1st Grade

Utilizing the foundational skills introduced in our Kindergarten program, 1st graders build their repertoire of strategies to become proficient readers, writers, and communicators.  It is a time of growth and exploration; academically, socially, and spiritually.  Through age-appropriate experiences, the 1st graders become ready, responsible, and respectful members of their community.

Reading, Writing, and Spelling

The 1st grade uses the Slingerland® Approach. This is a simultaneous, multi-sensory approach to speaking, reading, writing and spelling. It incorporates the auditory, visual, and kinesthetic motor channels of learning. We use a variety of poetry and texts, including the Reading A-Z program.  This provides opportunities to tailor the program to fit individual needs, and for students to develop their reading/language skills.

We work on multiple skills including:

  • High frequency and sight word vocabulary (words that do not sound out)
  • Decoding/phonics
  • Vowels and their different sounds/combinations
  • Using context and picture clues
  • Parts of a story
  • Sequencing
  • Comprehension strategies

Writing is an integral part of the reading process.  In addition to guided reading groups, we work on guided writing.  We focus on writing for a variety of purposes: to tell a story, making lists, letters, expository writing, and writing in the content area. We address writing ideas, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions.  Our goal is that all of the pieces begin to come together by the end of the year.

It is exciting to watch first graders develop their reading and writing skills.  Sometimes the strides they make are so small, yet even these small steps are essential for a solid foundation. Patience, understanding, and support are crucial to your child’s success.  At times a first grade day can be compared to Goldilock’s search through the three bears’ house: too hard, too easy, just right!

Spelling begins in mid-September.  Each week the students will have eight spelling words.


This year our math series is Envisionmath 2.0. “Content is developed with focus, coherence, and rigor. This attention to rigor reflects the balance of conceptual understanding, procedural skill and fluency, and applications in the Common Core Standards” (Envisionmath, Scott Foresman and Addison Wesley). We focus on major curriculum guidelines for math including:

  • whole number relationships
  • addition and subtraction
  • geometric attributes
  • concepts of measurement
  • representing data including: tallies, graphing, tables and pictures
  • reasoning, problem-solving and communicating


First grade uses the FOSS Science program.  This program provides hands-on learning of a variety of scientific concepts through themes.  The first grade themes are:

  • Air and Weather
  • Sound and Light
  • Plants and Animals

Social Studies

In social studies we focus on several topics including:

  • Communities
  • Schools
  • Families
  • Black History Month
  • National holidays
  • Important people in history
  • Transportation

Social studies is integrated throughout the curriculum. This year we will use Social Studies Weekly, which is an educational classroom magazine focusing on topics in history, government, and civics.


First grade uses the Sadlier “We Believe” religion series.  It focuses on our individual uniqueness, God’s love for us, the gifts God has given us including Jesus and our faith. It covers the student learning expectations from the Seattle Archdiocese for first grade religion curriculum.  We will also focus on the important religious celebrations of Advent, Christmas, Lent and Easter.  Students have multiple opportunities for prayer in the classroom. We also learn traditional Catholic prayers: The Sign of the Cross, The Our Father, Hail Mary, and the Glory Be.


The Self-Regulation Curriculum will be integrated throughout the school year.  The weekly lessons will include:

  • Metacognition
  • Executive Function
  • Emotional Regulation
  • Sensory Processing
  • Social Awareness
Cereal collection for local food banks
Three times a year the first graders collect breakfast cereal for local food banks as part of our service focused curriculum.

Center for Wooden Boats

The first grade investigates a part of Seattle’s maritime heritage when we visit the Center for Wooden Boats.  Our paddling skills are honed as we paddle an umiak around South Lake Union.


Reading Rodeo

The Reading Rodeo celebrates our first grade school year.  It is the students’ opportunity to show off their reading and writing skills and to say thank you to their parents.  It is an afternoon of reading, square dancing, singing, and eating with mom and dad.

Keep Your Math Skills Strong

Go Online with your First Grader and practice Math Skills at the following websites.
Basic Addition Skills
Subtraction Skills
Other Resources

In first grade we use the FOSS investigation system in our science units. Check out their website at http://www.fossweb.com
Try some creative activities at http://www.crayola.com
Want to read a little more? Check out http://www.scholastic.com
First grade reading, writing, speaking, and listening are developed through the Slingerland® Approach. Learn more on The Slingerland Institute’s website.