First Grade

First grade students develop the social and communication skills needed to successfully work together, resolve conflicts, and become responsible citizens.


Building trust, empathy, and tolerance creates a safe learning environment. Engaging, multidisciplinary activities integrate a variety of teaching strategies. They also strengthen important academic skills while allowing for a wide range of student responses and creative choices. Students are encouraged to challenge themselves and support each other as learners, recognizing that “no brain is the same” and “no brain is the best.”


Social Emotional Learning (SEL) includes both individual and community goals: how to transition smoothly, persist with difficult tasks, produce quality work on one’s own, and how to share tasks, clean up, and assist others in the community. Cooperative learning activities promote the development of appropriate social skills, as students learn strategies to meet their needs and the needs of others with fairness. Citizenship emphasizes caring for the community and planet in ways appropriate for children, such as separating recycling and compost from garbage and working to restore Meridian Park.

Literacy integrates reading, writing, listening, and speaking throughout the curriculum. Students develop and strengthen the skills they need to become successful readers and writers, while also finding joy in the acts of reading and writing. We use Wired for Reading and Reader’s Workshop to teach phonics, fluency, comprehension, and to build good reading habits. Writing instruction is taught through Writer’s Workshop units, focusing on opinion, narrative, and informational writing. First graders continue strengthening their handwriting skills throughout the year. We also work hard on being respectful listeners and confident speakers. Poetry and songwriting are other highlights of first grade literacy.

Math draws upon a variety of strategies to work with the basic strands of mathematics. The first grade Bridges in Mathematics and Number Corner curriculum emphasizes numeracy to 120, including rote and skip counting, odd and even numbers, and addition and subtraction using objects, drawings, and numbers. Students work on sorting and categorizing objects, collecting and displaying survey results, estimation, measuring and ordering length, and identifying patterns and geometric shapes.

Social Studies: Our integrated social studies units provide many opportunities for hands-on learning. We learn important map skills and geography concepts such as map features and cardinality. Our yearlong theme, “Many Hands Make Light Work” helps us to take action to help fulfill the needs of others. Whether it’s coordinating with the City of Seattle and local non-profit City Fruit to take care of the apple trees in Meridian Park to volunteering with a local non-profit like Food Lifeline, first graders are able to see firsthand what a tremendous impact their hands can have on the world around them.

Life Science: First graders begin the year with a science investigation, asking the question “What does a plant need to survive?” Students then take a look at plant and animal adaptations and investigate the unique characteristics species have that help them survive. Visit the Science Lab to learn more>

Physical Science: Adding on to the knowledge of force and motion learned in kindergarten, first graders gain even more knowledge about direction of force, friction, and material properties.  Visit the Science Lab to learn more>

Earth & Space Science: Using a variety of tools, students observe and discuss the changes in the moon and the sun in relationship to the earth.  Visit the Science Lab to learn more>

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