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 each person has their own “razzle-dazzles” and “razzle-frazzles.”


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, 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.

Reading, writing, listening, and speaking are integrated throughout the literacy 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, and 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. They also work hard on being respectful listeners and confident speakers.

Math  instruction draws upon a variety of teaching models and curriculum. We use flexible learning groups to meet children where they are in each unit. A big part of first grade math is using multiple strategies for solving addition and subtraction problems and learning how to show mathematical thinking. Some other concepts we explore are numeracy to 120, place value, geometry, and word problems.

Integrated social studies units provide many opportunities for hands-on learning. We begin our year learning about the three tenets of Meridian Cares: I care for myself, I care for others, and I care for my place. We learn about how to be caring citizens by exploring our classroom and school communities. We broaden these understandings by partnering with City Fruit for the entire year, caring for the historic trees that surround our school in Meridian Park. This partnership also connects with our Indigenous peoples unit through building deep relationships with nature, partnering with local tribes, and engaging with the tradition of oral storytelling. Towards the end of the year our units move into concepts of sustainability in a global context, and we finish by addressing student perception of gender identity.

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.

Physical Science: First graders experiment with and discover the properties of both sound and light waves.

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

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