First Grade Curriculum


What will we be learning in First Grade?


Our reading instruction takes place in small, guided reading groups. In September, children are introduced to our Reading Workshop, where they learn how to work independently on a variety of activities like Lexia, “Tub and Rug” (independent reading), and games from our ABC or science center.  During this time, teachers provide individual and small group reading instruction based on each child’s needs. In these small groups, readers work on phonics, phonemic awareness, fluency, vocabulary and comprehension, which are all key components of reading instruction. They read fiction and non-fiction books, learn strategies for decoding words and in the process, become fluent readers.  Children will take home a book most nights to practice reading aloud to their families. You can certainly expect to see much reading growth over the year! 



We use Lucy Calkins Units of Study for teaching writing at Leverett Elementary School.  Our writing time begins with a whole class mini-lesson on a specific topic.  Then children have independent writing time, where they choose topics that are important to them to write about.  During this time, teachers meet with children individually or in small groups for writing conferences. At the end of each writing time, we have time for “Author’s Chair”, where children are invited to share their writing with the class and take questions and comments from the audience.  In first grade, children begin by writing Small Moment stories, which are true stories from their lives. Then we work on creating non-fiction Teaching Books. After that, we do opinion writing, where children learn how to convince their readers of their opinion. Finally, we end the year writing some poetry.  At the end of the year, we have an Author’s Breakfast, where families are invited into the classroom to hear us present our writing and celebrate all our hard work!



At LES, we use Everyday Math for math instruction. Many math concepts, such as graphing the change in weather over the course of the year, take place during our morning meeting.  We begin Math Workshop with a whole class lesson. Then children complete math journal pages to practice the new concepts we learned. After they are finished, children have time to play math games or do Symphony on the computer.  During this time, teachers meet with students for individual or small group lessons based on need. In first grade, students are developing an understanding of addition, subtraction, and strategies for adding and subtracting within 20.  They are developing an understanding of place value and learning how to group numbers in tens and ones. They are learning linear measurement and measuring lengths in units. They are also learning attributes of shapes and how to compose and decompose geometric shapes.  We also celebrate the 100th Day of School in February, and each child is invited to create something using 100 objects to present to the class.  We have a lot of fun growing as mathematicians by sharing ideas with each other and using language like, “I noticed…..”, “I like how you….”, “I don’t understand how…”, whenever we present our work and our math thinking to the class.  



Fundations is the program we use for spelling, phonics and handwriting.  Children learn letter sounds and how to combine letter sounds to make words.  They learn about important spelling concepts like digraphs, suffixes, base words, and bonus letters. We learn how to spell “trick words”, which are common words we use everyday and must be memorized because they cannot be sounded out.  (the, and, very,…..)  We learn how to write in complete sentences with capitals, periods, neat handwriting and finger spaces.  


Social Curriculum

Our social curriculum is something we weave into many parts of our day through read alouds, morning meeting, choice time and on Wednesday mornings when we do lessons from our PATHS program, which teaches us how to be a good friend, how to manage our emotions, and how to make good choices.  


Social Studies and Science

During the year we will alternate between social studies and science themes, which we focus on every Wednesday and follow up with during the week through read alouds and independent shelf activities.  These are the themes we will cover in first grade:



Earth Science:  Seasonal Changes


American Symbols

Family Traditions

Animal Adaptations:  Bears

Sound and Light

Famous Heroes:  People Who Worked For Justice

Pond Habitat

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