The Foundation for a Meaningful Life
Kindergarten - Grade 9 in Southborough, MA
Primary School

Grade One

Grade One

The goal of grade one is to continue to foster children's intellectual, social, and emotional growth. A major focus of the first grade curriculum is on reading and writing, and students participate in daily activities--in whole groups, in small groups, and one-on-one--to develop foundational phonetic skills and become competent readers and writers. As students become more familiar with the routines and expectations of a formal school setting, they face developmentally appropriate challenges that require them to problem solve, think critically, and work collaboratively with others. Classroom teachers encourage first graders to become more independent and self-reliant as students, and classroom activities continue to focus on building community, developing friendships, and learning how to communicate effectively with others.

Download: Grade One Course Overview

List of 10 items.

  • Mathematics

    Grade one expands upon the goals and objectives of kindergarten mathematics with a continued focus on mathematical content and processes, including basic addition and subtraction facts, and improved estimation and problem-solving skills. Through hands-on activities and work with manipulatives, students discover patterns in numbers and develop critical thinking skills. Students also develop their mathematical thinking in the following areas: number and operations, algebraic thinking, geometry, measurement, data analysis, and probability.
    Students who successfully complete the grade one mathematics program will be able to demonstrate a fundamental understanding of:
    • Counting skills (including skip counting)
    • Adding and subtracting whole numbers
    • Place value
    • Grouping whole numbers
    • Basic fractions
    • Collecting, analyzing, and graphing data
    • Estimation skills
    • Basic two- and three-dimensional geometry concepts
    • Measurement skills
    • The value and equivalencies of money
    • Telling time to the nearest hour and half hour
    • Solving single- and basic multi-step problems
    • Devising mental math solutions
  • Language Arts

    In grade one, the goal is to foster a love of reading. Through whole group Fundations lessons and individual guided reading instruction, students are exposed to a wide variety of concepts and activities to help them become confident, independent readers. Through daily Fundations lessons, students learn basic phonetic rules such as consonant and vowel sounds, digraphs, blends, bonus letters, glued sounds, and open and closed syllables as well as how to recognize and spell many high-frequency words. After each Fundations lesson, students practice new skills and review previously learned skills as they move into the individual guided reading segment of the program. Students read daily from their independent book bags, which contain literature at each child’s designated reading level. Within these levels, students choose from a wide variety of fiction, non-fiction and poetry selections. Teachers meet regularly with each student for regular conferences in order to monitor progress, focusing on fluency, applying reading strategies, comprehension, word attack skills, and vocabulary development. At the conclusion of each conference, the teacher sets a new individual goal and directs the student to complete a response sheet about one of the books. These response sheets include comprehension assignments, character studies, and chapter summaries. 
    The goal of the grade one writing program is to improve students’ overall communication skills. At the beginning of the year, first graders review the formation of uppercase letters and then learn the lowercase letters. Next, students learn basic capitalization and punctuation rules. As these skills develop and students become more comfortable with the writing process, they practice incorporating more detail into their writing. Later in the year, students create a rubric to help them assess their work, which reminds them to check for proper capitalization and punctuation, spacing between words, correct spelling of basic sight words, and descriptive detail. With this introduction to editing, students begin to learn the importance of reviewing and revising their writing. To improve listening skills and to cultivate an appreciation of the written word, teachers read to the children daily from a range of literature, including picture books, chapter books, nonfiction, and poetry.
    Students who successfully complete the grade one language arts program will be able to:
    • Identify consonants, vowels, blends, digraphs, bonus letters, glued sounds, and syllables
    • Apply oral reading fluency skills
    • Apply reading strategies (picture walking, looking for words within words, identifying unknown words through context)
    • Recall important story elements (characters, setting, theme)
    • Make inferences
    • Predict outcomes, sequence, recognize cause and effect, write summaries, question, and determine main ideas
    • Visualize
    • Make connections - text to self, text to text, text to world
    • Recognize sight words
    • Apply vocabulary and vocabulary strategies
    • Understand and participate in author studies
    • Apply spelling strategies
    • Read a variety of genres: fiction, nonfiction, poetry
    • Apply basic writing conventions: spacing between words, capitalization, punctuation
    • Incorporate appropriate detail in writing
    • Logically sequence events and ideas
    • Begin to apply editing rules
    • Apply the Fundations handwriting letter formation rules to uppercase and lowercase letters
    • Listen attentively to others
    • Follow oral and written directions
    • Speak before a group using appropriate eye contact and volume
    As part of their language arts activities, first graders also present a musical play to the school. Over the course of the production, the children learn their lines, create the scenery, learn songs, and practice choreography. This is the students’ first foray into public speaking at Fay, and it proves to be a highlight of the year.
  • Social Studies

