First Grade

ELA & Writing

The primary focus of the first grade language arts program is the development of reading and writing skills. Students in the first grade learn the phonetic components of language and they learn to apply these components in their oral and independent reading. Students in the first grade also develop their comprehension skills and a basic understanding of story structure. Writing skills are developed beginning with a focus on spelling, handwriting, punctuation, capitalization, as well as the writing process. Students continue to write in complete coherent sentences, while learning proper spacing while writing. They learn how to use proper punctuation and capitalization. First grade students use creative and grade-level spelling.


First grade's reading focus is geared towards generating sounds from all letters and letter patterns, distinguishing initial, middle, and final sound in single-syllable words, blending two to four sounds into recognizable words, reading high frequency words, and reading with fluency. Students identify and describe the elements of a story, identify the beginning, middle, and end of a story, comprehend material read, and follow instructions.

We use Lucy Calkins reader’s workshop, which focuses on the interaction between readers and text. Students learn to ask questions, make connections with prior knowledge and previously read texts, and ask questions to clarify. The reading program includes peer conferences and teacher conferences with students while emphasizing students' independence and allowing them to become successful readers in and out of the classroom.

This also includes Guided Reading through Scholastic Leveled Reading in which students are offered a text at the appropriate level so that a manageable number of reading challenges will appear. Guided Reading typically takes place in groups of 4-6 children. Students have access to Raz-Kids at home, allowing them to practice reading at their Guided Reading Level at home.


Wilson Fundations-Fundations is a multisensory, structured language program. Wilson Fundations makes learning to read fun while laying the groundwork for life-long literacy. Students in grades K-2 receive a systematic program in critical foundational skills, emphasizing: phonemic awareness, phonics/ word study, high frequency word study, reading fluency, vocabulary, comprehension strategies, and handwriting.


Our science curriculum is based on the NGSS Standards. The main focuses in first grade are seasonal patterns and animal and plant superpowers. Students understand animal structures, what camouflage means, what plants need in order to survive, how your shadow works, moon phases, and star patterns. Students are introduced to the scientific process and investigate an array of hands-on experiments.

Listening & Speaking Skills

Students demonstrate readiness with listening skills by giving and following two-step directions, listening without interrupting, listening respectively to the ideas and opinions of others, and listening attentively during instructions and activities.

Students demonstrate readiness with speaking skills by participating in class discussions, reciting prayers, poems and songs, speaking clearly, comprehending and responding appropriately to oral communication, and using polite words when speaking.


Students use the engaging and interactive Go Math series, which incorporates online videos and a variety of student workbooks.

First graders focus on operations and algebraic thinking, number and operations in base ten, measurement and data, geometry, and mathematical practices. Students are expected to add and subtract within 20 by the end of first grade.

Religion Studies

First grade students practice and learn these prayers: Sign of the Cross, Our Father, Hail Mary, Glory Be To The Father, Grace before and after Meals, Prayer to the Guardian Angel, Blessing with holy water and the verbal responses at Mass. They learn that we are Catholic Christians who follow, forgive and act like Jesus. Students understand the signs, symbols and actions of Baptism, Eucharist and Reconciliation. They learn that they can talk to God in many ways: together in community, in their heart, through Mary, at Mass and through formal prayers.