for the rest of their lives… Children develop an understanding of concepts through experiences with real things rather than symbols… Teachers [will] support the development of understanding by presenting planned and focused experiences and by interacting with children as they work.”

Our first graders will explore the following topics in science:
  • Scientific Investigation: “Thinking Like a Scientist”
  • Animals and Plants: life cycles
  • Sun and Earth Relationships: shadows, day and night
  • Seasonal Changes: temperature, light, precipitation
  • Natural Resources: conservation, recycling, reusing, reducing
  • Force Motion and Energy: types of motion, sound
  • Interactions with Water: phases of matter (solid, liquid, gas)
Social Studies

Our first graders will explore the following topics in social studies:

  • Citizenship: “The Golden Rule”, following directions
  • Symbols: American flag, Virginia state flag, Virginia state capitol, Virginia state bird, Virginia state flower
  • Holidays: Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, President’s Day, Independence Day
  • Geography: landforms of Virginia, cardinal directions, map skills
  • Famous Americans/Virginians: George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Powhatan, Pocahontas, Christopher Newport, Maggie Walker, Arthur Ashe
  • Economics: goods and services, producers and consumers, economic choices
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