    The first grade social studies curriculum focuses on both introductory social studies skills (maps, community, holidays) as well as social/emotional growth. Students continue to recognize and respect diversity within communities, build interpersonal skills, develop self awareness and responsibility, and strengthen communication skills. Units also aim to teach children comparative differences over time, to understand holidays and their historical importance, to develop an awareness of current events and their impact, beginning map skills, and family traditions.  
    Students who successfully complete the grade one social studies program will be able to:
    • Independently solve conflicts with words
    • Demonstrate calming/self soothing techniques
    • Work cooperatively in groups
    • Recognize the needs of others
    • Demonstrate beginning public speaking skills
    • Understand the significance of holidays and age-appropriate current events
    • Appreciate past events, historical figures, and their connection to the present day
    • Identify and use basic map features
  • Science

    The Primary School science practices have been adopted from the National Research Council’s A Framework for K-12 Science Education: Practices, Crosscutting Concepts, and Core Ideas (2012). Students who demonstrate success in primary school science courses will be able to:

    - ask questions that encourage further investigation
    - record observations and ideas using pictures, numbers, and writing
    - share observations and ideas with peers
    - compare and sort objects according to similarities and differences
    - follow oral instructions for explorations
    - recognize that scientists work in groups
    - use tools appropriately to observe, draw, and describe objects

    In grade one, students explore how humans use their senses to make observations about the natural world. Science vocabulary focuses on using properties to group and classify elements that are familiar in children’s everyday lives. Students begin to describe patterns in nature, such as the patterns of plant growth, and they explore questions about relationships among living things and the factors that influence them. Using science notebooks, students record observations, make predictions, and summarize results.
  • World Languages: Spanish and French

    Fay’s Primary School World Language program is based on F.L.E.X. (Foreign Language Experience) approach. Students study both French and Spanish, each for half of the school year.
    For both French and Spanish classes, first graders review basic colors, numbers (1-20), and simple daily expressions that can be used to communicate their needs and desires in the classroom. The curriculum focuses on high-frequency and seasonal vocabulary related to topics such as the date, weather, clothes, and family. Children are exposed to vocabulary through hands-on activities, games, songs, nursery rhymes, poems, and age-appropriate literature. Authentic foreign-language children’s books are used to generate discussions, reinforce vocabulary, and engage the children in learning about Francophone and Hispanic cultures. The study of culture continues to play a significant part in the curriculum, and students create projects focused on specific traditions and celebrations.
  • Music

    The music curriculum in grade one is based on the philosophy of Hungarian composer Zoltán Kodály. Through singing, movement, listening, and games, children learn about the many characteristics of music. In grade one, students review all kindergarten concepts. New first grade skills include reading and writing basic rhythmic notation (quarter notes, quarter rests, eighth note pairs); recognizing and notating two-beat meter (including measure, bar line, double bar line, repeat sign, and simplified time signature); and reading and writing melodic notation (solfege) for so, mi, la, and do on a five-line staff. Students are also exposed to a variety of musical styles, from folk songs to masterworks.
  • Art

    The goal of the grade one art program is to develop an appreciation for visual art as a creative means of expressing knowledge and ideas. Students learn to use and maintain high quality tools and materials. There is an emphasis on craftsmanship, and students evaluate their own work through both individual and group assessments. Students are encouraged to develop unique solutions to each assignment and feel supported to develop skills at their own pace. In grade one, students are introduced to a variety of artists and artistic styles and begin to develop the vocabulary necessary to describe and interpret works of art. Connections between the art and science programs are still present, and as students develop deeper scientific knowledge, art continues to be a strong element in how students express what they learn.
    Students who successfully complete the first grade art program can:
    • Follow oral instructions for projects
    • Use materials and tools appropriately
    • Interpret project directions
    • Complete class work
    • Explore the use of line, shape, pattern, color and texture
    • Use art terms correctly to discuss artwork or techniques
  • Library

    In their library classes, first graders explore language through books, stories, poetry, and song. Lively group read-alouds bring stories to life as students experience the feeling of connectedness to a community of readers. First graders explore self-expression as they write poems and stories, and they participate in creative hands-on projects and art experiences in response to the books and ideas that they share. The library is not only a place where students discover the great ideas of others; it is also where they have time and space to create their own.
  • Physical Education

    In physical education classes, first graders develop physical fitness and motor skills. Students have P.E. four times out of a six-day rotation. Through activities and games, students continue to develop motor skills, a sense of self in personal and general space, coordination, and cooperation with others. Teachers emphasize positive sportsmanship and leadership in all activities. Students also practice basic sports skills such as throwing and catching, and they continue to learn that physical activity is a lifelong practice that can be fun and satisfying.
  • Wellness

    In first grade, the goal of the wellness program is for students to learn about themselves as how they relate to others. During homeroom time, students address important topics such as sharing, advocating for one’s needs, conflict resolution, and accepting others’ differences. The Open Circle Curriculum, a pro-social competency program, provides students with a structured, safe, and consistent environment in which students can develop communication, self-control, and interpersonal problem-solving skills. First graders develop a foundation in
    • Sharing needs and feelings with adults when necessary
    • Understanding and identifying others’ feelings, and responding appropriately
    • Understanding the concepts of inclusion and exclusion and demonstrating willingness to include others in activities
    • Using mindfulness to recognize one’s own feelings and emotions and to calm one’s body and mind when upset