Developing a Love of Learning

First Grade

First grade is a magical year! The academic and social growth we see in our first graders each year is amazing. First grade is a time for children to learn more about themselves as learners and as citizens of their school and community. As our world has changed, so have our classrooms. Our first grade program now uses digital tools in many different ways, but we still focus on building relationships and developing a love of learning through hands-on exploration. We celebrate every student and we know each child learns differently, so we incorporate varied learning styles and activities into our day. We’re always turning obstacles into opportunities!

Two female students hug and smile for the camera.


Students are immersed in a text-rich environment to develop phonological and phonemic awareness, phonics, vocabulary and comprehension skills. Additionally, students use reading materials as sources of information and enjoyment while increasing vocabulary and comprehension. Teachers encourage the development of reading skills foundational to effective comprehension and critical thinking.


Students have daily opportunities to write in a variety of forms to communicate ideas. With teacher guidance and support, they will begin to revise and edit selected pieces of their writing for a specific audience. Teachers encourage the development of writing skills that are foundational to effective written communication and critical thinking.


Emphasis is on counting, comparing and ordering sets of up to 110 objects; recognizing and describing simple repeating and growing patterns; and tracing, describing and sorting plane figures. The understanding of number is expanded through recognizing and describing part whole relationships for numbers up to 10, solving story and picture problems using addition and subtraction within 20; using nonstandard units to measure; and organizing and interpreting data.


The first-grade standards emphasize the theme “How I Interact with My World.” Students continue to learn about the basic needs of living things and that living things respond to factors in their environment, including weather and the change of seasons. They examine matter by observing physical properties and how materials interact with light. Students are introduced to scientific process skills and the design process.

Social Studies 

Students focus on Virginia, including an introduction to the lives of leaders in the history of Virginia and their contributions to the Commonwealth. Students should continue to develop history and social science skills including using artifacts and primary and secondary sources, basic map skills, economic concepts of goods and services, consumers and producers, and making economic choices. Students should learn to apply traits of a good citizen and recognize that communities in Virginia have local governments. They should learn that communities include people with diverse ethnic origins, customs and traditions who contribute to their communities, and who are united as Americans by common principles.


Visual Arts enable students to use their knowledge and skills to synthesize information, thus allowing them to produce and respond to works of art. Emphasis is on communication of personal values and beliefs in art appreciation and production. Students gain fluency in using and understanding the elements of art (color, form, line, shape, space, texture, value) and the principles of design (balance, contrast, emphasis, movement, pattern, proportion, rhythm, unity, variety) as they relate to artistic expression and communication.

Health & Physical Education 

Students develop proficiency in games, dances and educational gymnastics while demonstrating specialized skills alone, with a partner or in a small group. They access and use resources to improve personal fitness and continue to develop responsible personal and social behaviors as they work with others in safe and respectful ways.


During weekly library visits, students will experience lessons that focus on multiple literacies integrated into grade-level core content. Literacies such as reading, digital, information and multimodal are immersed with the National School Library Standards defined by the American Association of School Librarians. Students have the opportunity to check out books from the school library each week.


General music standards enable students to use music knowledge and skills to synthesize information and create music. Students continue to read, write and compose music, using increasingly complex rhythms and meters. They begin to develop choral skills, including singing in two-and three-part harmony. Students explore and perform a variety of music styles and develop personal criteria to describe and analyze musical performances.


Students master the integration of science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) content, practices and processes to investigate and solve real world problems while engaging in meaningful, purposeful and relevant hands-on inquiry-based, problem-based learning experiences.

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